#526 November 23, 2008

Congress needs a chainsaw and a hammer

COLUMBUS: Our new president-elect continues to fill his administration. The reason he can act so quick on these appointments is he only asks one question: did you serve as an apprentice under President Clinton? Of course, many of these folks are young and have some new ideas. Mr. Obama has promised to add some diversity by also looking for a few old-timers who served under President Roosevelt.

Meanwhile, Congress and Secretary Paulson are digging up another Trillion to patch up the economy. If they want to fix this financial disaster Congress would do better with a chain saw and a hammer. Use the saw to cut off extraneous spending. Then line up everyone responsible for creating this mess, take the hammer and hit ’em right between the eyes. You may dent the hammer, but it’ll do more good than all the loans you’ll pass out in a year. If Congress is wielding the hammer properly, quite a few blows will be self-inflicted.

The Big Three automobile companies flew into Washington for a loan but went home empty handed. They arrived in their own private airplanes. GM came to Washington with seven of ’em, and Congress embarrassed them into sacrificing two planes. Brother, you know your reputation is rock bottom when you can be embarrassed by a Congressman. GM ditched the planes, but based on a 1955 agreement, they must keep paying the pilots and crew for life.

Those executives should have borrowed a Smartcar for the trip. Can’t you picture all three automotive CEOs scrunched together in one of those buggies, pedaling from Detroit to Washington.

Mr. Ford started a bank one time. If he wanted a government loan he should have kept the bank and quit automobiles.

American Express started calling itself a bank so it could get in on the gravy. Citibank was already a bank, but it loaned out more money than it had in the vault and has nothing left but empty buildings. They want the government to loan ’em enough so they don’t have to give up the name.

Maybe I’ll become a bank, too. How does this sound? The Will Rogers National Bank of Claremore. Mr. Paulson, please send your generous $5 Billion payment to me at Claremore, Oklahoma. Yes, I understand that the government now owns 49 percent of said bank. That’s ok, I think I can get by on 51 percent of $5 Billion.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

(From a live radio broadcast from the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, with several Senators in the audience) “I always feel kinda funny when I come here to Washington and stand before you, because we are both in the same line of business. I have got to go some to compete with you guys with this humorous business. I want to compliment you. Generally people ask me, ‘Will, where do you get your jokes?’ I tell them I just watch the government and report the facts.

I don’t know what you are doing, and I know blamed well you don’t know what you are doing. But Mr. Roosevelt is so frank, he disarms you with his honesty. He has so many plans that he don’t know what he is doing, but he says, ‘If they don’t work, I am going to try something else.'” Radio, May 21, 1933

#525 November 16, 2008

Obama’s appointees and Ford cars offer hope to America

#525 November 16, 2008

COLUMBUS: Mr. Obama jumped right to work, lining up his staff and Cabinet. So far, he’s leaning on President Clinton’s administration to provide most of the hired help, including Hillary. Barack checked with Bill first, “I just want to borrow her for 4 years. As Secretary of State she’ll fly all over the world; most of the time she’ll be out of the country .” Bill said, “Sounds good to me.”

He’s meeting with Senator McCain this week. Don’t expect John to be quite as generous as Bill.

I think our President-elect should talk with Governor Palin; maybe appoint her to a Board overseeing Freddie and Fannie. Did you see her doing a television interview while preparing a seven-course moose supper? Anyone who can do that could weed out corruption on Wall Street and at the same time make the oil companies and Republicans in Alaska toe the line.

General Motors, Chrysler and Ford told Congress they need a $50 Billion loan. Instead of voting to give ’em money, if everybody in Congress and all their staffs and all their political supporters would buy a new car or pickup truck from ’em they wouldn’t need a bailout. Not buying from ’em in the first place is what caused their predicament. You might say, “Their vehicles aren’t as good as the imports, that’s why we don’t drive ’em.” Well then, let ’em fail.

But I think at least one of those Big Three will pull through. See, all Mr. Ford has to do is put an electric motor in a Model T. He can sell ’em for $500 because they’re all alike and they’ll be built on an assembly line manned entirely by robots. Why, don’t be surprised if in a few years, they make up half the cars on the road. It’ll be good for the country, save time. If you forget where you parked your car, just take the nearest one.

AIG executives called Secretary Paulson from a luxury resort in Hawaii, asking for their weekly allowance of $10 Billion. They heard China has it’s own $500 Billion stimulus deal, so they intend to get in on that one, too.

I promised to tell you about Election Day in Oklahoma. The state went Republican and some are worried Washington will ignore them. But Obama’s election gives hope to the Oklahoma Indians. If an African American can be elected President, maybe a Native American will get a shot at it.

While I was in Claremore I met the famous artist, Charles Banks Wilson. He was born in 1918 and about the third grade he put down his crayons, picked up a pencil to sketch with, and never stopped drawing. If you removed all his paintings from the Oklahoma Capitol building, there would be nothing left but bare walls. He has quite a few hanging in a prominent Memorial building in Claremore, too.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“A Ford car and a Democratic Convention has kept a lot of us comedians alive. (Henry Ford) is the first man to realize that every joke sold a car and every joke bought one… He has given more value for the least money. A Ford car and a marriage certificate is the two cheapest things there is. We no more than get either one than we want to trade them in for something better.” Radio, June 1, 1930

“We’ll hold the distinction of being the only nation in the history of the world that ever went to the poor house in an automobile.” Radio, October 18, 1931

#524 November 9, 2008

Historic election may yield surprise winner

#524 November 9, 2008

COLUMBUS: Those of us lucky enough to live in America witnessed an election of historic proportions. As recently as two years ago, no one gave Senator Obama much chance to be nominated, let alone win the Presidency. And at the same time, Senator McCain was seldom mentioned among the Republican contestants.

Just like 1932, the loser Tuesday may have been the winner.

Among those cheering hordes of people in Chicago and at the White House Tuesday night were a fair number who were lining up early for their rebate checks. Well, once Mr. Obama meets with the Mr. Bush and is shown the true state of our overdrawn bank account, those 95 percent expecting a payment may be in for a long wait.

The change in Washington included an announcement by Robert Byrd, the 91-year old West Virginia Senator. He’s stepping down as Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, “A new day has dawned in Washington, and it’s time to make way for new, younger, leadership”. He will be replaced by Hawaii Senator Inouye, who is only 84. You may be thinking, after the bailout there won’t be any money left to appropriate. Well, don’t be surprised if Sen. Inouye digs up a few dollars for bridges to connect the various islands of Hawaii.

Next week I’ll tell you about spending Election Day in Oklahoma. Compared to the rest of you, it was a rare experience: the state voted Republican.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

[to the Republican candidate] “There was nothing personal in the vote against you. You just happened to be associated with a political party that the people had just lost their taste for… The people just wanted to buy something new, and they didn’t have any money to buy it with. But they could go out and vote free, and get something new for nothing. So cheer up. You don’t know how lucky you are.” DT #1955, Nov. 9, 1932

“If your side lost, don’t take it too much to heart. Remember there is always this difference between us and Italy. In Italy, Mussolini runs the country. But here the country runs the President.” DT #1954, Nov. 8, 1932

“As you read this our two Presidents will be as nervous over their meeting as a couple of debutantes. Well, we all hope some good comes from their meeting, and in fact we hope some money comes out of it, too.” DT #1965, Nov. 21, 1932

“In this country, people don’t vote for; they vote against.” Radio, June 9, 1935

“We are a funny people. We elect our Presidents, be they Republican or Democrat, then go home and start daring ’em to make good.” DT # 2700, April 1, 1935


#523 November 1, 2008

Lord, don’t let it end in a tie

COLUMBUS: Federal Reserve dropped interest rate again. It’s 1 percent. Just imagine if we have another calamity and they have to drop it again. The ones with money might be paying the ones that need it to take it off their hands for a spell. They’ll say, “Here’s a million dollars, go on, take it. Spend it, invest it, save it, whatever. And next year about this time if you see fit to pay me back around $990,000, we’ll call it even.”

The Phillies beat the Rays in the World Series. First time in years a World Series game ended by 10 pm. Philadelphia school children got to stay up and celebrate with their grandparents.

Ohio is ready for this election to end. The Presidential candidates have spent so much time here, even with no rain lately the state is knee deep in mud. Everybody prays it’s not a tie. Their lawyers might be worse than the candidates.

An Ohio judge ruled this week that if you’re homeless, you had lost your house and everything and were living on a park bench, you could still vote. A week earlier another lawyer threw out the votes of 13 people who were here temporarily, organizing, and were all living in the same small house. So if there’s 13 of you and you want to vote in Ohio and you’re not supposed to… better live on a park bench than in a house. Does that seem fair? Makes no difference whether the address is Park Avenue or Park Bench, a vote is a vote.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“Here’s another way of putting it. Roosevelt wants recovery to start at the bottom. In other words, by a system of high taxes, he wants business to help the little fellow to get started and get some work, and then pay business back by buying things when he’s at work. Business says, ‘Let everybody alone. Let business alone, and quit monkeying with us, and we’ll get everything going for you, and if we prosper, naturally the worker will prosper.” That’s exactly what business says, and they’re justified from their angle in saying that.

One wants recovery to start from the bottom, and the other wants it to start from the top. I don’t know which is right. I’ve never heard of anybody suggesting that they might start it in the middle, so I hereby make that suggestion. To start recovery halfway between the two, because it’s the middle class that does everything anyhow. But I don’t know anything about it…

I know things are going to get better in spite of both sides. Then when things do get better, then you’ll hear the yell that will go up. The Democrats will swear that recovery was due to them. Now the Republicans, they’ll say it was due to them. Nobody wanted to claim the credit for the country blowing up, but wait until it starts picking up and they’ll both be on it then. See?

I don’t think either one of them knows what it’s all about, to be honest with you. Both sides are doing nothing but just looking towards the next election.” Radio, June 9, 1935

(Will Rogers advice to the candidates, 1932 and 2008)

“There should be a moratorium called on candidates’ speeches. They have both called each other everything in the world they can think of. From now on they are just talking themselves out of votes.

The high office of President of the United States has degenerated into two ordinarily fine men being goaded on by their political leeches into saying things that if they were in their right minds they wouldn’t think of saying.

This country is a thousand times bigger than any two men in it, or any two parties in it. These big politicians are so serious about themselves and their parties.

This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it. That we have carried as much political bunk as we have and still survived shows we are a super nation. If by some divine act of Providence we could get rid of both these parties and hired some good men, like any other big business does, why we would be sitting pretty.

This (economic) calamity was brought on by the actions of the people of the whole world and its weight will be lifted off by the actions of the people of the whole world and not by a Republican or a Democrat.

So, you two boys just get the weight of the world off your shoulders and go fishing. Instead of calling each other names till next Tuesday, why you can do everybody a big favor by going fishing and you will be surprised, but the old United States will keep right on running while you boys are sitting on the bank.

Then, come back next Wednesday and we will let you know which one is the lesser of the two evils of you.” DT #1948, Nov. 1, 1932 (note the date)