|Sunday, March 22, 2009||ISSUE #543|
Weekly Comments: Congress and the President provide the humor
COLUMBUS: Congress is acting plumb nutty. They just announced a plan to tax 90% of the AIG bonus money that Congress approved just a month ago. Of course, we would like for 'em to give the bonuses back, considering we own 80 percent of the company. But Washington is fretting over a few million in retention bonuses while the trillions they handed out are wandering around, promiscuously.
The latest plan from Mr. Geithner is to run off a Trillion dollars in bills on the old printing press. China and the rest of the world stopped loaning us money, so he figured he'd just print some himself and hand it out. He also wants FDIC to spend half a Trillion to stop banks from going under. As I recollect, FDIC insures our bank accounts against bank failure. And at the rate banks are failing, they could run out of money before Christmas. So keep your fingers crossed. Our Treasurer is betting $1.5 Trillion of our money on the plan.
If the President and Congress had an inkling how much trouble they would have spending and managing that $700 Billion stimulus, maybe they would have given more thought to letting people keep their tax payments for 3 or 4 months. There would have been no need for Congressional hearings to charge any average taxpayer with giving his tax rebate toward a million dollar Wall Street bonus. Little, if any, would have wound up in French banks. Popular vacation spots might be hiring instead of laying off.
The whole country now realizes we overspent, over mortgaged, and over capitalized. The only way to solve the problem is to get back to spending only what we make, and if you have to borrow, make sure it's no more than you can reasonably expect to pay back. The people know it; the problem is convincing Congress and the President.
Our President is trying to juggle a whole lot of problems instead of working on one big one. He's campaigning across the country and on television programs for everything he promised: taxes on coal, gas and oil; national health care; smaller farms; taxes on the rich.
Maybe something said by a humorist in 1931 could help the President focus (see first quote below). Will Rogers was invited to appear on a special radio broadcast on unemployment. He was followed on the program by President Herbert Hoover.
"Now we read in the papers every day, and they get us all excited over one or a dozen different problems that's supposed to be before this country. There's not really but one problem before the whole country at this time. It's not balancing (the) budget. And it's not the League of Nations that we read so much about. It's not the silver question. The only problem that confronts this country today is at least 7,000,000 people are out of work. That's our only problem. There is no other one before us at all. It's to see that every man that wants to is able to work, is allowed to find a place to go to work. And also to arrange some way of getting more equal distribution of the wealth in the country." Radio, October 18, 1931
"I could study all my life and not think up half the amount of funny things they can think of in one session of Congress." WA #119, March 22, 1925
"There's two different schools of thought in this country on the value of money. People who have money are against the printing press. They're against printing any more money. And people that haven't got any are in favor of it, you see? That's the two schools. Both of them, mind you, are equally honest. It's awful hard to reconcile two views like that. The only way I see for folks to ever view the money question alike is for everybody not to have any. Then they'll all look at it the same way; or go the other way and let everybody have some. But if nobody's got any, the old printing press will look pretty good. But if everybody's got some, in the ash can goes the printing press." Radio, May 26, 1935
"Personality and promises are basic to politics. You have the personality. I'll equip you with the promises." From the movie "County Chairman". In the role of a campaign manager, Will Rogers adlibbed this line to his candidate. 1935
Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
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