"Listen, Uncle Johnny, it isn't all that difficult. The Consumer Price Index is a reflection of the rise in cost of everything that people buy - computers, cars, Jagermeister, potato chips..."

"When you say everything that people buy, can I assume that you refer to corporations as well?"

"Yes, Uncle Johnny, for purposes of this example you can infer that corporations are a people too. Now Core Inflation is..."

"Core Inflation? Slow down, Jenna, economics isn't my strong suit."

"I know, Uncle Johnny, that's why daddy sent us over here to help you understand the basics. Barbra, why don't you tell him about Core Inflation."

"Well, I'll try. Okay, Mr. McCain, Core Inflation is..."

"Why don't you just call me Uncle Johnny, Barbra?"

"Because you're not my uncle. Now, Core Inflation is the important number for you to  remember. It's the cost of everything that people buy except for energy and food."

"But isn't that where most of the inflation is?"

"Give the senator an A."

"Hush, Jenna.  You're right, Mr. McCain, but the..."

"Call me Uncle Johnny."

"No. Pay attention. Core inflation eliminates the things that you can't really do anything about. Gas prices go up, you pay more at the pump or you drive less. And food is loaded into big tractor trailers, which are propelled by what?"

"Big, hefty, hard-working Americans."

"No, they're powered by gasoline, which is more expensive, so it costs more to get that food to market. So you can see that since you can't control the cost of energy and food, you might as well not include them in the picture. That's why daddy talks so much about..."

"Core inflation!"

"That's right. Core inflation only went up .3% last month - doesn't that sound a lot better than the scary old CPI's 1.1%?"

"That sounds a helluva lot better, girls, a helluva lot better. But let me ask you something... what if we were able to do something about energy costs, like, oh let me think - offshore drilling?"

"Hee hee, that's cute Uncle Johnny, but you know, any new oil we produce will still be sold on the world market..."

"And it's still subject to the same laws of supply and demand that are in play now."

"So you're saying that if we could get a trillion barrels of oil out of the Florida coast, it wouldn't really help out prices?"

"Bwahahaha, Mr. McCain, economics really isn't your strong suit, is it? Extra supply always helps a little bit..."

"A teensy-weensy-itty-bitty bit."

"...but like I said, unless you're planning on nationalizing the oil companies, it's still about supply and demand."

"But it's still a good talking point, Uncle Johnny."

"It's a great talking point, and if you want daddy's point of view, you should spank that baby all the way to November."

"You tell your daddy I will spank that baby, I'll spank it good."

"And what else"

"The economy is still growing, just not as much as we'd like it to... but if we could drill for more oil, wouldn't it..."

"Absolutely right, Mr McCain, it would grow some more."

"I thought so. More growth, that's what's good for this country. And no new taxes, including the old ones which are just waiting to come back... and... the economy is good, fundamentals are strong. And Core Inflation is under control."

"Wow. Jenna, I think I see a new president."


2008, Mark Hoback