The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Fiscal Cliff

December 29, 2012

Starbucks' New Political Blend, Ready for Roasting

WASHINGTON — Few problems in this life cannot be solved by the application of coffee. When you hear the chimes at midnight, and you have a project that must be finished by dawn, and you have all the vigor of a newspaper that has been left out in the rain — well, just apply coffee.

Coffee, an increasing number of studies say, can fix pretty much everything that ails you. Drink six to 10 cups a day, and you can become functionally immortal, if a little twitchy.

According to Starbucks chief Howard Schultz, the "fiscal cliff" is one of those problems that can be solved by coffee.

Schultz recently started something called the Come Together project.

In the face of the fiscal-cliff battle, he noted, "Rather than be bystanders, we have an opportunity — and I believe a responsibility — to use our company's scale for good by sending a respectful and optimistic message to our elected officials to come together and reach common ground on this important issue."

Wonderful! But how?

"This week through December 28, partners in our Washington D.C. area stores are writing 'Come Together' on customers' cups."

To the barricades!

This is a nice thought, in the sense that putting a daisy down the barrel of a tank is a nice thought. But it's asking a lot of the tank.

We would not want to be bystanders in this. No, we must write our will — with bold, broad strokes — on America's coffee cups.

The Starbucks effort has earned richly deserved mockery from the Internet. Numerous baristas aren't participating. And, as The Washington Post has pointed out, the fiscal cliff isn't so much a debt crisis as it is an enforced austerity crisis that might actually provide more time before we hit the debt ceiling (though it seems likely to trigger another recession).

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