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Gary Horton: Just move along folks

Full Speed to Port!

Posted: June 2, 2009 6:50 p.m.
Updated: June 3, 2009 4:55 a.m.
"Just move along folks, there's nothing left to see." So says the clichéd copper in so many old cops n' robbers movies. The action already happened - the crime, committed. There's just the debris to pick up and the blood to wash off.

Yes, the crowds will gather and gawk. Some may push or poke or cajole the police. But the poker-faced cops are "just doing their jobs, ma'am," and continue about taking care of the business at hand.

Today, the Obama Administration are those workaday cops on the beat.

I've lost thousands of dollars "misunderestimating" the competency of the Obama machine. But before I lost big I won small. Before the election, I took up two hapless patrons at Starbucks that Obama would win by at least 6 percent on the popular vote. He ended up winning by 8 percent, and I pocketed a quick, easy $200.

Being the socialist that I am, I tipped the coffee gals $30 and bought $10 coffee coupons for the guys around the table. So I won $200, shared $120, and netted $80 - kind of like living in Finland. You keep 40 cents on your pay and everyone has all the coffee they can drink and live happily ever after.

Finland! Land of the world's no.-1 education and health care systems. You get what you pay for and Finland's 60-percent tax levy gets a lot. Almost no crime. Or the expensive prisons that are necessary for failing to fund excellent education and health care for the poor. Because properly educated and nurtured, the poor become middle class and middle class people generally don't commit crime.

Gallup just put out a study showing that citizens of countries with the highest tax rates are also the world's happiest people. Honest truth. Folks in the Netherlands, Finland and Norway pay the world's highest tax tabs, but also rank as the least stressed, happiest, most contented humans. The Land of Liberty pays much less tax, but only lands at the No. 11 spot on the happiness scale. We are happier than Somalia, however.

Two factors figure. First, the tax rates are deceiving. Adding what Americans pay through the nose for health care and college tuition our tax bills gets us to a "true tax" more or less more than what Nordic-types spend. When we're done with the great American health care shakedown, we have no more disposable dough than they.

But Americans are stuck with all the fret and worry while our happier Nordic brothers sing-song their days away knowing they'll not go unattended in a waiting room or abandoned to eat cat food as aging seniors. And they jiggle their kronors in their pockets without as much as a care for Johan's college bill.

Bliss, it turns out, is bliss. And here, bliss is missed. They play, and we fret over medical and college and what the heck happens to us when we're Grandpa Simpson.

But enough of the socialized Finland commercial. Back to me losing money on Obama.

So I keep underestimating the man. The Dow hit 8,700 yesterday. I sold out at 8,000, figuring no way American confidence would adjust any sooner. But the guy gets Chrysler out of deep doo-doo in 60 days while shouldering up GM as a quick second act and the markets go wild.

Entire banking industries, trembling on the very precipice of annihilation 140 days ago, are back humming and swimming in the black. The grumpiest of economists begrudgingly admit we're likely to return to growth in the fourth quarter. Garo, SCV's uber-Realtor, tells me the housing crash is over. He can't find enough homes to sell. All this from what was the brink of the next Great Depression 140 days ago.

I bet against the law, and the law won. I parked my money on the curb, and the Obama parade passed me by.

"Move along everyone, there's nothing left here to see." Obama and Co. go about business and get the job done. No drama. "Just doing our jobs, ma'am."

Of course, there's the inevitable sideshow. Rush bursts an engorged gut when Obama takes Michelle to New York on a date. A date, as in a good "family values, romantic" date. The thrice-married heckler of the right howls and growls that Obama loves and dates his wife. I'd bet $200 there are more than a few Republican SCV wives who wouldn't mind some of that Obama lovey-dovey in their marriages.

For this administration, job one is diligently taking care of business whether the business is romance, finance or diplomatic nuance. Of course, I realize that sooner or later, the inevitable misstep has to come.

But for now on, I'm betting with the house. They're the calm cops on the beat and have got things covered. To bet against them is to almost certainly lose.

Gary Horton lives in Valencia. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Full Speed to Port" appears Wednesdays in The Signal.


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