Richard Carnes: The nations real whiners
Perhaps former Senator Phil Gramm (Texas-R) was correct last week, only he was a tad too broad in his scope concerning our mental recession.To paint the entire country as a nation of whiners is not exactly fair play, especially when you consider that not all of us are whining its just those hurting financially, right?Yeah, you betcha.For now, lets forget Gramm was the Texas senator who unabashedly slipped the Enron Loophole into the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000, exempting energy trades on electronic platforms from federal regulation. And lets ignore the $40 billion (give or take) effectively ripped-off from consumers by Enron with their ensuing scam of false electricity shortages made possible in part by that exact lack of federal regulation.And certainly put aside Wendy Gramms (Phils proverbial spouse) serving obediently on Enrons board of directors at the same time.Yes, yes lets forget all that superficial and coincidental stuff. Its old news, water under the bridge, melted snow, history, gone the way of the dodo.Instead, lets listen to still-President Bush, who has been busy performing his latest impersonation of Baghdad Bob when it comes to the U.S. economy.There is no presence of a recession in the United States. The mortgage evil-doers have been dealt with, and you can all return to the shopping malls with your stimulus checks!It reminds me of Chip Diller (Kevin Bacons character) at the end of Animal House shouting, Remain calm. All is well! Aaaalllll is weeelllllll! moments before he is mowed down by the crowd.We need to accept the fact that the economy is heading towards the center of an upside down bell curve, but please, the left whines about doom and gloom for the entire planet, the right whines about anything the left likes, and neither side actually accomplishes anything except more creative ways to whine.The Bush administration cuts taxes, starts a war against a nation that did not attack us, borrows money to pay for the war from China, Japan, India, etc., sends the national debt to the point that it has doubled in the last 10 years, and were the ones who are mental?John McCain wants more of the same, but insists upon giving a temporary federal gas tax holiday to make Americans feel better, and were the ones who are mental?Barack Obama wants to end the war in Iraq, but vows to keep searching for the tallest Arab in Northern Pakistan while increasing aid to that area of the world, pledges to double aid to Africa, end our dependence on oil and save the world from climate destruction, all the while bringing America back from the brink of bankruptcy by raising taxes, and were the ones who are mental?I truly think all of the above believe in their jaded minds that the recession is psychological and were a nation of whiners, but they arent the ones pumping the gas, or buying the groceries, or even paying the mortgage. Each has made a living off the public teat for decades, and simply cannot understand what it actually takes mentally to live day to day, paycheck to paycheck, under the ever-growing cloud of financial disaster.Its really not that complicated.The whole mess began with the housing crisis, back when liberals cried racism and discrimination as the reason the poor and minorities werent able to afford the American Dream of an interest-deducting mortgage.Forcing easier credit laws (lower rates, less money down, no money down, etc.) meant more buyers, which in turn meant higher prices, which meant conservative bankers with bigger smiles and loans connected to increasingly valuable real estate.But like a child with a piece of Double-Bubble, all bubbles burst eventually, and this one was inflated directly by the helium-filled lungs of those we elected, on both sides of the fence.Its like Otter said to Flounder in Animal House after trashing his brothers Lincoln Continental: Hey, you #@&*! up. You trusted us.Yes, we did.But since you have now done the right thing and quit the McCain campaign, I forgive you, Phil, and to show you there are no hard feelings towards either side in this election season, I have only one real question, and the answer will have absolute control over determining future reactions to this issue, if there are any.Was Gramm wearing a flag pin when he said it?NOTE: The preceding opinions belong to Richard and are not necessarily shared by this newspaper but for financial reasons, he thinks they should be. Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a column for the Daily that normally runs on Tuesdays. He can be reached at email@example.com.