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Sunday, July 10, 2011 ISSUE #663
 

Solve the debt crisis, sell a state
#663 July 10, 2011           
   
    COLUMBUS: Obama and Congress are negotiating on the debt ceiling and deficit. But I am making no predictions. Last week I was off by 20 years on that murder case. I can afford an error of a few years, but my bank account can’t handle it if I miss by a couple of Trillion dollars.
    No prediction, but I do have a suggestion: Let Obama agree to give up all the expensive programs he put through, and in return the Republicans would agree to give up the costly ones they passed under President Bush. Not the wars following 9-11-2001 (that’s already been spent). But, for example, the one giving free prescription drugs to old folks whether they could afford them or not, and the no child left behind program that pretty much failed to make our students smarter. Now, anyone presently benefitting from those could continue, but no new people will be added. That’s where the big savings will come. Like Social Security and Medicare, the ones on it now won’t be affected, but folks around 50 may have to work to 70 to get it.
    Now you’re saying, "That will reduce expenses, but what about income taxes for the rich? Can’t we raise ‘em?" Yes, but here’s my plan. In two years their tax rates will go up to where they were in 2000, but only if the unemployment rate is above 5% on July 1, 2013. See, if these rich folks want to keep their Bush tax cuts they have to go out and hire enough people to eliminate the unemployment problem. They always claim that raising taxes will cut jobs; well, let’s see ‘em prove that by keeping those taxes low, they can put more people to work.  It is not a great plan, but it will cut expenses, Republicans can claim they did not raise taxes, and it creates a ton of new jobs.
    We sure need the jobs. Only 18,000 new ones last month. McDonald’s stopped hiring.  
     Folks are worried sick about a government shutdown. Oh, Lord, what will happen to us if government employees stop getting paid? Well, Minnesota shut down government more than a week ago, and have any of us outside the state noticed? You can still buy Scotch tape, Wheaties, and Pillsbury flour. And Minnesota farmers are milking their cows and feeding their turkeys. The fish are biting, and even if you can’t buy a hunting license you can still shoot a moose.
    Greece says they have a debt crisis, but it’s really a work crisis. Nobody wants to work. They would rather protest, carry signs, throw rocks, and set fires. And anyone who is working will soon go on vacation for half the summer. That will get rid of the protesters temporarily; from habit they’ll go to the beach.
    What Greece needs to do is sell off a few islands. Those Greek Isles are so popular you would be surprised what they would bring at auction.
    Maybe we could do the same. Republicans would probably agree to sell Massachusetts and Connecticut. But the price would be depressed because the buyer would be compelled to accept Harvard and Yale. So if government really wants to rake in the dough sell Iowa. With farmland going for $10,000 an acre, it would come closer to canceling the debt than any three of our eastern states.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers: (from Weekly Article #663)
    "If there is a prettier trip in the World than from Seattle to Alaska by what they call Inland Passage, I never saw it...
    Did you ever pay much attention to a map of Alaska? Well there is some astonishing things about it. Now we have a long narrow strip of land that I don't think is but 30 miles back from the ocean to the top of the ridge of mountains, and then comes Canada. We cut Canada off from the ocean for five or six hundred miles.
    We bought it from Russia in 1867. Seward was Secretary of State, and he bought it from the Russians and the Ambassador at that time from there was (Edouard de Stoeckl).
We paid $7,200,000, and the thing is almost as big as the United States. At that time they called it "Seward’s Folly." Kinder like it is now, we never know when we are doing well till away later. I guess it's the best bargain we ever made.
    I never could see why Nations don't sell each other land like they ought to instead of having them go to war to get it. I don't think we are as civilized as we used to be back in those days. Now (Alaska) was away off from Russia's main body, and they sold it." 
WA #663, written about Aug. 10, 1935
 


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