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Old, fat and ugly ... but still richer than any American worker.As China’s economy barrels along and Washington is helpless to do anything beyond passing toothless House legislation wishing China “would not be so rich and powerful,” perhaps no story better illustrates the rapid and shameful decline of our nation as the sad tale of four wealthy American ladies literally reduced to cleaning up the poop of the Chinese panda once known as “Butterstick” during its brief mission to Washington’s National Zoo. “The sight of the Western women scrubbing down the panda pens was enough to cause flocks of Chinese tourists to swivel their cameras to catch the action,” the Washington Post reports today. Pathetic.

How did these formerly well-off business ladies from Maryland, Virginia and New York wind up in the feces of an old zoo panda? And why was Butterstick returned to China, anyway? The answer to both questions is “Humiliation.” Our Chinese overlords thought it would make us sad to take Butterstick away from DC’s tragic old zoo, and they thought it was funny to turn these examples of American wealth into common barnyard laborers.

His departure in February left the women heartbroken and desperately wondering what his life would be like. But what worried them most was this: In a faraway land with hundreds of other pandas and 1.3 billion strangers, would anyone love Tai Shan like they had throughout his life?

The women may still be in China, for all anyone knows. More and more formerly wealthy Americans will find themselves cleaning the poop of China’s zoo animals, as the last U.S. “white collar” jobs fade away and the promise of any work at all becomes enough to make our wretched people spend their remaining money to get transport to China, the promised land, where there will at least be panda poop to eat. [Washington Post]

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