Konrad Heid, former bank president and the Ebenezer Scrooge of the Globe‘s editorial page, shouted a big “Bah, humbug!” Sunday at Elliott Denniston, though, quite disrespectfully, he didn’t mention Denniston’s name:
The Joplin Globe has a contributing voice, a retired university professor; some of my friends suggested I should read what he writes. I quickly saw their concerns.
If this is the rhetoric our young people coming out of college hear in the classroom, it is no wonder they have little understanding of fiscal responsibility for our government or themselves.
Fiscal responsibility? Did Heid say, “fiscal responsibility?”
I know they get tired of hearing it, but I will continue saying it: Republicans like Konrad Heid have absolutely—absolutely!—no business lecturing anyone about fiscal responsibility, after what they have done to the country.
Not one, but two—two!—borrow-and-spend wars, both still ablaze; a mammoth prescription drug program for seniors that wasn’t paid for; a massive tax cut, mostly for the wealthy; and Mr. Heid has the nerve to criticize a “retired university professor” for not having an “understanding of fiscal responsibility“?
You will search in vain for even a smidgen of criticism coming from The Banker about Republican malfeasance, while it was happening.
Of course, all Republicans have suddenly got that ol’ time fiscal religion down in their blessed souls, now, when they are out of power and a Democrat is in the White House. Such jailhouse conversions should be soundly rejected by anyone who was paying attention the last eight years, especially in the form expressed by Konrad Heid, as he criticized the nameless writer:
The professor was recently quoting some report that 45,000 people die every year because they don’t have health insurance. Wow, they die because they don’t have insurance? How about because they’re ill?
Nice one, Konrad. I bet you and Barbara had a good laugh over that one. Laughing all the way to the bank, I suppose. Or maybe to your beloved Joplin airport, which happens to be subsidized by fiscally irresponsible taxpayers, very few of which can afford to use the damn thing. Ha. Ha.
There is something in Heid’s ridicule of Professor Denniston’s citation that sounds so much like Scrooge, upon being solicited by a couple of Christian do-gooders at Christmastime:
“At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir….What shall I put you down for?“
“Nothing!” Scrooge replied.
“You wish to be anonymous?“
“I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge. “Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned–they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.”
“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”
“If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population…”
The similarities in spirit, if not the letter, of Scrooge’s words, is striking, but our local Ebenezer had even more Scrooge-like wisdom for us in his column:
If we are not willing to face up to fiscal responsibility for our nation, we are on a path to bankruptcy. Too many decisions are being made on emotion and compassion; how about reality for a change?
I didn’t know reality and compassion were mutually exclusive. Apparently, in the mind of The Banker, they are. In any case, to whose reality is he referring? His? Mine? One of the thousands destined to die this year due to a lack of health insurance?
I’m sure a former bank president does have a separate reality from most of the rest of us. But Heid should remember what happened to his apparent mentor, as he pondered the possible death of the unfortunate Tiny Tim:
“God bless us every one!” said Tiny Tim, the last of all.
He sat very close to his father’s side upon his little stool. Bob held his withered little hand in his, as if he loved the child, and wished to keep him by his side, and dreaded that he might be taken from him.
“Spirit,” said Scrooge, with an interest he had never felt before, “tell me if Tiny Tim will live.”
“I see a vacant seat,” replied the Ghost, “in the poor chimney-corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die.”
“No, no,” said Scrooge. “Oh, no, kind Spirit! say he will be spared.”
“If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, none other of my race,” returned the Ghost, “will find him here. What then? If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.“
Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and was overcome with penitence and grief.
“Man,” said the Ghost, “if man you be in heart, not adamant, forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is, and Where it is. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be, that in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child. Oh God! to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!“
Scrooge bent before the Ghost’s rebuke, and trembling cast his eyes upon the ground.