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Sunday, March 15, 2009 ISSUE #542

Weekly Comments: Words of wisdom from country folks

IRELAND: As I write this, it's almost St. Patrick's Day. And there's no better place to write from than Ireland.

By now you may be tired of reading and hearing stories about Irish parades and Irish celebrations with their green eggs, green beer, green shamrocks, and girls decorated in green. What you're ready for is fewer green faces and more greenbacks.

I don't have a plan to get you more money, but folks here in Ireland can sure help you learn to get by with less of it. Let me get one thing straight... this Ireland is not way over next to England; it's right here in America, in the fine state of West Virginia. These folks put on an Irish Spring Festival every year, and it's grown so big it stretches over two weeks. The big addition this year is a new parking area. It's multi-level parking. The main building has all the modern conveniences (running water, electricity, big kitchen), but to help you get in the "old-time" mood, visitors are invited to use the outhouse.

I asked some of these Ireland "natives" for their opinion of the economy. They aren't optimistic. One told me, "We've got plenty of deer, groundhogs, and quite a few bears, but if the city folks back East run out of food, we're afraid they may come over here and shoot all of 'em. During the Depression you could hunt for a week and not even see a sign of a deer."

These country folks know how to grow their own food, raise a few chickens, hogs and sheep, milk a cow, churn butter and pick blackberries. If necessary, they barter for what they can't produce. When they talk of buying and selling stock, it's the four-legged variety. And it leaves them scratching their heads when they read about the big shots in New York that can't survive without a million dollar bonus, even when the outfit they work for is broke and getting by on handouts from the taxpayers.

President Obama abandoned his plan to get his voters to buy stock (the New York variety). He realized he had been talking to the wrong audience, and this past week addressed CEOs, bankers, and top financiers. In other words, people with money. He told 'em the economy is fundamentally sound. They believed him and stock prices shot up 10 percent.

The President signed the big appropriations bill, which followed on top of the big stimulus bill. Congress wanted quick results and it's already making an impact on education. First graders are now learning to count to a trillion.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"The way I figure this thing will end is that the Depression won't be solved. It will just remain with us, and as a new generation grows up, why they won't be used to anything else and they won't mind it... (For) these young ones coming along, the old car will be worn out, the radio gone, and a hundred and one other things he won't know anything about. He will only buy what he needs, and will pay for it. So you see the Depression won't end till we grow a generation that knows how to live on what they got and never knew anything else." WA #569, Nov. 19, 1933

#542 March 15, 2009

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