The Turkey That Is Obamanomics
By: Nancy Salvato
Thanksgiving day progressed in somewhat the usual manner, sleeping in; savoring our coffee; reading the news; putzing around on the computer; and at least one of us (me) working out in anticipation of moderating the inevitable consequences of splurging on an inordinate amount of really good food. Soon, though, we found the afternoon getting away from us and realized we needed to pick up the pace. Our newly allotted time-frame no longer permitted enough time for us to take our dogs, Reilly and Coulter, for a long walk. With the promise that we’d take them to the forest preserve with us the following day, we grabbed the dishes we’d prepared earlier, leaving the pups to their own devices, soon to arrive at our destination.
After exchanging hugs and kisses, we got down to the business of setting out the food and carving the turkey. Sitting around the dinner table, we gave thanks for our family, friends, the meal before us and voiced our hope that the soldiers spending this Thanksgiving away from their loved ones would be kept safe in the months to come. Then, in what seemed like an inordinately short amount of time â€“ in contrast to the time it took to plan and prepare the meal â€“ we toasted to each other and plowed through the turkey, stuffing and other fixings, eventually chasing it all down with dessert. Now we were ready to play games.
We began with the new â€œpolitically correctâ€ version of the time-honored game, Risk. I do not like playing Risk by the new rules; rules which no longer require world domination for the winner or the same effort by each player. Instead, everyone is assigned a different mission, which means that one person might need to take over an entire continent, while another need only win 1 territory to end the game. We spent too much time setting up a board to have the game end before everyone even had a turn to roll the dice.
Putting Risk aside, we eased into cards with King’s Corners, a family tradition at our holiday gatherings. Upon reaching 150 points, it was time to let the real games begin. We would be playing poker for pennies and we had a novice amongst us. She would be learning how to play the game.
My mother-in-law produced a huge collection of pennies and issued each of us a stack of 50. The first round was Screw Your Neighbor. Everyone anteed up 3 pennies and very quickly a pot was accumulated in the middle of the table. We played winner take all, alternating between games: Bishop’s Pride, Baseball, Dime Store, 5 Card Stud, 5 Card Draw, and variations where we assigned wild cards such as One-Eyed-Jacks, black 7′s and such. Some of us, noticing our stacks of pennies were becoming depleted, simply reached into the penny jar and took more pennies to stay in the game.
At first, my mother-in-law told us to keep count of what we were withdrawing but that rule was soon abandoned. As we played well beyond midnight, our novice and her brother, whose stacks of pennies were getting higher or at least not becoming depleted (beginner’s luck), began to wonder aloud about the practice.
Our novice asked, â€œHow can it be fair if you can just reach in and grab more pennies when you are running low or run out? How can there be a winner?â€
To which my sister-in-law responded, â€œThink of it as a no interest loan to be paid back when you have the money. There are plenty of pennies in the jar.â€
â€œYeah, it’s Obama money,â€ my husband, Frank, said.
Our novice looked confused.
Now we had an opportunity to really begin having fun with her.
Frank elaborated, â€œRemember that YouTube video, taped in Michigan, of the woman who was waiting in line, who when asked by the reporter why she was there, answered, â€˜I’m here for Obama money.’ Remember? The reporter asked her where she thought the money came from and she answered, â€˜I don’t know. Obama. I think it’s from his stash. That’s why we love him, that’s why we voted for him. It’s Obama money.’ She was there for some of that free Obama money. Well, that’s essentially what this penny jar is, for our purposes, Obama money.â€
My sister-in-law mockingly began to chant, â€œObama, Obama, Obama.â€ We joked that it sounded like an ACORN protest outside a mortgage bank.
â€œHey, I want some more of that Obama money. It’s free, isn’t it? Hand over some of that Obama money,â€ I said, jokingly.
Knowing we could just grab more pennies, our bets became more and more outrageous and we played more carelessly, staying in on a bluff or with a low pair of 3′s.
After awhile, Frank began to win big and announced, â€œHere, this pile of pennies is to put back into the Obama money jar. I pay back my bailouts.â€
Now our novice started to tease me, â€œI won all my pennies but you keep taking them from the penny jar. When will you pay it back?â€
Her brother, who had a big cache of pennies in front of him, chimed in, â€œYeah, I haven’t taken any pennies. I earned my money fair and square.â€
â€œYou don’t understand,â€ I said. â€œThat’s how it works. Let me try to explain. You win your pennies; I get mine for free because it’s Obama money. That’s how it works. It’s free, and if it runs out I get more and you have to supply them to me!â€
Frank mused aloud, â€œMaybe we should do our shopping tomorrow with Obama money. What a concept. When it’s time to pay for our purchases, we’ll just say, â€˜Do you take Obama money?’ Or better yet, â€˜Just use some of that Obama money out of your register. Since we don’t have any, we get what we want here for free at your expense.’â€
My husband, still educating our novice, ended the lesson with, â€œImagine…if we were playing for real money, if you were using your own money, this game would be entirely different. Free money makes all the difference in how the game is played, doesn’t it?â€
â€œGive me some more of that Obama money,â€ I giggled. â€œI could get used to this. Yes, I like this Obama money. It’s free, because you give it to me.â€
This holiday season, as we look at many of the economic policies being embraced by the Obama Administration, the fact of the matter is Obama money isn’t a joke. Many, including those on Wall Street, in the union halls and at so-called community organizations, are gambling with Obama money â€“ taxpayer’s hard-earned money â€“ and they don’t fear the consequences of their bets, and why should they, it’s free money.