‘Thingamajigs’ and other Valuable Consumer Advice

Obama was recently in Minnesota trying to convince Honeywell workers that his proposed mortgage refinancing proposals could help them sell $3,000 worth of “thingamajigs” for furnaces in need of upgrades. Suggesting thingamajigs for furnaces at Honeywell is sort of like telling workers at a medical supply company that they should support tax rebates so patients can buy whatchamicallits for their tracheotomy suction pumps.

Based on his remarks at Honeywell Automation and Control, Barack Obama, champion of the little guy, has proven once again how out of touch he is with middle-class Americans.  By totally forgetting what he meant to say and to whom he was saying it, he was forced to blurt out an ‘I don’t know what the heck I’m talking about’ word like “thingamajig.”

Apparently while in Minnesota the President’s goal was to cheer Honeywell workers by talking about broken furnaces at a company plant that, among other things, makes furnace components.

If that wasn’t the case, the only other logical reason for talking about furnace thingamajigs could be to subtly suggest to Honeywell employees that homeowners should spend money saved on a potential mortgage refinance to repair homes that thus far have been submerged underwater.  Let’s remember Obama is the guy who, despite “scouting out” vacation spots for his wife, once said “If you’re a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, you might put off a vacation.”

Therefore, in anticipation of the cold winter coming up, the thingamajig reference was likely just a practical suggestion couched in a lighthearted remark.  Come to think of it, if given the choice, why would anyone fritter away $3,000 on a family vacation when they could use that money to change out the air filter on a boiler?

Nonetheless, one can’t fault Obama for trying to help. Surely he is well aware that wealth inequality has skyrocketed under his presidency, so maybe all he was trying to do was be transparent for a change and acknowledge the fact that even at Honeywell, where people still have jobs, “There are some folks … who could use $3,000 a year.”

Or could it be that he was merely counseling his audience to be better stewards of what little they have left?  After all, the President did mention “If you got $3,000 dollars a year extra, that helps you pay down your credit cards,” which was a hint that Obama knows high interest credit cards are the means even the employed use to make ends meet since he took office.

The President said that if Congress helps homeowners refinance, the money they save could be used by consumers to “go out and buy some things” for the family, which would be “good for business.”

Then he broached the subject of furnace maintenance by saying, “Maybe somebody will be replacing some thingamajig for the furnace,” which was met with both laughter and applause. Question? Didn’t the Honeywell people laughing and clapping already know that selling burner parts benefits business?

The truth is, judging from portions of Barack Obama’s Honeywell thingamajig stump speech, it sounded as if he veered off the Teleprompter here and there or, for old times’ sake, while flying off to Minnesota for another fundraiser, he might have fired up his old choomamajig before stopping by Honeywell.

Based on what was said in Golden Valley, apparently Obama believes that, for lack of money, people who rely on furnaces for warmth have had to put off exchanging old parts for new. The President seems firmly convinced that until Congress agrees to complete number two on his “to do” list, run-down furnaces will have to remain rundown and Honeywell will have to deal with selling fewer thermostat sensors.

Yet, despite all the valuable advice, the logical question that needs to be asked is not what to do with an extra $3,000 a year, but rather, why is the economy so dire that even the President believes people in cold climates are now forced to live without the needed parts to optimize their home heating systems?  And what is Obama doing about it, other than telling thingamajig jokes to people who manufacture circulator pumps, riding around in AF1 with Jon Bon Jovi, and singing at Broadway fundraisers to raise campaign cash for 2012?

Perhaps the next time the President decides to dole out unsolicited financial advice, someone should first enlighten him that for $3,000 a wise consumer could pass up buying thingamajigs and use the money to purchase a brand new furnace, and get a $500 energy-efficient federal tax credit in the process.

Better yet, oil prices have been so high under Barack Obama that maybe instead of the thingamajig spiel he should have suggested that the three grand be used to fill up sputtering furnaces with high-priced heating oil.  Then, after working the Honeywell crowd up into a fevered frenzy, Obama could have shouted out his slogan, “What does $40 mean to you?” to which the energized gathering could have shouted back to him, “10 measly gallons of over-priced home heating oil!”

In the end, after all the thingamajig talk and judging by the way so many of Barack Obama’s past speaking tours have had a tendency to close down perfectly successful businesses after the “government …helped create…conditions for success,” maybe if Congress does help troubled homeowners refinance, Honeywell employees should hold on to that extra $3,000 and use it to supplement imminent unemployment checks.

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