Enjoy his year-end column here. I didn’t realize he was still writing. A few bits:
BAD NEWS: The economy remained critically weak, with rising unemployment, a severely depressed real-estate market, the near-collapse of the domestic automobile industry and the steep decline of the dollar.
GOOD NEWS: Windows 7 sucked less than Vista.
The No. 1 item on the agenda is fixing the economy, so the new administration immediately sets about the daunting task of trying to nominate somebody — anybody — to a high-level government post who actually remembered to pay his or her taxes. Among those who forgot this pesky chore is Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, who sheepishly admits that he failed to pay $35,000 in federal self-employment taxes. He says that the error was a result of his using TurboTax, which he also blames for his involvement in an eight-state spree of bank robberies. He is confirmed after the Obama administration explains that it inherited the U.S. Tax Code from the Bush administration.
But the big political drama takes place in Washington, where David Souter announces that he is retiring from the Supreme Court because he is tired of getting noogies from Chief Justice Roberts. To replace Souter, President Obama nominates Sonia Sotomayor, setting off the traditional Washington performance of Konfirmation Kabuki, in which the Democrats portray the nominee as basically a cross between Abraham Lincoln and the Virgin Mary, and the Republicans portray her more as Ursula the Sea Witch with a law degree. Sotomayor will eventually be confirmed, but only after undergoing the traditional Senate Judiciary Committee hazing ritual, during which she must talk for four straight days without expressing an opinion.
In government news, top Washington thinkers, looking for a way to goose the economy along, come up with the “Cash for Clunkers” program, under which the federal government provides a financial inducement for people to take functional cars, which are mostly American-made, to car dealers, who deliberately destroy these cars and sell the people new replacement cars, which are mostly foreign-made. This program, which was budgeted for $1 billion, ends up costing $3 billion and is halted after a month. The administration declares that it has been a huge success, which everybody understands to mean that it will never, ever be repeated. With this mission accomplished, the top Washington thinkers are free to train all of their brainpower on the nation’s health-care system.
Dave forgot to mention that people later discovered that they had to pay taxes on the “benefit” of wildly over-paying for the new cars, because in a shocking maneuver the dealers dramatically reduced their mark-downs because of the increased demand for their same supply. (Why can I teach the principles of supply and demand to 7th grade Junior Achievement classes in 30 minutes yet politicians can’t understand them ?)
On the environmental front, Copenhagen hosts a massive international conference aimed at halting manmade global warming, attended by thousands of delegates who flew to Denmark on magical carbon-free unicorns.
Hat tip: Lone Wolf Archer and Chuck (from Facebook)