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Bush Economic Team Completes Tour of Midwest Gated Communities
August 9, 2003
Satire by David Albrecht

WEST DES MOINES, IA., August 7, 2003 — In a bid to boost support for the president's economic policies, Treasury Secretary John Snow and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao today wrapped up their five-day listening tour through some of the Midwest's least economically troubled communities. Vowing to "show that we care" about economic issues, the Cabinet members spoke with carefully screened audiences of business leaders, party activists and high-dollar contributors throughout the Midwest.

In the exclusive Lakeside subdivision of suburban West Des Moines, Secretary Snow visited the home of local GOP committeewoman Elaine Kovacs. Departing from his prepared remarks for his audience of local business owners, Snow pronounced himself bullish on the economy. "When I visit a home like this, and I see all of the lovely Lladro and Hummel figurines, the beautiful Franklin mint collector plates, the plasma-screen television and the four-car garage with a shiny new Hummer parked right out front, I know that the American economy is strong and getting stronger." Kovacs, recently promoted by Principal Financial Group for outsourcing most of the company's data and IT positions, agreed. "It's a great honor to have Secretary Snow here, and I know that he likes what he's hearing from us."

Mrs. Kovacs, whose family stands to enjoy a reduction of $67,000 in their federal income tax this year, stands firmly behind the Bush team. "This tax cut is just what we needed, and I know that these tax cuts are just what the country needs as well. Besides, its our money." Though unfamiliar with the projected size of the federal deficit in the coming fiscal year, Kovacs wasn't worried. "After all," she noted, "they can just print more money."

In the wake of announcements from Iowa-based Maytag that hundreds more of its manufacturing jobs will be eliminated in favor of contracting with foreign suppliers, probably in Mexico or China, Snow maintained his positive outlook. "Look, isn't this really a net gain? Doesn't it make much more sense for us to outsource dirty industrial jobs to countries where people, in all honesty, probably don't live long enough to suffer the long-term effects of the toxins? I don't think people in Iowa want these kind of polluting jobs here," Snow said, to applause. Snows remarks also covered the benefits of home equity loans, the recent stock market rebound and the ins and outs of hedge funds.

After leaving the Kovacs' home, Snow's visit to West Des Moines concluded with a fund-raising visit to the Greenleaf Country Club. There, party activists paid $5,000 to enjoy coffee, donuts and a five-minute speech on the heroes of September 11th, presented by Vice President Dick Cheney.

Snow's remarks on industrial policy were replicated by Labor Secretary Chao, during a brief visit to a Wal-Mart in Rolla, Missouri. After being promptly and politely greeted at the front door by retiree George Anderson, Chao headed to the appliance section. She pointed out a foreign-made washing machine that cost nearly $200 less than a comparable Maytag model. "This is competition", Chao stated, "and American companies need to realize that competition is now global. American consumers have shown time and time again that they don't care about a washing machine's flag, but about its price tag." Dozens of minimum-wage Wal-Mart employees applauded enthusiastically during her brief remarks.

The Wal-Mart visit was not on the original schedule, since the Wal-Mart in question was not located in a gated community, country club or local Chamber of Commerce. But after a visit to the company's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas and a celebrity golf fundraiser with GOP stalwarts Bo Derek and Wayne Newton, CEO David Glass suggested the visit. Chao happily took him up on the invitation. "Wal-Mart has produced tens of thousands of jobs in this country, and I felt that they deserved recognition for all they've done to revitalize the economies of towns and cities throughout the Midwest. They've also done a lot to restore America's competitive spirit"

After leaving south-central Missouri, Chao's equilibrium and confidence were only briefly disturbed during her bus tour by the sight of a homeless man. However, once the curtains of the bus were drawn, she continued to work on her prepared remarks, presented later that day at the St. Louis Hyatt. There, a meeting of business leaders paid $10,000 each for ice water, potato chips and a three-minute speech from President Bush on the heroes of September 11th.

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