Wednesday, November 12, 2008


For me the most touching reports about Obama’s victorious campaign regard generational interactions. Who knows how true, but we heard many anecdotes of old folks voting for Obama because their kids were so adamant that they do.

As Chris Matthews said, “The parents and grandparents sacrifice to send their kids to college, so they must think a college education is important. So when their kids, who went, or are going to college, ask them to vote for Obama, the old folks listen.”

It makes sense, the kids will be paying the price for Obama’s decisions, the old folks have already enjoyed a standard of living that won’t be seen again for many generations.

In the 1960’s we heard a lot about “gaps.” Much of the 1960 presidential campaign concerned the “missile gap” between the US and USSR. Kennedy was the hawk. He contended that during the previous eight years of Eisenhower/Nixon, the Russians had deployed more ICBMs than had the US. This was total bullshit, and Nixon had the (secret) U2 photos to prove it, but Kennedy knew Nixon couldn’t reveal such.

Anyway, among the various gaps was the “generation gap,” between boomers and their parents, The parents had survived the Great Depression and World War II. The boomers were surviving, well, large class sizes.

My dad was 44 when I was born so he was 60 when I got my drivers license. My favorite toys, as a kid, were cars, I paid close attention to my dad’s driving and asked a lot of questions, so I was ready for my license years in advance. My 16th birthday fell on a Saturday, so I had to wait till Monday for my driving test, which I aced without question, having prepared my entire life for it.

[Click on image for source.]

Of course I was wild to drive, and I was surprised how much my dad let me. Things like going to the store, or church, or even longer family trips, my dad was happy to let me drive.

Having reached 60 myself, I understand why. My dad glad to have a competent kid take over a task which for him had grown less and less fun. These days I’m always happy to let someone else drive.

So when a really competent young guy says he WANTS to govern, some of us are more than happy to let him have a try.

I had predicted a McCain victory that would follow an apocalyptic trajectory, the question being “Do we pay off our foreign debt, or do we go to war with our creditors?” I thought for sure Americans would opt for survival of the fittest.

By simple calculation, our ten trillion dollar debt divided by three hundred thirty million Americans equals $30,000.00 per person, $120,000.00 for a family of four.

McCain’s ilk could argue that much of America’s national debt was incurred in furtherance of our role as protector of international order since World War II, and that the rest of the free world should indemnify us, i.e, forgive us our debt.

It wouldn’t even be a forgiveness of debt. We could prepare invoices to other countries for their previously unbilled debt to us, and enter our borrowings from them as “payments on account.” While our foreign debt is only part of the overall, we can charge other countries for the whole ten trillion, because, whatever America was spending, it was all about protecting the world.

This has a kind of Hitlerian ring to it, which will sound better and better as we slog through years of depression.

It looks like, for the short term, Obama wants to borrow more, with no repayment plan except a belief in never ending growth. If America will eventually renege on our foreign debt, then we might as well max-out all our credit cards first. The change promised by Barack wasn't regarding direction, but rather a somewhat slower rate of acceleration toward World War III.

For me, the honeymoon is already over.

Even a slave labor camp, populated by innocent political prisoners, can have better or worse management. The inmates might indeed rejoice when a new commandant is installed. The old commandant was terrible, and the incoming commandant has promised to increase daily rations from "slow-starvation" to "slightly-slower-starvation."

An improvement?

----- o -----

No comments: