Oh, the pain of sequestration

COLUMBUS: President Obama introduced us to the word “sequestration” a year and a half ago. Most of us already think it should be banned. Never has there been so much hassle over so little. It’s like a millionaire’s divorce where they argue for weeks over who gets the lawn mower.

President Obama returned from a golf weekend in Florida and criticized Congress for not taking the issue seriously. He said,  “These cuts don’t have to happen.” He’s right. The sequestration plan was his idea; he can admit it was a bad plan and withdraw it. But why would he do something so logical when he has the voters behind him and Republicans over a barrel.

Of course, Democrats say the Republicans were happy to fully support the President’s sequestration plan in 2011. And they were. But that was because they thought a Republican would be elected. It does make you wonder: What would a President Romney do?

The President gave out numbers today on how much the $85 Billion sequester would cost each state in lost federal funds. For Ohio, he said 350 teachers would lose their jobs and 2500 Head Start students would have to stay home. On the other hand, consider the president’s proposed solution which would raise about $58 Billion in taxes and cut an equal amount of spending. Does that mean Ohio would lose 200 teachers? And 1500 students? Of course not. In either case, a good governor and legislature would find other places to cut, to minimize rather than maximize the pain.

At a time when everyone ought to be looking for ways to save, the President is sending plane loads of Washington officials to visit 100 cites and advise them on applying for more federal dollars. Most of the 100 mayors are already good at begging for money, and getting it, but the President believes there is always room for improvement. Is Senator Tom Coburn the only person who thinks this is silly?

Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve are running a printing press, printing $85 Billion a month in $20 bills. Can’t the president tap into part of that loot to cover the shortage? So what if it’s counterfeit. Just slip a few bills into the pay envelope of every federal employee. For Congress, pay ‘em 100 percent with counterfeit bills. Banks are under orders to accept them.

Abraham Lincoln won an Oscar. Can’t get more authentic than Honest Abe.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“Now (Congress) wouldn’t be so serious and particular if they only had to vote on what they thought was good for the majority of the people of the U.S.” 
WA #78, June 4, 1924
 “No matter what a President does, he is wrong according to some people.” WA #352, Sept. 22, 1929
 “Actors and actresses are thick here today (at the new Santa Anita racetrack)… It’s proof positive that there is plenty of money to feed and clothe everybody. It’s only a rumor that everybody has been taxed to death.” DT #2617, December 25, 1934

Horse sense is missing in Washington

Britain is in an uproar over horse meat sold as hamburger. Poland and other parts of Europe look favorably on butchering an old horse the same as a cow. The English, however, prefer beef with their Beefeater gin.

Oklahoma introduced a bill in the state Legislature that would make it legal to process horse meat, not to eat the meat in Oklahoma, but to ship it overseas. Just not to England.

Have you noticed gasoline prices are the highest ever for this time of year and there’s no relief in sight. If they keep going up, we may need to get a couple more years out of our saddle horses before we let anybody eat ‘em.

In the State of the Union speech the main thing the President said about jobs is he wants to raise the minimum wage to $9.00. Yep, that’s a sure-fire way to get businesses to hire more people. He says he will start or expand some federal programs, but he won’t increase the deficit one dime. The deficit is already a Trillion dollars, so he’s gotta bring in some dough to cover the extra costs. He may be planing to auction off empty buildings and a lot of land out West. Of course, he’ll retain the mineral rights; he don’t want anyone drilling and adding to our supply of oil and gas.

Congress has a habit of doing dumb things. Individually, they’re pretty sharp, but together, not so bright. With this Sequestration hanging over the country again, they went on vacation for a week. And the President ain’t any better; he flew to Florida for golf lessons. Maybe he should have stayed in Washington and invited a few business folks to teach him a lesson in “cutting costs so you don’t go broke.” Congressional leaders need the same lesson. A negative score is good in golf, but not in government.

Why does this seem like December all over again? Very little work is getting done because federal workers are spending most of their time making plans to adjust to the cuts. At least they are figuring out how to cut 3% with the least damage to the public. Meanwhile the White House appears to be preparing cuts where it will do the most damage to the Republicans. Which of these choices makes the most sense to you: layoff 10,000 early-childhood teachers, or 25,000 Dept. of Education employees in Washington? Cancel food stamps for the poorest 5 million, or for the 5 million at the top income of the eligibility range?  Approve the Keystone oil pipeline, or cut 5,000 EPA employees? Oh, wait, that last one was a trick question.

The Post Office wants to reduce their deficit by eliminating Saturday mail (and cutting employees), but Congress won’t let ‘em.

Does anyone in DC have some common horse sense?

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“I love horses and I only ask–don’t let me know which one we are eating today.” DT#2052, March 2, 1933
 (Comments on the depression-era  possibility that his family may be forced to eat horses because that was all he raised on his ranch.)
“They used to take your horse and if they was caught they got hung for it; now they take your car and if they are caught it’s a miracle.” WA #507, Sept. 11,1932
“The British Post Office showed a profit at the end of the year of $70 million. Last year $57 million…  When you say, ‘a government can’t run a business,’ you mean OUR government can’t run it.”  DT #2380, March 20, 1934
“President Hoover (wants) to give all the lands belonging to the United States back to the individual states. But he recommends that the Federal Government hold all the Oil and Mineral rights. Well that’s just like offering a hungry man a meal and reserving the rights to issue him no food.”
 WA #352, Sept. 22, 1929

The State of the Nation: not so good

We’re going to give President Obama another chance Tuesday night to say something about jobs and the economy. Maybe he’ll take a hint from President Roosevelt in 1935 when he “dug up three new initials for a new unemployment work program” (the Works Progress Administration). The aim of the WPA was that people receiving relief would instead be  doing some useful work that would help the country.

President Obama might propose spending more money for teachers and federal workers and windmills, but I doubt he’ll offer any plans that will put folks receiving food stamps and welfare to work doing something productive. What about the 8 million receiving disability payments? That’s double what it was a few years ago, and yet no one at OSHA has been fired. Seriously, we have the safest work environment in history. How do so many get mangled and beat up so horribly they can’t recover and return to work?

I read that young folks today are running up debt at such a high rate they will likely still be deep in debt when they die.  And contrasted to the older generation, they don’t seem to care. Now where would they get the idea that “spending doesn’t matter?”

Remember last week when we were all joking about the Super Bowl power outage? Everyone’s saying, we can’t let anything that bad happen again. Well, next year the Super Bowl will be played in New Jersey. Outdoors. If you think a 30-minute lights-out delay is the worst that can happen, how about a blizzard?

Did you watch the Grammys? Sure glad CBS sent a memo telling those wayward kids how to dress for TV.  Some of the female singing stars were upset because they had to buy underwear. Entertainers who are mad at the CBS dress code are demanding that from now on the Grammys be shown on HBO. I was wondering, what would CBS do if Lady Gaga showed up, shall we say, out-of-code? Turn off the lights?

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“The rest of the country knows the condition of the country, for they live in it… but (Congress) has no idea what is going on in America. So the President has to tell ‘em.” 
WA #371, Feb. 2, 1930
 “(President) Roosevelt stepped to the microphone last night and knocked another home run… Some people spend a lifetime juggling with words, with not an idea in a carload… He took a dry subject and made everybody understand it.” DT #2061, March 13, 1933
“There is not a single person that knows any more about what (this year) has in store for us than a billy goat. Ten million people have gone without work for three years just listening to ‘big men’ solve their problems.” DT #2000, Jan. 1, 1933
 “We ain’t getting anywhere, but we are having lots of fun thinking we are.” DT #1308, Oct. 2, 1930

So God made a Farmer, by Paul Harvey. Presented by Dodge Ram

COLUMBUS: Harvard University, which has produced more Presidents and Congressmen than any other school, kicked out 60 students for cheating on a final exam. The class they cheated in was “Introduction to Congress.” Introduction? Those students acted like they were already IN Congress. These poor students, they should have stayed honest at least until they got to “Advanced Congressional Ethics.” That’s where they learn how to commit chicanery surreptitiously so they can still get re-elected.

What Harvard ought to be teaching ‘em is economy and accounting. Not just Harvard, but  Yale and Princeton and the rest of ‘em that proudly send their grads to Washington. Maybe the Ivy schools are teaching ‘em, but they seem to forget all they learned when they get within ten miles of the Potomac. Budget? Who needs a budget. Debt? We still have a credit card, don’t we.

All I know is what I read in the paper, and today the McClatchy Newspapers informed us that the federal debt is not so dire. They say it’ll be at least 10 or 20 years before we turn into Greece. Boy, that’s encouraging. They say recent deficit reduction actions by Congress and the President, if I got it figured right, means the total debt in 2023 will only be about $28 Trillion instead of $31 Trillion. The article went on to say we might want to “tweak programs” to reduce spending a bit, such as reducing the inflation index for Social Security and cutting farm subsidies. Sure, that’ll fix the economy.

Speaking of Social Security, if the age for receiving those retirement payments had been indexed for longevity when it was passed in 1935, the age when you could start receiving it today would be 81. Now, I’m not suggesting that, but 70 years ago for every person receiving a payment there were 16 paying in, and now it’s down to 2. People are already delaying retirement plans, so raising the age to 72 for S.S. (and Medicare) is not so outrageous.

In the Super Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens built a big lead, the lights went out, and then they held on to beat the favored 49ers, 34-31. For those of you who only watched the game for the commercials, the best one was Paul Harvey’s “So God made a Farmer”, by Dodge Ram. The most puzzling commercial was the Goat for Sale. Is a goat eating a lot of Doritos supposed to represent an endorsement? Goats will eat anything: weeds, tin cans, old tires, and they have been known to chew on electric lines. (That may explain the lights going out.)

Did you watch the Puppy Bowl during halftime? As I understand it, the purpose of having 60 puppies frolicking on a “football field” was to encourage adoption of those puppies and others across the country. This may be more entertaining than a lip-syncing Beyonce (or even a lip-singing Beyonce), but honestly, I like the Bikini Bowl better, with or without the option of adoption.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“The government can help us on everything — if we just furnish ’em the money to do it with.”
 Undated notes
“There is not a man in this country that can’t make a living for himself and his family. But he can’t make a living for them AND his Government, too, not the way this Government is living. What the Government has got to do is live as cheap as the people.” DT #1990, Dec. 20, 1032
“We cuss ‘em and joke about ‘em, but they are all good fellows at heart; and if they wasn’t in (Congress), why, they would be doing something else against us that might be worse.” Saturday Evening Post, July 24, 1926