Will reports from Washington: economy booming
March 14, 2010
COLUMBUS: If you want to see a city on the move, go to Washington. Buildings are being built and renovated. Cars and buses pack the streets. No foreclosure signs, and seldom a vacant store. When the President looks up Pennsylvania Avenue all he sees is a booming economy. No wonder he thinks his stimulus plan is working.
Can’t be much unemployment. Around the Capitol it’s just crawling with traffic cops and security folks. If you can blow a whistle and say, "No, you can’t go there," (in English), they’ll probably hire you. At the Department of Agriculture they checked visiting farmers to be sure they weren’t trying to sneak in a pitchfork or ax handle, even if they was wearing a 3-piece suit.
I didn’t get into the Capitol. They closed it on Wednesday for a big ceremony honoring civilian women pilots from World War II. I read in the newspaper that some of the men back then did not believe a woman could fly one of those Army airplanes. A plane would land, a woman would climb down out of it, and the guy on the ground would ask her, "Where’s the pilot?" Shucks, I could have told them about plenty of fine aviatrixes way before 1940, like Amelia Earhart. The women used to have air races, called them Power Puff Derbies.
An Ohio farmer got excited when he came across an old newspaper article where Nancy Pelosi said she wanted to "drain the swamp." See, there is millions of acres of farm land in Ohio and other states that floods about every spring and stays wet. The government has said it should be called a "wetland" and leave it alone. So he thought Speaker Pelosi had changed her mind and would let farmers put in more ditches and tile. But she was only talking about cleaning up Congress, mainly Republicans. She was surprised to find a few Democrats mired down in the mud, too.
Almost a hundred of us Ohio Farm Bureau members got to meet in the Longworth House Office Building (named for Nick Longworth, Speaker from 1926-31) with Mike Pence of Indiana and several Ohio Congressmen including Boehner, Tiberi, Jordan, Austria and Marcy Kaptur. John Boehner is the loyal opposition to the Democrats and Speaker Pelosi. He does not think the Health Care bill will pass. "The minute the Democrats can round up a majority for it, she will hold a vote. She’s been trying since Christmas, and is still short." On the Estate Tax bill, Boehner says they will compromise and pass it. But Congressman Tiberi says he doesn’t think Congress can make it retroactive to January 1. "How can we tell a family that lost Grandpa in February, when the tax was zero, that we’ve changed our minds and now we want 45 percent?"
Social Security payments are now borrowed from China. They used to come from payments by younger American workers, but those are short this year and they’ll have to borrow $29 Billion. A fellow who has been working for forty years is going to be thrilled to learn that all his Social Security money has been squandered and now he has to depend on the generosity of China and India to loan us enough to cover him. Social Security was started in 1935 by Franklin Roosevelt, and since about 1970 it was run by Bernie Madoff. Personally, I think the best security for old age is to be nice to your grandchildren.
Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
"Retroactive. I like to use that word. I just learned it. Retroactive. It means that you can go back and get something that you forgot to get at the time. In other words they can turn around and go back and run over you after missing you the first time." Radio, May 26, 1935