(Note: this was written a few days before it was posted. Since then, Mr. & Mrs. DeRegulation, the candidates McCain and Palin, have (a) decided they need to create at least one new agency to clean up the eco-mess and (b) have been criticized -- albeit indirectly -- by the White House, which has started either (c) acting like a White House for the first time in eight years by trying to "rescue" some of the faltering banks or (d) started trying to bail out its fat cat buddies.)
Let's get the lingo straight. Candidate McCain declared the other day that the economic fundamentals are okay. Candidate Obama and others took him to task for saying that, because they aren't. Or at least some of them aren't. Candidate McCain thus showed again what he's said all along, he doesn't know much about the economy. He then tried to twist the meaning of the word "fundamentals" by singing the praises of the American worker, which are well worth singing, but aren't in the commonly accepted definition of the term.
So, Senator, if you want to change the generally understood meaning of a word, how about telling us you're doing that and telling us what you mean.
For the record "fundamental" is generally accepted by people on Wall Street, people in media, people who run labor unions, people who invest, people who talk about investing and the general public as meaning stuff like profits, losses, assets, liabilities, income, outgo, management decisions, growth, shrinkage, market share, long and short term prospects, long term prospects, credit worthiness, cash on hand and debt.
If you mean something else, by all means we'll listen. But don't confuse us by misusing or mal-using a term that's in such common use.
Twist the language all you want. Just let us in on your secret. Or -- even better -- learn the language before you use it.
You were in the Navy, right? If you told your fellow officers that you were going to fly a transport and they saw you climb into an F-14, they'd laugh. You could then say that the F-14 was transporting YOU, and therefore is a transport. But it's not generally thought of like that. It's a fighter and a tactical re-con plane.
Your father was a Navy bigshot, so you probably know when to use the word "boat" as opposed to "ship," and probably have childhood stories of mixing the two and being upbraided for it.
The American worker -- regardless of collar color -- is the linchpin of every thing that happens here. But he or she is not an economic or business "fundamental."
The less generous among us would think you were trying to pull the wool over our eyes. But, to be charitable, let's just say you got mixed up a little. A natural function of age.
Now, Senator, about that greed and corruption you see, if belatedly, on Wall Street: Um... I guess your membership in te Keating Five expired in 1989. And here, too, you may be having a senior moment. If memory serves, you skinned by that one with a rap on the knuckles. "Bad judgment," they called your end on that little arrangement you and four other Senators had with Kingpin Keating -- the guy who ran the bank that robbed US. But this ain't a stone you should be tossing.
Corruption? Sure. Culture of corruption? Maybe. Culture of stupidity and fear is more like it.
And, Senator, how are YOUR fundamentals?
(Again, no room for shrapnel. But shrapnel's fundamentals are strong and it'll be back next time. Probably. A briefer version of this Wessay was broadcast on my radio program several days before it appeared here.)
I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.(R)
(C) WJR 2008
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