Monday, January 17, 2011

Weekly Comments: Congress returns with John Boehner at the wheel #638

Jan. 16, 2011

COLUMBUS: There’s some good news from Tucson. Congresswoman Giffords continues to improve, and it may not be too long until she is talking.

I know a fellow in Atlanta, Ken Futch, who accidently shot himself in the head, and he makes a good living entertaining and inspiring people across the country talking about it. So let’s pray that she fully recovers, and when she gets tired of Congress she can give humorous speeches for a living. She’s already got the perfect nickname: Gabby.

She and the six who were killed were gunned down by a drug and alcohol addicted paranoid schizophrenic who should have been locked up in a psychiatric ward years ago.
Everybody knows he committed the crime except for Sheriff Dupnik. He says the bullet that went through Giffords’ head was fired from Wasilla, Alaska.

He’s not the only one that got it wrong. Dozens of journalists on television and in newspaper columns have blamed this tragedy on everyone from the Tea Party to the Republicans, radio commentators, the NRA and political ad writers.

Congress is getting down to business this week, balancing the budget. At least that’s what they claim. John Boehner of Ohio is the new Speaker of the House, replacing Nancy Pelosi. Four years ago she announced she would balance the budget every year, and she only missed her target by $5,000,000,000,000. So keep your fingers crossed for this new bunch. Mr. Boehner is the first Speaker from Ohio in more than 75 years. "Nick Longworth is the most able and popular Speaker the House has had. In fact the greatest since Alexander Hamilton." (1928)

I met Congressman Boehner in 2000. I was invited to speak at a retreat of the House Agriculture Committee, and he introduced me. At that time it was headed up by two Texans, Charles Stehnolm and Larry Combest. Now an Oklahoma rancher is the chairman, Frank Lucas.

Congress will take up the President’s Health Care plan. Mr. Boehner knows he has the votes to repeal it. But he also knows the Senate will turn him down, and if it did pass the Senate, the President would veto it. The whole exercise will waste a week, but for the rookie members it will be kinda like pre-season practice for when the real games begin.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

"What the government has got to do is live as cheap as the people." DT #1990, Dec. 20, 1932
"Anything that has to pass by that Senate is just like a Rat having to pass a Cat Convention; it's sure to be pounced on, and the more meritorious the scheme is the less chance it has of passing." WA #385, May 11, 1930

Randall Reeder
Will Rogers Today
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Weekly Comments: National Debt piles up, might slow immigration #637

Jan. 9, 2011

COLUMBUS: America suffered a tragedy in Tucson when Congresswoman Giffords was shot from behind, and six people with her were killed, including a federal judge. Twenty were shot all together in a few seconds by a kook who never should have had a gun in the first place. We all joke about Congress, but no one wants to see any harm done to ‘em.

Saturday night an Ohio Cattlemens group asked me to say a few words at their banquet in Barnesville. After some lean years these folks are feeling better with cattle on the hoof bringing around a dollar a pound. As long as they have enough hay to get through the winter, it looks like a good year for these cowmen and women. Their steaks and hamburgers will be mighty tasty off the grill next summer and fall.

Everybody knows we need to produce more food for a growing population so you might be surprised to learn that our farmland is disappearing. Not completely, of course, but every state has fewer acres for farming than they did 25 years ago. Texas and Florida are two of three states that lost the most.

In related news last week, we learned that, starting in 2012, Texas and Florida will be asked to house a few excess Congressmen from New York, Ohio and a couple of other states. It seems that in the last ten years a lot of folks decided to leave these northern states and move south, perhaps to escape from their Congressmen. But now these birds are following them.

This population shift and loss of farmland paint a picture that’s not so rosy. "You can just tell the difference when you look at land that has to support a Senator or a white-faced bull. (I’m) for more cattle and less Congressmen." (1927)

Last week I wrote that in four years our debt had gone up $3 Trillion, but I was wrong. It has increased $5 Trillion, with $3 Trillion of that in the last two years. Instead of cutting back, Congress will vote to raise the debt limit to about $15,000,000,000,000. When the President signs the bill, I hope he will go on television and announce, "This total debt load now means that every man, woman and child in the U.S. owes $50,000." Brother, that would cut off illegal immigration faster than any 15-foot fence. And a few million of the ones already here would be scrambling to get out before the bill comes due.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"There is a change coming over the country. People have just got to get more used to debt. If we just let the fellow we owe do the worrying, the U. S. will be the happiest land on earth." DT #2421, May 7, 1934

"There is not a better day in the world to be spent than with a lot of wise old cowmen around barbecued beef, black coffee and good (refried) beans." DT #2430, May 17, 1934

Randall Reeder
Will Rogers Today
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Weekly Comments: A look back at New Year’s Predictions #636

Jan. 2, 2011

COLUMBUS: With everybody predicting what 2011 will bring, I decided to go back and see what I wrote here a year ago about 2010. Let’s see how I did...

"Unemployment is over 10 percent and will drop to 8 or 9 percent by Christmas." Well, it didn’t, but maybe it will by Christmas ‘11 or ‘12.

"The stock market is at 10,500, a third below 2007. Even if it don’t go up, you can bet on Wall Streeters collecting million dollar salaries." In 2010 it went up1000, but still needs another 3000 point gain to eliminate the losses. Meanwhile, Wall Street salaries have recovered nicely.

"The deficit will get worse. But nobody knows how much worse because it depends on how much China will lend us. Half of our states are broke and looking to Washington for help." That one was easy to get right. Speaker Pelosi predicted four years ago the national debt would not increase while she was Speaker, but she let $3 Trillion get added to it. That’s the most expensive mistake ever made on a New Year’s prediction.

"On global warming... Ever since that conference in Copenhagen, the weather has gotten colder. These global warming proponents got us excited about the prospects of vacationing at home instead of Florida. We should have suspected it was a trick when the President booked his vacation in Hawaii." And again this Christmas, he flew off to Hawaii when he could have taken the train to New York City or Philadelphia and shoveled snow. My prediction is that Earth will continue the way she has for the past million years, sometimes warmer and sometimes colder. And there’s nothing 300,000,000 Americans can do to persuade her one way or the other.

"On the end of the inheritance tax... You would be surprised at the number of rich old men who have been hanging on for the last month or two (of 2009) just to avoid paying this tax. Since the death tax returns next January at around fifty percent, 2010 is liable to go down in history as a record year for the high number of our wealthy men and women passing on." On that one the Lame Duck Congress gave a reprieve to anyone with less than $5 million. And ones with more will only pay 35 percent.

In my predictions a year ago I said nothing about the election. On Nov. 2, the Democrats took, as Obama described it, a shellacking. There was no shellacking even close to it until yesterday’s drubbing suffered by five football schools from the Big Ten. They played like the Little Sisters of the Poor. Even the mighty Badgers from Wisconsin were chased back in their hole by the Christians from Texas.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"Nothing much in papers today but just what I predicted to you the other day would be on New Year's Day -- optimistic predictions by all prominent men who are doing well." DT #759, Jan. 1, 1929

[a year later] "We are obliged to read the usual New Year's prosperity apple-sauce by our same prominent men who are always rich enough to see a great year coming up. And to show you they don't know any more about it than Clara Bow, last year they had their usual hokum predictions, and in October we lost (a huge amount), and yet not a one of these predicted it." DT #1070, Dec 30, 1929

"There is not a single person that knows any more about what 1933 has in store for us than a billy goat. Ten million people have gone without work for three years just listening to ‘big men’ solve their problems." DT #2000, Jan. 1, 1933

Randall Reeder
Will Rogers Today
Need a Speaker? Hurry up and hire me before I die... again