COLUMBUS: Do you think Abraham Lincoln would have ever created such a mess? President Obama got into hot water with the Catholic church and associated organizations when he declared their health insurance policies must provide free birth control pills to employees even though it is against their faith. After an uproar, he compromised: the free pills would not be provided by the employer, but rather by the insurance company.
Suppose the government declared that all employers must provide free beer to employees. A university or hospital operated by the Mormons or Baptists might object because that goes against the beliefs of the church. Well, then the President would declare that those employees must still receive free beer if they want it, and here’s his solution: the beer will be provided at no cost by Coors and Busch and the other beer companies. Huh? Did anyone in the White House ever run a business? I bet they never even had a newspaper route or sold Girl Scout cookies.
Well, Greece is going through a budget crisis brought on by wild spending and a spoiled population of free-loaders. The Parliament voted to cut spending by $4 Billion in return for $170 Billion bailout from the U.S. and European banks. Sounds reasonable, but the free-loaders are burning Athens. So next summer, travelers to Greece will have even more ruins to look at.
Let’s hope nothing like that happens to us. Can you imagine this story in the New York Times in February 2022: As a result of demands by China and India, Congress met in emergency session (with the President and Supreme Court Justices sitting in the front row) to solve the financial catastrophe brought on by a national debt of $35 Trillion, and interest payments eating up 60% of all revenue. In an agreement that salvages a sliver of American dignity, our international creditors forgave $10 Trillion of the debt in return for Congress immediately cutting $2 Trillion in annual spending. The package of drastic cuts includes: All government salaries will be cut immediately by 25%, and within 6 months 20% of federal employees will be let go. The minimum wage will be cut from the current level of $16/hr to $5 to help boost employment opportunities, especially for youth and liberal arts college grads. Aid to states will be eliminated. To help state governments deal with the loss in revenue, union contracts of public employees at all levels are null and void, and these unions are banned. (Unions for private employees are not affected.) Social Security checks, federal retirement checks, and Medicare reimbursements will be cut immediately by 20%. All farm subsidies are eliminated, meaning food will cost you what it’s worth. All foreign aid is eliminated, and military bases in other countries will be closed. From now on, you fellows in other countries will have to look out for yourselves. To increase income tax revenue slightly, all deductions are wiped out. Everyone making up to $50,000 will pay 5%; from $50,000 to $100,000 will pay 15%, and everyone above $100,000 will pay 25%.
The good news is, if Congress acts in 2012 instead of 2022, the cuts won’t be so drastic. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia appears to be serious about the deficit. So is Sen. Coburn of Oklahoma. But whether they can round up a majority who agree on the cuts required to balance the budget I got my doubts.
Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“The South is dry and will vote dry. That is, everybody that is sober enough to stagger to the polls will.” DT #66, Oct. 28, 1926
“I get paid for getting laughs and I found out that the majority of the people would laugh more if I kidded the drys. But lots of people laugh one way and vote the other. Look at Congress; it voted dry and drinks wet.” The Cowboy Philosopher on Prohibition.