Post-Election Palpitations Whitman Nominated for EPA Post

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Friday,
at a press conference in Austin, President-elect George W. Bush
named New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman as his pick for administrator
of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“This
job will be a challenge. I recognize that,” Whitman said, adding
that she and Bush would act to strike “the right balance between
being too stuffy and becoming totally declassé.”

“In
New Jersey, we know how to protect the quality of water, the quality
of life, our polo fields, our golf courses. To ensure that our
suburbs and urban areas are not overrun by urban sprawl,” she
said, “we keep the cost of living sky high so lots of people have
to move to other states.”

“We
also face the responsibility of being good stewards to 127 miles
of beaches, thousands of miles of woodlands, and a portfolio of
superfund cleanup sites that we cherish – all of this in
the context of a dynamic and growing state presence in the life
of every citizen.”

“In
addition, as head of the EPA, I promise to continue my fight against
the self-service gas station, a symbol of the disturbed spiritual
state of our consumer culture. Being a good steward of the environment
should not have to cost us jobs, especially the jobs of those
cute grease monkeys.”

Whitman
is a somewhat polarizing figure in her party. She is a favorite
of economic conservatives because she is filthy rich, but is often
criticized by social conservatives, who quite easily become agley.
Because of her strong pro-abortion stance, many in the pro-life
wing suspect that she may mandate putting RU-486 in the nation’s
water supply.

Whitman’s
views on abortion reportedly kept her from being considered as
a potential Bush running mate, took her out of contention to head
the Health and Human Services Department, and may have prevented
her from winning the Miss New Jersey Pageant in 1972.

When
GW Bush Talks, People Listen

A
top economic aide to President Clinton accused President-elect
George W. Bush Thursday of “talking down” the U.S. economy for
short-term partisan gain and because he thinks it’s cool that
he now can.

“I
think it sends a signal that he’s willing to be political in describing
the economy, instead of saying nice, non-partisan things that
won’t distress it,” White House economic adviser Gene Sperling
said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program.

“Months
ago, simply by contemplating running, Bush had already begun to
destroy the strongest economy the world has ever known.”

“It’s
not like when I was a young boy. Then, folks had respect for the
economy. We would speak in hushed tones of reverence about its
mysterious ways. Sometimes, if times got real rough, like if there
were Republicans around, we would sacrifice a chicken or a stray
cat and pray. Pray for someone like Bill Clinton to come along.
Someone who could talk to the economy in a language that the economy
can understand. Tame it. Make it behave like the gentle, compassionate,
steadily-growing creature that it can be. Today, however, the
economy is already cowering in fear just contemplating the huge
deficit that Bush may bring about by his foolish, risky tax scheme.
At any moment it could become hostile and irrational.

“The
economy is not some unfeeling inanimate object that you can just
hurl negative pronouncements at. It is a beautiful, living, breathing
organism that that needs to be encouraged by thinking happy, positive
thoughts. When its housing starts looked a little wan or its durable
goods orders were drooping, President Clinton would often have
Anthony Robbins come around help the economy to visualize a better
image of itself. If this economy falters, it will be because of
callous Republicans who don’t know that words can hurt.”

Bush,
responding from Austin, told reporters “Darn right I’m talking
down the economy – talking it down from a window ledge before
it jumps.”

Being
Alan Greenspan

For
the first time in two years, Federal Reserve policy makers signaled
that their stingy mood is about over and they’ll be getting back
to their usual generous ways. Recession, they say, rather than
inflation, poses the greatest risk to the record U.S.. economic
expansion. This paves the way for a reduction in interest rates,
perhaps at their next meeting, at the end of January. Through
Stu’s uncle Mort
Morgenstern
, Capitol Hill barber to the elite and himself
a political power broker, we were able to get an interview with
Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan. The Chairman agreed to meet us at
the Hooters out on 50 in Fairfax. After a few rounds got him to
loosen up and answer some questions:

LRC:
What is your reaction to the recent decline in the NASDAQ?

AG:
What Alan Greenspan giveth, Alan Greenspan taketh away.

LRC:
The last time the Fed cut rates was in 1998, when the Russian
debt crisis, the Long Term Capital Management collapse and a corresponding
credit crunch crisis threatened to clobber markets and consumer
confidence. Do you anticipate a similar move at the next Fed meeting?

AG:
Let me answer that question with a short story. Three patients
at a mental institution wanted to be released. The head psychiatrist
gave them a simple test: “What is two plus two?” The first patient
said, “Five.” The second, “Wednesday.” The third got it right.
“Four,” he opined. The first two patients returned to their ward.
Patient three was free to go. “By the way,” asked the doc as the
man was leaving, “how did you work out the answer?” “Easy,” said
the patient. “I just added five plus Wednesday.”

LRC:
Alan, a poignant tale indeed. How are you able to sound so wise
and thoughtful?

AG:
The evening before I’m going to speak to the press I make a point
of watching the movie Being There.

LRC:
How are you able to manage something as complex as the modern
American economy without interfering with the competitive forces
of the market?

AG:
The Fed chairman is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. He
is as omnipresent as partially hydrogenated soybean oil but as
elusive as a squantz’s tears.

LRC:
What can you tell us about your years spent in the Ayn Rand’s
inner circle?

AG:
Ayn Rand – God, now there was a woman! Tough as nails on
the outside but soft as butter inside.

LRC:
What were you thinking at that last Fed meeting, when you decided
not to change interest rates?

AG:
I was thinking, “Now what was that Mises told me? Do I feed a
boom and starve a bust, or starve a boom and feed a bust?” I just
couldn’t remember, so I decided we’d better stand pat.

LRC:
Can you tell our readers anything about what it’s like being Fed
Chairman?

AG:
Man, this job is cool! People want to film me walking from my
car to the Fed building. I made the president give me my own missile
defense shield. I even got to meet Madonna!

December
25, 2000

Gene
Callahan is a regular contributor to mises.org,
and Stu
Morgenstern is contributing editor at The
Frumious Bandersnatch
.

2000, Gene
Callahan
and
Stu Morgenstern

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