The Christmas Grinch List

Garry Reed's picture

Immediately following what rabid Rightists dubbed "The most important election in the history of civilization" (i.e., the 2004 presidential vote-fest) came much teeth-grinding, fist-shaking and hair-yanking from losing Lefties about the "Stolen Election." Apparently, after generations of Democrats reportedly stealing elections from Republicans, the liberal set was shocked, shocked that the neocons just might have learned how to steal one from them.

Hollywood vainbrains vowed to flee the country while enraged Bush-bashers bogged down the email maze and webways with Appalling Predictions rivaling the Biblical End Times. One such digital diatribe contained the following foreboding forecast based on the Bush ballot win:

" . . . just wait until Christmas when gas prices are $3.25 a gallon, the stock market is floundering around 9,000, unemployment hits a 14-year high, Congress issues itself another pay raise, the military announces a "new forced retention" program, and the death toll in Iraq has topped 2,000 (yes, I'm making a prediction)."

Not being a biased Bush-basher myself (I'm an equal opportunity basher) I decided it would be fun to save this particular harangue and see what actually occurred between the email date (11/4/04) and Christmas Day, 2004.

Gas prices are $3.25 a gallon

The venerable American Auto Assn maintains a "Daily Fuel Gauge Report" on its site. Christmas day brought us a national average for regular unleaded go-juice of $1.797 per gallon. The price on November 4, the day of our sky-faller's prediction, was $2.01 per big gulp.

Stock market floundering around 9,000

From an AP article: "Investors filled with holiday cheer sent Wall Street's major indexes to new multi-year highs . . . " Result: the Dow floundered around 10,827 at Christmas break.

Unemployment hits 14-year high

The obvious place to go for this info is the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics web site. I hate doing this because a) there's this infamous aphorism about "lies, damned lies and statistics," variously attributed to Mark Twain, Benjamin Disraeli or any civil serpent serving in the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and b) I'm convinced (realistically? Paranoidally?) that whenever I visit a government web site they inject spyware into my computer. These days, any citizen interested in one's own government represents a potential threat. Anyway, their stats are reported monthly. December numbers not being available at this posting, the November 2004 unemployment rate was 5.4%. The predicted fourteen-year high actually occurred in June 1992 at 7.8%.

Congress issues itself another pay raise

Duh! Everyone can predict this -- it's automatic unless the wastrels vote against it. Whadaya think? Next year they'll pluck us for over $160,000 per wastrel.

Military announces "new forced retention" program

This is a tough one. Forced retention programs have been ongoing. I've been watching news headlines from my favorite sources (ISIL-Freedom News Daily, Rational Review News Digest, Plug Nickel Times) but haven't noticed reports of any "new" programs. But, since our governmental war-mongrels don't need to obey the same laws we do, why would they "announce" that they're extending enlistments whenever they wish, for as long as they wish?

Death toll in Iraq topped 2,000

In late October, Libertarian Today posted an AP article headlined, "Report: Up to 100,000 Iraqis killed since start of invasion, mostly women and children." Iraqbodycount.net features a cadaver counter, which tallies an estimated 14,880 to 17,076 Iraqi deaths from war's beginning through December 25. But let's assume that our wolf-crier was only concerned with total US military deaths, not total war deaths. Antiwar.com reported 1,324 total American military deaths (1,041 in combat) as of Yuletide, 2004.

Our poor Chicken Little (whom I mercifully opted to keep anonymous) apparently couldn't fathom what libertarians already understand: that one particular powercrat winning the President's perch has no effect on these kinds of predictions. What congresscrat cares who's president when automatic pay-raise time rolls around? "Gee, Kerry is Prez so now we'll vote against more public pelf!" Iraqi death tolls and "forced retentions?" While politicians' promises aren't worth the lungful of air it takes to mouth them, I don't recall Kerry promising to immediately pull us out of the Middle East. And what exactly did our master forecaster think President Kerry was going to do about the price of gas, the rate of unemployment or stock prices that Bush couldn't or wouldn't have done?

But, hey, in a free society anyone can make predictions. So here's mine, a safe one: government will get bigger, more intrusive, more abusive and more expensive, no matter who is president.

Happy New Year.



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