©02 the media desk-or- the most convoluted tangent the Desk has ever contrived to cook the books
How can AlGore get any better?
Well. Somebody could install an actual personality, but...
In his latest incarnation Mr. Albert Arnold Gore Jr. has 'resumed the position' of posturing behind Bill the Lecher who is running around shouting about how his administration bears NO RESPONSIBILITY for anything wrong on Wall Street today.
Hang on there... Lets look at the latest shoe to drop. Qwest Communications is restating its records back to 1999.
The last time the Desk checked. Bill was still wondering about the sex life of Peruvian Mummies from the Oval Office in '99. That would make those corporate misdeeds as much a part of the Clinton Administration as stained blue dresses and dead men in the park.
YES Bill the Lecher is under the table on which all this financial mess is lying.
So is Bush One. And Ronnie. And we might be able to take this all the way back to Jimmy the C. It was his recession, part of which can be laid on Tricky Dick and Jerry as well, from which sprung the Reagan Recovery, which led to the Recession that put Bill in and Bush One out, which turned into the boom of the nineties which worked right into ... today.
Some economists take the current financial dealings all the way back to the Post WWII economic surge. Others look back even further and point to general trends running since Reconstruction and the Industrial Revolution. Maybe even back a little more.
The Desk draws the line if they go back much further than The Exodus.
In any case.
You cannot blame the current mess, or credit the coming recovery to any politician. The President actually has very little direct influence over the economy. Even W's tax credit check gave just a tiny overall bump to the economy of the country.
Most married couples got six hundred dollars. The Desk's family spent it catching up a couple of bills. It didn't sit in the bank any longer than it took the check to clear. From W's hand to the bill collectors. The Desk barely remembers signing it. Gone. Just like that.
Sure the Desk is glad it got some of its own money back a little sooner than it would have waiting on its income tax refund. But was that six hundred dollars actually a windfall? No. It was simply a credit toward this last year's taxes. Did W actually GIVE us anything? No. Was there any overall effect on the economy? Depends on who you ask, even if there was, it was negligible.
Some people, OK, most people who are not economists, have trouble realizing just how much money is involved in running the country, let alone the overall economy of the USA.
The US Gross National Product is expressed in Trillions of Dollars. So is the Gross Domestic Product. Which is a better indicator of what we're talking about? It doesn't matter. Not at all. Both numbers are meaningless to the Desk who still thinks if it has fifty dollars in its wallet for a weekend road trip it is a high roller.
That is far too large a number to get a handle on right off the bat. So let's talk about Millions instead.
OK. Four and a half Million Dollars. That's something like a ballplayer gets paid. We can almost relate to that.
What is it?
A recent budget for the city of Shively, Kentucky.
"Of course it is," you are saying, "and where, pray thee tell, is Shively, Kentucky?"
Just outside of Louisville.
But that's not the point. We have numbers here that are almost understandable, They want to buy two police cars at $21,000 each, and put four grand's worth of equipment in each of them. They got a good deal on the cars. It also includes something over four hundred thousand for a new community building. You don't have look too far through the Real Estate pages to find a house for that much. So OK. We can relate to the Four Million.
For a City with a population of slightly less than sixteen thousand, not bad. Not bad at all.
So for something over four million dollars you can run a town for a year.
Let's bump it up to $13,100,000,000?
That's a couple of steps up. The Thirteen Billion is a recent estimate of the budget for the State of Kansas.
Things like General Highway Maintenance, building some sort of new state building, library assistance, and improvements to the State Parks.
So we've gone from the budget for a small city, to a state. Still with us?
OK. And before you melt your calculator. You cannot figure either the Federal Budget or the GNP (Gross National Product) from either Shively or Kansas's numbers.
For starters, let's pick on Walgreens for no particular reason other than the Desk can spell it.
Walgreens has 3,766 stores nationwide. Including Puerto Pico. In a recent year its sales were $7,400,000,000.
One drugstore chain had enough sales to cover half the budget of Kansas. It has 110,000 employees, several times the population of Shively.
And that's just Walgreens. We haven't talked about Sears or that place with all the happy faces. And those are just RETAILERS.
We're not even going to look at GM or IBM and the actual producers of light bulbs and donuts.
OK. Just for giggles. Last year GM sold almost half a million cars and light trucks. Four hundred and fifty thousand of them. You do the math.
They're not donuts, but there are seventy five varieties of Little Debbie snacks put out by McKee Foods of Collegedale, Tennessee and since 1960 they have sold something on the order of 133,000,000,000 of the things. A hundred thirty three Billion snack cakes.
So the US all together must have a whopping number of goods and services since it would include cars, and donuts, and well, Whoppers.
Speaking of Whoppers. Burger King sees almost sixteen Million customers a day in its 11,437 stores world wide for a yearly sales of more than eleven Billion dollars.
So what is the GNP estimate of the USA?
Or a GDP estimate for 2001 of $10,449,800,000,000.00
Either way it is a mind-numbing amount of money.
So the Federal Budget, while ten percent of that amount or $1.3 Trillion just as stupefying amount of money.
The bottom line here is that while the President submits the budget, and can influence monetary policy for the country, the over all economy does not react for the long term to anything he does.
Yes a Presidential speech can give the Stock Market a couple of days worth of rally or decline. Yes a War can boost this or drop that. But in the long term, it takes a lot more over a longer time to turn the economy one way or the other than any one President can do.
If OPEC got stupid, if some third world dictator jumped up and rattled his sword, if there's a string of massive business failures and scandals, if there's a major agricultural stink in Europe, and throw in a couple of good environmental disasters and no matter what the President says or does, including giving a six hundred dollar rebate to the taxpayers, the economy is going to do what it wants to do.
We shall quote the Harvard Law of Economics here:
The US Economy is the World's Largest. By comparison Japan's GNP is just over five trillion dollars (505 trillion yen) and Argentina's is 321 Billion (after devaluation). That's right, Billion, or just about what GM and Wal Mart earned together last year.
So all this mess. Enron, Global Crossing, K-Mart, Qwest, AOL-Time Warner, Budget, and the others, were probably on their way under anyway. But the September Attacks and the confusion that followed simply brought their problems to a head.
Remember, we were already leaning into a recession in the Spring of 2001. The 'dot com' bubble had burst. The NASDAQ was suffering from seizures. Sock Puppets were looking for work.
The Attack was simply the final note in the dirge.
Whereas American's taking vacations and road warriors were still fueling the hospitality trade. They stopped. Nobody bought a car for a couple of months. Some things sales and usage went up, others dropped off to nothing. People stayed home and rented movies instead of going out.
If a business was already in trouble, it couldn't weather the storm. Shoestring ventures didn't have anything to fall back on. Houses of cards and accounting sheets full of wishful thinking and estimated projections of best guess scenarios simply couldn't carry their own water any more. If your accountants were as crooked as the politicians now investigating them, you were in for a bit of hell.
Now back to Mr. Gore.
If any of this had happened on his watch, what would he have done?
Well. For the Man that helped create the Internet, was the inspiration for Love Story (maybe he did say it, maybe he didn't, hard telling with Al), started the Strategic Reserve, and has since become an expert in 'e pluribus unum', there is little doubt he would have done some of the same things W did in the first days after the Attack.
Now whether he would have pursued the war to the current extent and be openly threatening Saddam is uncertain, and there would most certainly be a national soul searching to try to find out why they all hate us so much. And he would have worried about the effects of all that smoke on Global Warming.
And there would have been much official hand wringing over everything associated with it instead of a bold call to action. And we would have been even more sensitive to the feelings of the families of the terrorists.
Remember the women's roundtable on NBC or something where they all boo-hoo'ed about Taliban John's mother? Think THAT coming from the Oval Office.
But if you think the Financial Scandals wouldn't reach into the White House the way they do now, you are as deluded as AlGore himself seemed to be at times.
Global Crossing's list of contacts was as much a Who's Who of the Democrats as Enron was the GOP.
Face it. They are all in bed with each other. Every Politician at that level is as crooked as the CEO and family of Adelphia were.
To get to where you have a real shot at the Ultimate Center Seat, you have to have a lot of skeletons in the closet. You've been in the smoke filled rooms and maybe helped bury some of the bodies.
Back in the '72 campaign there were rampant rumors of chartered jets and black suitcases full of Mob Money picked up in Las Vegas in the middle of the night to prop up one or another ailing campaign whose spokemodel was friendly to organized gambling.
That's not the only time that kind of thing has happened. And there is plenty of smoke on both sides of the aisle. Both parties are just as guilty.
If AlGore raised money on the White House Phone while his mentor Bill the Lecher rented out the Lincoln Bedroom to blond socialite bimbos for entertainment purposes, W and his ilk have probably done just as much fundraising that doesn't register on the Clinton Era Scan-dol-meter.
Face it. Slick Willy has raised the bar on what it will take to run for more than three days on the front page of the main Washington papers.
W's selling hunting trips to his Ranch or however he is raising money probably won't cut it.
So is anybody paying attention to AlGore and Bill's ranting now about Wall Street and the War?
CNN is. The Times and the Post seem to be. Phil Donahue is. But other than them, no. Not really.
The denial and recrimination ring hollow.
AlGore is still the Sorest Looser and Bill.
Well Bill just misses his interns.
So is Al seriously running for 2004?
It Looks like it. Yeah. It does.
And Right NOW. Summer 2002. Al is still the only heavyweight.....
The Desk just called AlGore a heavyweight.
How LOUSY is the rest of the Dem field when the only Heavyweight worth talking about is AlGore?
That's the problem. Other than Tom Daschle (SD) and Hillary (NY) in the Senate there simply aren't a lot of Democrats with National Name Recognition. Maybe Gephardt (MO) in the House, but that's about it.
Of course you have Ted Kennedy (MA) but his national dream sunk in a car under a bridge a long time ago.
The only hope the Democrats have is to find somebody, ANYBODY but AlGore to run against W, and they have to hope that the Economy does NOT turn around, and that the War draws on until people are fed up with it, and that W does something personally stupid on par with... well... something Clinton might do.
And you never know. Some charismatic Dem with fewer dumb spots on his resume than AlGore may emerge from the Primaries and ride a storm of national support into the Convention and come out raging like a Contender spoiling for a fight for the Title.
But somehow, casting Albert Arnold Gore Jr. in that role just doesn't work.
No matter what Bill says about it.
Watch the Desk for new odds before Labor Day on the 2004 Election.
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