A thought from Shakespeare’s England, comes in a book published in 1592. It tells the young swain to bend old pennies and give them to his sweetheart as she will remember you every time she reaches into her purse.
I believe they called it penny pinching, which over time has become the purview of tightwads. National media reports of financial doom and gloom suggest we’ll all have to become penny pinchers to survive.
Maybe our Yukon sparrow tale holds a lesson. He, like so many Canadians, forgot we have four seasons, one being winter, which apparently came as a surprise.
Anyway, this sparrow left the Yukon the same time as a lot of Canadians got around to putting on winter tires — late!
He hit a storm on the Prairies, iced up and was forced down into the snow. He was certain he was doomed. Then, suddenly, he felt warm all over. A cow had come by and dropped a warm load onto him.
He felt so good he began his happy chirping. A nearby cat heard him, dug him out of the snow and ate him.
The moral of the story is: Someone who dumps on you is not necessarily your enemy; someone who digs you out is not necessarily your friend, and when you’re up to your neck in it, it’s not wise to sing about it.
So here we have the auto-making CEOs, up to their neck in it, leading a parade, grinning like Cheshire cats, wanting us to tighten our belts and dump a pile of green on them so they’ll get warm all over — again.
There’s also an equal number of folks telling us we should follow the Irish who claim it’s easy to halve the potato, when there’s love. But that immediately puts us into a quandary. The only love we’ve seen from the million-dollar babies is a love of greenbacks, which brings the cowboy’s thought, edited slightly, to mind: “When you scalp a taxpayer more’n once, you begin to run outa hide.”
So, if we bail out the rich, what’s the chance of we taxpayers runnin’ outa hide?
That’s when her memory comes again. She was a Japanese Canadian who ran one of those small mom-and-pop businesses, which usually create more jobs than the big spenders. It was in Ontario during a major ice storm. Long power outages and shortages proved greed isn’t the exclusive domain of the rich, except in her store. Her conduct warranted a visit from a city newspaper reporter.
“Your prices haven’t changed,” the reporter asked. “Why?”
“Why should I profit from my neighbours and friends, when I’m already making a profit?” she answered his question with her own.
Our political negotiators should take her business honesty lessons to the big spenders now circling the bargaining table, and let them match her love of country and people, especially their thousands of employees.
Gordon McRobb is right on with his astute description of our current economic situation: “What we’ve got today is socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor!”
A tip of the hat to the thousands of small-business owners who aren’t part of the parade to our taxpayers’ vault. This Irish thought fits them, and us too:
“It’s easy to be pleasant,
When life flows by like a song.
But the man and woman worthwhile is the one who will smile,
When everything goes dead wrong.
For the test of the heart is trouble,
And it always comes with years.
And the smile that is worth the praises of Earth,
Is the smile that shines through tears.”
Maybe it’s time the big spenders shed a tear or two, and put a dollar or two into the big pot, eh?