Seven Phrases That Are Killing Our Economy

The following calculation, arrived at with no calculation, really sounds accurate: 79.429 percent of America’s Gross Domestic Product consists of economic theory. In lieu of manufacturing actual products, America now churns out theories on why our  economic pituitary gland conked out and what to do about it. Unfortunately, all the theories come from way on […]

Last Updated: February 17, 2009 @ 9:48 PM

The following calculation, arrived at with no calculation, really sounds accurate: 79.429 percent of America’s Gross Domestic Product consists of economic theory. In lieu of manufacturing actual products, America now churns out theories on why our  economic pituitary gland conked out and what to do about it.

Unfortunately, all the theories come from way on high:   Larry Summers, Paul Volcker and all the other  multi-MBA moneycrats get on TV everyday and volley cash above our heads.  Have they any idea what’s happening here on the ground?  Apparently not, or they’d turn their attention to the seven phrases that are truly killing our economy.

This may sound like soft-core capitalism. But all efforts at reversing the current economic downturn will go for naught, or even slightly less than naught, unless the Federal Reserve and The Treasury ban the following phrases:

"Do you want room for cream?"   This phrase needlessly extends the duration of countless coffee purchases each day.  Between time lost and consumers who say "The line’s too long" and leave without buying coffee,  America loses (roughly) $24 trillion annually.


"For fifty cents more, you can have a large popcorn and a medium Coke."  Not only does this phrase impede a timely transaction, it adds to the corpulence of the consumer who, by extension, functions at a retarded pace in his/her workplace.   Estimated annual cost to the economy:  (oh let’s say) $31 trillion.

"See our ad in Field and Stream."   An especially vexing phrase that makes us want to say, "We’re here now.  Just tell us about your product."   Less than (oh, say) 1.439 percent of consumers will go to a newsstand and pick up Field and Stream expressly to see an ad.  That number is even lower among consumers who don’t fish or hunt.

"No pets."  Pets cause upwards of (it must be) $900 billion in damages to American homes, condos  and apartments each year.  The phrase "no pets"  stifles the animals’ ability to boost that number which, in turn, costs the carpet cleaning industry alone (conservatively)  $36 trillion.


"Have you ever been institutionalized?"   No one answers this question honestly, which leads to (in the neighborhood of)  988 million wasted man-hours of non-profit-generating research annually.  If the applicant for whatever it is that requires a history of sanity has several personalities too many, this will evince itself in short order and the revelation will be more cost-effective  and less embarrassing without having asked beforehand.

"I’m going to let you off with a warning."  Between lost traffic court costs,  lost moving violation payments and lost auto insurance bumps,  allowing offending drivers off with warnings sets the economy back (no less than) $579 billon annually.  A sign reading "No left turn" serves as a warning; capitalism has no need for police officers to perform the same function as an perfectly lucid inanimate object.


"It’s hard to sell a screenplay about upper-middle class guilt during a recession."  This prevalent cop-out costs our economy (at most)  $30 thousand dollars annually.   Those victimized by this phrase wish to say, "Yes I know it’s hard to sell a screenplay about upper-middle class guilt during a recession.  But guess what?  It was hard to write a screenplay about upper-middle class guilt during a recession..  That’s how the American economy works:  I do something hard, then you do something hard."

 

 

 

After graduating from the University of Maryland, Peter Mehlman started his career as a writer for the Washington Post. He slid from print journalism to television when, from 1982 to 1984, he wrote for and produced the television series, “SportsBeat” with Howard Cosell. For the next five years he returned to writing full sentences as a freelance writer in New York. His byline appeared in numerous national publications including the New York Times magazine, GQ, Esquire and every women’s magazine imaginable... 

 

In 1989 he moved to Los Angeles where he bumped into Larry David, whom he'd met twice in New York.  David, was developing “a little show with Jerry Seinfeld”, and invited Mehlman to submit a sample script. Having never written a script, Mehlman sent a humor piece he had written for the New York Times Magazine. Jerry Seinfeld loved it and gave Mehlman a writing assignment, out of which came the series’ first freelance episode, “The Apartment.” Mehlman was hired for the first full season of “Seinfeld” (1991-92) and wrote 23 episodes during the next six years and became an executive producer. 

 

Mehlman is most famous for his “Yada Yada” episode, and he is also the author of such now classic Seinfeld-isms as “spongeworthy” and “shrinkage” and “double-dipping.” 

 

In 1997, Mehlman joined DreamWorks and created “It’s like, you know...,” a scathing look at Los Angeles. In recent years, he has continued creating TV shows, writing screenplays and humor pieces for NPR, Esquire, The New York Times, Washington Post and LA Times while also appearing on-camera for TNT Sports and his own web program “Pete Mehlman’s Narrow World of Sports."