American Idle National Tour 2004

The president is going on the road with evasive, propagandistic answers to your pressing economic questions!

By Joyce McGreevy
Published February 25, 2004 1:30AM (UTC)
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Dear Applicant,

Thank you for expressing interest in attending an upcoming economic policy event with President Bush. Due to the high level of acceptance of these preemptive events nationwide, the coordinators of the White House Advertising Tour to Tout a Happy Economy (WHAT THE) are pleased to identify and monitor those of you who have submitted questions and suggestions. We hope that the following will prove helpful to furthering our agenda.


What's it all about?

The purpose of these town-hall simulations is not merely to put lipstick on the ravaged body of the American economy, but also, with a little hand in the appropriate area, to make it sit up and smile. In the same vein, economic policy events alert our nation's most gullible to the grave dangers that Democrats pose to the current unbelievable state of our fiscal health.

On what does the White House base its optimism?


Do the math. Using the Fibbin'atcha Principle, add the 1.7 million projected new jobs for 2003 that never materialized, subtract 439,000 jobs lost that same year, then eliminate the year 2003. Multiply the 2004 projection that the average number of jobs will be 2.6 million higher than in 2003 by the number of people willing to believe anything if you say it often enough, then backpedal at a rate equal to the average velocity of two runaway trains heading in opposite directions, and cancel the 8 million unemployed. Factor in the 19th presidential visit to Florida since the 2000 ballot controversy (to the power of 5 Supreme Court justices minus 4), then after inverting the significance of 19,000 actual unemployed in Tampa, assign a greater value to the theoretical "40 more workers" that a factory owner in the same city hopes to add, and extrapolate the least likely outcome in the form of a speech that contains the words "strong" (x4), "upbeat"(x4), and "optimistic" (x7). Carry the one, carry the b.s., and do the hoky-poky as you turn yourself about. Simple, really.

Who may attend?

It is our aim to allow as many of a small, select, pre-screened group as possible to tell a story in their own words, which will be provided for them. As the president pointed out in Tampa, "There's the individual stories about hardworking, decent Americans worried about their families and what they do with the more money in their pocket."


We want to know how your worries about what to do with "the more money" in your pocket have been resolved as a direct result of tax cuts weighted toward the affluent. Your willingness to act as an emissary of optimism (or, as you may be known to your neighbors, a lovable loon) will help us misguide the nation in a more timely manner.

But as an American, I'm free to disagree, right?


While acknowledging the continued existence of "freedom," please note the president's increasing tendency to drop this word in favor of "protection," "safety," "security," "threats," "gathering threats," and "dealing with threats." Tailor your remarks accordingly. For your own protection, safety and security, kindly limit any criticism to pointing out that the tax cuts need to be made permanent.

What if I'm an idiot?

We also hope to meet individuals who may have hallucinated seeing a man roaming Alabama in a flight suit, preferably carrying a Highlights magazine, circa 1972, on which the mailing address of the dental clinic is still legible.


Who writes the president's speeches for these economic policy events?

The president does not make speeches at these events -- he has "conversations" at small-business owners and their employees.

Who writes the president's conversations?

You probably know him best for his philosophical treatise, "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." The metaphor of the spider, who makes upward progress from an indeterminate point of the spout only to encounter unexpected precipitation -- which then sends the spider, in its quintessential itsy-bitsyness, on a downward trajectory along spout -- afforded the president several parallels to the U.S. economic situation.


As he elucidated in Tampa, "When you have a recession it means the economy is going backwards." The president then posited the notion that "the recession really affected us," and meeting with no arguments to the contrary, revealed an economy that has been continually moving forward only to be moved backward as a prelude to moving forward again. In other words, although we were admittedly down the drain we will assuredly soon be up the spout.

Why does the president keep saying that jobs are being created? Aren't jobs being lost?

Yes and no, and vice versa. Some people want jobs, and some people are clearly signaling that they do not want jobs. As the president has repeatedly said, he will not be satisfied until everyone who wants a job has one, and based on the president's demeanor, it should be obvious to everyone where things stand.

Yes, the unemployment rate could soar as high as 9 percent, but this is only because of all the new jobs that the president's tax cuts are going to create. Any day now. That's the downside of job growth that you never hear about -- if news ever got out that someone was hiring, then the next thing you know 23.6 million overlooked people could suddenly say, "You know, maybe I don't want to live on air after all." Then they'd swell the labor pool -- and that's just rude. So if the job news was more favorable, things would actually be worse. Fortunately, the job news isn't favorable at all.


Why doesn't the president talk about the federal deficit at these economic policy events?

As the president pointed out about corporate CEOs, "Some of our citizens forget to tell the truth." Condemning forgetfulness in the most tepid terms possible, the president acknowledged that it had "affected the psychology of the country."

So anyway, about the deficit?

The deficit is being dealt with, by means of a three-pronged plan:


Prong 1: Eliminate or cut back 128 programs that provide housing assistance, child care and other social services to the working poor. This will reduce the deficit by up to one (1) percent -- yet without causing any adverse effects on voters earning as little as $500,000 a year or more.

Prong 2: Increase the number of people willing to say things like, "Deficits don't matter. Whether it's $500 billion up or down, it really doesn't make any difference, because we will always have deficits."

Prong 3: Stick a fork in us. We're done.

When the president said, "The facts bear me out," to what facts, if any, was he referring?


Thank you again, rejected applicant, for your interest in this event. We look forward to ignoring you many more times between now and November. You look tired. You should stay home then. It's not like you have to go to work.

Joyce McGreevy

Joyce McGreevy is a writer in Portland, Ore.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Business Federal Deficit Great Recession Unemployment U.s. Economy