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--Quiz Show Host-- Okay, Julie, two questions left in the final round, and I can only read the question once. Here it is--good luck. John McCain thinks the "newly rich" Joe McPlumber should be able to keep all his money. This week's Question of the Hour is: Does John McCain get it?

--Contestant-- This is a tough one, but I'll say. . .No?. . .he doesn't get it?

--Quiz Show Host-- Oo-o-o, so close, Julie! The answer is, Yes, he does get it! He just doesn't want *you* to get it. Y'see, John McCain thinks Americans are over burdened with taxes. What he doesn't want to remind you of is the fact that we live in the world's only remaining superpower, and yet just like a lot of folks, John McCain wants to live well but without having to fork over the dough. John McCain wants people *other* than John McCain--the guy who can go to sleep in any one of about seven different houses--to be the ones footing the bill for his privileged lifestyle. I'm sure it's a hardship during tough times but unfortunately, Julie, I haven't heard that it's getting any easier for Uncle Sam to maintain economic and military superpower status in the world either. What it really boils down to, Julie, is that John McCain is extremely worried that "spreading the wealth" will come to mean that he'll end up paying so much in taxes that he himself will end up in the middle class, and that, of course would be a scandal that must never become known to the public.

--Quiz Show Host-- Okay, Julie, here's your last question. John McCain says that the "surge" was a success, and the question is, Does John McCain get it?

--Contestant-- Wait, Wait, I know this one. I'm going to say, Yes, he gets it! Ya-y-y-y-y-y! Wo-o-o!

--Quiz Show Host-- Oh-h-h, Julie, again you were almost there! The answer is No, he doesn't get it! The surge came too late, Julie. That's what everyone now knows--everyone, that is, except John McCain. There was already widespread reconciliation, also known as the awakening, and it was rapidly spreading throughout the country. The Mahdi Army under Sadr had already declared its unilateral cease fire. All the surge did was cause the loss of more American lives than at any time since early 2007. What we needed was a surge back in 2003. In fact, we needed more troops on the ground right from the day we invaded the country. That's what would have saved lives. . .maybe even half of those we lost. Oh, gosh, you have to leave with nothing and that's a shame, Julie. But thanks again for helping us play, "Do They Get It? We were so glad to have you. . .hope you had fun.

--Quiz Show Host-- George. . .our next contestant, if you please.

--Announcer-- From Reading Pennsylvania, please welcome. . .Jack!

--Quiz Show Host-- Well, Jack. Say the magic word and win a million dollars. As you may know, it used to be a hundred, but you just can't beat that old inflation bug, now can you? Well Jack, it says here that you're a Wall Street broker. Would it be safe to say that you're a *former* Wall Street broker?

--Contestant-- Yes, as of about two weeks ago. It would indeed be fair to say that.

--Quiz Show Host-- Well, we do feel your pain, Jack. But maybe you'll say the magic word and make it all better again. Meanwhile, let's get started. Here, Jack, is your first question. John McCain says he's in favor of privatizing Social Security. Now since you're familiar with the rules of the game, you know that this week's Question of the Hour is: Does John McCain get it?

--Contestant-- I'd have to say Yes to that one. Yes, John McCain does get it.

--Quiz Show Host-- Oh-h-h, no! The question was right up your alley, Jack! I'm sure the audience is wondering how you could have missed it by so much! The answer is No, John McCain doesn't get it. Y'see, John McCain can't get past the word *social* in Social Security. Ah-h, but then there's the second word--security. All that means, Jack, is that 'Social Security' is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government, something that Wall Street itself has learned a little something about in the last several weeks. Wall Street, the Temple of Capitalism--loathe to utter the 'S' word--nonetheless began praying to the gods of Socialism for its salvation. And too late, as it turns out. Wall Street is no more, Jack. How easily could that have been your *retirement security* a-la John McCain? And for many it truly was exactly that. Plus there's another reason why John McCain doesn't get it, and strangely enough it's for exactly the same reason why he seems *not* to question public education. It's because everyone recognizes that in the system of public education, I help pay for the next generation's education--whether I have kids or not--with my government mandated school district tax dollars just as the preceding generation paid for my education with their government mandated tax dollars. It's a perfectly balanced *social* system. Does that make it Socialism?

--Contestant-- I dunno. . .does it?

--Quiz Show Host-- Well think about it, Jack. If I've been paying for my grand-dad's retirement through my government mandated Social Security taxes--which I've been doing--then what's wrong with my grand-kids paying for my retirement through their government mandated Social Security taxes? This, John McCain would say, *is* Socialism. And yet it's the very same thing as public education, only in reverse.

--Contestant-- But. . .the only thing I hear about Social Security any more is that it's going broke.

--Quiz Show Host-- Jack, my friend. . .big bad government could begin fixing Social Security any time it wants to. The trillion dollar bail out of the country's banking and financial system proves it. Y'see, Social Security was set up originally as a trust fund, which is essentially what the government has now set up with the country's entire financial system. One of the problems with Social Security, which operated without a hitch until Congress began raiding the Social Security Trust Fund, is that we've allowed politicians of both parties to go ahead and begin *eating* our Social Security seed corn, as it were. The Trust Fund is now empty, Jack, and just like a deserted silo right before planting time, all that's left of the fund is a bunch of Uncle Sam's I-O-Us. The insurance giant AIG experienced the same problem--no reserve funding for its products. Ditto for GM, Ford, Chrysler, the airline industry, etc., etc, as they blithely followed suit with their own employee pension plans. This is what happens when long-term obligations are handled as if they were short-term expenses. So of course it's crunch time for the government-caused Social Security problem and for starters, the government needs to begin making good on its overdue long-term obligations. After all, weren't Fannie and Freddie considered "too big to let fail?"

--Contestant-- Well. . .I guess.

--Quiz Show Host-- Right on. So Jack, just for comparison purposes, what-say we add a little perspective to the size of the Social Security problem. Some quick math on the back of an envelope says that the Social Security problem is larger than current financial crisis by a factor of 10, or thereabouts. Now would you think that capital markets could steer a ship ten times the size of the Titanic across the same North Atlantic route even as that historic liner, while under their current command, has just hit an iceberg?

--Contestant-- Well. . .I really never. . .

(Sound of a Cuckoo clock in the background)

--Quiz Show Host-- Oo-o-o-o, that's the big Cuckoo on the wall, Jack, telling us it's time to get out of here. Will we see you back here tomorrow?

--Contestant-- You got it.

--Quiz Show Host-- And we hope everyone out there gets it as Jack tries to answer the question, "Do They Get It?" So long everybody


------
Fritzwilliam


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