Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What’s in a Name?

Git-N-Go is celebrating 40 years in business by selling 32 ounce sodas for 40 cents….or are they?

  For a president as unpopular as George W. Bush was by the end of his 2 terms (and don’t forget, he WAS re-elected), his name didn’t get placed on the recession/depression of 2007-2008 like Hebert Hoover’s name was affixed to the great Depression of the 1930. Did you know that in the 1930’s, the newspapers homeless people used to cover themselves with at night were called ‘Hoover Blankets’ and ‘Hoover Flags’ were people pulling their empty pockets inside out? (You can find more Hooverisms here). In my opinion, the Democrats made a horrible blunder by not trying to paste Bush’s name all over the ‘Great Recession’. A bicycle could have been called a ‘Bush Limousine’, a happy meal a ‘Bush Banquet’, and the Goodwill and Salvation Army stores ‘Bush Malls’. My own particular pet peeve is the shrinking of a half-gallon of ice cream to a quart and a half. Maybe instead of calling the new carton of ice cream 48 fluid ounces, the supermarkets could call it a ‘Bush Half-Gallon’ or an ‘Obama Half-Gallon’. When the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan stopped being referred to as the ‘War on Terror’, the media could have easily renamed them the ‘Bush Wars’ but instead simply called the conflicts the war in ‘Iraq’ or ‘Afghanistan’.

  One piece of the Bush presidency that has been indelibly stamped with his name is the ‘Bush Tax Cuts’. The Democrats like to use it to only refer to a tax cut for the richest of the rich, but the tax cuts also lowered the taxes for all Americans. I got a 2% tax cut, which was nice, but people making over $300,000 got a 4% tax cut which was even nicer. When the tax cuts were enacted in 2001, they were set to expire in 2010. The Democrats wanted to let the tax cuts expire only for people making over $250,000 dollars a year and the Republicans threatened to block all legislation and allow all the tax cuts to expire if the tax cut for the top earners wasn’t also extended. The President also wanted a 3-year extension so he could avoid dealing with the extension during his re-election, but the republicans wouldn’t go along with anything but a 2 year extension and in the end the President and Congress agreed to a 2 year extension of the cuts for everyone.

  Now 2 years later, the tax cuts are set to expire at the end of the year and the wrangling has begun anew. President Obama has used the same opening gambit as 2 years ago by offering to extend the tax cuts for everyone making less than $250,000 and the Republicans (who now control the House of Representatives instead of the filibuster proof minority they held 2 years ago) have countered with their familiar insistence for the tax cuts being extended for all or none. However this year’s squabble ends, both sides will get what they want: Obama will get to paint Romney and the Republicans as the friends of the rich and hopefully energize their base while the Republican congress will paint the Democrats as enemies of the self-made and successful and hopefully get their all-important contributions for the their congressional campaigns.

The clerk (97% Brenda) couldn’t keep the 32 ounce cups in stock,
but she knew enough to charge me $1.06 for a 20 ounce refill cup of soda…

  As much publicity as the ‘Bush Tax Cuts’ are getting, Obama has his own signature piece of legislation named after him in ‘ObamaCare’. As much as the Republicans like to bandy that phrase around, I think the President should give whoever thought that name up a big thank you. Who wouldn’t want their name associated with a compassionate word like care as opposed to phrases like ‘gate’, ‘folly’, or ‘tax’? And having your name as part of the phrase confers a kind of immortality that few presidents obtain. The political slogans ‘New Deal’, ‘Camelot’, ‘Desert Storm’, and ‘Great Society’ are well known but I doubt 1 in 5 people could associate the correct president with his military operation or social program.

  I don’t understand why in a country where 97% of the population make less than $250,000 a year, over 45% get a direct government check (not counting paychecks!), and the government is running a deficit of over $3,000 for every man, woman, and child in the country that there is even a debate whether or not to allow tax cuts to expire (or raise taxes – take your pick) for people who make more than a quarter of a million dollars a year. It could be that people are afraid that if they increase taxes on the 3% it’s only a matter of time when their taxes will go up also or maybe people really believe that the 3% are the ones creating the jobs for the other 97%. I would expect any politician that would risk a tax increase for all working people in order to not increase taxes on the 3% making a quarter of a million dollars a year or more to lose their re-elections by a margin close to 97% to 3%, yet there are enough 3-percent proponents in office to force the president into an all or nothing proposition. I’m not saying I’m in favor of taxing the richest of the rich extra to pay for government services (even though I’m not close to being in the 3%), I’m just saying that I would expect more of the 97% to feel that way and I don’t understand why.

  The simple answer could be that the majority of the 97% just aren’t very smart. I got a graphic lesson in economics – 97% style at the Git-N-Go convenience store in Bondurant yesterday when I was feeding my car with $3.18 a gallon gasoline. I was paying at the pump with my credit card as I usually do when I saw a sign in the store window proclaiming 40 cent – 32 ounce sodas in honor of the 40th Anniversary of Git-N-Go stores. It was pretty hot and I was pretty thirsty so I went in the store to buy 40 cents of soda. There were no 32 ounce cups in the dispenser, so I filled up my 20 ounce travel cup with ice and maybe 10 ounces of Dr. Pepper, and brought my ice-cold drink to the counter to pay for it. The clerk rang up my soda and told me ‘That’ll be a dollar and six cents’. I mentioned the sign on the window and she said triumphantly ‘That’s only for a 32 ounce soda, you have a 20 ounce soda there’. I was going to say that I drank 12 ounces of soda from my cup and then refilled it, but I thought the better of it after realizing that I would probably then be charged for both a 20 and a 12 ounce soda.

  I decided to take the path of least resistance and asked the clerk for a 32 ounce cup (because there weren’t any in the dispenser, remember). She gave a long deep sigh, trudged over to the cabinet under the dispenser, and pulled out a sleeve of 32 ounce plastic cups. I took one of the cups, went back to the register, and poured my 20 ounce soda into the 32 ounce cup and re-presented my purchase to the clerk. She voided out my $1.06 soda, and rang up the 5/8ths full 32 ounce soda cup, saying ‘THAT will be 42 cents for that soda, SIR!’ I gave her a dollar, got my 58 cents in change, and proceeded to pour the soda back in my 20 ounce travel cup, leaving the now empty cup on the counter. I asked the clerk if she wanted me to throw out the now empty 32 ounce cup and she said ‘I really don’t care what you do’, so I threw out the cup before I left.

American ingenuity at work!! After gaining possession of the sacred 32 ounce cup,
I pulled the ‘big switch’ and saved myself 64 cents!

  If I was Mitt Romney, I would get myself down to the Git-N-Go in Boudurant, get videoed paying $1.06 for a 20 ounce travel cup of soda, and blame the President for the shocking deterioration of common sense in America under his watch. Maybe he can come up with a catchy phrase like ‘ObamaSense’ or ‘ObamaBargain’. And the President could do the same thing, only blaming free market capitalists like Romney for the squeezing of the American soft drink consumers and label it a ‘RomneySale’.

I’ve seen this sign every day for the past 9 months when I arrive and leave work, but I only noticed today that the sign wasn’t spelled correctly (unless I’m supposed to stop for ‘Pede Strains’ or ‘Pedes Trains’?). I wonder if this is an example of ‘RomneySpell’ or ‘ObamaSpell’?