"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, May 14, 2022

The Joe Biden Crop-Dusting, Notions & Baling Wire Company–Something For Everyone

All-purpose businesses were a common sight in early 20th Century America.  Enterprising settlers in the Midwest started small – a feed store, then a a silo and warehouse, then farm equipment all to meet the needs of a growing, prosperous country.  Hiram Jenkins was one of these entrepreneurs, who saw that in order to expand his Iowa corn acreage, he would have to hire a crop-dusting service, fly-by-night operations whose bi-planes were put together with baling wire and flimsy canvas, barely got off the ground, sputtered and coughed their way over Randolph County, barely making it back to the airstrip.  

More often than not the planes were grounded because of mechanical failure, parts shortage, or absent pilots.  Every year, Jenkins’ crop was eaten by stalk borers and cutworms, and he had barely enough corn to pay the mortgage let alone make a profit.

Image result for images old crop dusting biplanes

It was then that he decided to go into business for himself, but knew that until he had the inventory, the reputation, and the means to make a go of crop-dusting, he would have to splice on other services, and before long the Jenkins Pest Control, Hardware & Feed Company was incorporated.  For the men he hired to rent and sell tools and farm equipment, the engine of the 1917 Curtis Jenny was a snap, as were its struts, wings, ailerons, and rudder.  The feed service grew out of the increased productivity of Jenkins’ corn acreage.  Each branch of the company supported every other, and Jenkins Pest Control, Hardware & Feed was a going concern.

Such multi-service enterprises are long gone, replaced by specialized services and products, agribusiness, and the international economy; but the idea is still attractive as a way of life and an expression of the best that is America.  So it is no surprise that the Biden Administration has re-invented itself in the image of the self-reliant, entrepreneurial Middle American.  “We can be all things to all people”, the President is fond of saying, imagining in his mind the old Five & Ten store in Wilmington where he bought joy buzzers and thread for his mother; or the notions store on Hall Street with aisles so narrow you had to sidle down them to get to the thimbles, yarn, and birthday cards. 

Joe liked to shop at these stores, all-purpose places with so many offerings and possibilities.  There was something comforting about a store which carried everything, always open, inexpensive, and proudly American.

Image result for images old 20th century five and dime stores

When he turned sixteen and before there were any glimmerings of a political career, he had asked his father if he could apply for a job at Barking’s Notions.  Just being among so many practical things, to smell fabric, varnish, old wood, and soap made him happy.  While other boys laid tar, worked as apprentice telephone linemen, hod carriers, or construction workers, Joe would sell little things, filling simple needs, helping out in a quiet way.  His father of course refused, such work being only for girls, and what did he know about notions and female things anyway. Was he queer?

Joe, being a smart boy with ambition soon got over this strange preoccupation, but never lost the spirit.  All along his political way, he always invoked the image of the notions store and the ‘something for everybody’ ethos that it represented.  As he rose up the ranks of the Democratic party, he became imbued with the progressive notion of ‘giving unto others’ a philosophy which reflected not only his Catholic upbringing but his sense of duty and responsibility.  In every office he held, Joe had to be restrained from giving away the store.  His inner circle was increasingly worried about his boundless generosity.

Timon of Athens is a play about such a naively generous leader who, in his desire to be bounteous pays no attention to his treasury and soon falls deeply in debt.  He brushes off the counsel and warnings of his aides, saying that generosity is a universal quality among all men, that largesse is always repaid in kind, that debtors and creditors always reach easy accommodation in a spirit of good will and community.  

He of course is naïve if not ignorant, blind to the true nature of men and society, and when his creditors call in their loans and no one who has feasted at his  banquets comes forward to offer financial assistance, he becomes cynical and misanthropic and flees Athens for the deep woods where he lives alone and dies.

Image result for images timon of athens

The Democratic Party in which Biden has thrived throughout his career has always been of Timon’s ilk without his cynicism.  Party faithful have always given regardless of treasury balances because giving to those in need is ipso facto a good thing, undeniably right, and always virtuous.  

Democratic Party giving has been as eclectic and polyvalent as the old crop-dusting and baling wire companies of old, and the reserves of the federal treasury were drawn down lower and lower for pre-school and remedial elementary education, subsidized higher education, purses-open social welfare programs, generous subsidies for food, energy, health, and every other social requirement.  Government under Democratic governance has always been a version of Joe Biden’s Five and Dime, something for everyone.  The Five and Dime at least charged for its goods, while each progressive government in Washington charged nothing, gave goods and services away free at taxpayer expense.

Biden in the first year of his presidency has sponsored two mammoth giveaway bills, catch-alls which beggar the Polyvalent imagination.  Something for everyone taken to the nth degree, all under the management of the federal government  The Social Welfare and Infrastructure bills will cost the taxpayer billions if not trillions of dollars, willy nilly expenditures justified because ‘so much is wrong with this country’.

“It feels good to do good”, the President happily confided to his advisers. “This is what we are here for, to give something to everyone, to be the government for all the people”.

‘What would The Little Sisters of the Poor do?’, the President often asked his advisers in response to a pressing social issue.  The Sisters were known for their charitable work, nuns who took Jesus’ example seriously and tirelessly worked soup kitchens and homeless shelters in Wilmington when Joe was a boy.  They also were in attendance at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church where they taught Catechism and cleaned the rectory for the fathers, and they preached their longstanding belief in charity as the pathway to heaven.  

Joe took this seriously; but somewhere along the way confused charity with giving things away.  He was so moved by a poor person, that he automatically reached into his pocket for some loose change when he saw one.  He never passed a homeless man on a grate without a smile, a wave, and a kind word.  It was there in the shelters, on the grates, and in the gutters of Wilmington that 'something for everyone’ was born.  By the time he sat in the Oval Office, his way had been paved, cleared, and ready.

Image result for images little sisters of the poor in slums

His crop-dusting, baling wire, and brewer polyvalent approach to charity was never forgotten.  As much as he spread his (government’s) largesse widely, he also did what he could to maximize its ‘inclusivity’.  He favored poor women who were also black, Latino, and LGBTQ, feeling that in so doing he could not only more efficiently use government resources but more importantly in one fell swoop treat the many illnesses which beset American. ‘Something for everyone’ in one woman was a stroke of Christian, progressive genius, he thought.

Of course everyone in the Republican party thought he had gone batty – battier than he usually was – and felt that the President was nothing more than a storybook Catholic and an Oneida, one-world, Utopian fabulist.  ‘Government is not the solution’, said Ronald Reagan. ‘Government is the problem’; and Joe Biden was reversing this homily in fine order.  

This dotty old gentleman was putting  Come One, Come All festoons and banners all over the White House portico, opening borders to all comers, and promising free education, health care, social welfare, food stamps, and good will to every wetback who waded across the Rio Grande.  A sad, Les Misérables look on the face of a slum child was enough for Joe to open the sluice gates and pour money into every minority community within sight.  He was called ‘The Marion Barry Of Pennsylvania Avenue’, a reference to the former Mayor For Life of the District of Columbia who was famous for walkin’ around money, giving no-show jobs, and  turning a blind eye to dysfunctional street behavior (‘Black Expressionism’). 

This comparison was perhaps a bit unfair because Joe’s charity was never calculated or political.  Giving away money to the disadvantaged not only was good, it felt good. At times he reminded himself of the great Arab sheiks of yesteryear who sat majestically in their desert tents, received their subjects, and bestowed justice, beneficence, and rewards on the most needy.

And so it has gone for a year and counting, giveaway programs for just about everything.  The White House had become a general store, a Five and Dime, a notions outlet of fabulous proportions.  It was only when the true nature of the President’s personal fancy was revealed in staggering inflation numbers, sticker shock at the pump and grocery store, and gross unfairness to those who had done their fair share (e.g. those who had repaid their student loans), that the President’s numbers slipped to record lows.  Not only were Americans angry at slavishness to the radical Left and their race-gender agenda, his wobbly foreign policy stance, and his lack of any inspiration whatsoever, but they were tired of giving party favors to the poor. ‘We work for a living’ Walmart greeters, nurses, kindergarten aides,  truckers, roofers, mechanics, and lawn mowers shouted.

Image result for images general stores early 20th century

As of this writing (May 2022) Republican victory in the Midterm elections in November seems assured.  If ‘something for everyone’ is Joe Biden’s motto then, ‘We’ve had it’ is the country’s.

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