Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Stress Test for Imbeciles

So now that the big wigs in the Obama administration have fine tuned a plan to test nineteen of the nation's largest banks for solvency, I have a modest proposal: why not devise a stress test for other kinds of incompetency. For instance, when was the last time your HMO decided to order a colonoscopy when they could cut corners, so to speak, by only performing a sigmoidoscopy?

And, when you're shopping for something to help out with that damn migraine, why is it that there are only two registers open out of eight--that means that you are 75% more likely to have a migraine hangover.

When last you were at the bank, did you notice how often you have to help the tellers count the change?

Where were you during this last presidential election? I was teaching a community college English class, and when I asked students to bring in newspaper articles that represent divurgent viewpoints on the issues, one student had the temerity to announce: "This is an English class, not Political Science!"

Among the many reasons the American economy finds itself in the dire straits it is in today is, of course, the residual collateral carnage from so-called free market fundamentalism, but two words come to mind, too "Pace yourself!"

Pace yourself has become America's new mantra replacing "two cars in every garage." From the gas station attendant to the guy at the car wash to the dentist to the plumber to the supermarket checker everything has slowed down to accommodate comfort levels.

There are two kinds of people in this country those who pace themselves, and those who need pace makers.

America is no longer comfortable fighting its own wars. We now hire independent contractors to fight alongside us. We hire people, whose names are all "Sam," thousands of miles away to provide technical help when our Internet access goes south. We wanted transparency, and we got it. Is there anything more transparent than those who swindled us of our retirement accounts, and stock options, and yet most of them still sit on the rosters of our Fortune 500 companies.

And, who does the new administration decide to appoint to regulate Wall Street and the financial markets, but the kingpen of Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, and the financial markets.

Now, more than six years since the invasion of Baghdad, where does our defense secretary, and commander-in-chief want to commit 17,000 troops next? Afghanistan, of course, and on the border of Pakistan, too, with the underlying assumption being that nothing has changed over the past six years.

Our recent foreign policy blunders reads like a who's who of incompetents.

There's a pledge to eliminate "black sites," and extraordinary rendition while, at the same time, an effort to withheld valuable evidence of what actually transpires not just at these sites, but at a majority of detention centers we run worldwide.

We've paced ourselves into gargantuan national debt, and an unemployment rate that hasn't been seen in quarter of a century.

I've declined to offer any suggestions to our new President in an effort to acknowledge that he already has enough on his plate, but I will say one thing: it looks like we need a stress test for imbeciles more than anything else.