I don’t think you could have a better Labor Day commentary than this Clay Bennett cartoon.
It could have run just about any time in the past year and a half, because Trump repeatedly takes credit for things that haven’t happened or that he had nothing to do with.
But Trump has been particularly vocal lately in bragging about the economy, despite the fact that (as noted here a few days ago) it’s been growing at the same rate it grew throughout the Obama administration.
Which would give him a C, not an F, if he hadn’t pushed through about the only major accomplishment of his own administration, a massive tax cut for the wealthiest segment of the population, which he promised would result in more jobs and larger wages for the peasantry.
Most economic things are like the joke about the kid who says “I worked out my arithmetic problem five times and here are my five answers,” but you can work out that tax break any number of times without showing much benefit to the average worker.
Meanwhile, despite his cheerleading over how his policies have boosted the economy, Trump has announced that federal civilian workers will not get their annual raise after all, saying “We must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases.”
Which is more like another old joke, “the operation was a success, but the patient died.”
At which point the mediocre C slips to an F, but, as Bennett suggests, that doesn’t stop Dear Leader from fixing it so that it redounds to his credit.
And it brings forth a story I’m sure I’ve told before, of the corporate VP who came to town and, when we all gathered in the breakroom for punch and cookies, told us how well things were going for the company.
Someone asked him if that meant we’d finally get a cost of living adjustment and he said we’d been getting those all along and some brave soul piped up to tell him that we hadn’t had a COLA in four years and he said he’d look into it.
Which he may have done, but whatever he discovered didn’t filter back to us.
Nor did he return for a second meeting to explain how that F had turned into an A+.
Meanwhile, over in Edison Lee land, the President is about to arrive in town for his rally to boost Senator Ottoman’s re-election campaign, and, Trump’s ego aside, it’s not a bad reminder of how the nobility rides through the throngs of the unwashed.
And occasionally over their children, as Dickens wrote
The people closed round, and looked at Monsieur the Marquis. There was nothing revealed by the many eyes that looked at him but watchfulness and eagerness; there was no visible menacing or anger. … Monsieur the Marquis ran his eyes over them all, as if they had been mere rats come out of their holes.
He took out his purse.
“It is extraordinary to me,” said he, “that you people cannot take care of yourselves and your children. One or the other of you is forever in the way. How do I know what injury you have done my horses. See! Give him that.”
The presidency, regardless of who holds the office, brings with it a remoteness that smacks of royalty.
Folklore is full of stories of the monarch who comes among his people in disguise, often to be shamed at what he did not know of their lives. They are fables.
Some of this is inescapable: We learned from JFK and his little brother and from George Wallace that people reach a level at which wandering around on their own is no longer wise.
But, whether they are divas or have aspirations to be real folks, if you expect people who travel in such guarded isolation to know whether or not you’ve had a COLA in the last four years, you are expecting the impossible.
On the other hand, once they arrive, they’re allowed to ask questions and even to listen.
I think it is reasonable to expect, even to demand, honesty and a bit of curiosity, and not just on Labor Day.
Though I suppose, despite Mo‘s sense of dread and despair, if we allow our leaders to sit upon pedestals, it’s hardly fair to complain when they do.
McConnell and his cronies are poised to get what they want, and he’s been compared to a turtle often enough that it seems appropriate to point out that he didn’t get up on that fence post by himself.
On November 6, we’ll get to choose whether we want more turtles sitting on our fenceposts and more nobles in carriages racing through our streets, plowing down our children.
As always, we’ll get what we deserve, even if it isn’t what we claimed to want.
Juxtaposition of the Day
I’ve been in and out of newsrooms throughout my career, and, in my “out” moments, I’ve frequently been asked about staging press conferences.
Though you’re not supposed to say “press conference,” according to those same people who don’t want anyone to use the word “pled.” You should say “news conference” because it’s about the news, not about the press.
Anyway, when I’ve been asked about news conferences and/or press conferences, my advice has been either donuts or cookies. Sandwiches are too much. The press feels like you’re trying to bribe them if you offer sandwiches.
Cookies are good because they can be slipped into pockets and taken away.
But donuts are more substantive than cookies.
Maybe a tray of donuts and a tray of cookies. And a pot of coffee.
Oh, and enough press releases to go around. Or news releases. Your choice.
Noted in Passing
I’m a classics fan, so today’s Bliss caught my eye.
Then I noticed what I think is a first-time breaking of a comics-page taboo.
Good on ya, Harry.