Congress delays tax votes, prefers comedy instead

Sept. 26, 2010

COLUMBUS: Lindsay Lohan is back in a Hollywood jail. Meanwhile in New York the young woman hiker that Iran let out of jail for $500,000 met with Iran’s Ahmadinejad. She asked him to release the two guys that were with her but they could not agree on a price. Personally, I think we should offer a trade. Iran gives us the two men, and we give them Lohan and Paris Hilton.

Congress announced they do not have time to vote on the income tax bill until after the election. The voters already know where their Congressman stands on health care, the energy tax and illegal immigration, so Speaker Pelosi does not want to saddle the voters with having another hot issue to keep track of. On November 2, they’ll just have to guess whether their Senator or Representative is for or against ‘em. Of course the same bird that says he’s against a higher income tax now can turn around and vote for it after he’s knocked out.

One reason Congress is short of time is they invited comedian Stephen Colbert to testify about his views on farming. In his entire life he worked exactly one day on a farm so naturally Congress wanted to find out what he knew.

If Congress had invited some actual farmers and ranchers they could have heard the real scoop on agriculture. But farmers in the Midwest are all harvesting their corn and soybeans this month and don’t have time to go to Washington, even to ask for relief.

Congress also put off a vote on the inheritance tax. If you die now, your family gets to keep it all. But if you wait till January to die, the government gets first crack at your fortune, and all the heirs get is a check for what’s left over. Rich old folks will be wary of what Christmas packages they allow under the tree. If it’s ticking, out it goes.

Have you noticed that cars today don’t have bumpers? They used to be strong steel that protected your car when, for example, you bumped into another car while parallel parking. But now these so-called bumpers are self-destructing, plastic coated cardboard that collapses at the first hint of a slight bump with another so-called bumper. In the old days if your car rolled into another one at 3 miles per hour you got a slight jolt. Now what you get is a repair bill for $4000.

I read in the Sunday paper that in Cuba, businesses can now hire people to work for them. Maybe we ought to try that.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“Everything is changing in America. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke, when it used to be visa versa.” DT #1966, Nov. 22, 1932

“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

Taxpayers waiting for relief, except in Arkansas

Sept. 19, 2010

COLUMBUS: Congress is back, so the comedy should be getting better. We had a long dry spell because most of them went home in August, locked their door, and didn’t come out till they were forced to return to the old Joke Factory. They would occasionally sneak a peek out the kitchen window, but when they saw what the Tea Party did to some of their friends, they jumped back in bed.

Before I get into the tax bill, did you see where Lady Gaga went to an awards show wearing a “dress” made entirely of meat? It was all beef, what there was of it. Not a speck of cereal. Just some cotton thread to hold it together. Ranchers and cattlemen appreciate her support, but if she ever offers you a slice of rump roast, refuse it.

Democrats and Republicans are arguing over the tax cuts that are expiring January 1. Republicans want to keep all income taxes where they are, but Democrats want to raise ‘em for anyone making over $250,000. Democrats figure that’s only 2 percent of the voters, but Republicans say, “Yes, but that 2 percent pays half the taxes, and their spending keeps the economy going.” It all boils down to arithmetic, and who is doing the ciphering. To Democrats, votes is most important. To Republicans, it’s dollars.

I think the Democrats might go along with the Republicans if they adopt a controversial provision from the 1935 Townsend Plan. Dr. Townsend’s plan to give pensions to old folks was to pay them $200 a month, but (and here’s the requirement that killed it in the Senate) they have to spend it. No saving for a rainy day. Every month, spend every dollar.

Now, if these higher income folks, and maybe the rest of us, would agree that every month we’ll spend whatever the savings is between the Republican and Democrat plans, then it might get through Congress. That way, the money will be spent to stimulate the economy. The only difference is, the taxpayer decides where his money is spent instead of President Obama.

In Arkansas, Senator Lincoln didn’t wait for any tax savings plan; she reached into Treasury Secretary Geithner’s back pocket and plucked out some cash for her rice and cotton farmers. It’s a Disaster Aid package that zeros in on Arkansas. I figure if Sen. Lincoln hands out about $500,000,000, and she needs roughly 500,000 votes to win re-election, that comes to $1000 per vote.

That may seem absurd if you don’t live in Arkansas, but odds are your own Congressman or Senator has grabbed even more to spread among the voters.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“The whole trouble with the Republicans is their fear of an increase in income tax, especially on higher incomes. They speak of it almost like a national calamity.” 
DT #1435, Feb. 27, 1931

 “The crime of taxation is not in the taking it, it’s in the way that it’s spent.” DT #1764, March 20, 1932

“Our government is the only people that just loves to spend without being compelled to, at all.  But the government is the only people that don’t have to worry where it’s coming from.” Radio, April 21, 1935

#620 Sept. 11, 2010

Looking back on Sept. 11, 2001
Sept. 11, 2010
COLUMBUS: It’s been nine years since 9-11 became a common part of our vocabulary. This weekend there were commemorating ceremonies at Ground Zero, the Pentagon, various football games. Television programs are looking back at that horrible day. We haven’t forgotten.
Here’s part of what I wrote in Weekly Comments the evening of September 11, 2001:    This is not a time for comedy. Civilization was attacked today. The targets were in New York and Washington, but we ALL got hit. Yes sir, not just Americans, but everybody around the world who believes in freedom and democracy and fair play.
I included a few lines from an earlier Weekly Comments, August 20, 1998: News is happening so fast it’s hard to believe it’s August. We had bombs explode in Kenya and Tanzania and Ireland, and just today we sent cruise missiles after some terrorists in Afghanistan and Sudan. You might not have heard of this Saudi Arabian billionaire named Bin Laden, but you’re likely to hear plenty from him now. He’s got more money than many countries, and a bigger army than at least half of ‘em.
Then in subsequent Weekly Comments I included these observations: This fight we’re in is against Evil. It’s not just one man, or his army of radical followers. And certainly not against one country. I read in the paper where some Islamic clerics are meeting to decide if it’s a sin to murder women and children, and commit suicide. The outcome appears to be in doubt. Now I ain’t one to interfere in a religious debate. But based on what I’ve picked up from the radio, and from conversations with folks I know personally in that denomination, at least 99.999 percent of the followers of that particular faith know the difference between right and wrong.
It’s pretty clear that these terrorists, including the Taliban, are no more Islamic than Hitler was a Christian. And any cleric that needs more than ten seconds to decide where he stands, well, he ain’t Islamic either.
Everybody is supporting President Bush, saying he has been quite, well, downright Presidential. Ninety percent say they approve of the way he is handling the situation, along with Mr. Cheney and Powell, Rumsfield and Ashcroft.
Democrats and Republicans in Washington are all pulling together. Of course it’s easy for ’em to all agree when they are spending money. When they have to figure out where the money is coming from, that’s when they’re likely to separate.
Defeating this Evil is the important task at hand. Taking care of Bin Laden and the Taliban won’t be easy, but it may not take as long as people fear. Bob Hope says he’s ready to entertain the troops at Christmas, if they still need him.
Have you noticed, nobody has said a word lately against Prayer in schools.

Well, nine years later Bin Laden is still on the loose, probably in Pakistan. We’ve spent a Trillion dollars on two wars and Billions on security at airports, government buildings, and large public events. If these radical Islamists can’t kill us all, they may be satisfied bankrupting us.

Historic quote from Will Rogers:
“No nation ever had two better friends than we have. You know who they are? Well they are the Atlantic and Pacific ocean. There is a couple of boys that will stand by you. And you can always depend on ’em, three thousand miles wide and a mile deep.”
 WA 537, April 9, 1933 (their value dropped a bit on Sept. 11, 2001)

#619 Sept. 5, 2010

Will suggests a quote for President’s new Oval Office rug

COLUMBUS: President Obama redecorated the Oval Office. He kept the historic desk, but ordered a new rug to lay on the floor.  He had some of his favorite quotes sewed into the rug. Every time he walks into the office he looks down at it, reads one of those quotes, and it inspires or kinda prepares him for the tribulations and turmoil he’s about to face .

Here’s an authentic quote he should add to the Oval Office rug. “I’m not a member of any organized political party… I’m a Democrat.”

Then the next time he wonders, “Why can’t I get anything else through Congress? The House is Democratic, the Senate is Democratic, and I’m a Democrat.” Just read the quote.

Here’s another one. “Democrats never agree on anything, that’s why they’re Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they’d be Republicans.” The next time Congressman John Boehner came to the Oval Office to sound off about something, he would see that quote and laugh so hard he’d forget what it was he wanted to complain about.

Now, I ain’t all one sided. Someday a Republican will get elected President. Eventually. He’ll throw out the Obama rug and bring in a new one. (Or if he’s like Coolidge, he would just turn the rug over and write on the other side.) Here’s a quote for a Republican president to ponder: “Democrats and Republicans are equally corrupt where money’s concerned. It’s only in the amount where the Republicans excel.” In fact, that might explain how he got elected.

The economy keeps getting worse. Almost 10% are unemployed and we lost more jobs in August. Here it is Labor Day, and nobody in Washington can agree on how to get people back to work. Republicans want to extend the tax cuts, but Democrats say that’s ok for the poor, but if you’re rich, you need to pay more. Obama says, “If we give rich people a tax cut they won’t spend it. They just put it in the bank or invest it.” Well, maybe that’s how they got rich, by saving rather than spending. Instead of criticizing these folks, the President ought to be promoting them.
If some of that money goes to banks instead of Washington, maybe they’ll see fit to loan it out to business so they can hire more help. Of course, the President has to let these businesses know the government isn’t going to swoop in and take more from them for everyone they hire.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“Last year we said: Things can’t go on like this! and they didn’t. They got worse.” Jan. 11, 1930

“But we can’t alibi all our ills by just knocking the old banker. First he loaned the money, then the people all at once wanted it back, and he didn’t have it. Now he’s got it again, and is afraid to loan it, so the poor devil don’t know what to do.” DT #1833, June 8, 1932