Skip to main content

I thought there was a chance last week I was being entirely original when I combined fiscal cliff with Clavin.

Wrong!

The internet reminds us that the world is full of clever people who simultaneously think the same things making being the first to be funny nearly impossible.

It was the same when when I started floating why I prefer White Floyd, the Mayberry barber, to Pink Floyd, the English rockers who upset English teachers for proclaiming they don’t need no education.

Fiscal Cliff Clavin, I think, would be a great t-shirt.

I still love “Cheers.” It featured some of the best writing and one most talented sit-com casts ever assembled.

Clavin was the bar know-it-all, a proud federal employee, and the cheapest bastard in the whole bar. He was nearly 50 and still living with his mother.

The show ran from 1982-1993, an interesting time in America’s fiscal history. It was an era bracketed by Ronald Reagan’s huge budget deficits and the soak-the-rich Bill Clinton tax increases Republican swore would devastate the economy.

In between we had George H.W. Bush shouting “Read My Lips: No New Taxes!” and Ross Perot giving press conferences that were as wildly entertaining as anything that happened on “Cheers.”

I remember an iconic image of the time came on the cover of, coincidentally, Time. The national news weekly featured a black hole of hundred dollar bills swirling into nothingness. It was, I think, 1984, the year before I was due to graduate from Ohio University.

The story said the Reagan deficits were bankrupting the country, that the adults had mortgaged their children’s future -- my future! -- and things were so dire America was on a dangerous precipice from which it would never recover.

I don’t recall if the words “fiscal cliff” were mentioned, but you get the point.

I remember standing there on the corner of Court and Union streets in Athens, Ohio, and thinking, “My God. There is no hope! We’re doomed! Doomed!”

I don’t recall what I did next but because I was a college student in Athens it’s likely I walked into one of the 70 or so bars within knee-crawling distance, ordered a beer and commenced to forgetting my troubles.

I guarantee you I didn’t panic.

It’s funny because I’d recently flunked Econ 101. That’s true.

But I instinctively knew the people who were good at economics would figure it out.

It wasn’t something truly frightening like the environment going crazy with Halloween hurricanes way up in New York City and temperatures that rose ever upward. That would have been terrifying, but we all understood at that time such an event would be purely science fiction.

Here in a nutshell’s what happened: Bush -- the rational one -- did, indeed, raise taxes and it cost him the 1992 election. Clinton raised taxes, too, and America was launched into eight years of peace and prosperity.

And we all lived happily ever after.

It’s a very small nutshell.

I was mostly a listener in an interesting conversation last month between two successful gentleman.

They were both on fire about the election. They were saying a Romney loss would be a disaster for the country because their taxes were going to go way up.

Tough one boys.

My one friend has been very successful in his field. He’s the one who introduced me to the other gentleman. What does he do?

He’s a homebuilder. But he doesn’t just build any homes. He builds mansions. They cost $2 million to $3 million. Right here in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He was working on two at the time.

He said repressive government restrictions imposed by Dodd-Frank are hampering his business.

Being unfamiliar with the particulars of the legislation, I asked the intent of the law.

“It was put in place to prevent another housing collapse, but it goes too far. It’s making things a real struggle.”

He was lamenting the government was preventing him from engaging in risky  practices his less ethical colleagues did that led to the devastating housing crisis.

At this point, I had to suppress an urge to ask him some demographic questions. Such as: what kind of car did you drive here? Can you still afford your Steeler season tickets? Did you get to enjoy a vacation someplace nice this year?

My sense is this man’s idea of a “real struggle” is vastly different from that of many of our fellow Americans.

Here’s what I think: If there’s one man building multi-million dollar mansions here in little old Latrobe for other men who can afford them then this is a problem that is going to be fixed more quickly than most imagine.

Maybe I should spend the day designing that Fiscal Cliff Clavin t-shirt. It might make me a fortune.

Then maybe I could afford a swanky $2.5 million mansion and be more demonstrative about how I wouldn’t mind paying more taxes if I knew it would help America avoid plunging off the fiscal cliff.

And with happy thought, let’s conclude with the perfect weekend send off.

Cheers!

Poll

Did you like my first Daily Kos Diary?

| 0 votes | Vote | Results

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site