Monday, August 8, 2011

The Blame Game

            “Lucy, for the first time in American history, Standard & Poors has downgraded the American credit rating from AAA to AA+.”

            My friend, who had taught high school Civics for years, snorted but otherwise didn’t say anything. The implications of the S&P downgrade were clear to her. President Obama’s face was in a small box on the left side of the TV screen; the Dow Jones Industrial Average fluctuations for the day were in constant motion on a chart behind him. It felt like we were watching a broken elevator car full of millions of Americans plunging toward the basement of the Washington Monument. The end results were going to be nasty.

Market closed
-634.76 -5.55%
Aug 8, 2011, 4:30 p.m.
Previous close
Day low
Day high
Open: 11,433.93
52 week low
52 week high

            Lucy was lying in bed, getting over a mild “stomach flu” which I suspect might have been caused by eating something that disagreed with her. The nursing home, for some reason, could not seem to remember that she was allergic to onions. She pointed to the pink plastic tub on the bed next to her. “You can use my barf bucket if you want,” she said.

            I had to laugh. “Thanks, Lucy. As generous an offer as that is, I’m going to pass on it. I hope.”

            “You know whose fault that is?” she asked me, waving her hand at the TV.

            I took a stab at it. “Every president, congressperson, and federal judge since Hoover?”

            She chuckled. “I was going to blame the public education system, but it’s really the same thing, isn’t it?”

            I thought about that for a moment. “Yes, I guess it is. The public education system is responsible for churning out American citizens who vote for those power-hungry idiots.”

            I picked up the remote control and changed the channel on the TV. We are intelligent people, but watching the Dow plummet like that was too too depressing for words. We’d catch up with the news later. At the moment, it was a relief to hear Jeff Foxworthy asking if we're smarter than a fifth grader. BTW, Lucy and I are smarter than fifth graders. I wonder if my Senator is....