Here's your warning: There's a heavy dose of political commentary in this Sketchbook Sunday. This week we watched the State of the Union the night before buying a new(ish) car amid surprised exclamations from the dealership that we were not financing it and that we were not upside down in our trade. Apparently they "see that a lot." All were inspiration, so read on at your own risk . . . but first some kid cuteness:
The Baby Ox
Baby Sprout has a very physical sense of humor. She is always falling into things, falling over things, bashing around and cracking herself up. And she's never happier doing this than when she is naked. She's like a cross between a 70's streaker and Mary Catherine Gallagher. When her performance reaches a fever pitch, Jim Dear and I call her the Baby Ox. This sketch shows her actually being rather demure..... really she's just sitting down to catch her breath.
Cheap at Any Cost
During Tuesday night's State of the Union President Obama (obviously) spoke about the economy and how to rebuild jobs in this country. Now really, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what the situation is here: all the stimuli and relief and tax break and tax hike and this-n-that-n-the-kitchen-sink packages have created a blue million jobs. . .
. . . in China.
Obama referenced this in his speech immediately after he spoke in glowing terms about our "innovation", our "colleges and universities that people travel to from the world over", and about the "hard work ethic" of our society. Indeed these terms glowed so brightly for a minute I thought I was watching the Oscars. We have the best, most innovative, most crazy risky-but-with-a-huge-payoff ideas and we work the hardest to make them a reality. And you know what? Obama is right. We did, after all, harness nuclear fission and land a man on the moon. But even for all this radiance, for some reason, businesses are just not creating jobs in this country.
So businesses must not be looking for the best. My guess is they are looking for the cheapest.
As Jim Dear says, "They'd rather have good enough, than the best at any cost." In the race to short term stock price gains we are un-diversifying our economy. We believe we can create a "knowledge-based economy" but we're not smart enough to do that. If we were smart enough we'd see that if we are all high-tech, healthcare, and green industry workers, we will all make less money. Because as the supply of those workers goes up, their wages will go down. Simple supply and demand economics. We are the smartest, best, and most innovative country out there, but the ace-in-the-hole of our economy was its diversity. Instead now we are in a race to the lowest common denominator. Hence, this sketch of the race - the best worker trips over the splinter of our trade agreements as the cheapest crosses the finish line:
My SCBWI Kite
Thursday I got my SCBWI Bulletin in the mail. Always on the cover there's an interesting illustration involving a kite, the Society's mascot of sorts. So that night I was mulling over what I would do for a cover when I sketched this. . . a take on the littlest mermaid with the kite as the ship's sails.
Money Guzzler (and my final word on policy.... for this post anyway)
As I mentioned from my last post, my old Saturn Vue had decided to convert itself from a car to a hole in the garage into which we poured money. So Wednesday we traded it in on a seriously fabulous Chrysler Town and Country. Yes, a minivan. I'll cut to the chase for all of you who haven't owned one but should: they are the epitome of convenience. I swear this car has actually given me back about 30 minutes of my day. There's no value you can place on that option. Anyway in the process of brushing up on our finances for this purchase I got to have a look at how much Congress' plan to have a one year tax break on Social Security will amount to in Jim Dear's paycheck.
Um, it's a whopping $21.06.
That will not even fill up the tank of either my former or current car. It won't even pay my babysitter for the afternoon while I run around doing errands and draining the tank. But again, it doesn't take a rocket science economist to figure out that what this latest version of stimulus spin will do is punch a giant unfillable hole in what's left of the SS trust fund. So inspired by my lack of an extra tank of gas, especially when I've helped the economy by buying a car, I sketched this:
Finally a disclaimer.... I don't consider myself a "political person." I don't watch the commentators or favor one party over the other, I think they are all nuts. What I pay attention to is which ideas make the most good old fashioned Southern common sense (read: the ones that will do the most good for the most carbon based citizens over the longest period of time.) Since listening for these ideas, I've made a few predictions over the years about which way our fortunes will turn in this country . . . and so far I haven't been wrong. So go ahead and expect a smattering of opinion mixed in with all the cute kid pics and cool children's book ideas on Sketchbook Sunday, I didn't promise to be polite, just interesting.