The red light flickered in our Mars City Universe Broadcasting Studio: Kathryn signaled she was ready in her Omaha Nebraska Studio. I pushed the polyphone button. “Hello Kathryn, do you see and hear us clear?”
“Hi Mars, fine and beautiful,” she said, cheerfully.
“OK, let’s get started. You are on at Mars TV.”
“Dear viewers on Mars and Earth,” Kathryn began, “You are connected with our Round Table show on Earth “How the World Turns”. With me from my right are: Fred Garfinkel, Tony Blanket, Charles Hammerschmidt and Bob Foolsman.”
“And you, welcome to our Mars show “Mother Earth’s Weekly Squirms”, I responded. “With me from my right are our distinguished panel Pasha, Elmer, Huda, Tamil, and Shamus. We thought it fun to have a combined Earth and Mars panel after the USA mid-term elections and the subsequent fall out. Kathryn, why don’t you go ahead. We’ll chime in from time to time.”
“Thank you Mars! Let’s see…Bob, you may want to speak first. You must feel shellacked after the overwhelming defeat of the Democrats. For our friends on Mars, shellacked means a knockout. That’s what Barack Obama called it, he should know.”
“Granted, there was a swing to the right,” Bob Foolsman admitted, “but these swings in favor of the opposition often happen in mid-term elections. It doesn’t mean much, they didn’t get the Senate. It doesn’t hand power to the Republican Party. Obama can continue his truthful ideology governing by executive order. He doesn’t need Congress to pursue his agenda.
“Isn’t that the same as what dictators do?” asked Huda.
“We have different views on democracy than you on Mars,” Bob retorted. “Our side of the aisle knows what is good for the world, while the other side doesn’t. It’s our moral duty to apply that. Our Constitution provides for that.”
“Bunk!” Fred Garfinkel cried out. “I haven’t heard bigger rubbish before. If that’s your party’s thinking, your master will be thrown out of the pew hand and fist come 2012!”
“He doesn’t go to church, Fred,” Bob clarified. “Meanwhile, with his agenda to transform America completed in two years, he won’t need a second term and the right wing will never have the votes to repeal anything after that.”
“Wouldn’t your side have to compromise now that you are in the minority?” Elmer asked.
“We have offered compromises since we took over the Republican mess in 2009,” Bob continued undisturbed, “but the other side wasn’t listening, as it was drinking slurpee all the time.”
“Slurpee is a popular convenience store soft drink here on Earth,” Kathryn explained. “Tony, what are your expectations?”
“I agree with Bob, this President is drenched in an ideology of pure socialism he won’t or can’t change just because most of the electorate rejected it. The Republican majority in the house is going to be a paper tiger because the President will veto anything that repeals his policies, that is, if their bills get past the Senate, which is still in the Democrats’ hands. For the rest I fear he will indeed use executive orders, drafted by his conglomerate of leftist Czars, to pursue his faulty objectives.”
“Your economy is not improving,” Shamus interjected, “your unemployment remains high and your Central Bank is amplifying the money market lowering the dollar and risking inflation. Other countries such as Germany, the UK and France are protesting because it’s affecting their exports, destabilizes the financial markets, and increases the cost of commodities, especially oil, while their Euro is in tatters. This doesn’t sound good economic policy to us.”
“What would you do on Mars in a situation like that?” Kathryn asked.
“Don’t mess with the economic laws,” Shamus answered. “I’ve said that before. It’s bound to hurt you. Your President said the other day that there wasn’t enough progress yet because the economy wasn’t doing what he told it to do. As if he’s never heard of Economics 101. Give him a copy of Paul Samuelsson’s Economics for Christmas.”
“And that includes messing with the tax rate,” Charles Hammerschmidt joined in. “Nobody wants additional taxes sucking the juice out of his or her Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas goose. As long as entrepreneurs are deprived of any certainty they can make a buck over the next five years, they’re not going to risk their money, just to give it to Uncle Obama to spread the wealth around. So unemployment will stay high.”
“All that’s of no consequence,” Bob Foolsman came back. “State intervention will grow rapidly to manage resources and increase dependency. Workers will work for the State, as has already started in the auto industry. The auto union workers are the big winners in General Motor’s recovery and that won’t go unnoticed. Bill Clinton once said that the era of big government was over, then he and Republicans proceeded to do just the opposite, and President Obama will push this further because he knows what he’s doing and the populace will be so grateful to him when he succeeds. The era of big government is just beginning. Government will take possession of the means of production.”
“That’s a preposterous point of view, “Fred Garfinkel said loudly. “A government is not like an investor, who risks his own money to make a return, but a public entity that uses taxpayer money, which isn’t theirs. If a government enterprise loses money, which they always do as has been proved worldwide, the taxpayer pays. If by chance the enterprise makes money or breaks even, the government doesn’t reinvest the revenue but spends it on ill-suited entitlement programs, such as unemployment benefits for the workers in the other losing state enterprises that weren’t to be anyway. Soon everything will look grey and dirty as everybody goes broke. Remember Eastern Europe?”
“The State has to look out for the little guy,” Bob sputtered.
“Two to one of your little guys reject Obamacare,” Fred noted coolly.
“As Obama said, that also means that one out of two is for it,” Bob deadpanned back.
“I can’t escape the impression that Earth is heading for very difficult times,” I said. “Europe has its PIGS that are crying for bail-outs, China is playing cat and mouse with keeping its currency artificially low while buying up US Treasuries to gain increasing power over your head, and the USA is heading for economic collapse because its public debt will soon be larger than what it produces.”
“The next two years are going to be crucial,” Charles said. “Either the side that wants smaller government, less taxes and strong defense manages to cut spending, reduce debt and restore confidence of the private sector, or the other side that wants big government and central control manages to maintain the current course of action and takes the country down the cliff. To me, it’s obvious that the latter leads to loss of freedom and our way of life. The battle will be fought till the election of a new President. If the current administration is re-elected, you can say goodbye to the USA as we know it.”
“And that includes your Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas goose,” Fred said, sarcasm dripping off his face.
“Didn’t Adam Smith say that admiring and worshiping the rich and powerful is the most universal cause of corruption of our moral sentiments?” Bob put forward. “When everyone earns the same, our communal life will be happier and deprived of jealousy and greed.”
“That’s not all what your Adam Smith stood for, ” Tamil said. “As I understand it, he proffered individual freedom to pursue personal interest and private people working cooperatively together to achieve the wealth of nations, whereby the government would be discharged from interference. He warned against government supported monopolies that create the type of bubbles that ruined your financial system.”
“Indeed, Tamil,” Tony Blanket said. “You’re so right! Adam Smith warned against the dangers of big government and crony capitalism and advocated the need to rein in both. He supported human liberty and free markets to move the world forward, and is probably turning in his grave seeing what’s happening here today. Wrong point, Bob.”
“We on Mars can’t see much agreement between Earth’s left and right,” Pasha said. “Both sides seem incapable to meet each other half way. Half a goose is better than no goose at all. Maybe Michelle Obama should invite both sides to eat from her vegetable garden.”
“That would lead to instant and painful indigestion,” Charles said with a cramped face. “Even Obama does not eat from that.”
“Personally, I don’t want to lose my Omaha steak,” Kathryn said. “With Obama’s fiscal mismanagement and the Central Bank’s risky money management, I’m afraid that steak will cost me 100 dollars per pound in a few years. In my assessment, the electorate said no to an overbearing government and its suffocating grip on an innovative society that knows full well how to take care of itself.”
“That so-called innovative society of yours wouldn’t have achieved a stimulus package that saved the economy, a national health care law that brought in 30 million new uninsured and a financial reform package that put our ruined financial system straight,” Bob said, “and all that in eighteen months.”
“Those are doomed policies and you know it,” Fred said, swaying his arm, “and they were only possible because in 2008 the pendulum swung too far to the left. “
“Right,” Tony said. “Obama operated in a virtual dictatorship with the Democrat absolute majority led by that catty Pelosi and slimy hypocrite Reid. It’ll all be repealed in the next round of conservative rule. Look at Europe, they are all coming back from it after learning their bitter lessons, and here the socialist liberal progressives are bent to ignore that at their own peril.”
“Can you explain for our Mars viewers what these terms mean?” Huda asked.
“In the USA, it all means the same, you can interchange each term,” Tony explained, smiling. “Contrary to what a liberal meant in old Europe, a defender of freedom, capitalism, and fair trade, the term evolved into a new social liberalism advocating a greater role of the State. Today, a liberal is a socialist here. Progressive is a term to hide its true meaning, which is still your same friendly statist socialist but like a sheep in wolf’s clothes. So throwing them all together in one basket puts them in the right light, pun not intended.”
“And so are conservatives, neocons, reactionaries and right wingers, all in the same boat,” Bob Foolsman parotted.
“The difference is that left wingers always call people names when they disagree with them,“ Charles said. “Conservatives are intolerant bigots, racists, phonies, Nazis, Talibans running a Christian jihad, yokels, morons, peanut heads, and monkey brains. That just shows you how intolerant socialists are. I’d lump the left wingers all into one category and that’s blockheads, because they can’t think logically.”
“It sounds as if civil war is on the horizon,” Elmer said, “something we can’t figure here on Mars. If the current American administration will continue to ram their socialist policies past the throats of unwilling conservatives, as they did with your health care bill, they will turn your tea party movement into a mob of pitch forks and torches rising to do battle and their scorn will be felt all over Earth.”
“It’s been an interesting discussion but without much conclusion,” I said, looking at my watch, “you seem bitterly divided on Earth with hot spots all over the place. I wish we could bring you our peace from Mars, but you’d probably call that an alien invasion and send missiles into space.”
“Yes, Mars Man, I agree,” Kathryn said, “and a diligent way to end. A few seconds left. By the way, Mars, next time when you leave from here, check your engines, because the whole USA was worrying what flying object was taking off over the California coast, heading up, leaving a thick plume of dark dirty smoke behind. Everybody was talking of a misfiring UFO, and agitated bearded Californian environmentalists protested at the Governor’s house.”
“Apologies, Earth. Bob Falkland in Nebraska must have given me a bad lot of cheap government controlled ethanol. Blame him. To our viewers on Earth and Mars, thank you for watching and make sure to come back next time. Good bye Kathryn.”
“Good bye Mars, till soon,” Kathryn waved. “Don’t forget to bring some old Martian rum with you when you come down again.”
Our popular show “Mother Earth’s Weekly Squirms” was on to discuss the results of the USA 2010 mid-term elections.
“No surprises in the USA,” I said, opening the talks. “It was in the cards for many months. Overwhelming Republican majority in the House and strong Republican gains in the Senate. The Pied Piper got a good thumping. He says he was not on the ballot but he clearly was. It’s the first time in a long time that mid-term local elections became national indeed. The electorate rejected socialism. Shamus, tell us, was it what they call the economy stupid that broke the back of the President and his obstinate Democrats?”
“No, it was the stupid economy,” Shamus said coolly. “Because it does not do what the politicians want.”
“But don’t politicians know that?” I asked. “After all, they’re supposedly intelligent people, no?” Shamus put on a learned face. “They try whatever they can to circumvent the economic laws promising heaven and manna to keep their seat. Especially the House with its two-year cycle. When it’s not working they blame the other party or Bush.”
“I thought economics was a social science, not a manipulative device,” Pasha said.
“That’s what the socialist’s ideology wants it to be, a manipulative device,“ Elmer said, agitated. “They disregard the fact that economics responds to a system of unwritten laws. When lawmakers ignore them, they do so at their own peril and everybody else’s when the dirt hits the fan, and it did so majestically this time.”
“It’s a science all right,” Shamus pointed out, turning to Pasha, “but not like a predictable chemical formula where you know that if you mix liquids, they explode. Politicians mix their laws with your tax money, saying you would be better off if you let them do that. First, you don’t notice, but when you look in your wallet a year after you wonder why it’s empty.”
“But, Shamus, can you tell our viewers about these invisible laws?” I asked.
“Well, to simplify,” Shamus said, “Suppose I am manufacturing cars. Demand is good and I sell a lot of them. Other carmakers do too and we employ more people to manufacture more. People make good money and buy more stuff. Everybody’s happy. Then Mr. Obama wants money for his social programs, and his political majority enforces higher corporate taxes on cars to pay for them. Suddenly I can’t sell my customers my cars any more at the price they could afford, I am loaded with inventory, make losses, can’t pay the high salaries and have to lay-off workers. Then the workers go on strike and I am forced out of business. That’s the economic laws that are at play, works like gravity. But because that’s bad politics, the politicians compound their mistake of raising taxes, and use tax payer money or borrowed money from China or both to buy off my debts to keep me afloat and the workers on the job. To pay for that they must raise taxes even more and the Central Bank must print money. Then the US dollar declines in value and makes imports more expensive in the shops, people buy less, and slowly they go down the drain in the rest of the world. Double whammy as they say in the USA. The original mistake was to raise taxes to pay for programs that are not needed or they can ill afford. You have to live within your national means, not your political dreams.”
“Simply put, a stone does not fall zig-zag in physics but in politics it does,” Elmer chuckled.
“But don’t all parties on Earth do that?” Huda asked.
“Some more than others, but socialists in particular,” Tamil said. “The more they give people the more people depend on them and when the next government has to take that away to clean up, the people get mad. Look at France. Till the whole place is in such a mess that only draconian austerity can drag you out of the hole. Look at Britain.”
“But I read over the wire that even some reputable economists support these spending policies,” Pasha wondered. “Don’t the economic laws apply to them?”
“Some economists are socialist economists,” Shamus said. “for them capitalism is the culprit. They base their assumptions on ideology and skew their assumptions in such a way that the outcomes seem right. But their assumptions are artificial. They lack a mathematical base. Socialist ideologues make everyone poor because they kill the human urge that wants more. With them, life gets pretty drab, except for those in power. But not all is right with the capitalist economists either. Capitalism gives incentives to the risk takers to invent, produce and make money, but then everyone goes for the same buck, the economy overheats, and the balloon bursts. They call that the business cycle. Humans are imperfect and so are their markets.
“A good governor with a good team knows how to manage these ups and downs,”I said. “Socialists want to get rid of the business cycle all together but throw the baby away with the bath water.”
“So, if the business cycle bursts at the same time as elections are held, as it did in 2008,” Pasha concluded, “the populace swings to the socialists for correction and when they wake up seeing the bad results, they swing to the capitalists again.”
“Exactly,” Shamus said, nodding approvingly like a university professor.
“Has anyone any views on what happens now?” I asked.
“There’s no major change in government like in Britain or Sweden and Holland that turned right,” Elmer said, “Obama is still president and his Czars in the White House are still penning socialist policies and regulations. The main change is that his ambitious spending programs will be arrested. We will see what happens in 2012.”
“Stopping spending is the first thing the new majority must do,” Shamus said. “Confidence will return and bring people back to work and the economy will pick up again. Taxes must be kept low for at least the next five years and Obamacare must be repealed, so that businesses can plan to make a reasonable return on their money and re-employ people.”
“Why could the socialists not do that too?” Huda said, puffing in her chair. “It sounds pretty logical to me.”
“For socialists, profit’s a bad word,” Elmer explained. “They say it’s steeling from the worker, forgetting that it’s the investor who’s risking his hard earned money. They want big government to produce what everyone needs at a given price and in accordance with their regulations, and pay employers and workers a fixed wage. They forget that human beings aren’t made that way. Only dictatorships can enforce such policies. That’s why they lose at the ballot box.”
“But the huge USA deficits still burden their economy,” I said. “It will keep the recovery down. The new majority in the House will face criticism in 2012.”
“I bet Earth’s socialists are banking on that,” Tamil said, laughing. “If it goes better, the president can say, hey, folks, you see that we are doing better after all thanks to my policies?” and if it does not he can say “hey, you see who’s been messing up again? Didn’t I tell you about the failed Bush policies? Vote for me!”
“The economic laws don’t take sides, the average voter does not understand. They vote emotionally.” Shamus said. “Despite all the warning signs hanging around Obama’s neck, people discarded all the negatives and voted for him, regardless.”
“The Pied Piper played on that handsomely in 2008,” Pasha said. “Remember the Obama girl? She’s nowhere to be found. They just had Halloween down there. I heard she was cultivating pumpkins in Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden. Others reported she returned as a witch at that teleprompter that broke down and Obama lost his cool.”
“Earth was ripe for an illusion in 2008,” Huda said. “Things were going bad. The Pied Piper played all the right tunes. Hope and change. Nobody knew what that was, just an orgy. But he knew, like his cronies of the sixties whom he appointed Czars. Big government and socialist power. In two years they rammed three major socialist programs down the throat of the American people. That Presidential seal that fell down to the floor for the whole universe to see was a bad omen for the elections.”
“Former President Reagan warned about these people at the 1964 Republican Convention, as a young supporter of Goldwater,” Elmer said. “I looked it up. His words are as right today as they were then because the same sixties people who were acting up then are now Obama’s friends, mentors and Czars or close visitors to the White House. They finally got their chance in 2008. The result? A debt burden almost as large as the USA’s gross national product. No wonder people got scared. The whole Earth is looking down on the USA.”
“Obama is off to India this week for a state visit to forget the election debacle,” Tamil said. “A country of 1.3 billion people. You imagine? A nice tax-payer paid vacation at a cost of 2.5 million dollars a day. And that with a USA deficit that sticks way out of his ears, in a country where per capita income is a little over 1000 dollars a year.”
“The Republican Party’s euphoria may be exhilarating,” Shamus said, “but if they don’t resolve the deficit problem and perform to the wishes of their multiplex supporters, they will lose again in 2012. What’s needed is at least six years of conservative statesmanship to put their fiscal house in order, bring the deficits down and balance the budget. It all depends on who’ll be minding the store.”
“The big issue is indeed who will be their leader,” Elmer said, seriously. “If they can’t find someone who can face up to the Pied Piper in 2012 and talk him under the table, God forbid, the USA will be written off for good.”
“Well,” Shamus said,” let’s not be over pessimistic. Humans on Earth have screwed up time after time but overall progress has been impressive.”
“There’s always a silver lining to Earth’s tough luck,” Pasha said, smiling. “As long as they don’t do well, they won’t come visit us and spoil our way of life.”
“That’s the last word, dear panel,” I said. “Our next Round Table will be joined with Earth’s TV show Where the World Turns to discuss the fall out of the USA mid-term elections and their impact on the rest of Mother Earth. See you then.”