And - to give us spirit for the long long long long war - do read Nicholas Hoffman's bracing column in the NY Observer. Like many journalists of good will, Hoffman has seen the sheer, well, you can only call it bravery of the American public as we face this truly terrifying threat of terrorist just walzing in, carting their four hundred pound suitcases full of nuclear material that any tom, dick or harry with a copy of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, a screwdriver and an old Playboy can turn into a ticking bomb that you'd really have to torture a terrorist suspect within an inch of his life to find. But we have answered President Backbone's call to glory with a stoicism that will go down in the history books:
George W. Bush says he won’t raise taxes to pay for his war. “I strongly oppose that. If that’s the kind of sacrifice people are talking about, I’m not for it because raising taxes will hurt this growing economy,” he explained. “And one thing we want during this war on terror is for people to feel like their life’s moving on, that they’re able to make a living and send their kids to
college and put more money on the table.”
By those standards, Mr. Bush’s war has been a success for some New Yorkers. E. Stanley O’Neal, Merrill Lynch’s chief executive, did his best, in conformity with the President’s wishes, to put more money on the table by having been paid $48 million last year, up from $37 million the year before, a sum so small it
might have caused the President distress.
Another man who will be able to report to the President that he has been able to make enough of a living to put more money on the table and pay any college tuition which might be owing is Lloyd C. Blankfein of the Goldman Sachs Group, who brought home $53 million last year. All together, Wall Street’s five
biggest outfits were able to relieve President Bush’s mind by telling him that their top people were paid $60 billion in 2006. Doubtless the President, as soon as he was apprised of the news, flashed the joyful tidings to the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. No piece of news could be better calculated to stimulate
our soldiers and Marines to fight harder and make greater sacrifices for the cause for which they and Messrs. O’Neal and Blankfein, each in their own way, struggle in common.
In accordance with Mr. Bush’s wish that most of us move on from the war and give it as little thought as possible, even as a few of us fight it, a man named Stephen A. Schwarzman will celebrate his 60th birthday on Feb. 13. Mr. Schwarzman is a billionaire who, in deference to the President’s urgings, has
been spending the years since the two airplanes were driven into the World Trade Center making money hand over fist. If you are going to sacrifice for your country, there are few more deeply satisfying ways of doing it.
To mark his six lucrative decades on earth, Mr. Schwarzman is renting the Park Avenue society armory, where he and some 1,500 guests will do what rich people do on such occasions. The featured entertainer performing for the occasion will, it is said, be paid $1 million for his night’s work. If the other expenditures are commensurate, Mr. Schwarzman will have laid out $15 million before his head hits the pillow that night, content that, as his President wishes, his “life’s moving on”—and right nicely, one cannot forbear to add.