9-9-9—is the New 6-6-6

by on March 7th, 2015
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My cell phone rang and the caller ID said ‘Hell’. I answered the phone and said, “Karl Rove you old devil, how’s the brimstone treating you?”

“Oh please, you’re not even trying. You never even pick dead people anymore!” Satan responded.

“Most of the dead guys have stopped offending me.” I remarked. “Listen, I told you we need to keep these calls short. You’re not in my plan, and the rates I pay for these calls are—hellish.”

“All right, so to put it concisely I was hoping we could meet at our favorite Manhattan bar restaurant for a nice drink, a smooth cigar and talk about our favorite subject.”

“Honestly that has to be the last place in Manhattan where you can still smoke where other people are eating. How do you manage that?”

“The owner wants to stay on my good side. We’re, uh, moving in together, in about 4 years, but try not to mention the 4 years part to him because he doesn’t know that yet!” Satan laughed and I didn’t know if he was kidding. “So naturally he doesn’t mind risking a small fine for our bad behavior.” Satan continued.

“I’m on my way. It’s a good time of day for me to get from Brooklyn to Manhattan, In lighter midday traffic I should be able to get to you the same day I start driving.” I hung up the phone and was off.

When I arrived I found Satan seated at the bar with the chair right next to him available despite the crowd. “I saved you a seat.” Satan said and seated on the chair was a tiny little kitten. I started to sit down expecting the kitten to move but instead its eyes turned bright red, it opened its mouth 10 times its body size to expose sharp multiple rows of teeth like a white shark’s and flames started coming out of its nose. I backed up as Satan said: “No Fluffy, this is who we were waiting for.” Instantly the kitten reverted back to normal and started purring while it began to lick its paw. “Good girl.” Satan said as he stroked its back and it disappeared in a fluffy white puff of smoke. I took the seat. “Thanks.” I said. A moment later the bartender brought over a glass of Balvenie Double Wood single malt scotch and a clipped CAO Gold Churchill cigar. “You always show exceptional taste.” I smiled.

“And you always give the devil his due.” He remarked. “Would you like me to get Fluffy back to light it?” Satan asked.

“That’s all right,” I said pulling out a cigar lighter.

“So—Herman Cain, President of the United States. How does that sound?” Satan asked.

“Like a bad sitcom.” I muttered.

“How can you possibly not like Cain? You respect successful business people. Look at him on paper, he looks great.” Satan pulled out a folded paper from his overcoat and unfolded a two-page resume; on the first page were Herman Cain’s accomplishments and on the second page appeared to be Herman Cain, flat and two-dimensional trying to figure out how to get out of some sort of invisible box just like a mime. “Do you really have him in there?” I asked.

“Just for one hour a day. He owes me.” Satan laughed and I couldn’t tell if he was putting me on. Satan tapped the resume and it disappeared.

“He understands business; but despite his work at the Fed and his history with math, he clearly doesn’t understand economics. Running a business, even if it created jobs is not the same as creating public policy to foster economic growth. Nevertheless, I can make a case why he is a good candidate though.”

“Really?” Satan asked, his interest piqued.

“You see, his 9-9-9 plan is the most blatant giveaway to the rich on the backs of the poor and middle class of any Republican candidate. That’s solid Trickle-Down-Economics thinking! Now, it takes guts to espouse this policy when it has been completely discredited during the grand 2000-2008 experiment of vastly lowered taxes on the rich, an energy policy of rewarding Big Oil companies and allowing Dick Cheney to roam the American woods with a shotgun. Thanks to those policies we got the worst recession since the Great Depression, we got richer oil companies and no alternative energy development and we got some poor old lawyer shot because he was dumb enough to wander around in the same state as Cheney while he had a gun. So, as I was saying, for Herman Cain to the largest extent, but Rick Perry and Mitt Romney as well, to continue to push this scam on the American people takes real guts and determination—the kind of guts we need for our nation right now! So I would endorse Cain’s guts, certainly over Romney and Perry, but unfortunately he’ll bring his Trickle-Down brain along for the ride and the overwhelming majority of people in this country as well as the economy itself, just cannot afford that anymore!”

Satan’s eyes glazed over, the way they always look when the conversation turns from funny or nasty to serious. “So would that be a ‘for’ or an ‘against’ his presidency?” Satan asked.

“Well, I guess I am leaning a little more to the ‘against’” I answered.

“Oh, come on!” Satan demanded, “I just know Cain has three 9’s marked somewhere on his body. I was hoping we’d find them during his civil service physical—but he’ll only take that if he gets voted in!”

“Listen, I understand you like to stir up trouble, but of all the damaging Republican tax proposals, and they are all damaging to the middle class, Cain’s national sales tax is the nastiest, especially if you live in a high sales tax state. Imagine a low income earner in New York City having to pay 17% sales tax on a television. True the millionaire will pay the same 17% on his television, but as a percent of his income the rich spend less of theirs and save and invest more so this is a huge relief from the tax burden for them. there are only so many televisions a millionaire will buy. More than doubling the cost of the tax on that TV will hurt the middle class and lower wage earners disproportionately. Every dollar the lower and middle class earns they may spend, paying additional tax on just about everything. Rather than create the necessary middle class spending that all economists agree is what is missing from this anemic economic recovery, such a policy would pound more nails in the coffin of the middle class—and the economy. It would be a disaster that we cannot afford to experiment with for another 4 years after the economic devastation of the Bush/Cheney administration from which we still have not dug out.”

“You need more scotch because you’re killing my head.” Satan gasped.

“Okay, okay. Maybe Cain has a chance,” I opined to give Satan some juice. He perked up when I said it, “Go on.” He said.

“Well, Americans voters tend to like awfully simple plans— and nothing is more awful or simple than 9-9-9, so maybe the Republicans think —-possibly even rightly—that a simpleton can get it done. Maybe that can be the campaign slogan!”

“That’s more like it! Light up another cigar and let’s move on!” Satan smiled, energized once again.

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