Politics: December 26th the most shameful day ever in D.C.
Tiny Asks a Question
Tiny had a question. “Mither Jay—everyone seth we are headed for hard timeth. I don’t unda’thtand.”
Everyone began setting out their lunches while we ate on a picnic table behind the Center. Big Jim brought out a bologna sandwich and carton of milk. He had been losing weight. He wanted to look like Cheney Carson, a famous country western recording star. I was proud of him. “Yeah, that’s what I keep hearing—what’s it all about?”
My head went spinning at the thought of trying to explain it to them. I knew the answer and then reminded myself that I never talked down to my students. “It means we are going to live with less money. Your parents will need to work longer hours and they won’t be able to purchase the things they need or go on vacations. It means your older brothers and sisters won’t be able get jobs even though they are college graduates. Instead of moving out of the house and getting married, they will stay with you because they don’t have enough money.”
Arch’ said, “Yeah, my older sister could be teach’n, and instead she’s work’n at Walmart for minimum wage. Dad says she’ll be with us for ‘God knows how long’ and it ain’t her fault.” He held up a watch that dangled from his wrist. “She bought this for me with her employee discount.”
“Everyone want work.” Tiny opened his thermos and stuck a straw into the lemonade. “Who did thith to uth?”
“Yeah—who is the scum bag?” Big Jim flashed his badge. “He’s under arrest!”
“I wish it were that easy.” I laughed. “Most everyone thinks it was a guy from Texas called Phil Gramm.” I pulled out a copy of Newsweek that I had been carrying with me and found his photo on an inside page. “Here he is with Senator McCain.” They eyed it intently.
“If he’s a crook, why is he a bud with McCain?” Arch’ nibbled on a bag of chips while he studied the photo.
“They are both from Texas and McCain probably doesn’t understand his friend is no good.”
“Thomebody outta tell’m!”
“I imagine that he has been told, but doesn’t understand enough about money to see it clearly.” I poured milk from my thermos into my cornflakes. They all understood that I ate breakfast at noon. I was an ole man and was kinda strange with my eat’n habits. “According to the article, Mr. Gramm wanted to make a lot of money while he was a Senator and passed a thing called the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999—and he was sneaky about it. He waited until the day after Christmas and snuck it into the congressional budget just as they were getting ready to vote on it. No one read it and most everyone figured it wasn’t anything important.”
“It sounds like a good thing—like it was supposed to be someth’n good.” Big Jim licked a pickle.
“Oh, yes—to this day he claims he is a reformer. His bill wiped out bank regulations that kept evil men from stealing all the money since the last Great Depression. It was much like deciding to let all the criminals out of prison and letting them run loose in the streets.”
“They’re all under arrest!” Big Jim showed his badge to everyone and gave a discerning nod of his head.
I pointed to the article. “It says here that his wife was on the Enron board and—“
Arch said, “Enron—I heard of that. That’s the company that robbed California residents in a big electricity scandal!”
“Yep, Gramm’s wife, Wendy made over a million dollars before it was all over. There were specific provisions in the Act that made Enron exempt from regulations—”
“They thould give the money back!” said Tiny. “If everyone knew they thtole it, they thould give it back!” He jumped to his feet and shook his fist.
“Give it back!” echoed from the others. Maurice banged on the table a few times and grinned.
“Yeah,” I agreed. “But they work the scam in such a way that they can get away with it.”
“They no give back, then?” Tiny fed a pigeon that had landed at his feet.
“No, they use the money to purchase big houses because no one really knows they pulled a fast one.” I flipped the page. “Matter of fact, it says here that Phil went on to a big job working for USB, a big bank in Switzerland and made a ton of money there lobbying in D.C. And then guess what happened?”
Arch’ knew. “I’d bet USB went belly up from all of Phil’s shenanigans!”
“He muggled and buggled ‘em all!” Big Jim was the one who had reported that mugglers and bugglers snuck up the sewer system during Halloween. We had been on the lookout for them ever since. Fortunately, there were no recent reported sightings.
“Yeah— Mr. Gramm couldn’t fool you guys!” I laughed. “But the people who control the banks of the world aren’t as smart as any of you!”
“I thought bank people were thupothed to be thmart.” A fly landed on Tiny’s sandwich. “Sho fly!” He brushed it away and wrapped his arm around his sandwish. “My food!”
“In a sense they are smart in that they always make sure that they become rich regardless of how it turns out. Unlike real businesses in which you lose all your money when you get too greedy, they get their friends in the government to bail them out.”
“BAIL OUT!” Big Jim eyed the fly that circled around his sandwich like an F-16. “I heard about dat. “They give themselves raises with the bailout money and have wild parties, too. Mom told me about that last week.” He wacked the fly and watched it drop to the gravel.
“I thaw that on TV!” Tiny eyed the fly that was writhing at his feet.
“That’s the danger of businesses giving money to politicians. It legalizes the shenanigans.”
“And no one goes to jail?” Big Jim opened a bag of pretzels and offered one to Arch’ and Tiny.
“It’s a game that has been going on since the beginning of time.” I tossed the magazine onto the desk and finished up my corn flakes.
“You scratch my back and I’ll scratch—” Arch nibbled on the pretzel as though it were a rare imported Swiss chocolate.
Tiny scratched his head, somewhat dizzy from the discussion of international banking and assorted bad guys. “What can we do to thtop all dith thuff from happening?”
I drank down some orange juice. “Good question, Tiny. The best we can do is to vote for people who have a moral compass. Vote for good people, whenever we can.”
“I not old enough to vote--”
“…And they say one thing; and then do another,” scowled Big Jim.
“It might be fair to say the present generation has let you down. We’ll all be paying for this for a very long time.”
“Phil Gramm—He bad man. Make world bad place….”
“Yes, Tiny. We’ll all be living in it very soon.” I gathered my things. “Is everyone ready to go back to work, now?”
“Hi ho! Hi ho! It’s off to work we go….”
If you enjoyed this HUB, you may also enjoy Arch'
If you want to make a comment, you may ask Big Jim, Tiny, and Arch' a question and RJ will see that they get right back to you.
If you wish to read more about Phil Gramm, use the links and read about it first hand. With any luck at all, this story will enrage you. We are seeing riots all over the world as a result of Mr. Gramm’s activities as societies come to realize that much of the wealth has been stolen from them.
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