Sequester in the Land of the Loathsome
With the nationwide Congressional approval rating holding steady at 15%, the Gel-Headed Quants and Traders of Wall Street (GHQTWS — the same people who handed you the housing meltdown) find themselves in a bit of a dilemma because their approval rating is even lower. They remain the World’s Most Loathsome People.
Normally, this would not be a problem for GHQTWS members who would simply resort to giving their critics the finger as they withdrew into Penthouse triplexes overlooking Central Park. But, in response to several years of subpar bonuses, GHQTWS members have found that it is not much fun dealing with their other loathsome colleagues. Plus many of their children are now in middle school, whence they return to their triplexes asking why their classmates are calling their mommies and daddies “loathsome.”
To the chagrin of Manhattan psychiatrists, who had been profiting handsomely treating self-esteem issues among GHQTWS members and their offspring, a public relations campaign has been launched to solve the problem.
Don’t despair: this is going to get back to the Congressional approval rating and it is even going to get there before the March 1 sequester deadline, when a tiny fraction of wasted government spending stops getting spent and wasted. I promise.
Public relations professionals have observed that GHQTWS has only to surpass the Congress of the United States in popularity to hand over the World’s Most Loathsome People Award to our 535 elected officials. Now ask yourself a simple question: “of what possible use is a public relations genius if he doesn’t come up with a splendid scheme to go from last to second to last?”
And here it is, revealed for the insidious plot that it is.
What do our Congress people (and the President) need most in the week or so that remains before they might actually have to say no to someone — the essential ingredient, the secret sauce?
Rhetoric is the weapon of choice especially “if your goal is not even to win but to make the other guys lose,” as former Senator Alan Simpson says it is. Every rhetorical arrow in the quiver: spin; pandering; dire warnings; name calling; finger-pointing; blame; victims; lies; and fictional talking points.
Props are also helpful including platoons of first responders carefully lined up to highlight diversity, seniors, the middle class, the poor and, best of all, military readiness to make everyone feel unsafe.
But the most important of all is the stupidity that requires the services of millions of us who believe what we are told.
At the suggestion of their public relations team, the clever financial engineers of GHQTWS have used their unique skills to corner the markets on rhetoric in all its forms as well as props, leaving none of these available to our elected officials during the crucial remaining days before having to make a real decision. None. No rhetoric and no props available for sale at any price. No matter how much campaign money they have raised, our elected officials can’t buy any for the rest of February.
The Congress people and the President will stand naked before the voters, disarmed of their favored techniques, with only our own stupidity standing between them and the Most Loathsome Award.
Unfortunately, the stupidity market proved far too large to corner.
How was this financed you might ask. Surely GHQTWS would not use their own money and indeed they didn’t. They simply shorted “problem solving,” a commodity in high demand except in Washington. There appeared to be no risk of a price spike caused by a sudden increase in the demand for this skill that might have put the GHQTWS trading position at risk.