Why does this video (apologies for ad) of assistant Treasury secretary for economic policy Phillip Swagel remind me of the movie Fun with Dick and Jane?
438,000 Jobs Lost So Far in 2008
Yesterday’s report that 62,000 jobs were lost brought the total for the first half of the year to 438,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management reported that its measure of the service sector had declined in June. Stock markets, flirting with a bear market, finished another losing week. Oil pushed to a record high. Inflation and foreclosures are up, consumer confidence is down, and administration forecasts for a “strong pace of growth” in the second half of 2008 are look increasingly absurd.
It was a hopeless spin assignment — but Swagel, the administration’s sacrificial lamb for the day, had to try. And so Swagel, bookish and bespectacled, entered the Treasury Department’s briefing room with evident trepidation. He nodded and offered smiles every which way. His heavy breathing, picked up by the microphone, could be heard in the back of the room. #
Mr Swagel reminds me of Jim Carrey’s character, who at the last minute is given a promotion and blindsided in front of cameras by news that his company is bankrupt and the employees’ pension fund is lost.
You Can’t Say “We’re Screwed”!
And that’s exactly the unpleasant job Mr Swagel has been tasked with. He’s trying to tell us we’re screwed but he’s too afraid to come out and say it.
Reduced to Subliminal Messages
Asked if he could reassure those who worry it’s time to hide valuables under the mattress and get a shotgun, he chuckled and then ventured: “You know it’s i-in a sense what — I think what matters is it’s worse than, it’s worse than, it should be.” #
This question was particularly funny because Mr Swagel nodded his head before answering; as if he was subliminally saying “yes“! See it for yourself at 02:30.
We’re all Walking off with Each Other’s Money
Later in Fun with Dick and Jane, we find out that the CEO walked off with all the money, and paid off the CFO to keep it quiet. Today, however, we are all walking off with each other’s money – in the form of taxes, tax breaks, subsidies, welfare, social security, medicare, you name it – and consequently everyone is being paid to keep it quiet.
America is on a Crime Spree
In the movie, Dick and his wife Jane go on a crime spree in order to support their high standard of living while they’re out of work. And that, too, is what we are doing, just in a more organized fashion. We’re systematically stealing little bits of value from each and every person holding federal reserve notes each time we allow the Federal Reserve to increase the money supply (i.e., print more dollars).
He Should be Nervous
Mr Swagel should be nervous. He’s the low man on the totem pole and he just got stuck explaining how we have collectively screwed up, big time. That’s not a pleasant task, but it’s an important one. Let’s hope someone with more intestinal fortitude – like Ross Perot or David Walker – will stand up soon and really give it to the American people straight.