Private Eye | Honk, Honk: Worried about the socialist Obama? How about the oligarchic Bush, Palin and McCain? | Private Eye | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » Private Eye

Private Eye | Honk, Honk: Worried about the socialist Obama? How about the oligarchic Bush, Palin and McCain?


This morning, I got an e-mail from City Weekly publisher Jim Rizzi. I always anticipate his e-mails since I expect any one at any time to finally announce his plans for sending me out to pasture. I’ve been waiting for about four years now for him to fire me, but no such luck, despite the fact that I’m the single biggest cost to his editorial-department bottom line. Lord knows, and City Weekly managing editor Jerre Wroble can validate this, I’ve tried and tried to get fired. I guess he is keeping me around because it’s his way of waterboarding our readers. n

His e-mail was neither a simple sayonara nor a kick in the pants. It was a list of humorous one-liners attributed to comedian Steven Wright. Wright is famous for his droll sense of the world. Among that list were such wry observations as “I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize,” “How do you tell when you’re out of invisible ink?” “Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?” and “OK, so what’s the speed of dark?” I’ve always considered Wright a funny guy. In any of his routines, he’s been able to nail my own sense of self, and this list was no exception since No. 15 on the list pretty much sums up my current state of mind: “Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.”


I used to be enthusiastically angry. Like John McCain. Now I’m a depressed angry. Wright was spot on. I’m depressed angry because I’m among the more than 80 percent of Americans who believe things haven’t gotten better under President Bush but have gotten worse. I’d believe I’m in good company, but it’s the other 20 percent that scares me. How can they possibly be chipper about their circumstance given that bin Laden is still breathing; that the war in Iraq is still draining us of youth, money and worldwide integrity; that Afghanistan is falling apart; or that the economy is “cratered,” to use a John McCain description? Not to mention that health care is a mess, health insurance costs are rising, Wall Street is in the tank and the government is bailing out banks with citizen money. Yeah, I can see how that might make some people content and happy, but I’m not in that group.


Naturally, there’s another one on the Wright list for me, too: “Borrow money from pessimists—they don’t expect it back.” Do you really think you’ll ever see a dime returned to average Americans when this bailout thing is over? I don’t, especially when one recipient of our taxpayer dollars, AIG, quickly used nearly half a million of those dollars on a corporate retreat. Others are not using the money to bail out individual homeowners or borrowers but instead are paying themselves financial bonuses. Meanwhile, our elected officials who entered public office as near paupers exit as millionaires. They don’t do it by being frugal with their annual salaries. They got many of those dollars from the lobbyists protecting the financial, health or energy industries now in trouble. How does a guy like me get in on that racket, anyway?


I can’t. Can’t be elected. Can’t be a crook. Just like most of you. So we are left to depend on our elected officials to get it right at exactly the same moment that we trust them the least while they’re scaring us the most. You’ve perhaps read that one of the recent scare tactics Republicans are using against Barack Obama is that he is really a Marxist intent on bringing socialism to America. As proof, they offer Obama’s own words that he intends to redistribute American wealth. Plain as day, Obama did say that. Plain as day, so what?


Didn’t we just redistribute our wealth with the Wall Street buyout? Don’t corn growers and pig farmers get government subsidies already? Our wealth is being distributed all right, but from the bottom up. Did you miss the magic trick that began in the early 1980s? Back then, 1 percent of American households controlled about 15 percent of American household wealth. Today, that wealth has been so effectively redistributed that the same 1 percent now control upwards of 35 percent of American household wealth. Yeah, right. Worry about the socialist Obama. How about the oligarchic Bush, Palin and McCain?


Next week, you get to pick your poison. In bygone days, the freakishly rich people controlling a country or dominion were called noblemen. Out of that 1 percent of superwealthy Americans, few act nobly. The latest example is Wayne Huizenga, owner of the Miami Dolphins who so dislikes the proposed Obama tax plan that will further tax capital gains that he plans on selling his team if Obama is elected. “I’d rather give it to charity than to him,” said Huizenga, who clearly takes issue with Obama personally, and who misses the irony that had he been a generous steward of his wealth (which didn’t create 10 substantial American jobs worth keeping nor did it create a manufactured product like a car), it may not be taxed at the rate it may soon be. A nobleman’s approach would appreciate that his wealth was redistributed upwards by charging schleps like you exorbitant late fees for decades at his Blockbuster video chain. Thanks, Wayne. I’m keeping the video.


The superrich cry foul while certain middle Americans identify with them. On the bright side, most middle Americans remain honest despite their differences, something Huizenga who cries about wealth and taxes is not. Shills like Sarah Palin do their groundwork for them.


Naturally, there was an observation from Wright on that score, too. It goes, “My mechanic told me, ‘I couldn’t repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.’”