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August 30, 2010

Update 7: Brief Summer Book Hiatus With Section 1 Chapter Outline and Excerpt From Chapter 3

You thought I stopped working on the book didn’t you?  You thought I was just sitting around drinking lime daiquiris all day?

Lime Daiquiri

Okay, so one out of two ain’t bad.

Regardless, below is the chapter outline for Section 1 followed by an excerpt from Chapter 3.  I’ve got all of Section 1 done, most of Section 2, some of Section 3 and pretty much none of Section 4.  But it’s not as bad as it sounds.

Okay, it’s as bad as it sounds…

SECTION 1

Why They Think You’re A Moron (And Why They Think They’re Not)

Chapter 1
Shut Up, That’s Why

Chapter 2
You Are Ignorant

Chapter 3
You Are Stupid

Chapter 4
You Just Don’t Understand

Chapter 5
You Are A Religious Nut

Chapter 6
You Are A Nut, Period
No, Seriously, You’re Insane

Chapter 7
You Are A Subhuman Fiend And/Or Nazi Appeasing Ghoul

Chapter 8
Your Dry Cleaner Is Not As Good

 

Chapter 3

You Are Stupid

“It is very difficult to thrive in an increasingly competitive world if you're a nation of dodos.” – Joe Klein, Time Magazine.

In a piece titled, “Too Dumb To Thrive,”1 Joe Klein, a political columnist at Time Magazine noted with exasperation that nearly three out of four Americans thought the Stimulus package was a waste of money, observing that, “they may be right: it's been wasted on them.”

Like a parent who has lost patience with his children’s lack of appreciation for all he’s done for them, Klein points out that $288 billion of stimulus spending went to tax relief for 95% of the American public and $275 billion went to their state and local governments.

In other words, you should be grateful you got a pair of socks and underwear for Christmas. Now shut up and eat your broccoli.

Klein has two explanations for this “dodo” -like behavior on the part of Americans. (Other Americans.  Not him. )

First:

“The Obama Administration has done a terrible job explaining the stimulus package to the American people...especially since there have been very few documented cases of waste so far.”

Naturally, the only possible explanation for why regular people would disagree with smart people is that the smart people just haven’t explained it well enough. They just need to dumb it down a bit more, perhaps with a puppet show, or coloring book with family fun activities to ensure that the gape-jawed masses are able to understand it.  (This is a common theme to which we will return in Chapter 4.)

What of his point that there have been, “very few documented cases of waste so far?”

That’s “waste,” as far as Joe Klein is concerned.

$6 billion for “wellness preservation?” Unquestionably essential for job growth. $200 million for birth control? How can you have an economic recovery without it?  Millions for new government cars and digital TV coupons?  That’s like a job-generating machine on steroids.2

How about $427,824 to study the unique game-play needs of senior citizens?  $54 million to relocate the Napa Valley Wine Train? $389,357 to compare outcomes of the concurrent and separate use of malt liquor and marijuana? $168,300 for an SBA loan to the Escape Massage parlor in Midlothian, VA?3

You might think these qualify as “documented cases of waste” but then you don’t have a degree from The University of Pennsylvania in “American Civilization,” now do you?4

Mr. Klein’s second point is that:

“This is yet further evidence that Americans are flagrantly ill-informed...and, for those watching Fox News, misinformed.”

Such ill- and misinformed Americans would include Allan Meltzer, an economist at Carnegie Mellon, and former Treasury Department official under John F. Kennedy, and former member of Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisors, who says of the Obama Administration’s stimulus spending:

My advice on the stimulus plan was, don't do it. Let's look at the plan. First, a lot of the money was used to reduce the deficits of state and local governments by increasing the federal debt. It was simply money transferred from the federal government. The economic multiplier effect was zero. Second, the temporary tax cuts went to paying off credit cards and other debts, not spending that would have increased economic growth. “5

Those dumb uneducated Americans, where do they get their crazy ideas that the stimulus money was “wasted?”  Did they sleep through their American Civilization classes?...

J.

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August 30, 2010 at 11:00 AM in Books | Permalink

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Comments

$389,357 to compare outcomes of the concurrent and separate use of malt liquor and marijuana?

And all this time I thought there was nothing in the stimulus for *me*!

Posted by: Michael | Aug 31, 2010 11:27:26 AM

Now I am really upset. I didn't receive any requests for my participation in any of the above mentioned stimulus activities. My congress persons never contacted me about this. How are we supposed to help the economy if they keep all the information to themselves? I am not a mindreader.
Hopefully, the next round of stimuli will be better advertised and we can all join in.

Posted by: barryjo | Aug 31, 2010 10:11:55 PM

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