# 345, November 28, 2004
WESTON, West Va.: While everyone else was celebrating Thanksgiving week, our lame duck Congress passed out a few early Christmas presents. They said compared to our whole budget these little gifts don’t amount to anything. Well, when they add up to over $10 Billion, that’s more than pocket change to most of us.
Really we don’t even have $10 Billion, cause we’ll have to borrow it from Europe or China or Arabia. By the time we pay off the principal and accumulated interest who knows how much those nick knacks will cost us. Congress gets the credit, and a few more votes in the next election, but we get the bill every April for the next 30 years.
I can’t get into all these “gifts”, that’s for Senator McCain to handle, but I do wonder about a couple of them. Do the poor taxpayers really need to donate $450,000 to the Baseball Hall of Fame, when they could take up a collection among the players and owners and raise millions in loose change?
Do we need to invest $2,000,000 to study hog manure in Kentucky and $1,000,000 to produce more fertilizer in Muscle Shoals, Alabama? If Alabama is in need of fertilizer, couldn’t Kentucky ship ‘em a train load of manure and save us $3,000,000?
Folks, as I wrote this, I had an eerie feeling that it sounded awfully familiar. So I dug into it, and look what Congress did for Muscle Shoals 76 years ago….
“Spent the day looking at the marvelous Muscle Shoals dam and projects. Everybody should see it. It’s a monument to the neglect of our politicians. It was built to manufacture nitrates for fertilizer. It’s the only idle nitrate plant in the world. When you see a $150,000,000 plant lying here idle it gives you an idea of the pull in legislation that the power trust exerts. They say ‘If we don’t get it nobody else will.’” (DT #498, March 1, 1928)
Ohio got their share of useless gifts. One little town got $200,000 for a railroad depot. Only problem is they don’t have no tracks. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame got $350,000 to teach music. One question: by the time you get into that hall of fame, shouldn’t you already know music?
Congress acted fast on giving away all those goodies, but when it came protecting our homeland, they deadlocked. They got it backwards again.
I had a fine Thanksgiving in West Virginia. Ate a turkey dinner at Buckhannon Run, followed by a turkey supper at Wildcat with about thirty close relatives. (Hey, I don’t want any wisecracks about relatives in West Virginia.) We even had a light snow and it looked mighty pretty on the rhododendron. It’s deer season, and venison is just as popular as turkey.
PS… (Nov. 30) Secretary Ridge resigned today. I still think the person I suggested in September to replace him would be the perfect man to protect our borders: Zell Miller. That scowl he displayed at the Republican Convention would scare any potential terrorist from ever entering America, and might even cause a few to leave.
Historic quotes from Will Rogers: (on Congress)
“Washington, D.C. papers say: ‘Congress is deadlocked and can’t act.’ I think that is the greatest blessing that could befall this country.” WA # 59, Jan. 27, 1924
“Compared to [Congress], I’m an amateur, and the thing about my jokes is they don’t hurt anybody. You can take ‘em or leave ‘em. You know what I mean. You say, well they’re funny, or they’re terrible, or they’re good, or whatever it is, but they don’t do any harm. You can just pass them by. But with Congress, every time they make a joke it’s a law. And every time they make a law it’s a joke.” Radio broadcast, May 12, 1935
“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