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Sunday, January 23, 2011 ISSUE #639

U.S. Budget woes strain relations with China 
Jan. 23, 2011

    COLUMBUS: President Obama spent the past few days preparing his State of the Union address to Congress. You notice that the speech was scheduled to come after (not before) a visit from the leader of China. Our President wanted to sure that he didn’t give a glowing report to the nation about our economy only to have China show up the next day and foreclose.
    We rolled out the red carpet for China’s President Hu. Even honored him with a State Dinner at the White House. But he did not appear to enjoy the trip, never smiled, usually just looked straight ahead like a good poker player with four aces.

    All our big comedians were telling jokes on him, not to his face of course, but I think he got wind of it. His name is Hu (pronounced Who), and they brought up the old joke about "Who’s on first, What’s on second." Someone asked Hu, "How’s the president of North Korea?" Hu replied, "He’s Ill." Well, that may be funny to us, but in China poking fun at the President can land you in jail. Don’t be surprised if the next time we need to borrow a Trillion dollars, he’ll jack up the interest rate a couple of points.

    Congress is getting serious about cutting the budget deficit. Republicans want to cut spending, but have not admitted which expenses they want to cut. Democrats prefer to raise taxes, but are afraid to tell which ones. Here’s a modest proposal for consideration: Return federal employment to 2008 numbers, and trim the salaries of the ones left to 2006 levels.  That may seem cruel, but if a small business found itself spending a third more than it took in, that’s what the owner would do, usually starting with his own pay. As for taxes, concentrate on raising more revenue, not higher rates. If a business or manufacturer doubles production, tax revenue would naturally go up. And they might hire some of those out-of-work federal employees.   
    Folks in Washington and on television continue to harp on any use of battlefield language in politics. Words like target, attack, cross hairs, gunning for, aiming at, and bullet points. In Detroit Sunday afternoon, a gunman barged into a police station and shot four officers. I’m waiting to see if the New York Times blames Sarah.

    The Chicago Bears and New York Jets made it close at the end of their games, but it’ll be Green Bay against Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl. After winning games in frigid weather, these two old industrial towns will battle each other in comfort in Dallas.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
    "Politics pretty quiet over the week-end. Democrats are attacking and the Republicans are defending."
DT #1917, Sept. 26, 1932

    "One of the few stipulated duties of the President is that every once in awhile he delivers a message to Congress to tell them the "Condition of the Country." This message as I say is to Congress; the rest of the country knows the condition of the country, for they live in it.  But the Senators and Congressmen being in Washington all the time have no idea what is going on in America.  So the President has to tell 'em."  WA #371, Feb. 2, 1930

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

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