Weekly Comments Archive
Archived Issue
Sunday, November 18, 2012
ISSUE #734
Libya and Fiscal Cliff get attention, finally

COLUMBUS: By now you’ve all heard that Gen. Petraeus had to resign from the CIA because of a sex scandal. Soon as the election results were announced, all the TV stations jumped on this story about the “other woman.” It turns out the only reason we learned about the “other woman” is because she thought there was another “other woman.”
Because of this General’s affair, some of you are just now learning that our Libya ambassador was killed Sept. 11 by a planned terrorist attack. The CIA knew it immediately and so did the State Department, FBI, and Defense Dept. About the only ones that didn’t know it were the President and U.N. Ambassador, Susan Rice.
The President said last week that Rice knew nothing about Benghazi, and that’s why he picked her to explain it to the country on television Sept. 16. That’s like asking me to explain Mozart and Beethoven. “They both liked music, but not the words. Let’s see, they’re not from around here, and anyway they’ve been dead a long time.”
Since the election’s over, folks are learning more about this “Fiscal Cliff” in Washington. Because the capital gains tax is supposed to double on January 1, anybody whose business has appreciated greatly in the last few years (and there aren’t many) is trying to sell so he can cash in at the lower rate and keep more of his dough. Here’s a word of caution for these newly minted millionaires: the estate tax almost doubles in 2013 so keep an eye on the next of kin around Christmas so you don’t get knocked off, accidently of course.
The President met with the leaders from Congress on his tax plan. He wants to raise tax rates on the wealthy and John Boehner says he’s willing to raise tax revenue from the same folks, but not their rates. So the big argument these two are having over the top 2% is rate vs. revenue. Obama wants to raise the rate so he can brag about it to the other 98%. Republicans will accept raising revenues so they can brag that they held the line on rates. The top 2% already pay about 60% of the total income taxes, so why not let ‘em pay 70%. Seems logical to everyone else as long as no one loses their job.
The problem is we’re hooked on the wrong argument. The important question is: Where is the President willing to cut expenses? How many bureaucrats and regulators in Washington is he willing to let go? Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security are the elephant in the room. What can they agree on to keep those three from going broke? Let ‘em do some horse trading.
And don’t tell us what an agreement will do over ten years. Nobody knows. Just show us what it will do next year compared to this past year.

I watched “Dust Bowl” on public television tonight (Sunday). Two more hours tomorrow night. Ken Burns did a great job with it.

Historic quote by Will Rogers:

“(The dust storms) are a terrible thing, and it’s going to bring up some (peculiar) cases in law. If Colorado blows over and lights on top of Kansas, it looks kinder like Kansas ought to pay for the extra top soil. But Kansas can sue ‘em for covering up their crops.” Radio, March 28, 1935

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