Above: The Greatest American Hero since Patrick Henry...
Well, this week I've dived into issues related to abortion, masturbation, Internet smut, pagan sex-rites, and the most deadly sexually transmitted disease of all: life. So, I wanted to close out the week with a few notes on issues related to the collapse of our make-believe economy and the numerous battles over how to provide it the adequate amount of "stimulation" required for it to reach its cash and job spewing climax. I've heard so much about "stimulating" the economy this week that I've begun to think all it will take is someone tickling Tim Geithner's balls for us to get back on track.
Now my education in "the dismal science" amounts to one semester of Macroeconomics 101 in college, where I think I got a "C", so if you're looking for someone to accurately diagnose our problems or offer any kind of "plan" on how to right our sinking ship, you can look elsewhere. While there is a definite science to it, and many more intelligent people than I, have made important careers out of economics, I still generally regard the role of the "economist" as it exists in our society as a kind of secular court-prophet (well, actually I think Chomsky said it first). There was a scene in the first season of HBO's Rome, where after Julius Caesar has assumed dictatorial control over the Roman government, he has to plan a giant public spectacle for his coronation as emperor. Among the most important things he has to do to ensure his "legitimacy" is bribing the state-priests whose job it is to release a cage full of doves at the coronation and "divine" good or bad portends from where and how the birds fly out of their box. Big surprise that an artfully conducted bribe is all it takes to ensure that the plebs receive word of the "good omens" contained the entrails and flight patterns of pigeons.
I think of this every time I hear a debate on TV about Obama and the Democrat's stimulus package. Mainly because no one has any real idea how our economy works, any more than they have any real idea how the human brain works--we have a general sense based on what we can tell from science or economic models in this case--but really we don't have a clue, which is why I feel fine confessing my total ignorance about economics, it's all made up anyway. Republicans and conservatives have their own court prophets and so do the Democrats, each with their own way of reading the tea leaves. The debate seems to be that the Dems want a Keynesian style of recovery, where the government spends money on much needed programs the private sector either can't or won't, and the Republicans want to cut all government spending and taxes on the wealthy, so basically exactly the same thing both sides always want, regardless of our shitty economy.
My general attitude is that I have no problem with massive government spending, as long as it's being spent on things we actually need or want. When I see Republicans on TV complain about deficit or reckless government spending, I wonder if any of them are aware of the $3 trillion we've poured down the toilet in Iraq. When they pull out some item from the package to raise the hackles of the plebs like spending on a sculpture garden or funding for tranny performance artists, I really want to laugh. We can spend $3 trillion we don't even have, and doesn't even really exist, on a war we in no way needed to fight, and you're telling me that the economy will collapse if we throw a few bucks at fixing potholes? We can "spend" our monopoly money on anything we want, it's just the ruling elite usually wants to "spend" it somewhere other than this country.
Which brings me to the bullshit controversy over the "family planning" portion of the bill that Obama has just dropped to appease the nutters. Personally, I can't think of anything I'd rather our government spend money on than family planning, but will it "stimulate" the economy? Who the fuck knows? Of course, our media has the emotional maturity of a 12 year old, so any mention of condoms will provoke torrents of giggles and "gimme a break" style eye rolls from the various "Jimmy the Greeks" that populate cable TV. In the long run, sane family planning policies--the kind every other first world country has--will reduce health care costs we all pay, and reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions, we can all get behind that right? I guess not. Once again, well-spent money that is a squirt of piss compared to what we just gave every investment bank in this country for...what? Destroying themselves through greed and incompetence? See, I really don't know anything about economics, because I couldn't begin to explain what exactly we hope to accomplish by pouring more money than we've spent on the space program for the last sixty years into a giant black bag.
So now we come full circle, to my last point and genuine American Hero, Larry Flynt's recent attempt to secure a "bail-out" of the porn industry from the government. This provides a perfect example of my contention that I only want the government spending huge sums of imaginary money on things I want. I don't give a shit about Wall Street or Detroit, but Mr. Flynt and America's pornographers have been providing us with an actual product, something that is honest, tangible, real, and people want to buy, which makes Hustler a far more worthy recipient of big government largess than GM or Citigroup. As Mr. Flynt said, "people are too depressed to be sexually active...this is very unhealthy as a nation... It's time for congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America." Will a porn bailout stimulate America's waning libido and economy? (There has to be some kind of macroeconomic trend that can be gleaned from how often the average American is getting laid and overall economic health, if not I'm going to dedicate my time to getting on TV and making this case and hopefully people will be copulating in the streets for fear of losing their job.) In the end, no one knows, but at least with this "stimulus package" we can fuck ourselves over and feel good about it while we're doing it.