Debt Ceiling Question: Will Rogers Solved It Years Ago

Okay, readers. Let’s begin today’s column with a multiple-choice question: Why does Congress need to raise the Debt Ceiling again?
A. Less tax money was collected than in previous years.
B. More money was spent than previous years.
C. Both A & B.
D. Neither A nor B.

As you ponder that question, here are some helpful facts. (Data are from various government sources.) In 2012 our government spent $3.8 Trillion. In 2022 they spent $6.2 Trillion, an increase of more than 60%.

Federal tax receipts from all sources (includes ~50% income taxes; 30% payroll taxes; 8% corporate) were $2.5 Trillion in 2012 and $4.8 in 2022. Presidents and Congress continue to spend far more money than received.

Our federal debt was $16 Trillion in 2012. And now it’s almost $32 Trillion. In only ten years the government increased our debt as much as in the previous 235 years. If a family or business behaved the same way, they would go bankrupt.

About 3 million fewer people are employed today than three years ago despite having several million open jobs. Most of the 3 million are receiving money from the government instead of paying taxes.

If Congress and Presidents had followed advice from Will Rogers for the last hundred years (see the quotes below), they would not be arguing over a Debt Ceiling. And I would not have thrown all these numbers at you today.

The answer to the opening question is… B.

Another multiple-choice question I could have asked is, “Why does Congress overspend?” But the number of “choices” would total 566 (one for each Representative and Senator in Congress, and one for the President).

The Super Bowl match up is set for Feb. 12. Philadelphia beat San Francisco 31-7 and Kansas City beat Cincinnati 23-20. Will Rogers, a proud Cherokee, will naturally root for the Chiefs.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“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

(Instead of being in Congress) “suppose you got $100,000 a year for working for a firm and you spent $200,000,000,000 of their money that you didn’t have and you didn’t know where you was going to get it, how long would you be working for that firm?” DT #1813, May 16, 1932

“Nobody can kick on honest deserving relief, and nobody can be blamed for kicking on relieving somebody when they won’t work. The government has got to find some way of telling them apart.” DT #2650, Feb. 1, 1935

          “Half the people in the United States would rather collect one dollar from the government than get $10 from [working].” WA # 119, March 22, 1925

“As soon as we get used to this overdraft why it won’t be so bad, but it’s just while it’s new that everybody’s attention is focused on it. You know a Billion is getting so it’s a lot of dough, even in these hard times.” WA #440, May 31, 1931

“The budget is a mythical bean bag. Congress votes mythical beans into it, and then tries to reach in and pull real beans out.” DT #2047, Feb. 24, 1933

Scavenger Hunt: Find Joe Biden’s Missing Documents.

Top-Secret Classified documents keep turning up. It seems that when Joe Biden left office as Vice-President 6 years ago, he filled cardboard boxes with documents, photos and souvenirs collected from 40 years in DC. Then, any time he traveled he would stuff a few in his briefcase. That way, he would have something to read if everyone ignored him. As you know, Vice-Presidents are usually ignored and forgotten, both in office and after they leave.

On Friday they found more at the Biden beach house. The first ones were found on November 2 at the University of Pennsylvania, and ever since they continue to pop up.

The discovery on Friday caught the attention of millions of Americans. See, anywhere the former Vice-President traveled in the last few years, patriotic Americans are searching intently for documents he might have “misplaced.”

It’s a nationwide Scavenger Hunt! Conductors on the Amtrak route from DC to Wilmington are searching around his preferred seat. If he visited your office, check file cabinets.  If he slept at your house, look under the mattress. Inspect the seat pockets on Air Force 2.

One place it would be a waste of time to look is along the Rio Grande. Even if he dropped a couple of Top-Secret documents during his only visit near the river, in El Paso, the Mexican Cartel coyotes would have grabbed them.

Like a regular scavenger hunt, Republicans should provide prizes. Draw a name from all of those who turn in a Top-Secret classified document. And offer a grand prize to the one who finds the most.

While you’re searching for Biden’s mishandled classified documents, see if you can find out how his Administration kept the original discovery in his Wilmington garage a secret for two months. And another mystery you might solve: figure out which of the 36 top legal Interns at the Supreme Court released a draft of the abortion ruling, resulting in the attempted murder of Justice Gorsuch.

Sorry, I got off track. Back to the classified documents… What’s in them is more important than the number found or where they wound up. We don’t need to know the details. But we would like to know if any relate to China, Ukraine, Russia or other country that involved million-dollar deals for the Biden family.

I think the real reason Joe Biden hauled out all these documents was his intention to write a book of Memoirs.

Today is Lunar New Year and people of Asian heritage are celebrating around the world. This begins the Year of the Rabbit. Here’s a Will Rogers connection for you. When Will attended Kemper Military Academy at Boonville, Missouri he played “wide end” on the football team. He was fast, so they called him… Rabbit.

Speaking of football, the National Football League championship run is down to four teams: Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49’ers. Most NFL fans agree these are the best teams. The one that wins the Super Bowl in 3 weeks will truly be a deserving champion.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“Senator… When you write your Memoirs — That’s another Cherokee word; means when you put down the good things you ought to have done, and leave out the bad ones you did do — well, that’s Memoirs.”  Saturday Evening Post, March 12, 1932

Top Farmers Share Secrets. Did Presidents Share Top Secrets?

I was invited to speak at another agriculture conference this past week, in St. Louis. This was the thirty-first National No-Till Conference, presented by Lessiter Media, which publishes the “No-Till Farmer” magazine and other periodicals and books, plus Podcasts. I’ve attended all thirty-one conferences.

The conference had about fifty presenters so I can’t list ‘em all. David Hula of Virginia, Randy Dowdy (Georgia), and Russell Hendricks (North Carolina), are champion corn growers who shared their tips to increase production. Marion Calmer (Illinois) has done research on his farm for thirty years and designed innovative components for corn harvesting with combines. Phil Needham (Kentucky) shared tips for wheat growers to increase production and profits, such as planting in rows spaced 5 inches apart.

Two others who have developed new technology and equipment to make grain farming more efficient are Rob Saik (Alberta, Canada) and Gregg Sauder (Illinois). Several leading farmers and university professors also spoke at the conference which lasted from Tuesday to Friday. I’m mentioning this because my talk on Friday morning (presented with Vinayak Shedekar, a new Assistant Professor at Ohio State University) was a review of the latest practical no-till research and a look at the future. By Friday, half of the “future” technology we planned to talk about (including new uses of drones and robots) had already been introduced by previous speakers who had developed and were using it. That shows you how fast technology is advancing to make food production more economical and environmentally friendly.

At the beginning of the conference on Tuesday, I was the Moderator for a series of presentations by 10 companies with innovative products to make farming more efficient (and therefore reduce the cost of food). To wrap up the conference on Friday, I moderated a panel of three farmers who shared 50 tips on growing soybeans. As I closed the conference with about 800 farmers who plant crops without plowing the ground, I slipped in a favorite Will Rogers quote from 99 years ago, “The farmer has to be an optimist or he wouldn’t still be a farmer.”

While I was occupied in St. Louis, we learned about some questionable decisions by people who ought to know better. When Joe Biden left office as Vice-President in January 2017, he took a few boxes of Top Secret Classified documents with him to Delaware.

Nobody knows where all these boxes have been the last 6 years. At least one was found in his garage beside his ’67 Corvette, another in a closet, others in the basement (where Mr. Biden campaigned from for the entire 2020 election) and a box ended up in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania. These Top Secret documents were discovered before the November election, about the same time that President Biden was scolding President Trump for having Top Secret documents at his Florida home. This just shows that you need to be cautious who you criticize, because you may end up guilty of the same practice. This may also knock both of the old codgers out of the 2024 election.

In Los Angeles, the University of Southern California wants to ban the word ‘field.’ The last two weeks I have been with farmers and ranchers whose livelihood depends on what grows in their fields. I think those professors in the School of Social Work at USC have forgotten where their three meals a day comes from. Do they dislike California farmers for using water to irrigate their fields that they prefer to have available for their hot tubs and swimming pools? Maybe they should ban the word ‘work.’

Who wants to ban gas stoves? Definitely no one who has been cooking with gas for generations. But a few politicians decided gas is bad and we should cook with electricity instead. And where does electricity come from? Forty percent from natural gas.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

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

Spoke to Tennessee Cattlemen. Republicans Elected a Speaker. President Biden Visited El Paso.

If you ever get the chance to see and listen to Dr. Temple Grandin, Trent Loos, Jason Brown and Congressman Mark Green you will go home inspired.  Even one would be enough, but all four spoke at the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Winter meeting on Monday. What a way to start a new year!

You may know that Temple Grandin has written a dozen books and had a movie made about her work as an autistic expert. Given her autism, she “sees” her surroundings just like a cow or a dog does. I met her in 1974 at an agricultural engineering conference. For fifty years she has influenced the design of cattle handling facilities on ranches, at beef feedlots, and meat processing plants. And she is a powerful advocate for anyone with autism.

Trent Loos is a rancher who broadcasts “Loos Tales” on radio and social media. He is an engaging speaker who connects rural and urban audiences, especially youngsters.

If you haven’t heard of Jason Brown, check him out. He was a star center for the St. Louis Rams (now in Los Angeles) who left football to buy and operate a 1000-acre “First Fruits Farm” in North Carolina. His family grows vegetables, including sweet potatoes and cucumbers, and donates the crops to relieve hunger.

I got to annoy the same fine bunch of cowmen and women as their after-dinner speaker. Veterinarian Hugh McCampbell laughed at all my jokes even though I left out his favorite line: “The best doctor in the world is the Veterinarian. He can’t ask his patients what is the matter – he’s got to just know.” (1927). My old friend John Bradley not only raises some of the best beef in Tennessee but knows more about growing cotton without plowing than anybody. Kate Maher represented the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Vaughn Moore was in the audience and explained to me afterwards that wine and grape juice are not the same. And he quoted the Old Testament, (Numbers, Chapter 6:3) to prove it. Well, I already knew they were different, and not just in price, but it’s good to know the Bible agrees with me.

After a raucous week in Congress, the Republicans finally agreed Friday night on Kevin McCarthy as Speaker, on the 15th vote. On the first 14 votes as many as 20 were against the 200 who supported McCarthy, and they refused to budge. They appeared to vote against McCarthy, but in reality they were voting against the dictatorial reign of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They insisted on, and received, assurances individual House members would have more rights concerning budgets, amendments, voting procedures, and committee assignments.

If you are a Republican concerned that another Californian is replacing Speaker Pelosi, don’t be. He is from Bakersfield, in the eastern, common-sense part of the state.

Did you see President Biden beside the Rio Grande River at El Paso today as he watched immigrants wading across and entering the U.S. illegally, as about 25 Border Patrol agents, including 4 on horseback, let them through?  He was protected by bullet-proof glass as he peered across the river at Drug Cartel coyotes. (He didn’t need the protection because they all love our President.)

What? He never went to the river? He didn’t see any illegal immigrants? Ok, I guess he was too busy talking with Texans mad about immigrants invading their roads, homes and ranches. What? He didn’t see any of them either? Oh well, at least he got to enjoy some shirt-sleeve weather on his way to Mexico City.

This week I’ll be in St. Louis with several hundred farmers who are growing corn, soybeans, wheat and other crops without ever plowing. Yes, it works. The “no-till” system produces plenty of crops, reduces costs, and benefits all of us by improving water and air quality, and reducing global warming.

I saw that environmentalists are suggesting instead of throwing out our Christmas trees that we eat them. If they insist, they are welcome to chew on my Norway Spruce. Meanwhile I’ll chew on a T-bone steak.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

During the 15 votes in Congress, several folks pointed out that Will Rogers needs to switch his famous quote. So, here it is, reversed: “I’m not a member of any organized political party… I’m a Republican.”

“There will never be any class of people in our country that can replace the old cowman for common sense, humor and fine citizenship.” DT #2606, Dec. 12, 1934

“With every public man we have elected doing comedy, I tell you we don’t see much of a chance for a comedian to make a living…. They can do more funny things naturally, than I can think of to do purposely.” WA #57, Jan. 13, 1924