Friday, July 3, 2009

Dinner With The President--A Parable

Once upon a time, I was invited to the White House for a private dinner with the President. I am a respected businessman, with a factory that produces memory chips for computers and portable electronics. There was some talk that my industry was being scrutinized by the administration, but I paid it no mind. I live in a free country. There's nothing that the government can do to me if I've broken no laws. My wealth was earned honestly, and an invitation to dinner with an American President is an honor.

I checked my coat, was greeted by the Chief of Staff, and joined the President in a yellow dining room. We sat across from each other at a table draped in white linen. The Great Seal was embossed on the china. Uniformed staff served our dinner. The meal was served, and I was startled when my waiter suddenly reached out, plucked a dinner roll off my plate, and began nibbling it as he walked back to the kitchen. "Sorry about that," said the President. "Andrew is very hungry."

"I don't appreciate..." I began, but as I looked into the calm brown eyes across from me, I felt immediately guilty and petty. It was just a dinner roll. "Of course," I concluded, and reached for my glass. Before I could, however, another waiter reached forward, took the glass away and swallowed the wine in a single gulp.

"And his brother Eric is very thirsty," said the President. I didn't say anything. The President is testing my compassion, I thought. I will play along. I don't want to seem unkind. My plate was whisked away before I had tasted a bite. "Eric's children are also quite hungry."

With a lurch, I crashed to the floor. My chair had been pulled out from under me. I stood, brushing myself off angrily, and watched as it was carried from the room. "And their grandmother can't stand for long."

I excused myself, smiling outwardly, but inside feeling like a fool. Obviously I had been invited to the White House to be sport for some game. I reached for my coat, to find that it had been taken. I turned back to the President. "Their grandfather doesn't like the cold." I wanted to shout - that was my coat! But again, I looked at the placid smiling face of my host and decided I was being a poor sport. I spread my hands helplessly and chuckled.

Then I felt my hip pocket and realized my wallet was gone. I excused myself and walked to a phone on an elegant side table. I learned shortly that my credit cards had been maxed out, my bank accounts emptied, my retirement and equity portfolios had vanished, and my wife had been thrown out of our home. Apparently, the waiters and their families were moving in. The President hadn't moved or spoken as I learned all this, but finally I lowered the phone into its cradle and turned to face him.

"Andrew's whole family has made bad financial decisions. They haven't planned for retirement, and they need a house. They recently defaulted on a sub-prime mortgage. I told them they could have your home. They need it more than you do."

My hands were shaking. I felt faint. I stumbled back to the table and knelt on the floor. The President cheerfully cut his meat, ate his steak and drank his wine. I lowered my eyes and stared at the small grey circles on the tablecloth that were water drops.

"By the way," he added, "I have just signed an Executive Order nationalizing your factories. I'm firing you as head of your business. I'll be operating the firm now for the benefit of all mankind. There's a whole bunch of Erics and Andrews out there and they can't come to you for jobs groveling like beggars."

I looked up. The President dropped his spoon into the empty ramekin which had been his Creme Brulee. He drained the last drops of his wine. As the table was cleared, he lit a cigarette and leaned back in his chair. He stared at me I clung to the edge of the table as if it were a ledge and I were a man hanging over an abyss. I thought of the years behind me, of the life I had lived. The life I had earned with a lifetime of work, risk and struggle. Why was I punished? How had I allowed it to be taken? What game had I played and lost? I looked across the table and noticed with some surprise that there was no game board between us. What had I done wrong? As if answering the unspoken thought, the President suddenly cocked his head, locked his empty eyes to mine, and bared a million teeth, chuckling wryly as he folded his hands.

"You should have stopped me at the dinner roll," he said.


Tarp bailouts, auto bailouts, pork handouts, increased taxes to pay for needless programs, Cap and Trade (which is really just a tax on everything), social security and amnesty for illegal immigrants and universal health care (run by the government). Maybe we should all stand up now and tell President Obama and the Democratic leftwing liberals that we are stopping them now, somewhere between the "dinner roll" and our very souls that we are not GIVING any more and we are not going to allow them to TAKE any more. We better do it soon while there is anything left to be kept.

As we prepare to celebrate 233 years of hard-fought-for independence and propserity, are you willing to join the fight to make sure there will be more independence and prosperity in our future?

As our beloved former President, Ronald Reagan once said, "Freedom is never more than a generation from being extinct. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same or, one day, we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."


Anonymous said...

Did you notice that nobody took the president's food?

Bank executives are told that they can not have bonuses, but Congressional pay and lucrative benefits remain untouched. Corporate jest are grounded, but Nancy Pelosi continues to fly her private taxpayer financed jet at will. Companies are scorned for having lavish parties while the President hosts a lavish pig roast for his partners in crime.

A double standard? The administration will claim that these companies would still be free to do as they wish had they not been greedy and made bad decisions. But what about the government's bad decisions? Easy money promoted by the federal reserve. The community reinvestment act which forced loans to be made to individuals who were not credit worthy. Poor oversight and enforcement of existing regulations.

Seems to me that its time to start taking the President's dinner roll.

Robyn said...

you are both so right.I have been fighting for years to raise money to help breast cancer,even after going thru 2 battles of my own. Those 2 battles left me w/o both my breasts, numerous medical problems, and a health care program that has me in a donut hole every year (means after a certain point, I have to pay $4000 out of my own pocket before they start picking up again), and a friend w/ brain tumors who may be losing her pernsion while the auto industry manages to get a bail out from the the gov't. I used to think this was the greatest country in the world, yet day by day, it just seems we are kicking those who have believed in her and fought for her for so many years.And I have started to ask myself why we continue to take it?

Kristin said...

Increased taxes? Where? And how exactly is universal health care a bad thing, especially in light of the earlier comment? What needless programs are we funding?

Brian said...


Are you kidding? Go through the so-called stimulus bill and find enough pork to host a down home barbecue for you and a few thousand friends. Congressman Murtha and his earmarks for an airport that serves almost nobody, except Congressman Murtha, of course. A highway to run from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, courtesy of Senator Reid.

ANd, by the way, who gave the President, or anyone else, the right to re-write the bankruptcy code, specifically who gets paid and how much. I love how the secured creditors get 22 cents on the dollar while the UAW, and unsecured creditor, got 50 cents on the dollar.

Face it, Kiddo, the Obama administration is as straight as a dog's hind leg and as transparent as a glass of chocolate milk and most of us outside the beltway can see that clearly.

Anonymous said...

Kristen - you ask where taxes have been increased.

Taxes have not gone up yet, but they will go up next year. Obama promised to roll back the "Bush" tax cuts which means higher rates for those with incomes over $200,000. No surprise there because he promised this in his campaign. But now he wants to also eliminate deductions for charitable contributions and home mortgage interest. He also wants to increase taxes on dividend and capital gains. He's talking about taxing employer provided health benefits and eliminating flexible spending accounts. He is increasing sin taxes, and there is talk about taxing soft drinks. Cap and trade legislation will increase energy costs, and that's the equivalent of a huge tax increase on companies and individuals.

Admittedly, he is targeting most of the tax increases at companies and high income wage earners. But that will reduce investment and jobs. Trust me when I tell you - excessive taxation on those who work and provide capital and redistributing the money through government controlled entitlement programs will put a big hurt on our economy. Those threats have already kept us in recession longer than we would have dreamed.

Anonymous said...

Robyn, I'm very sad to hear about your health issues. Sometimes life doesn't seem fair.

The question is what should we do about health care.

The bill of Rights gives us freedom of speech, religion, and assembly. It entitles us to bear arms and provides for other things like due process and state's rights. It does not give us entitlement to a certain rate of pay or benefits. We elect to provide these things to some individuals because we are a compassionate society and we choose to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves. Unfortunately, there is a limit to what we can afford. Continuing to spend money that we don't have puts us on the path to destruction.

There are two problems with our healthcare system. One is that costs increase far above the rate of inflation. The other is that many people are uninsured. Let's deal with these issues one at a time.

Increasing costs are certainly a problem and this should be our #1 priority. What about tort reform to reduce liability insurance? Why not require uninsured people entering a hospital to display their social security card before receiving treatment? The answer is easy - lawyers and businesses who hire illegal aliens finance political campaigns. Illegal aliens also represent a large potential voting block for democrats. Why can't we loosen regulations so that people can pay a modest fee to see a nurse or physician's assistant instead of going to see a doctor? That's another easy answer - the medical lobby finances political campaigns. One more thing. American citizens are not willing to put a price on healthcare. We used to have a family doctor and a hospital. Now we are lousy with specialists. Costs go up 50% so that we can improve the quality of care by 5%. End of life costs are huge and the benefits are minimal. We simply can not afford it, but we refuse to accept that fact.

Uninsured people are the second problem, but why should people feel entitled to free healthcare? Lowering the cost would solve half the problem because insurance would be more affordable to all.

Unfortunately, Obama administration is more concerned about providing free coverage. It doesn't cost $1.6 trillion to cut costs.