Medicare and Social Security scare politicians more than tornados

May 29, 2011

COLUMBUS: In Oklahoma and Kansas they are accustomed to tornados, but this spring they have been hitting people that aren’t expecting them. Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Joplin, Missouri took the brunt of deadly tornados. About the only solution is to build underground, then a tornado can’t get you.

Of course, then along comes a flood and drowns out that idea. With a flood, you need to build up in the air so the water can flow along below you.  So I guess you gotta live in an elevator. Then you pick your level based on what disaster is predicted for that day.

Ohio is contributing more than it’s share of water to the Mississippi River flood. It has rained almost every day since early March and a lot of that water has ended up in the Mississippi. But enough of it stayed in Ohio that farm fields are too wet to even walk on. Iowa may have got their corn planted but Ohio is only ten percent done. It’s so wet, farmers need flotation tires for their tractors and corn planters. Not the wide, low-pressure tires. But tires that will actually float.

Isn’t Social Security supposed to have plenty of cash to last another twenty or thirty years? Then why does Treasury Secretary Geithner say that if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, the first thing he will do is stop sending out Social Security checks? If there’s money in that account, then keep paying the folks. On the other hand, if that account has been emptied out like every other one in Washington, then admit it, and raise the future eligibility age up to where it needs to be to get in the black.

Then there’s Medicare. Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi says it’s perfect as is, just leave it alone. But Congressman Paul Ryan says in about ten years it will bankrupt the country and he proposed changes to keep it afloat. Now how can two bright people serving in Congress look at the same thing, and see two entirely different outcomes?

We all ask, why do politicians wait until the last possible minute to tackle a problem that’s been in clear view for years. Well, ever since Ryan introduced his bill to reduce the federal deficit for the long haul it has been tacked on a wall in Washington, and Democrats (and a few Republicans), are throwing darts at it. The aim, no matter which party, is to wait for the other guy to make the first move, then oppose it and try to keep the voters ignorant through the next election.

Republican candidates for President keep popping up. Every time one prospect drops out, three more jump in. Sarah Palin has a bus, but it’s gonna take more than a bus to hold ‘em all. They need a train with a bunch of coach cars, and a caboose to carry their excess baggage. A  few of  them have excess baggage they hope to lose. Some candidates admit that most of the country does not know them. Shucks, even the other candidates don’t know them.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“People are voting policies now, not (political) partys. We are living in a time when if one or the other of these partys don’t start delivering an economic government to the people, they are both going out on their ears.” 
WA #521, Dec. 18, 1932

 “Congress won’t have anything to settle much (in the next session), outside of unemployment, two billion deficit, arrange extra taxes where they will do least harm next November, relieve Wall Street and think up something new to promise farmers.” DT #1672, Dec. 2, 1931

#656 May 22, 2011

Nothing new about Israel-Palestine clashes

COLUMBUS: The so-called preacher who predicted the world would end Saturday had to come up with a new sermon Sunday morning. He titled it “Oops”. You gotta feel sorry for the folks he hoodwinked into giving him all their money and possessions since the world was ending anyway. Do you think he will repay them? Not a chance. He’ll probably come out in a week or two and blame it on the metric system. He calculated using American units, but God (and the rest of the world) uses metrics. Exactly how long is a cubit?
President Obama wants to make peace with the Palestinians by giving them half of Israel.
Let’s hope he doesn’t propose to make peace with Mexico by giving them half of Texas.
He wants a “pre-1967 border” for Israel. Well, if you’re going to go back in history why not go back three thousand years and ask for a “pre-1000 B.C. border”. Back then Israel reached about 60 miles north of Damascus (including a big chunk of Syria), and was about 100 miles wide. I imagine Israel would gladly give up a few thousand acres of that land in return for peaceful relations with Palestine.
Asking Israel to return to a time when their capitol on the Mediterranean was only 9 miles from the enemy’s guns would be like living in downtown Chicago with guns aimed at it from Cicero. Of course if the Israelis and Palestinians got along as well with each other as folks from those two Illinois cities, then it could work out for all of them.
In church this morning, Tom Slack (a real preacher) uttered a prayer for everyone harmed by the Mississippi River. He said, “We made a decision to protect areas where people live close together and a flood would cause tremendous damage, and to sacrifice areas where people live far apart and a flood would cause tremendous damage.” There’s a message in that prayer all religions can agree on. Spend your money on flood victims, not end-of-the-world billboards.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“I thought they had the Jerusalem and Palestine thing pretty well settled as to who’s it was. But it seems those Arabs have broke out again. Why don’t the Jewish people recruit a lot of those east side boys from New York and out in Chicago that fought so good in the war, and send them over there? You can’t lick those Arabs with mass meetings and passing resolutions. Instead of going to that Wailing Wall with just some wails, why, take a gun. That would break ‘em from interrupting prayer meetings.” DT #966, August 30, 1929
 “The Islam women in Jerusalem have asked their government to take their veils off and allow the bride and bridegroom to see each other before marriage. It won’t do ‘em any good. We don’t use ‘em over here, but you would think we did.” DT #1273, August 24, 1930
 “Today saw Jerusalem, Dead Sea and Bethlehem (from the air). Never catch me traveling over here again unless I have read the Book.” DT #1709, January 15, 1932

The Flood of 2011 may be worse than 1927

May 15, 2011

COLUMBUS: The Mississippi River keeps spreading over more farmland. Two spillways, at Morganza and Bonnet Carre, were opened to help save Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Land in Arkansas and Missouri has already been flooded on purpose. The government does not have an easy decision, whether to drown out thousands of acres of crops already growing in order to prevent flooding of thousands of homes and industries down river.
Just like in 1927, the Red Cross is already there. They need your donations.
Meanwhile in the Midwest it keeps on raining. And where they need rain, in Texas and western Oklahoma, the wheat crop is dying from drought.
The government is about to run out of money. Treasurer Geithner is gonna have to keep paying the interest on our debts, but he can cut back on other spending. I suggest he look up the salaries of people who have been added to the payroll in Washington, DC, since the 2008 election and hold those checks awhile.
If the debt limit news ain’t bad enough, we learned this week that Social Security and  Medicare will run out of money sooner than predicted. We’ve got to work longer and stay healthy or the whole country will drown, not just the Mississippi Valley.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers: (on the Flood of 1927)

“I don’t really believe that 80 or 90 per cent of the people realize just what flood disaster means, and what type of people it is that lost most by this particular horror.
The poorest class of people in this country is the renter farmer, or the ones that tends the little patch of ground on shares. He is in debt from one crop to the other to the store keeper, or the little local bank. He never has a dollar that he can call his own.
Then when you talk about poor people that have been hit by this flood, look at the thousands and thousands of Negroes that never did have much, but now it’s washed away. You don’t want to forget that water is just as high up on them as it is if they were white.     What gets my Goat is hearing constantly, “Why don’t those people move out of there? There are floods every year.” How are they going to move? Who is going to move ’em? Where are they going to move to, and what are they going to do when they move there? … Wait till a calamity hits where you are, and then they can ask, “Why don’t you move?””
 WA #230,  May 8, 1927

(At Baton Rouge) “I have flew over more water today than Lindbergh did, only this had housetops sticking out of it.” DT #270, June 2, 1927

 “A Navy flier took me for hundreds of miles over nothing but a sea of water and housetops.  If you have never seen a flood you don’t know what horror is… Spillways is the only thing they can build, so these smartest of Government Engineers told me. They can’t get the levees any higher and save it. They have to put in some way of relieving the river of part of the water. It’s got to be done.” WA #236, June 19, 1927

The mighty Mississippi rolls on, wherever it wants to

May 8, 2011

COLUMBUS: The Mississippi River is roaring down through the middle of the country. It may not have the immediate destruction of tornados and fires, but a big flood can wreak havoc for months.
This flood on the Mississippi will be worse than the one in 1927, even with all the levees built since then. You folks remember the 1993 flood, but it was mainly upstream of where the Ohio dumps in. This year it’s mainly downstream from the confluence with the Ohio, all the way to the Gulf.
The government spent billions building levees and now they are deciding which ones to blow up. It seems a town in Illinois is worth more than thousands of acres of farms in Missouri. They’re going to destroy another levee or two farther down river to save more towns.
These towns, they could have been built anywhere, but a farm has to be where the land is. The farmer can’t just haul the soil up on the side of a hill and say, “This is where I want to raise my corn and cotton.”
I hope the levees protecting these towns and cities hold back the water. Those folks will be overjoyed and donate all they can to help the flooded farmers recover, even if it takes years.
Last week at this time is when I heard that we had killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, in a suburb of the capital. Later the Navy buried him at sea. Can’t you just imagine, as bin Laden was sinking beneath the waves, he was thinking, “Ok, I’ll settle for 72 mermaids.”
Some folks are demanding to see the photos of bin Laden. Here’s a better idea: make a half-dozen prints and send them by courier to those next in line to head up Al-Qaida and the Taliban. Send one to Qaddaffi, too. Include a note that says, “Guess who’s next.”

Historic quotes by Will Rogers: (on the1927 flood)

 “I don’t believe our people that have never been around a flood area realize the tremendous need of these sufferers down on the Mississippi. It’s by far the worst thing that has happened in this country in years.” DT #236, April 25, 1927

 “I got a wire from a very influential club in New Orleans saying: “The Government has cut our levee and overflowed five counties, so that the SEWERAGE from Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis and Memphis can get past Canal Street here in New Orleans.” I wonder if there ain’t a bit of truth in that statement.” WA #231, May 15, 1927

“Another levee broke today; another hundred thousand standing on the banks. Don’t forget that when you eat your big dinner and sleep in a nice dry bed tonight.” DT #263, May 25, 1927

#653 May 1, 2011

The news about bin Laden came just as I was finishing this column Sunday night. Osama bin Laden had been at war with us for about 20 years. Let’s pray that his death will bring about change in the Middle East and among Muslims around the world.

Osama bin Laden DEAD
May 1, 2011

COLUMBUS: Congress has been off for two weeks. The news void was filled mainly by Donald Trump. And a wedding.

The debt limit on our Visa card is about to be topped. Can you imagine this conversation between you and your banker?
“Yes, I know you have raised my credit limit several times. You doubled it in less than ten years, but I still need to borrow more.”
“Sir, you are a valued customer. What are you doing to get your finances in order?
“Well, we printed a bunch of dollar bills recently. Of course we printed twice as many a couple years ago, and that didn’t help either. Our debt just keeps rising. Say, maybe you could lower our interest rate again. Pretty please.”
“Sir, the interest rate we charge you is already down to zero. And what was that you said about counterfeiting money?”
“Counterfeiting? No, no, we would never counterfeit. We call it quantitative easing. It spends just like real money. Nobody even notices what we’ve done until they go to buy something, like gasoline or food.”
“Sir, our Board of Directors meets this week. I’ll let you know what they decide about your credit limit.”

Back in the real world, weather is raising havoc across the country. You know about the deadly tornados in Alabama and other southern states. In the Midwest it rained the whole month of April, and farmers have not planted any corn or soybeans yet. In fact most farmland has more ducks on it than tractors. By the time the water drains off and the land is dry enough to plant, most farmers will already know they can’t possibly get as many bushels as last year.

Oh, I need to apologize to you folks. Last week I was complaining that gas prices were up to $3.90. Well, my little comment riled up the oil companies so much, the next day they raised it to $4.15. So I’m laying off oil.

Last week President Obama said he did not have a “silver bullet” to lower oil prices. Well, the one that took out Osama bin Laden may be a start to lower prices.

The President announced he wants to end the $4,000,000,000 subsidies to oil companies. It sounds like a reasonable plan to help reduce the debt. But no, he wants to give the $4,000,000,000 to solar and wind companies instead. Then there are other reasonable folks who want to end the subsidy for ethanol from corn, and payments to farmers. They all say they want to lower the price of gasoline and food. Well, that would probably have the opposite effect. Do you think eliminating subsidies on solar and wind would lower their cost? Not a chance.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:
“A war over religion is really the most bitter.”
 WA #350, Sept. 8, 1929