Will Rogers on Leap Day & Share the Wealth

Columbus:  It’s February 29. During the years Will Rogers was writing his syndicated newspaper columns, referred to as Daily Telegrams, he wrote on Leap Day twice, in 1928 and 1932. Here they are, complete.

“Right here in Memphis today over twenty-five policemen went to a hospital and volunteered to give blood transfusions to a kid that was near death. I know that I am out of order in speaking of the good things that cops do, but I am one of the old-fashioned people who believe if somebody pounced on me, I could holler for one and he would come and help me out without me having to pay him anything. The poor fellows can’t catch many criminals as our towns have them too busy marking cars that have been parked too long.” DT #497, Feb. 29, 1928

“Every time Congress starts to tax some particular industry, it rushes down with its main men and they scare ’em out of it. About the only way I see for ’em to do, so it would be fair to everybody, would be for Congress to go into secret session, allow no telephones, no telegrams,, no visitors, so no outside lobbyists can get at ’em, then tax everything they want to, and should tax, then announce, ‘Boys, it’s all over; there is no use shooting at us now.’ As it is now, we are taxing everybody without a lobby.” DT #1747, Feb. 29, 1932

On a current topic… Before there was Senator Bernie Sanders, before Sen. Elizabeth Warren, we had Senator Huey Long of Louisiana with his ‘share the wealth’ plan. Here’s Will, on the CBS Radio network in 1935.

“Now, Huey’s plan to ‘share the wealth,’ it’s a marvelous idea. Huey’s a smart guy, don’t overlook that.   And in our own downright conscience tells us that there’s no reason why, well, anybody should have more than you.  There ain’t nothing wrong with the plan, only this one little defect: Nobody ain’t going to share it with you, that’s all.

I know a lot of tremendously rich people that should share their wealth with me, but they just don’t see it that way.  And I know folks that ain’t got as much as I have that think I ought to share it with them.  Well, I just can’t hardly see it their way either. That is, even if I can see it that way, I’m not doing it.

Well, we take the case of Huey. Suppose Huey was asked to divide his publicity with the other ninety-five senators.  Now what a fine thing.  Say, Huey, we just want you to split this publicity with them, see?  Well, that would be just like getting J. P. Morgan to split what he had with a Navajo. Morgan would say, ‘Well, why should I split with the Navajo?  I got nothing in common with the Navajo.’

Well, that’s what Huey would say, ‘Why should I split with the other ninety-five senators.  I’ve got nothing in common with them.’” Radio, April 21, 1935

The Sanders, Biden, Warren, Bloomberg Donnybrook

Columbus: Senator Sanders has edged ahead in the race for the Democratic nomination. South Carolina may tighten the race leading up to March 3 elections across the country. Naturally anyone in front wants to brag about a lead and momentum. But if this was a football game, Bernie would have the ball on his own 3-yard line. A long, long way to go to score the nomination.

Mike Bloomberg found out his $60 Billion could not protect him from being beat up in his first debate. Senator Warren clobbered him on behalf of the thousands of women he employs and young minority males who like to carry guns in New York City. Joe Biden is performing better in the debates, so perhaps Bloomberg will also improve in his second one Tuesday night.

Farmers were probably surprised that Bloomberg was berated for his previous comments about women and gun-toting urban minorities, but not for insulting American farmers. I figured Senator Klobuchar from the farming state of Minnesota would confront him for claiming all a farmer has to do is dig a hole, drop a seed, cover it up and add a little water and then watch the corn grow. But it was not a surprise because, for these candidates, the farm vote is insignificant compared to women and minorities.

Senator Sanders is drawing his support from the half of the voters who expect to come out ahead with free stuff while the other half are pondering the fate of their wealth and income. Maybe Bernie should convince Bloomberg to be his VP and donate his $60 Billion to the government. That might cover the first week of free stuff.

Senator Warren is pushing her so-called “2 cent” tax on wealth. If you happen to have a million dollars invested in stocks, bonds, farmland or a mansion in Vermont, that “2 cents” means you owe $20,000. Every year. Well, not every year. If she takes away her “2 cents” per year, in 50 years you won’t owe anything because you won’t own anything.

Television commentators are speculating that unless the 14 primaries on March 3 produce a clear winner, the Convention in Milwaukee will be brokered. That would be a donnybrook. Several are comparing it to the 1924 Democratic Convention in New York City. That convention started on June 24 with 20 candidates. It took 103 ballots to get a winner, finally ending on July 10. (Will Rogers covered that convention and wrote 18 daily newspaper articles on it.)

If 2020 promises to be like 1924 I’ll hook on with a newspaper syndicate, if there’s any newspapers left. I have friends in nearby Brookfield so maybe I can bunk in their basement for the duration.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

          “Sure, the Government can help us on everything, if we just furnish ‘em the money to do it with.” Notes

“Everybody’s asking, ‘What about all this money the Government is spending?’ It’s pleasing the fellow that’s receiving it, but it’s driving the guy who thinks he is going to have to pay for it about nuts.”  Feb. 4, 1934

Bloomberg/Clinton. Balanced Budget. Imagine that!

Columbus: It was fun for a while. Mayor Bloomberg was rumored to favor Hillary Clinton as his VP running mate. Would that make sense?

If he feared for his life in New York City if he had let everyone carry a gun, well, how would he feel the day after his Inauguration when Clinton is next-in-line? He might want to borrow “my” campaign promise from 1928: “If elected, I will resign.” It might have cost Bloomberg two Billion dollars to serve a few hours as President of the United States, but he would still have several Billion. And be around to spend it. Besides, if one of the other candidates had been elected, he was set to have two percent of his wealth confiscated every year.

Of course it was all a joke, just like the previous paragraph.

The Budget that President Trump sent to Congress is being treated like a joke. It has a Trillion dollars more in spending than receipts. But if you ask someone who is set to receive a portion of the five Trillion dollars how much they are willing to give up to balance the budget, you get a shocked look, “Me? No way. There’s plenty of waste and cheaters. Take it from them.”

Then you ask someone else, and they have an easy solution, “Raise taxes.” Then you ask, “On who?” and the immediate answer is, “On the rich.”

So, there you have the answer. Balance the Budget? Let the other guy do it.

Imagine that!

Historic quotes by Will Rogers: (on the budget)

“We never will get anywhere with our finances till we pass a law saying that every time we appropriate something we got to pass another bill along with it stating where the money is coming from.” DT #1733, Feb. 12, 1932

“Congress, with an eye, not on the budget, but on [election day], put a tax as high as 72 per cent on some incomes. That’s three-fourths; Russia only gets half… The crime of taxation is not in the taking it, it’s in the way that it’s spent.” DT #1764, March 20, 1932

“Everybody says, ‘Where’s the money coming from we’re spending?’ Well, I don’t know, but just offhand, I’d say it’s coming from those that got it.” Radio, Apr. 7, 1935

“Every time Congress starts to tax some particular industry, it rushes down with its main men and they scare ‘em out of it.” DT #1747 Feb. 29, 1932

Rip roaring times

Columbus: Speaker Pelosi did not like the State of the Union as delivered by President Trump, so she ripped it. Literally ripped it. All 19 pages. She couldn’t tear it all at once, so she ripped it in thirds starting with where he talked about the economy. Then she ripped the middle third where he honored folks including a 100-year old Tuskegee Airman, a middle school student, the widow of a soldier killed by ISIS, the wife of a soldier deployed overseas (who surprised her by walking in), and Rush Limbaugh (who got widely ripped afterwards). Then to be sure everyone saw her, she ripped the last few pages and flung them on her desk.

The next day the Senate ripped up the two Articles of Impeachment. Out of 100 Senators only Senator Romney of Utah did not vote with his Party. Chuck Schumer needed 67 votes to convict Trump, but could only round up 49. At least he kept all 48 Democrats in his corral. Many of those Democrats who were ripping Romney in 2012 are praising him today.

Trump signed the new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico which ripped up the old NAFTA.

In the Super Bowl on Sunday the half time show got ripped. Several football fans thought the pole dancing would be more appropriate in a strip club and was a big setback for women. On the other hand people loved all the fancy dancing and were impressed by the pole climbing talent of a 50-year old mother, Jennifer Lopez. Oh, for the viewers who hung around until the fourth quarter, the Kansas City Chiefs ripped the San Francisco 49ers, coming from 10 points down, scoring 21 to win 31-20.

Iowa Democratic leaders got ripped because 1600 precincts could not count votes and get the results to Des Moines.  I thought about joking the delay was because they were transporting them by Pony Express; then realized that would be an insult to the Pony Express. As it turned out, Pete B. and Bernie S. were pretty much tied. Out of the 1990 convention delegates needed to win the nomination, Iowa gave the Mayor 16 and Sen. Sanders 14.

President Trump will present the Budget to Congress tomorrow. That’s gonna rip a bigger hole in the national debt. We had a Trillion dollar deficit last year and everybody blamed the tax cuts. But, amazingly, they collected just as much dough after cutting the rates as they did before. So maybe the problem is they spent too much. Yes, they will eventually agree on spending far more than we take in, but they will have a roaring good time spending it before the election.

The Oscars just ended (11:35 pm). The “best actor” ripped into dairy farmers for using AI instead of bulls. He wants calves to consume all the milk from cows instead of humans using it. He wants us to eat dry cereal dry and, like Starbucks, add only nut juice to our coffee.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“Did you ever hear of as crazy a law as Kentucky [Iowa??] has? They make ’em wait TWENTY-FOUR HOURS before counting the votes. That’s to give the counters a chance to think it over and be honest. Twenty-four hours is supposed to make you honest in Kentucky… Then they wonder why we don’t take our lawmakers serious.” DT #1339, Nov. 7, 1930

“I’m not a member of any organized political party… I’m a Democrat.” (paraphrased)

“The Budget is a mythical bean bag. Congress votes mythical beans into it and then tries to reach in a pull real beans out.” DT #2047, Feb. 24, 1935