Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

August 2001

Economic chill-out

Is it winter, yet?

Or, is the chill I'm feeling all attributable to the economic willies?

Lest we forget where we've come from, consider the following conventional wisdom from years past.

Democrats start wars; Republicans cause depressions. This bit of wisdom points to former presidents Hoover and Roosevelt as proofs. And, then came HST (the S stood for S, if I'm remembering correctly), Ike, JFK, LBJ, the trickster and one of my favorites, Jimmy. Then, Ronnie, George the first, you-know-who and that Midland oily, Dubya.

So, Truman stopped the Second World War (with a little help from the allied forces and a couple of horrific bombs). But then he started the Korean conflict (well, he didn't personally start it but he gets as much credit for starting it as he did for stopping the other). By the way, stopping the big one and starting the little one did wonders for the economy: all those VFWers coming back, going to school, buying cars, having babies and buying houses (roughly in that order).

Ike stopped the Korean conflict but didn't do a heck of lot for the economy. It wasn't even that great for General Motors.

JFK and LBJ stirred the pot with the Viet Nam conflict and the war on poverty (I'm pretty sure we lost both.)

Nixon had us take the last helicopter out of Saigon while he imposed Tier 1-2-3 price and profit controls.

Did I forget Ford? Oh, well.

Carter was cool. He gave all the draft dodgers amnesty if they promised to wait in line for gasoline. Also, Carter was into peanuts and yellow ribbons and had an economic personal best prime rate north of 20 percent. He declared war on something or the moral equivalent of war on something but I forget what.

Perhaps Reagan was a closet-Democrat because he absolutely crushed Grenada, capturing a rebuilt John Deere lawn tractor and freeing a huge cohort of future docs who couldn't get into a real medical school in the process.

It was Bush the elder who spent a week whupping the Iraqis but it was Clinton who let business bloom and markets roar for eight years.

So, is the Dubbed one going to start a war, recession, neither, both?

Only Dick Cheney knows.

Back to important stuff -- is it true you can pledge your Vermont income tax refund towards a ski pass? Did the Vermont Expos really sprint out to a big lead at the start of the season? Are there more professional sports venues named by banks or beers? (Bank One, Coors, Busch, PNC, Miller, Fleet ...) When you calculate your wealth, how much do you attribute to your sagacity, thrift, wit and guile and how much to inflation?

Speaking of inflation and playing fields -- in the early '70s Schafer Beer paid then-Patriots owner Billy Sullivan $150,000 to have their name hung high in Foxboro for a few years. CMGI (the stock you should've shorted) has promised to pay $150,000,000 (or so) for the naming rights to the new New England Patriots stadium.