Redefining Recession. Congress Adding Pork.

When is a Recession not a Recession? When President Biden says it is a “Transition.” I guess we have to wait for a third straight quarter of declining GDP (gross domestic product), which will be reported a week or two before the November election. I wonder how they would define a Depression.

Only in Congress can a bill that will increase inflation be called the “Inflation Reduction Act.” Senate Leader Chuck Schumer has been hammering two fellow Democrats, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, for more than a year over their refusal to increase spending and raise taxes.

Last week Manchin caved. He claims that forcing companies that make a Billion or more to pay at least 15% of it to the Federal Government is not a tax increase. The government expects to collect $300 Billion more in taxes, but it’s not a tax hike. Really? If Sinema also gives in to Schumer, you may be surprised how many companies over the Billion-dollar threshold will cut production, lay-off employees, or split assets to get corporate income below a Billion. Or move the whole company to Mexico… or China.

Maybe Manchin can justify his change of view by saying the original bill promoted by Sen. Bernie Sanders was for 6 Trillion dollars, and he whittled it down to less than one Trillion. Manchin might even claim he saved $5 Trillion! But why vote to spend even one Trillion? As Will Rogers wrote on Nov. 22, 1929, Never blame a legislative body for not doing something. When they do nothing, they don’t hurt anybody. When they do something is when they become dangerous.”

Do West Virginians and other Americans want deregulations and funding for energy? Yes! Increase the supply. And the Schumer-Manchin bill has more money for energy. However, instead of help to increase refining capacity, drill more wells and construct pipelines, the bill increases subsidies for buying expensive electric vehicles and invests billions in solar and wind. As Will Rogers wrote about US Senators on May 29, 1928, We pay for wisdom and we get wind.”

Another new bill, promoted to help manufacturers of semiconductor computer chips move their manufacturing back to the US, has $60 Billion for chips, and $220 Billion for other stuff. And that extra $220 Billion will not produce one more chip! The “Farm Bill” has only 20% that benefits farmers. (Most of the 80% is for food stamps, known today as SNAP.) A bill to provide health care to veterans who suffered from breathing toxic smoke around burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan is held up because Senators piled Billions of unrelated spending onto it.

Can you imagine shopping at your local grocery store and have this happen? You put some milk, bread, apples, potatoes, roast beef and bacon in your cart. Total cost: $40. But at checkout, you are informed that you must also buy a few additional items: oysters, White Stilton Gold cheese, a bottle of fine French wine, two romance novels, and a New Yorker magazine. New total cost: $155. Yes, that’s outrageous. So, be glad your local grocer is Kroger, Walmart or Piggly Wiggly, and not one run by Congress.

President Biden is back home, alone in his basement, because of a rebound back to Covid. Let’s hope he recovers completely. He is taking advantage of the seclusion to mentally prepare for a 2024 rerun of his 2020 campaign.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“If you ever injected truth into politics you have no politics” WA # 31, July 15, 1923

“This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it. That we have carried as much political bunk as we have and still survived shows we are a super nation.” DT #1948, Nov. 1, 1932

“You know I like to make little jokes and kid about the Senators. They are a kind of a never-ending source of amusement, amazement, and discouragement. But the Rascals, when you meet ’em face to face and know ’em, they are mighty nice fellows.” WA #345, Aug. 4, 1929

Mayorkas Makes News. Congress Passes Urgent Bills.

Breaking News from the Mexican border: “There are smugglers that operate on the Mexican side of the border.” This breaking news was revealed by the Secretary of Homeland Security Mayorkas during a speech last Tuesday.

Wow! With over 2 million people from 160 countries crossing illegally in a year, who would have guessed smugglers are helping them? I wish a reporter had asked, “Mr. Secretary, do you suppose the smugglers are charging for their services? If so, can you speculate on how much they charge? Are Cartels doing the smuggling? Are the Cartels also smuggling Fentanyl?”

Mayorkas added another piece of great news, “The border is secure. We are working to make the border more secure.” That may surprise ranchers and residents in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona who have been dealing with “insecurity” ever since he took over. The Mayors of New York City and Washington are just now aware and complaining about immigrants. Actually, these illegal immigrants are being flown and bussed to many states, and being housed and cared for with our tax dollars.

Mayorkas also stated frustration with Republicans who object to giving citizenship to the 15 to 25 million people already here illegally. Although he didn’t say it exactly this way, he implied that if Congress would pass legislation giving citizenship to everyone here currently, that illegal immigration across the southern border would stop immediately. Is that absurd, or what? He complained, “I take issue with Congress holding the (border) solution hostage until the (citizenship) problem is resolved.”

You may be wondering, where along the Rio Grande River did he make these newsworthy revelations? Maybe Del Rio? Eagle Pass? El Paso? No, Mayorkas was not in any town along the river. He was in Aspen. Yes, high in the luxury of the Colorado Rockies. Where his only contact with an immigrant might be the one who refilled his coffee cup, or the housekeeper who cleaned his room.

Meanwhile, Speaker Pelosi has Congress feverishly working on URGENT legislation. They passed an essential bill that says men can marry men and women can marry women. Interracial marriage is in there, too.

Since they are on a roll, what legislation will be next? Maybe on Tuesday they will consider a bill to make contraceptives legal in all 50 states. Then on Wednesday, a bill will guarantee that all students, regardless of race, can attend their local public schools. (However, there is no guarantee the students will learn how to read, write, and do math.)

On Thursday, they have a comprehensive bill that gives the right to vote to any citizen aged 18 or older, including Blacks, women, and Native Americans (Indians and Eskimos).

On Friday, well on Friday, they will be so exhausted from passing historic bills they can only utter brief praise for the January 6 Committee.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“Didn’t we pass an immigration law to even keep people out of our country? Well, that was all right. It was a good law. It’s our country and we got a right to say who all come in.” WA #223, March 20, 1927

“Did you ever figure it out? (Congress) is the only people in the world that are paid to do one job and do every other one there is but that.” DT #519, March 26, 1928

Randall Reeder
(For the record, if this column seems unhinged, blame it on Covid. Mild case. Tested negative on Friday. I hope President Biden recovers as quickly, and with no brain damage.)

Lower Gas Prices, Higher Temps, More Wildlife, and Great Speakers. Bonus: The Oak Ridge Boys

President Biden is more persuasive that we thought. He implored your local gas station owners to lower the price. And they did. They cut their average 5-cents a gallon profit by 95 cents.

While most Americans are concerned about the economy, inflation at 9%, and high prices for food and fuel, President Biden’s main issue is climate change. Regardless of the effect on the lives of average Americans, he is determined to cut greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 to half the level they were in 2005.

The President does not have a majority of votes in Congress to adopt dramatic changes, so Senator Whitehouse from Rhode Island is demanding he use Executive actions to cut fuel use. Yes, he is from a state where you could bicycle from one side to the other, eat lunch, and get back home before dark. This winter, I guess he’ll shut off the fuel oil furnace and burn wood instead.

Texas and California have already experienced rolling blackouts when air-conditioners are running at full throttle. Manufacturers have to cut back production in favor of residential comfort. Wind and solar energy are weather dependent. On extremely hot days the wind does not blow as much. And it is still hot at sundown. The usual “backup” generators are not available. Operating a gas-powered power plant at less than half capacity is not economical so they go out of business.

I’ll keep repeating a key point until someone in charge recognizes it: the federal agency responsible for anticipating changes in energy use (the EIA), says that in 2050 we will use slightly more oil and gas than today. Solar and wind, while increasing rapidly, will only be the third most used energy source in 2050. So please stop demanding we shut down the amazingly efficient and productive energy sources that have kept this country at the top of the global economy and provide for our national security.

Do you have any endangered wildlife on your land? The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided it’s necessary to protect the habitat not only where these rare animals are, but where they might want to move to in the future. They may have spent their entire existence in California, but they may decide Texas is more habitable. This places limits on farming and ranching and drilling. In western Oklahoma the lesser prairie-chicken (grouse) is endangered. Old-time ranchers who say they have never seen one on their fields are still regulated. Concerning oil drilling, when the Alaska Pipeline was planned the environmentalist were scared it would cut the population of caribou. But the caribou love standing under or next to the raised sections because they get warmth from the flowing crude oil.

Last week, Saturday to Monday, I was in Nashville for the annual conference of the National Speakers Association, called Influence. We had a lot of younger, lesser-known high-energy presenters on the main stage. Plus, a few “seasoned veterans” shared their wisdom about the speaking business (which, I’m reminded, is really the “meetings business”).  A huge highlight was a performance by The Oak Ridge Boys. (I got terrific photos, and a short video of “Elvira.”)

If you have followed me for a while, you know my favorite group of professional speakers is the “Tall Women.” I have been their “official photographer” since 1996. To be in this exclusive fun group, you have to be at least 6 feet tall. This year we missed the founder of the group. Jeanne Robertson, 6’2”, former Miss North Carolina, passed away last August, while preparing at home for another theater show (she had 55 booked). By the way, if you want to listen to great humor, look her up on YouTube. If you want to buy a CD or DVD, go to:

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“I think we put too much emphasis and importance on our so-called High standard of living.  I think that ‘high’ is the only word in that phrase that is really correct.  We sure are a-living High. Our Children are delivered to the schools in Automobiles.  But whether that adds to their grades is doubtful….  It’s also a question what we can convert these 4 billion filling Stations into in years to come.  But it ain’t my business to do you folks’ worrying for you.” Saturday Evening Post, June 2, 1928 

“You always learn something. I know now why they call ’em ‘After Dinner Speeches.’ That’s because they can’t be made during a meal. I thought you could talk anytime, but you can’t. You got to get ’em full first. In fact, the best way to do it is to get ’em so full that they have to stay and listen. They can’t get out.” WA #224, March 27, 1927

From 246 Years of American Independence to Threats of a Liberal World Order

President Biden told us why we are paying record prices for gasoline and diesel. It’s because we support Ukraine. What? And he added another reason: individual gas station owners are overcharging.

Here’s the real reason: the Biden Administration is doing everything in its power to cut the supply. Eliminating most leases on public lands (and charging more for them), adding extreme regulations on proposed pipelines, and almost prohibiting drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts. Yes, they are allowing an insignificant 11 well sites in the Atlantic. The drillers may have to work around the thousands of windmills being installed from North Carolina to Maine. Federal regulators are determined to keep big banks from lending money for drilling anywhere.

The President’s chief economic adviser, Brian Deese, stated bluntly that we’ll have to keep paying record high prices for gasoline and diesel to support the “future of the liberal world order.” Deese is an economist? I guessed he graduated from Peking University. (His Ph.D. is actually from Yale. So, I was pretty close.)

I’m guessing China’s President-for-Life, Xi Jinping, and the entire leadership of the Chinese Communist Party is happy with Deese’s admission. Xi is thinking, “With the USA taking a back seat, as soon as this liberal world order is established, we can order the world to do whatever we want.”

Back to Ukraine. Our financial support adds up to a lot of (borrowed) money. Our goal should not be to simply support Ukraine ‘as long as it takes.’ Our goal, supported by all NATO countries, should be to defeat Putin and return all Ukraine territory to Ukraine. Putin is targeting civilians in apartment buildings and shopping centers. We and European nations should give Ukraine enough firepower to overwhelm and destroy the Russian military. The invasion started 129 days ago!

Tomorrow is Independence Day. You might be interested to learn that on July 4th, 55 years ago, I lost my independence, kinda, with a marriage proposal. As a family, including 2 kids, we learned that true independence comes from being dependent on each other. And being dependable.

I just heard that supplies for your local Fireworks show cost 35% more this year. Don’t be surprised if the one in your town tomorrow night ends early. Or your “fireworks” may be a show put on with hundreds of drones flying in patriotic formations.

The big fireworks on our National Mall that’s on network television may also be shorter. But they interrupt it so much you may not notice any difference. For 20 to 30 minutes, I want to watch the beautiful traditional fireworks and hear the loud BOOMS. That’s all. TV producers have plenty of time before or after the fireworks for other entertainment.

Speaking of independence, it is worth recalling that as recent as 2 years ago we were energy independent. It took major creativity and innovation to get there and we should not allow that tremendous national advantage to wither away to satisfy a ‘liberal world order.’

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

          “The 4th of July just passed and 62 people passed with it, besides 262 wounded. A great many of the deaths were due to gunshots, but most were from [mishandling fireworks].” WA #32, July 22, 1923

“The American people are a very generous people and will forgive almost any weakness, with the possible exception of stupidity.” WA #63, Feb. 24, 1924