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Sunday, March 08, 2009 ISSUE #541

Weekly Comments: Unemployment everywhere but Washington

COLUMBUS: All I know about unemployment is what I read in the newspapers. Unemployment is getting worse, especially in the newspaper business. This country claims to have a higher literacy rate than years ago when McGuffey's Fourth Reader was as far as some of us ever got. But what good is it to know how to read if you don't read.

Mark Twain once said, "If you don't read the newspaper you are uniformed. And if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed." Well, Samuel Clemens was a newspaper man himself so he was kinda poking fun at his own industry. Today, if you want to be misinformed the best bet is to get your news from the internet or television. Newspapers is doing the best they can with what they got left. I sure do appreciate the ones that let me annoy their readers weekly.

Back to this unemployment. Have you noticed that one place is never plagued by unemployment: Washington. Now every few years a mess of Republicans replace a mess of Democrats, and vice versa, but there's always a net gain. We should be hiring people where they know how to make and build something, like Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Des Moines, and let go the ones in Washington and Wall Street where the main talent is trading sheets of paper and arguing.

President Obama went on the radio and told us things are looking up, so go out and buy some stocks. It leads to a tough choice: do I buy a cup of coffee or a share of bank stock? They cost the same and the coffee will be gone in a few minutes. But so could the bank.

Well, all the millions of folks that voted for him got the message. They checked their portfolio, and spent the rest of the week... selling. Voting for him cost nothing, but this is real money.

Congress sent an appropriations bill to the President. It has 8000 pork barrel earmarks, including one that really is pork. Iowa is to get a million dollars to study the body odor of a hog. Well, I can save 'em the entire million because hogs smell the same today as they ever did. The only problem is that too many people who never smelled a hog are moving in next door to 'em. PETA and the Humane Society of the U.S. have proposed a solution; they want to shut down these farms. So if you like ham and bacon and pork chops you may have to raise your own in the back yard. With a sow and a dozen little pigs rooting around your flower beds and manicured lawn, odor may be the least of your worries.

Good news in Houston. Barbara Bush is recovering fine. Doctors replaced a heart valve with one from a pig. Now there's a pork project that's worthwhile.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"The reason there wasn't much unemployment in the last ten years preceding 1929 was every man that was out of a job went to work for the government. It costs ten times more to govern us than it used to, and we are not governed one-tenth as good." DT #1770, March 27, 1932

"We used to think that if a man was out of a job for a few months that that was almost a record, but now it goes by the years. What can be done to relieve it? It's our only problem. All the rest that our Government get all excited about mean nothing...Most of these other ills are just side lines of the unemployment issue. If everybody was working, there wouldent be all these others... Yet with all the honest effort, and all planning, and all the money that's been spent along various schemes, unemployment has held its own if not increased." WA #638, March 17, 1935

"There is not a man in the country that can't make a living for himself and family. But, he can't make a living for them and his government, too, the way his government is living. What the government has got to do is live as cheap as the people." DT #1990, Dec. 20, 1932

"Funniest thing in this controversy over a bill to regulate Wall Street; Wall Street now wants to write their own bill. They are pleading guilty, but want the privilege of pronouncing their own sentence." DT #2386, March 27, 1934

#541 March 8, 2009

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