#583 Dec. 27, 2009

2009 ends with terrorism and health care bill

COLUMBUS: The Senate passed their version of the health care bill on Christmas Eve. Then President Obama went home for the holidays. We can’t honestly complain about that, even if it is in Hawaii. He probably figured he would lay on the beach for a week and read all 2000 pages of the bill.

Well, his peaceful vacation was abruptly interrupted on Christmas Day  by a terrorist who tried to kill nearly 300 by blowing up an airplane over Detroit. With all we have learned about this radical Muslim since then, the President is sure to be fuming mad at his Homeland Security folks. He was known to be a potential terrorist, England had withdrawn his Visa months ago, he paid cash for a one-way ticket from Nigeria, had no luggage, and his Dad had warned our Embassy about his son’s terrorist views. Only excuse I can figure is the dad’s warning came by email from his Nigerian bank, and nobody dared to open it.

When he was dragged off the plane, instead of being turned over to the CIA for interrogation, they took him to a hospital for treatment and gave him a defense lawyer.

Since this is the last of 52 Weekly Comments for 2009, I’ll end with some wisdom from Will Rogers on the economy, a health care plan, and horse trading for votes in Congress.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“In case anyone happens to ask you, this is a pretty tough Depression… (The problem is) everybody wants to solve it and nobody wants to work at anything else. I believe if it was announced that it couldn’t be solved, they would go back to working on their own problems, and maybe first thing we knew we would be doing pretty good.
In fact I think just the announcement of the fact that it couldn’t be solved would be a blessing. Everybody feels better when you really know even the worst. It’s this uncertainty of not knowing that’s a worrying us more than the actual discomforts of it.
I will bet you one thing, I bet you in the next Presidential race, you won’t get candidates coming out saying they can fix it. They have learned their lesson. The most that will be said in the next campaign platform of either party will be: ‘Now boys, we are going to try and check it, but we are not saying we will, but we will promise you this, we are not going to let it spread any more than we can possibly help.'” WA #569, Nov. 19, 1933

 “To me the greatest thing they (Dr. Charles Mayo, Mayo Clinic) have done is the system of charging everyone in proportion to what they can pay. All Doctors should make enough out of those who are well able to pay, to be able to do all work for the poor free.  That is one thing that a poor person should never be even expected to pay for is medical attention…  Your Doctor bill should be paid like your Income tax, according to what you have.  There is nothing that keeps poor people poor as much as paying Doctor bills.  It always wipes out their savings, and it’s that fear of not being able to pay that makes it ten times worse on them.” WA #394, July 13, 1930

 “All there is to politics is trading. That’s why politics is not as good as it was years ago. They don’t have as many old-time horse traders in there. These we got are just amateurs. They’re crude with their trades. There is really no “finesse.” Finesse is a French word and it means sneaking it over.”  Saturday Evening Post, June 2, 1928

#582 Dec. 20, 2009

A Letter to the President

My Dear Mr. President:
I hope you don‛t mind that I am writing this letter directly to you. The last time I did such a thing, it was to President Coolidge in 1926. Now when you read of my concerns, you may say, “Why didn‛t you write your Senator?”
Well, sir, I would have, but have you noticed lately how much it costs to get a Senator‛s vote? Of course there‛s nothing new about a Senator swapping votes. In 1930 I wrote, “A Senator learns to swap his vote at the same age a calf learns which end of his mother is the dining room.” So I was not surprised to learn this week that Nebraska‛s Senator Nelson had swapped his vote on the health care bill for a record amount that could add up to Billions of dollars. Sen. Landrieu of Louisiana is crying that she was shortchanged because she only got $300 Million for her vote. The only way Nebraska could have gotten more was if Warren Buffett had donated his wealth to the state instead of giving it to Bill Gates.
So back to my reason for writing. This country is going deeper and deeper into debt, and you aren‛t helping. You have stated that if we don‛t pass health care reform, we‛ll go bankrupt. Then you favor a health bill that will add to the debt, instead of lowering it. You go to a global warming conference in Denmark (where it was snowing) and promise to give a Trillion dollars that we don‛t have to other countries (including China which has more of our money than we do).
I don‛t believe in annoying a President without offering a solution. Spend the next few weeks, while Congress is gone, digging up ways to cut spending. Then every day you announce a few of these spending cuts by stating, “My fellow Americans, I know you are reducing your spending to live within your means, and so am I.” And then you announce the particular cuts for that day. Here‛s a few to ponder. Move the terrorist trials back to Gitmo. If an economist searched for the most expensive place on earth to hold a trial, he couldn‛t find one costlier than New York. Next, cancel the new prison for them in Illinois. Just say “We can‛t afford to spend $100 million to replace one we already paid for at Guantanamo Bay. We guard the prisoners there with a couple of hundred military; no need to hire 3000 in Illinois to do the same job.”
Instead of giving $100 Billion a year to these other nations, think outside the box. They blame us for burning oil and coal and raising temperatures. If they want us to replace these cheap fuels with expensive solar and wind, let them pay us to do it. These poor flat island nations are concerned about the water rising; let ‛em sell their beachfront property and move to Tibet or Switzerland. We‛ve got millionaires eager to buy an island.
Then look around the White House and at the various departments spread all over Washington. There must be a few folks you could get along without. Check some old records of how many worked for previous presidents, like Jimmy Carter or Lyndon Johnson. I don‛t expect you to go back to Mr. Coolidge because he and Mrs. Coolidge practically ran the White House by themselves.
I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas. Don‛t be overly extravagant on the gifts. Ask Mrs. Obama what she wants, but if it involves travel remind her that you two just returned from Norway and Denmark. That‛s farther than most Americans can afford to go for the holidays.

Your accomplice in debt reduction,

#581 Dec. 13, 2009

Congress spends mythical dollars; President creates mythical jobs

COLUMBUS: Congress passed another spending bill for $1.1 Trillion, bringing the total budget for next year to $3.6 Trillion. While most folks are cutting back, making do with less, Congress decided the government needed a big raise. Since taxes will only bring in about $2 Trillion, President Obama will ask China to kick in the rest.

Back in 1930, I said on the radio that Henry Ford would make a great President. He would arrange Congress like an automobile assembly line. A bill would start out, and as it went by, every Congressman and Senator would add something on to it. Well, this year for the budget bill they added 5000 things on to it. That’s 5000 pork barrel earmarks who’s only purpose is to get them re-elected, which means they serve no national purpose at all. Can you imagine a Model T Ford with 5000 extraneous gadgets stuck on it? Why, it would be so weighted down it wouldn’t even roll off the assembly line. With broken springs, bent frame and four busted tires, you would have to pull it off with a bulldozer.

With so many people out of work, the president announced a “targeted jobs program”. It’s a good idea and I hope it works, but so far the new jobs are mostly targeted for Washington, DC. That’s the one place that doesn’t need more jobs. It’s the only place where you can sell your house for more than you owe on it.

Here’s more news about jobs. The Census Bureau had planned to hire 5000 people in Ohio to make sure everyone got counted in 2010. Maybe where you live it’s different, but in Ohio the population hasn’t changed much in ten years. So it was surprising to learn that the Census Bureau decided 5000 couldn’t handle the load, they will need 20,000. I don’t know what those extra 15,000 are going to do all day, but at least President Obama can claim he created the jobs. I joked earlier when the Census Bureau gave up on using computers, and went back to pencils, they should just hire Fed Ex, UPS, and Google. Those folks know where everybody lives, and would finish the count in a week.

Temporary, short-term jobs had been up a bit, but even that number will decrease since Tiger Woods left the country.

Historical quotes from Will Rogers:

“When the government runs anything, as they do practically everything (in socialist Russia), there is always about twice or three times as many working in the place as would be found in private enterprises.” Saturday Evening Post, Nov. 6, 1926

 “The budget is a mythical bean bag. Congress votes mythical beans into it, and then tries to reach in and pull real beans out.” DT # 2047, Feb. 24, 1933

 “Henry Ford 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

#580 Dec. 6, 2009

Zero death tax puts old rich folks at risk

COLUMBUS: The Global Warming conference in Copenhagen made it’s first big decision: no Christmas trees will be allowed on the premises. See, Christmas is a Christian holiday, and the United Nations can’t risk being influenced by Christian principles.

Besides, Christmas decorations and colorful lights might get the delegates in a cheerful mood. That just won’t do when eighty percent are supposed to be sour and cranky and downright mad about warm temperatures and rising oceans.

These small island nations are worried their beachfront property is about to be flooded. But you don’t see them putting any of it up for sale. They plan to ask rich nations for $10 Billion a year, I suppose to build dikes around their islands. A better use of the $10 Billion is to put in a bid on these sandy beaches. If they accept, you’ve at least got a few years to walk on the land. If they say no, you’ve still got the $10 Billion.

Back home, old rich folks are getting worried as 2010 gets closer. On January 1, the federal estate tax drops to zero, and it will only stay at zero for a year unless Congress votes it back in. Since a bunch of those “old rich folks” run Congress, they are rushing to pass a bill that will stave off a rash of “assisted suicides” and “accidental deaths” among those with money-hungry offspring.

Congress says the new proposed estate tax will affect less than one percent, only the richest among us. But a lot of people are against it. See, in this country even the common man thinks that he might accumulate great wealth, and doesn’t want the government taking three-fourths of it when he’s gone. In these other countries, a common man with nothing figures he will always have nothing so why not let the wealthy pay all the bills. No wonder they’re cranky.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
“I don’t see why a man shouldn’t pay an inheritance tax. If a Country is good enough to pay taxes to while you are living, it’s good enough to pay in after you die. By the time you die you should be so used to paying taxes that it would just be almost second nature to you.” WA#168, Feb. 28, 1926

“Now they got such a high inheritance tax on ‘em that you won’t catch these old rich boys dying promiscuously like they did. This bill makes patriots out of everybody. You sure do die for your country if you die from now on.” DT#1767, March 23, 1932

“They passed the big inheritance tax, and that gets you when you’re gone. You used to could die and be able to beat taxes, but not now. The undertaker don’t go over your body as carefully as the assessor does your accumulated assets, and he gets his before the undertaker. They have it on these big fortunes now where they pay as high as 60 to 70 percent of what they leave. That’s mighty expensive dying when it runs into money like that, and you won’t see ’em dropping off as casually as they have been.” WA #594, May 13, 1934