By now, most of you folks have returned home from your long vacation trips to Hawaii or other lovely tourist destination. While you were away, Congress managed to stop the bus just before it careened over the fiscal cliff. They glued a patch on a flat tire, hoping it will hold air for a couple months till they can borrow enough dough for a new one.
Republicans want to cut spending. They are divided on raising taxes on the rich, but they are one hundred percent in agreement on cuts. But they want the Democrats to say which cuts they will accept so they don’t get all the blame. President Obama never learned how to subtract, but looking at the House Republicans you can tell he’s real good at dividing.
They will be arguing for two months over the debt ceiling; that’s the next crisis. President Obama made it clear he is opposed to anything even resembling a cut. He announced, flat out, “I will not negotiate,” and headed back to the golf course. That leaves it up to the Vice-President to do the horse trading with Republicans.
Bumping up against the debt limit is not as bad as it seems because we still collect enough taxes to cover 60% of our expenses. So the Treasury Secretary can pay the interest on the debt and paychecks for essential employees and let the rest slide.
Well, how do you know which ones are essential? They could try this idea. Have all the weather forecasters in Washington announce that a three-foot snow will hit tomorrow morning. The President would send an email to government employees informing them that only essential ones need to come to work; the rest have the week off. Right there’s your 40 percent.
That may be silly, but here’s something serious we can agree on: we need to cut spending on entitlements and other government services, grow the economy, and generate more revenue to balance the budget. So you gather Congress, the President, leaders from both political parties, all the big donors, big companies, labor unions, TV and radio commentators, and news media. You tell ‘em, “We’re gonna solve this problem to save the country. Ninety percent won’t like it, but like castor oil, it’s for their own good.” And here’s the clincher: once the deal is struck, no one can complain about it. No future candidate can blame an officeholder for voting for it, and if he did, they would get no financial support and no help rounding up votes. No one can run on a platform opposed to any part of the deal.
Yes, we have freedom of speech. Anyone can holler all they want to. But if none of the individuals or organizations listed above pay any attention to ‘em, they won’t get far.
The Senate passed a $60 Billion relief bill for the victims of Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast. But the House got to reading it and was shocked to find out the hurricane had blown all the way to Alaska, and a bunch of states in between. When those Congressmen started stripping out the everything that some Senator had tacked onto the bill, it got down to about $15 Billion. Now that right there tells you why we have a budget problem; every spending bill that goes through Congress is weighted down with about three-fourths excess spending that has nothing to do with the announced purpose of the bill. It’s like these telephone solicitors for obscure charities; if a fourth of the money goes for the intended purpose, you’re lucky.
Historic quote by Will Rogers:
“Politics is the best show in America. I love animals and I love politicians, and I like to watch both of ’em at play, either back home in their native state, or after they’ve been captured and sent to a zoo, or to Washington.” Notes