So, last night I have this dream that I'm wandering Chicago in my 2005 Toyota Camry, searching for a Chicago auto repair shop. It seems my water pump is bad. Now, there are a number of strange things about this story that make me realize it's a dream.
1) I didn't know a car has a water pump.
2) I don't have a Toyota Camry, let alone a very specific 2005 model.
3) I don't live anywhere near Chicago.
So, in my dream, I try to figure out what the hell is going on.
And then it hits me.
Chicago represents Barack Obama - obviously. The Toyota Camry alludes to foreign trade and the fact that Obama just decided to impose a 40% tariff on Chinese tires to appease the Steelworkers' Union, which will, in-turn, cause China to raise tariffs on things that they import from us like chicken and auto parts and, in the end, cause everybody to have to pay more, but hey, at least he kept his union buddies happy once again - at the expense of the rest of the country - again.
The water pump represents the fact that I really have to pee.
So, I woke from the dream - thank goodness, but the ensuing feeling of relief was purely physical, since the rest of the metaphor was still troubling. Here is a man in charge of our country that is making international trade and foreign policy decisions based on political pay-offs rather than for the economic welfare and security of our nation.
Aren't you glad you don't worry about these things in the middle of the night?
I have yet to hear anybody, but the administration and the union defend this move. And why was it done practically in the middle of the night? Obama was fulfilling a campaign promise to "crack down" on unfair trading policies and trying to help bolster the American tire industry. You know how you can help bolster the American tire industry? Stop bogging them down with taxes that make them unable to compete in the world market. This administration is so bent on doling out punishment that they refuse to look at root causes and deal with the actual problem.
I learned this lesson in my job as a health and safety director: if there is an accident, I can punish the person involved, which does little to nothing, or I can do an investigation, get to the root cause of the problem, and make changes in order to prevent the accident from ever happening again. Which solution is the better solution is pretty obvious.
Now, we'll face higher tire prices so, most likely, people will wait longer to replace their tires, thereby increasing the number of safety issues on the road. All for what? To "protect American workers from unfair trade"? What unfair trade is that? That our tire companies feel they can survive as a business by buying Chinese tires? That, since they are already inhibited by high taxes, high insurance costs, high union wages, and so on, that they have to make money somewhere? I believe Rand called this the "Anti-Dog Eat Dog Rule" in Atlas Shrugged. It's scary how accurate that book is - almost as accurate as my dreams.
I mean, there really IS a water pump in a car.
J.E. Braun is the author of Paranoia, a 9/11 survivor's tale. Jim survived 9/11, but his life did not. Follow one man's journey through post traumatic stress as he attempts to rediscover what once made life worth living. 10% of profits from sales of Paranoia will be donated to the Twin Towers Orphan Fund (www.ttof.org). For more information, visit www.jebraun.com.