These are parlous, nay, perilous times.
Yes, that’s redundant, but this is no time to worry about that when the next floodtide of protesters to engulf our innocent streets could be a rowdy mob of gentrified anarchists, undetectable in their unmussed coifs and clean fingernails.
Look at Italy!
Replacing Berlusconi’s self-dealing mess of a government, Mario Monti’s bespectacled cadre is referred to as the technocrats — credentialed financial experts who know how to revive an economy. Technocrats or not, they are certainly euphemists. They are calling their program “liberalization,” but that is not how it strikes their constituents.
Italian taxi drivers had a one-day strike and may have more, to denounce a plan to increase the number of taxi licenses. Try doubling the number of taxi medallions in New York City and see what happens.
Pharmacists stopped dispensing on Wednesday. Truck drivers stopped chugging for five days in protest of higher fuel prices, caused by a new excise tax.
Disclosure: I’ve never found out what an excise tax is.
Truckers’ blockades shut down auto plants and caused food shortages. There are reports that protest leaders in Sicily have links to the Mafia, as indeed what does not?
And lawyers – lawyers! – are planning a 2-day strike as soon as they figure out to whom they can bill the hours.
Monti says Italians have been paying hidden taxes on such services because of a lack of competition. That problem addressed, economists at the Bank of Italy claim that liberalization will add 11% to Italy’s GDP. But it will take 30 years to do it.
That should be time enough for striking seamstresses to knit a sock for the entire boot.
In this country, striking lawyers would sue everyone in sight and exact punitive damages for every squirt of pepper spray. I’d be especially wary of tort lawyers, innocently boarding a bus and then pushing a pastry into the driver’s face at 40 mph. (Yes, I know, but mob violence is seldom rational.)
And striking divorce lawyers? Whose side are they on? How can you take to the barricades when you have to stay married? And pick up the dry cleaning or host the book club?
Our pharmacists, cab drivers, and truck drivers will quickly be joined by enraged beauty queens, chambermaids (pots at the ready), and roughnecks – those teenage boys who play hooky to work on oil rigs.
Baristas will withhold their latte frescoes, and chandler shops at the marinas will empty of clerks.
No spar varnish for hedge fund managers, no sail stitchers, no offshore money laundering or anonymous financing for outsourcing. Far fetched? Look what happened in Italy when just one cruise ship captain staged a walkout.
Armed to the teeth, periodontists will march on Medicaid offices, and dude ranch operators will ride into town demanding tax deductions for outward bound business conferences while a walkout of church organists leaves congregations sitting in unearthly silence, listening to their own sneezes.
Look, if you want seriously scary issues that tie your alimentary canal in knots, you’ve come to the wrong web log.