A billion here, a billion there = real money

Last week the President was seething. Well, this week the rest of us are seething because we learned how the government wasted $25,000,000,000.

Senator Tom Coburn published his annual “Wastebook” of federal expenditures that could probably be saved without risking our national security. Here are a few examples.

The Pentagon gave someone a Billion dollars to destroy 16 Billion dollars’ worth of ammunition. Why? Don’t we have plenty of soldiers who would enjoy “destroying” it? Deer hunters would gladly accept a few rounds and destroy ‘em for nothing. And squirrel hunters and groundhog hunters and rabbit hunters, too. Speaking of rabbits, we spent thousands hiring some Swedish gals to give massages to rabbits. I guess that’s so they’ll be more relaxed when somebody is shooting at them.

The National Institute of Health spent $370,000 to find out if mothers love dogs as much as they do their kids. Is that an insult to mothers? Or maybe their kids? If you want to learn something worthwhile, find out if men love their wives as much as football.

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture gave $50,000 to an alpaca rancher to package and sell the manure in something called Poop Paks.  And a company called Worm Power received $200,000 to buy compost. Put those together and we can save $250,000. Turn the worms loose in the alpaca pasture; they’ll thrive in that high class manure. After every rain you can go out and pick up a thousand dollars’ worth of worms.

We’re spending $200,000 to send text messages to drunks, reminding them to drink responsibly. If a guy is half-drunk driving home from a bar, do you really want him to answer a text message?

These government agencies claim any wasteful spending is only a tiny percentage of the total. To them it may be small potatoes, but for us taxpayers it adds up to $25 Billion.

On Ebola, we got some good news with the two nurses cleared. But a doctor in New York City brought it back with him from Africa. The governors of New York and New Jersey and a couple other states announced none of these folks arriving from West Africa will be allowed to land there unless they are quarantined for 3 weeks. I think other governors should follow; make ‘em all land in DC and quarantine them in isolation at the White House. With golf and fund raising dinners, the President is never home anyway. Let these Ebola patients walk around on the White House lawn patrolling the fence. They would be scarier to intruders than guard dogs.

Next weekend I’ll be in Oklahoma celebrating birthday # 135 for Will Rogers. His birthday is Election Day, Nov. 4. Who knows, maybe I’ll run into Senator Coburn.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“I love a dog; he does nothing for political reasons.” DT #2288, Dec. 3, 1933

“Politics is the best show in America. I love animals and I love politicians, and I like to watch both of ’em at play, either back home in their native state, or after they’ve been captured and sent to a zoo, or to Washington.”

President seething over Ebola

The New York Times reported that the President’s staff told them he is really upset about the poor response to Ebola. In fact he’s seething, absolutely seething, at the incompetence of the CDC. How mad was he? He was so mad that ten minutes after yelling at his staff he went out and drove a golf ball 450 yards. Alas, it went far left.

We may be overreacting to the Ebola crisis. Yes, you can get it from direct contact with “bodily fluids” of a person with Ebola symptoms. But the family that spent days with the man who died apparently has been cleared. None of them got sick.

But why are we allowing a thousand people a week to fly here from the three countries in West Africa with Ebola? A temporary travel ban will have no effect on how quickly those countries get the crisis under control. We’ll still send in medical experts and millions of dollars to help out. A million dollars spent there on Ebola will be way more effective than spending it here. There are thousands of people in those countries who have survived Ebola. And they can freely work with patients because, like chickenpox, once you get it you are immune from getting it again.

I have heard experts saying that our hospitals and treatment centers are way better equipped to treat patients than those in Africa. So what?  One man lied to get into the U.S. with Ebola, two of his nurses get infected, and that one incident has cost us Millions! One of those nurses was foolishly allowed to fly home to Cleveland to help pick out dresses for a wedding. As a result of that trip, two Frontier Airlines planes were removed from service and cleaned. Airline passengers and 150 people the nurse was with in Ohio are being tracked. Add in all the others connected with the hospital in Dallas and the CDC is tracking almost as many people as the NSA.

Does the CDC and the Obama Administration think that if we “accept” a few more Ebola patients that it will reduce the thousands of Africans who die from it?

The price of gasoline dropped below $3.00. That’s good news to most of us, but it might be an indicator of bad news to follow. Europe is slowly slipping into a recession and that could end up hurting our economy. Enjoy it while it lasts; you can drive to Grandma’s house for the holidays and spend the money you save on more presents.

Want a better economy? Move to Texas.

President Obama says the economy is strong. The stock market is up, energy production is booming, and the unemployment rate keeps dropping.

But when you ask people how they feel, you get mixed answers. It depends on where they live. The President lives in Washington, DC where unemployment is about zero. But folks in the rest of the country, except in Texas, North Dakota and other oil/gas boom states, are still waiting for jobs and wages to show up. One survey reported that 3 of every 5 people say they are worse off than 6 years ago. Business Week says that Texas added 1.1 million jobs since 2008, while the other 49 states lost 350,000. We all know that Texas is big, but that is HUGE.

Old folks will remember that the Great Depression that began in October 1929 did not end as a result of President Roosevelt’s policies. No, the economy was still in the dumps in 1941 when Japan dragged us into World War II. The war didn’t end the economic misery; it just replaced it with a worse misery.

It’s not only the poor and middle class who are complaining about economic conditions. Former chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, was complaining about a $600,000 mortgage on his Washington home. Here’s a man who makes $250,000 every time he gives a speech, and he’s frustrated he can’t get a lower interest rate on a 30-year home loan. First, why would a 60-year old have a 30-year mortgage? Why not give three speeches next week to Wall Street cronies and pay it off?

It turns out he is like a lot of other rich people; he wants a tax deduction. I have said for years the tax code needs to be overhauled, including elimination of deductions for home mortgages, especially for anyone over 60, and for second homes. And eliminate the deduction for state income taxes; that simply favors the governments in states like New York, Illinois and California where taxes are high.

I’ve got other ideas on pumping life into the economy in case anyone in Congress asks. But I know they won’t. They’re all back in their home states trying to get reelected November 4.

Columbus Day is October 12. About all we get out of it is a day off and sales on mattresses and old model cars. Some of these car companies have a huge challenge to get all their 2014 models sold before they have to recall ‘em.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“Christopher Columbus was about the first of the foreigners to start comin’ over. He beat the immigration law… Somebody would have found America though, even if he hadn’t, for you couldn’t hardly get around without running into it…. Being an Indian, I don’t mind telling you personally I am sorry he ever found it. The discovery has been of no material benefit to us, outside of losing all the land. And I am proud to say that I have never yet seen a Statue in Oklahoma to him.” WA #190, Aug. 1, 1926