Time to Lay Off the Hippopotamus Dung

I remember hearing that the ancient Egyptians thought smearing Hippopotamus Dung on your head could help cure or at least reduce the effects of male pattern baldness. Now, I have a lot less hair than I used to, and many of the ladies seem to like a full head of hair on a guy, so perhaps a few thousand years ago, an unmarried Egyptian version of me might have considered walking into store and plunking down a few coins for some fresh hippo poop.

But obtaining hippopotamus dung is risky, which makes it costly. And while its never occurred to me to actually try such a thing, I imagine that smearing any sort of excrement on one’s head has some negative consequences – there’s the stench thing, and presumably there are flies.

So assuming they weren’t complete imbeciles, sooner or later a follicly challenged ancient Egyptian would have stopped to make some observations before deciding whether or not to try the remedy. And I presume he would have noticed the following: Among his neighbors, those that were, at great expense, using the great beast doo-doo on their heads weren’t getting more hair than their au naturale neighbors. Worse, they seemed to have less success with the ladies, most of whom weren’t any more fond of vile odors than their modern American counterparts. Presumably, this particular follicly challenged ancient Egyptian would have decided against trying the remedy… especially if he noticed that the village priest was prescribing smearing hippo dung on one’s head for every imaginable ailment, from athlete’s foot to stomach ache.

Which brings us to the point I’ve been making over and over for the past few days. Since 2001, we’ve been promised tax cuts were going to do all sorts of things. We were going to have rapid growth. Instead, despite massive amounts of help from the Fed, and I mean massive amounts of help from the Fed, we had mediocre real growth followed by a couple of years of average real growth, and apparently its already coming to a halt. (To those who keep talking about “the same point in the business cycle” – this point in the last business cycle is known as “1997,” when the economy, with no help at all from the Fed, was running smoothly and then kicked it into high gear.) We were also promised massive surpluses, and there the gulf between the prediction and the outcome has been even more massive. Clearly, this approach is not producing results… and the same folks who said it was going to work beautifully were also the folks who insisted over and over that the tax hikes in 1993 were going to tank the economy.

Which leads to one possible conclusion: its time to stop listening to the people who tell us to smear hippo dung on our collective head. Heck, considering how ornery hippos can be, it might not be a bad idea to try something different. I for one suggest sacrificing members of the smear-hippo-dung-on-your-head school thought to the hippo gods. It can’t produce results that are worse.

Update… Minor edits to improve readability.