It's Christmas time, and if you were Santa Claus -- well, let's see . . .
Would you tuck something under the tree of the Obama administration now forming up -- given that it apparently has all the money it needs to make everything better for me and thee and the country -- verily for the planet?
What would you put on your list to haul down the chimney for the Detroit automakers, which since oh, the 1970s, have been building cars that insufficient numbers of Americans want to buy?
What would you have in mind for members of the United Auto Workers, who in their dealings with management have refused to yield in hardly any demand or benefit to help save the companies and, by extension, their jobs?
Similarly, believing as you must that what's good for General Motors is good for America, what about for instance GM's Rick Wagoner, who did such a stupendous job in 2007 when GM lost $39 billion -- the largest single-year loss for any car company ever -- that his board raised his compensation 64 percent to $16 million?
And speaking of the 1970s, would you be contemplating a bailout -- as suggested by some woolly thinkers -- for the nation's newspapers? Since the 1970s, declining numbers -- and plummeting percentages -- of Americans have felt a compelling need for their product as well. (Ditto magazines: e.g., Newsweek is laying off staff; TimeWarner reportedly may unload Time.) Hardly any newspaper having figured out either how to stanch the circulation hemorrhage or how to make money on the Internet, not a few may have to be carried off the dance floor toes-up.
Just to be supposin', suppose you were Santa baby . . .
How would you gift the nation's leading financial and insurance houses -- those that are still around, it being too late for your goodwill and beneficence for those that are not? And how would you soothe, comfort, warm -- grief counsel, even -- those among the everyday rest of us who had nothing to do with the evaporation of $10 trillion in assets gone poof! in but a year of nights, and to whom little remains except lumps of coal?
As a specific case, what would you pull from your bottomless bag for master conniver Bernie Madoff and those innocents who invested in him and his inexplicable "returns" so much hope and trust and blind faith -- blameless as they may be for falling for his Ponzi thing? At $50 billion, the greatest scam in history? Go on. Maybe in the private sector. Yet in the public sector there's the debt-broken, deficit-laden federal government, now proposing to ride to the rescue of the private sector. There's also of course Social Security, the big-piranha Ponzi sold as certain to work not just for three decades as Bernie's did, but -- heh -- forever.
And despite the timeless Polonian dictum, "neither a borrower nor a lender be," surely you would have at least a little something for the multitudes who borrowed for houses they couldn't afford and spent on stuff they didn't need with money they didn't have. After all it wasn't their fault but the fault of the culture, the slick late-night sharpies, the smooth big boys, Washington, OPEC, the media, the U.N., whomever -- the nameless "they" and "them" who rule the world.
If you were jolly ol' St. Nick, as you replaced the batteries in Rudolph's nose and cleaned the windshield on the sleigh . . .
What would you be planning for the majority who voted to set in authority over us practitioners of the new New Politics and new New Industrial Policy? To leave notes assuring them nationalization of vast industries is precisely what America needs right now, and urging them to buy cars -- for example -- from those car-business experts Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and Harry Reid?
And what would you propose for the wise men (and women) -- so many of them Clinton administration retreads -- now returning to the federal city on the Potomac to solve the many national problems to whose creation they so heavily contributed? What would you give so as to transform these foxes in the henhouse into acting contrary to their gene pool and not doing what they know only how to do?
So if you were Santa bent on making this the merriest for everyone, it would be a tall order indeed to fill. But you would be reassured that if anyone has any answers beyond hope and audacious dreams, surely it's the rosy-cheeked mellow fellow with the belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly.