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Sunday, December 14, 2014 ISSUE #816

The Will Rogers Person of the Year

       Our Lame-Duck Congress passed a bill. It’s a huge bill, 1600 pages, that spends $1.1 Trillion. Nobody has read it, and nobody seems to like it except President Obama and Speaker Boehner. Nancy Pelosi doesn’t like it. Senators Ted Cruz and Elizabeth Warren don’t like it. If that sounds like an odd mixture, you’re right.

            You may remember last month I told you what a Lame-Duck was:  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.”  Well, this Lame-Duck lit a fire to one end of the house while building an addition on the other end. And they’re sending us the bill for the arsonist, firefighters, lumber and carpenters.

       Is $1.1 Trillion the total budget for a year? No way! The government will spend close to $4 Trillion. So where are the arguments over the other $3 Trillion? Well, that’s our so-called entitlements and other commitments made by previous Congresses, some of them Lame-Ducks too. That $3 Trillion is the big chunk of the budget we ought to be debating. Interest payments are getting out of control and the only way to reduce those payments is to eliminate deficits. Social Security and Medicare need attention, and nobody knows what a hole Obamacare might plunge us into.

       Time magazine selected their Person of the Year: The Ebola Fighters. Good choice.

        I have another good choice that I doubt Time even considered. I’ll call this the “Will Rogers Person of the Year.”

       Who could it be? My “person” is the men (and women) who have developed horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.** Now, my Oklahoma prejudice may be showing, but think about the impact the expanding American oil and gas industry is having on our economy. I read that the drop in gasoline prices (not to mention natural gas prices) is equal to another Quantitative Easing. That means it is worth about $80 Billion a month. And this economic boost is with real dollars, not “printing press dollars” from the Federal Reserve.

      **Note: The “person” mainly credited with this development is George P. Mitchell (1919-2013), a Texas oilman. His father was an immigrant from Greece, who changed his last name from Paraskevopoulos to Mitchell. George P. Mitchell graduated first in his class at Texas A&M in Petroleum Engineering. He eventually founded an oil drilling company which is now part of Devon Energy.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

       “The budget is a mythical beanbag. Congress votes mythical beans into it and then tries to reach in and pull real beans out.” DT #2047, Feb. 24, 1933

       “We never will get anywhere with our finances till we pass a law saying that every time we appropriate something we got to pass another bill along with it stating where the money is coming from.” DT #1733, Feb. 12, 1932


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