Column Date 2008-05-02

Our Placebo President

I finally figured out what went wrong with America over the past seven years.

We’re the group that got the placebo.

Instead of giving us real medicine, our country got the sugar-coated pills. And they’re not working.

Oh, for a brief period there was the hope, the illusion, that things were getting better, that this administration actually knew what it was doing.

Remember how everyone’s voice would be heard in the Republican's “Big Tent”? How no child would be left behind? How giving tax breaks to billionaires would boost our whole economy?

Remember how we won the war by hoisting a banner that said “Mission Accomplished”? And what a great job "Brownie" did in New Orleans?

Nothing but sugar coating – not a drop of real medicine was actually prescribed.

It’s now clear that we’re in the control group, and we’re failing all our clinical trials:

Instead of the Clinton budget surplus, we now owe China trillions of dollars and have become the world’s biggest debtor nation.

Instead of a strong U.S. dollar, it’s now deep in the cellar. Even the Canadian dollar (that's right, the Canadian dollar!) is worth as much as ours, and a basic continental breakfast in London will set you back around thirty bucks.

Instead of coming up with a rational energy policy that's good for America, we continue sending billions of dollars to countries that hate us, in order to protect our freedom to drive the world's largest cars and get 11 miles to the gallon.

And it's not just Washington that's handing out placebos.

The Republican-dominated Florida legislature, faced with a budget deficit that runs in the billions, has just decided it would be foolish to actually raise taxes.

Instead, they significantly increased government fees on a whole bunch of state licenses.

The first fee they raised? An increase of $10 (from $40 to $50) for anyone applying to be declared an indigent. ("Hey, Pete, can you spare an extra $10? I never figured it would cost so much to be officially poor...")

I think we're finally catching on to the political placebo ploy.

In fact, the press has reported that George W. Bush is now seriously concerned about his legacy. And it wouldn't surprise me if he winds up with severe anxiety problems.

But the good news is that pharmaceutical companies are now testing some powerful new anti-depressants that might help him.

Wouldn't it be ironic if he's in the group that gets the placebo?

©2008 Peter Tannen