Dancing, Dictators and Lame Ducks

COLUMBUS: Palestinians in Gaza were dancing in the streets after their government agreed to stop shooting rockets into Israel.  Why now? If they had told their elected Muslim leaders in 2007 to stop shooting at Jews, they could have become so proficient at dancing by now they would be finalists on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Egyptians were surprised to wake up this week and find out they elected a Dictator. Last year they threw out Mubarek, then they turn around and 52% of them voted for a man that lied to ‘em. Imagine that. Now it appears we are paying this Dictator Morsi to keep the peace between Gaza and Israel by preventing Iran from sneaking rockets across Egypt into Gaza. The success of this arrangement may depend on whether these Gaza folks prefer dancing to shooting.

The Fiscal Cliff is still looming over us. Last week I asked, exactly what budget items is the President willing to cut. Since then he flew to Burma, defended Susan Rice, and pardoned a couple of turkeys, but nary a mention of any suggested cuts in his budget. Democrats are kinda hinting that if Republicans will agree to raise taxes by $100 Billion a year on the rich, they will agree to cut expenses $250 Billion a year. But no one will say where the cuts are coming from. They seem to know, just like an old turkey gobbler, if you stick your neck out when someone is holding an axe, it’s liable to get chopped off.

Well, the President is about the only one immune from the chopping block so it’s up to him to take the lead. Since 40 percent of the total budget goes for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and those three are rising rapidly, that seems like a good place to start. Defense takes 20 percent and while a lot of folks want to cut that drastically, we’ve got to remember that defense of this country is in the Constitution. The other three, no matter their great value, are not in the Constitution.

I think the President could come at this Trillion dollar deficit from a different angle. We have about 25 million Americans either unemployed or underemployed. Suppose he asked the question, “What can my administration do that would encourage business and industry to employ half of those people full time?”

If he got 12 to 15 million more people working, and paying taxes instead of collecting them, why the deficit would cut itself. The Lame-duck Congress could go home and enjoy Christmas. And the President could play golf without criticism. Well, not as much anyway.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“The lame ducks met Monday… they are lame because their constituents were thinking faster than they was.” DT #1974, Dec. 1, 1932

“Everybody is knocking this Lame-duck Congress, but do you know those fellows have a chance to make a real name for themselves and make us ashamed that we fired ‘em?” DT #1976, Dec. 4, 1932

Libya and Fiscal Cliff get attention, finally

COLUMBUS: By now you’ve all heard that Gen. Petraeus had to resign from the CIA because of a sex scandal. Soon as the election results were announced, all the TV stations jumped on this story about the “other woman.” It turns out the only reason we learned about the “other woman” is because she thought there was another “other woman.”
Because of this General’s affair, some of you are just now learning that our Libya ambassador was killed Sept. 11 by a planned terrorist attack. The CIA knew it immediately and so did the State Department, FBI, and Defense Dept. About the only ones that didn’t know it were the President and U.N. Ambassador, Susan Rice.
The President said last week that Rice knew nothing about Benghazi, and that’s why he picked her to explain it to the country on television Sept. 16. That’s like asking me to explain Mozart and Beethoven. “They both liked music, but not the words. Let’s see, they’re not from around here, and anyway they’ve been dead a long time.”
Since the election’s over, folks are learning more about this “Fiscal Cliff” in Washington. Because the capital gains tax is supposed to double on January 1, anybody whose business has appreciated greatly in the last few years (and there aren’t many) is trying to sell so he can cash in at the lower rate and keep more of his dough. Here’s a word of caution for these newly minted millionaires: the estate tax almost doubles in 2013 so keep an eye on the next of kin around Christmas so you don’t get knocked off, accidently of course.
The President met with the leaders from Congress on his tax plan. He wants to raise tax rates on the wealthy and John Boehner says he’s willing to raise tax revenue from the same folks, but not their rates. So the big argument these two are having over the top 2% is rate vs. revenue. Obama wants to raise the rate so he can brag about it to the other 98%. Republicans will accept raising revenues so they can brag that they held the line on rates. The top 2% already pay about 60% of the total income taxes, so why not let ‘em pay 70%. Seems logical to everyone else as long as no one loses their job.
The problem is we’re hooked on the wrong argument. The important question is: Where is the President willing to cut expenses? How many bureaucrats and regulators in Washington is he willing to let go? Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security are the elephant in the room. What can they agree on to keep those three from going broke? Let ‘em do some horse trading.
And don’t tell us what an agreement will do over ten years. Nobody knows. Just show us what it will do next year compared to this past year.

I watched “Dust Bowl” on public television tonight (Sunday). Two more hours tomorrow night. Ken Burns did a great job with it.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“(The dust storms) are a terrible thing, and it’s going to bring up some (peculiar) cases in law. If Colorado blows over and lights on top of Kansas, it looks kinder like Kansas ought to pay for the extra top soil. But Kansas can sue ‘em for covering up their crops.” Radio, March 28, 1935

Will offers plan to divide the country

The election is finally over. It did not end in a tie. And as it turned out, Ohio, Florida and Virginia did not matter. Wow, look at the millions of dollars and days of campaigning they all wasted there.

President Obama was reelected by a huge margin in the Electoral College by folks that want four more years like the last four. It seems that a lot of men and women who don’t have a full time job and are on food stamps have kinda gotten used to it and voted to keep it that way. With that attitude, who can fault ‘em for not taking a chance on Romney.

Mitt Romney was gracious in defeat and John Boehner said the Republicans are willing to work with the president to raise revenue if they can reduce expenditures. President Obama said he has a pen ready to sign a bill to raise tax rates, but didn’t say anything about budget cuts.

The Republicans are in deep trouble and I have a suggestion, if they choose to accept it. See, young single women voted overwhelmingly for the Democrat. Men, including young ones, voted for the Republican. Married women voted for the Republican. So, the future of the entire Republican Party depends on persuading these young successful Republican men to marry young Democratic women and convert ‘em.

In California they voted to raise taxes because they’re $55 Billion in the hole. Can’t wait to check back in four years to see what the number is. No matter how much they take in, that bunch in Sacramento will figure out a way to spend it all.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:
“We ought to split this country up, anyhow.  Let the Republicans have the East, and then let ’em run it just like they want to.  And then the Democrats take the West.
If a person wants to be a Republican, why let him go east, and if he wants to be a Democrat, why come west.
It’s got some possibilities at that.  I know a lot of you will say, “We must preserve the Union.”  Well,  the Union is over preserved right now. It’s pretty near pickled.
Of course  the Republicans would have all the money, but the Democrats would have all the fun.
If the country split that would naturally do away with the national debt.  Both sides would start in owing nothing.  And the Republicans would perhaps continue the same way, but the Democrats, it wouldn’t take them long to dig up a deficit.
And then the Democrats could take whatever they’re using for money, and they could inflate or do anything they wanted to with it.  And the Republicans, who say we should never have gone off the gold, well, if they had their own country they could go back on it if they want to.
I can’t picture, personally, a more ideal existence all around.  The only trouble would be neither one would be happy because they wouldn’t have nobody to lay anything on to. So I doubt if the plan will ever get very far, because this is not a time for common sense.”
  Radio, June 9, 1935

Will celebrates another birthday in Oklahoma

Nov. 4, 2012

CLAREMORE, Okla.: If you think we spend too much on Presidential election campaigns, I read that we doled out $2.6 Billion for Halloween candy. That compares to about $2.0 Billion for Romney and Obama. (And it seems like $1 Billion of that was TV ads in Ohio.)

We still don’t know who will win Ohio. But Oklahoma made up their mind months ago. In fact the Tulsa World today wrote that most Oklahomans “made up their minds about Barrack Obama four years ago”, and nothing he has done since has “remotely tempted a change of heart.”

Since Ohio is supposed to decide the general election, why not let ‘em decide the primary too. It’s just common sense. Ohio can hold a primary in November 2015, then the other states, like Iowa and New Hampshire, will know who to vote for in theirs. Ohio can even hold a meaningless straw poll in July, maybe during the State Fair so the candidates can fit right in with the corndogs, clowns and carnival barkers.

Of course this is just my idea; I haven’t discussed it with anyone in Ohio. They may be less enthusiastic and say, “We just finished months of political bombardment, and you want us to wake up the day after the election with a dozen candidates for 2016 knocking on the front door?”

You may know that today, Nov. 4, is my 133rd birthday, and that’s why I’m in Claremore. Oklahoma spent the last four days celebrating it, probably just as an excuse to eat more cake. I was in the parade Saturday afternoon; it went down Will Rogers Blvd., across Route 66, past the old Will Rogers Hotel and the Claremore Daily Progress, ending at the Baptist church. We crossed 4 or 5 railroads and didn’t lose a single float to a train. I walked along behind a passel of politicians riding in a dozen convertibles. I joked with folks along the parade route, “Following all these politicians, I’ve got to be careful not to step in something.” I was carrying a lasso but what I needed was a scoop shovel.
You might ask, “Weren’t there any horses in the parade?” Yes, but they were behind me. You can’t blame the horses.
Right in front of me was a delightful District Attorney and she had five pretty girls walking along handing out candy. For a while I was taking credit, saying they were doing it for me, not her. Then I asked one of ‘em, “Exactly what is it you are giving these voters to impress ‘em?” She reached in her plastic bag and pulled out a handful, “Suckers and Dum Dums.” Gee, there’s no way that could insult their intelligence.
Of course, I’m kidding. I know personally most of these folks; they’re mayors of local towns like Oologah and Catoosa, the Rogers County sheriff, Cherokee council members, and they get along fine. Now, if any of ‘em decide to run for Governor or Senator or even President, they might get feisty.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:
“It’s going to be mighty hard next Wednesday after it’s over to tell which one to congratulate. If this depression stays with us, the loser Tuesday is going to be the winner.”
  DT #1951, Nov. 4, 1932