“Mah fellow Americans, inflayshun is ow-uh friend…”
If you can pronounce the phonetic wording above – and if it sounds vaguely familiar – then for better or worse you probably grew up watching “Saturday Night Live” like I did. The line comes from a late 1970’s skit wherein funny guy Dan Aykroyd was impersonating President Jimmy Carter.
During his one term as President, Carter addressed the nation numerous times to try and quell people’s fears about inflation, the economic malady that defined the era. During those years, Carter announced several anti-inflation policy measures. He urged Americans to “tighten their belts” and consume less, in an effort to decrease the demand for goods and services and, therefore, to get prices to decline (consumption, by the way, was actually quite stagnant even as prices rose – hence the problem of “stagflation”). And as he got closer to his re-election date he looked increasingly anxious, as though he was trying to convince Americans that he was doing as well as any President could.
In the midst of this, “Saturday Night Live” delivered the definitive presidential satire. With his impeccable imitation of the President’s “southern gentlemen” accent, Aykroyd – as President Carter – addressed the nation one fine Saturday night and told Americans that “our economy is screwed, blued, and tattooed,” but noted that we could stop fighting the battle against inflation- because “inflation is our friend.”
Aykroyd was hilarious because his character’s statements were absurd - no adult in their right mind and certainly no U.S. President would “embrace inflation” or regard it as a “friend.” President Carter was desperately trying to assure us that he was ending inflation, and Aykroyd’s routine illustrated just how desperately the President was trying to remain in our good favor.
But that was in the 1970’s. Today, just three weeks away from 2013, there is reason to believe that our President and his Administration – and perhaps his party, as a whole – is “embracing” recession, as though it is an appropriate means to a necessary end.
Ron Scherer, Staff Writer at the Christian Science Monitor, was one of the first to catch-on. He noted in a November 30th news story that in the midst of the “fiscal cliff” tax rate negotiations, President Obama had begun to speak on the campaign trail about another $255 billion stimulus package. Scherer surmised that the President was proposing more stimulus spending as a means of “offsetting” the impact of his own proposed tax hikes.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.