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Columns

July 1, 2008

Travels with Uncle Chet: U.S. hasn't seen rock bottom yet

COLUMBUS _ ``The market's tanking and we're splurging,'' Uncle Chet reflected as we drove home in his silver Ranger with two hot pizzas.

``How much did it drop?'' I asked.

``350 points, and oil topped $140 a barrel.''

``Scary,'' I said. ``The Fed's already tried resuscitation and the patient isn't responding.''

``Do you think my hair looks all right?'' asked the little miscreant, who sat between us, staring into a compact mirror.

``Fine,'' I said without looking.

``The patient's dying,'' said Uncle Chet. ``The Republicans are killing Uncle Sam because he's the only one who can stand up to big business. They're trying to bury him in debt, or at least turn him into a pipsqueak.

``First, they cut off his blood, the taxes he used to collect from the rich. Then they start a phony war, siphoning money from the Treasury to Halliburton, and now they're running up the price of oil and running down the dollar.''

``What's the point?'' I said.

``Power,'' he said. ``We're all serfs now, supplicants at work or on Social Security. Do what you're told, or your job's going to New Delhi, along with your health insurance. One false move and you lose your house.''

``We need Obama,'' I said.

``Serfs know their place,'' said Uncle Chet. ``They don't have pesky unions and crazy ideas about equality. You don't lobby against global warming, the WTO and telecom spying when you're in a depression.''

``A depression makes the Army look pretty good, too,'' I noted.

``True, there's another benefit,'' he said. ``Now we can start a new war and we won't need a draft, because the new poor will keep filling the ranks.''

``I hate bangs, especially when they're long, like these,'' said the little miscreant, snapping the compact shut. ``They make me look like a 10-year-old.''

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