Photo by Shelley Goldberg

Photo by Shelley Goldberg


Cheer Up

Sure it is cold, although today the sun shines bright on the icy snow. Sure there is a lot of winter left to go. Sure the Saucon News has folded so that I am frozen out of print. Sure the economy is freezing in the toilet. Sure the Israeli-Hamas situation is locked in the ice of a centuries-old conflict. But there is good news:

First, I can’t think of any more ways to say cold.

Second, on January 20 the 200-year-old (or so it seems) reign of George the Decider will end. I know the latter to be true because my day by day calendar of George W. Bushisms runs out on that date. Never was there a president who so mangled the English language. I promise not to do this again, but I leave you with a few samples:

“Laura and I really don’t realize how bright our children is sometimes until we get an objection analysis.” — Appearing on CNBC, April 15, 2000

“The public education system in America is one of the most important foundations of our democracy. After all, it is where children from all America learn to be responsible citizens, and learn to have the skills necessary to take advantage of our fantastic opportunistic society.” — Santa Clara, California, May 1, 2002

“We’re still being challenged in Iraq and the reason why is a free Iraq will be a major defeat in the cause of freedom.” — North Carolina, April 5, 2004

“But I also made it clear to [Putin] that it’s important to think beyond the old days of when we had the concept that if we blew each other up, the world would be safe.” — Washington, D.C., May 1, 2001

“You’re free. And freedom is beautiful. And, you know, it’ll take time to restore chaos and order–order out of chaos. But we will.” — Washington, D.C., April 13, 2003

The third piece of good news should cheer everyone up. The American people have somehow managed to overcome racial prejudice to elect a black man president who is obviously extremely intelligent, very well-spoken, and who displays an almost magical capacity to be a good Decider, not to mention a unifier. The jury is still out on Barack Obama. Indeed, it hasn’t even been seated yet. But the prospect of a fair trial is not only wonderful, but it is desperately needed.

The cloud on this horizon is the Congress. Yes, the Democrats are in charge. Clearly they were elected largely to deal with the economy by supporting Obama’s ideas on the subject. But those damned Democrats are also Congresspeople, which means that every member, wise or stupid, has a say in dealing with the crisis. In my opinion, when the ship is sinking the crew should shut up and obey the captain.

The whole idea, to switch analogies, is to pour water (that is, money) on the fire (the economy) and to do that as fast as possible. While how you do that is certainly of some importance, it is better to use the hoses on hand than wait to design new ones. The new congressionally designed hoses may be more efficient and direct the water exactly where it is safest and most effective, although I doubt that, but by the time the new hoses come into play the fire will have consumed our economic house. Moreover, while the Fire Captain is very well trusted, why argue with him while Rome, so to speak, burns.

This is not to advocate the dictatorship of the Fire Captain. However, he was elected by the company. The role of the Congress, to abandon the analogies (thank God), is in this moment of crisis to provide oversight, not planning. But with practically universal accord, Obama has assembled the best team of economic advisers since Alexander Hamilton was a pup. Let them do their job.

The real reason to cheer up is that the congress will probably do exactly that. If not, I’m betting on Sarah Palin or Tina Fey (whichever one is still standing) in 2012.

Arthur Joel Katz lives in Lower Saucon Township. He is a former columnist for The Saucon News. He can be contacted via e-mail at