Let's stop the whining. I mean it. It is ruining the country.
If we all stopped whining, the economy would recover, the banks would stop failing, the stock market would go up, the value of your home would rise and you could fill your gas tank for less than the cost of a diamond tiara.
OK, so maybe that last one is optimistic. But good things would happen.
And that is because almost all problems are mental.
Phil Gramm says so. And when it comes to mental, Phil Gramm knows a thing or two.
Gramm, a former U.S. senator and congressman and now a wealthy banker, has been a close friend and economic adviser to John McCain.
And Gramm said recently that we are not in a real recession, just a "mental recession," and that our real problem is that we have become "a nation of whiners."
He caught a lot of flak for this, but why not give his theory a test?
The average cost of regular gasoline is about $4.11 per gallon right now. (It is much higher than that in my neighborhood, but my neighborhood is filled with whiners.)
Ask yourself, however, why it costs that much. Isn't it because your mental attitude stinks?
What if you drove into your local gas station and said to the mopey guy in the glass booth who is just there to sell cigarettes to teenagers, "Top o' the morning to you! Isn't it a great day? I think so. And, gee, you're looking great. You been working out?"
Then you could say, "So can I get my gasoline for $3 a gallon today? Like I did a year ago?"
And you know what? This will work! The pump price will drop before your very eyes!
This is Phil Gramm's Stop-Whining-Be-Happy Theory of Life that states that if you just stop whining about things, they will get better.
Gramm knows what he is talking about. He ran for president in 1996, raising $20 million, which was more than anybody else and real money in those days. (In today's dollars, it would be about $12.95.)
At every campaign stop, Gramm reminded people that he had "flunked the third, seventh and ninth grades," which means he was certainly smart enough to become a U.S. senator, but I guess people felt he needed to flunk a few more grades before he could become president.
Gramm decided to spend his money losing two contests that few people had ever heard of the Alaska and Louisiana caucuses so he could have a solid record of two losses even before he got to Iowa, where he came in fifth.
(John McCain was his national campaign chairman, and McCain learned a valuable lesson: Lose nothing before you lose Iowa.)
Gramm dropped out of the presidential race, but did he whine? No! Instead, he continued as a U.S. senator, retiring in 2002 and going on to become vice chairman for UBS Investment Bank, where he lobbied Congress, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department on banking and mortgage issues.
You can see how successful he was at that.
And there is no reason to limit Gramm's theory to economics. It is all about attitude and how that affects everything.
Take the Iraq war. Sure, it has lasted longer than World War II. Sure, it has lasted longer than World War I. Sure, it has lasted longer than the Korean War and the Civil War.
But the Revolutionary War lasted longer and the Vietnam War lasted longer. And we batted .500 for those two!
So quit yer whining.