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Friday, November 14, 2014 ISSUE #813
 

Fooling Americans

            You know Lincoln’s famous quote, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”  Well, it took 150 years and an economist from MIT to prove him wrong.

            Professor John Gruber was hired by President Obama to write the Affordable Care Act in a convoluted way that would fool the Congressional Budget Office, newspaper reporters, and enough Senators to get it passed. Even then they had to persuade a Senator from Nebraska with the “Cornhusker Kickback” and Sen. Landrieu with the “Louisiana Purchase.”  Only when the law reached the Supreme Court did John Roberts see through the gobble-de-gook and say, “Boys, it’s a tax, not a mandate,” and that’s all that made it legal.

            This great school in Massachusetts, MIT, is known for producing engineers, not economists. An engineer knows that if he lies, a bridge might collapse, an engine can fail, or an airplane fall out of the sky. He would be fired, and maybe hung. But an economist… when he lies he gets praised for putting something over on the people because it will be good for ‘em in the long run.

            You may remember that last Friday I was in Washington. I was invited to speak at a Leadership Breakfast in nearby Rockville, Maryland on “Common Horse Sense Leadership.” Of course I had to depend on my friends for the best tips on being a leader, friends like Henry Ford, Amelia Earhart, Gen. Billy Mitchell, President Roosevelt and a few others. I told ‘em I was proud to be invited because no place today needs lessons in leadership more than Washington.

            Sen. Elizabeth Warren gave her assessment of the economy, “Wall Street is doing very well, CEOs are bringing in millions more, and families all across this country are struggling.” She’s right. The Great Recession that started in 2008 is over according to most economists, but if you’re stuck without a job or working part time, it’s not over. Maybe this lame-duck Congress can make some progress on jobs, like approving the Keystone Pipeline that’s been held up for six years.

            On November 11, I spoke at a retirement center in Columbus. I told them that since I just turned 135 it was a pleasure to address an audience of the same age range. We had several veterans and the rest of us showed our appreciation. I started at 10 o’clock and they seemed pleased, being Armistice Day, that my one-hour talk would end at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

            “Everybody is knocking this lame-duck Congress, but do you know those fellows have a chance to make a real name for themselves and make us ashamed that we fired ‘em? They know exactly how the people voted… So when any questions come up all they have to do is read the election returns. Course, if they want to still be on the minority side of all these things we will know exactly why they was defeated.” DT #1976, Dec. 4, 1932
            “An awful lot of people are confused as to just what is meant by a ‘lame-duck Congress.’ It’s like where some fellows worked for you and their work wasn’t satisfactory and you let ‘em out, but after you fired ‘em you let ‘em stay long enough so they could burn your house down.” DT #1980, Dec. 8, 1932


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