As someone with an economics degree, I am qualified to tell you, straight up, that our economy sucks. So I’ve been thinking about what to do to make it better.
Should we have a national debate about how to revitalize our struggling productivity? No.
First of all, that would be boring. Secondly, we aren’t a nation of economists, and the best suggestion we’d get is to have everyone in the country slam a 5-Hour Energy before work every day, and watch productivity soar (because what are a few heart palpitations if it means having a better Christmas)?
I think we, as a nation, should deal with this problem the way many of us deal with problems: make fun of those who are doing better than we are. Specifically, we can improve how we feel by making fun of the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China). What follows is the best way to fix the economy: bash other ones.
BRAZIL: Do we really care about a country that generates 90 percent of its GDP from facelifts and ransom kidnappings? So what if they’re growing while we’re stagnating. It’s too sunny there, and the people are too sexy. They’ll all be fighting melanoma and STDs, while we decide that the answer to all our economic woes is a wind farm in Texas.
RUSSIA: Russia makes all their rubles from oil, and selling weapons to Iran. Aside from the oil business, which will die as soon as every single person on Earth gets a Segway scooter for Christmas, no one should ever be jealous of countries making money from Iran. It’s like going clubbing with a really uncool friend. As long as Russia sells weapons to Iran, they’ll never get invited to any of the really cool parties (like the E.U.).
INDIA: I actually like India a lot. Any country full of people willing to change their names from Punjab to Peter just to make my Dell customer-service experience a bit more comfortable is definitely doing something right. But still, if someone told me I could get rich, but it would mean changing my name from Jeremy to Santosh and talking Indians through making sure their cows are compliant with the latest holiness standards, I don’t think it’d be worth it.
CHINA: China is the meth addict of emerging nations. Yes, it’s growing quickly. But when you consider the smog and human-rights abuses it’s not going to be healthy in the long run — and might even rob Taiwan just to feed their habit. And who cares how much money a country’s making if, every time you log onto the Internet, you can swear the eyes in the painting behind you are following you.
Now, isn’t that better! Next time you think the key to fixing our economy is cutting taxes, lowering interest rates or public spending, just realize that it’s far easier to belittle those who are outperforming us.
Jeremy Greenberg is a writer, comedian and resident of Kirkland. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Relative Discomfort: The Family Survival Guide (Andrews McMeel). www.relativediscomfort.com.