Saturday, December 8, 2012
Fiscal Cliff ... Phoooey
(Please be aware that the occasional use of sarcasm is likely in this effort. While I can promise you that it's there, I feel no obligation to specifically point out its use.)
The end of 2012 is almost upon us, and quite frankly there's not much to look forward to. After all, we're just about to see the last date with the same numbers that we're ever going to in our lifetimes (12-12-12). And if that weren't depressing enough, I just discovered that we won't actually have Dick Clark this year to host "Dick Clark's New Years Rockin' Eve" from Times Square. I mean sure, he's got a great excuse and all, having achieved room temperature in April; but I'm not sure that gives him the right to mess up a show that still has his name on it. Now there's nothing to look forward from this mostly awful 'Made-for-TV' event than Ryan Seacrest and a bunch of mostly talentless performers (which actually sounds like an episode of American Idol, but that's another story).
So what do have we got to look forward to. New Year's Eve is a Monday (not one of your prime drinking days), which probably leads to a mid-week hangover for those who insist on over-indulging despite the poor timing. Then there's a couple of weeks of screwed up checks (at least for those of us who don't pay all of our bills electronically), with the scribbled out corrections of the date, shrugs, and occasional apologies to clerks and grocery check out people who don't give a crap anyway. Oh yeah, and then there's this pesky Fiscal Cliff thing. I mean wow, what a fuss!
I suppose I don't want to give more to the government in taxes than the next guy (well, maybe except for that Warren Buffet character), but I figure that if any of us has to pay more, all of us should. I mean hell, Democrats have been telling us for years that things haven't been the same since Bill Clinton was president anyway (and certainly they wouldn't lie about such a thing). So being a big fan of "The Good Old Days", I say that we all ought to climb in the 'Wayback Machine' and take a trip back to the Magical tax rates of the 90's. Of course I'd like to take government spending levels back to the same period as those tax rates, but that's just the kind of nostalgia fan I am.
I'm also a realist however, so I know that the government needs to take more of my money. After all, without it how could they afford all the hiring that they've been up to again lately? (How else are they going to get the unemployment rate down?) If not for government, who else could be counted to funnel money into solar energy companies that, when they're not shifting their manufacturing to China, are going bankrupt and sticking us for the money they the got from the feds? How else could the government afford to pay farmers for crops they aren't growing? Who else could continue to pay ethanol producers to make a fuel that still isn't affordable (even with the federal subsidies), causes more pollution in its production than the gasoline it replaces, wrecks the cars that attempt to use it, and drives up the price of the crops that the farmers do plant since they're being put in a gas tank instead of someone's pie hole. Hell, they've got the system so well rigged that they can drive up the price of the fuel by forcing the mandatory use of ethanol, drive up the price of groceries being made with whatever's left; and ignore what it does to the cost of living, since neither fuel nor food count when the government calculates this rather vital number.
But let's get past the nonsense of government's sad attempts to pick winners and losers in the game of capitalism. (Not that with their record, winners comes up often or that anyone's going to let them pick horses at the track because of their past performance ). The US government has long sponsored pure science as well as commercial opportunities. Oh sure, we've abandoned spending most of cash we once put in our space program, and NASA with it; but there's still a lot going on in important pure research. For example, how else than by spending $3 million would we know how far a shrimp can run on a treadmill, or through a $300K grant learn how humans ride bikes? (Personally, will all those legs I'd like to see a study with the shrimp on the bikes, but that's just how an inquiring mind like mine works.) How about the $3 million given to the University of CA at Irvine to play video games, the $700K in government grants the University of New Hampshire is using to study methane emissions from dairy cows, or the $615K in taxpayer funding the University of CA at Santa Cruz got to digitize Grateful Dead T-shirts, tickets, and T-shirts? Oh but there's more! There's the $1 million in federal funds used to create poetry to raise environment awareness at the Little Rock, New Orleans, Milwaukee, and Chicago Zoos, or the $442K that the NIH is using to study male prostitutes in Viet Nam to name of few of the thousands in recent budgets.
And of course the government needs money to pay the 535 legislators that approve all of this money being spent on such worthy efforts in the first place. House Speaker John Boehner's making $223K, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's right behind by pulling down a little over $193K, and all the rank (pun intended) and file legislators are knocking back $174K. (And boy, they're worth it, aren't they?) How can we expect to be able to afford such high-priced talent if we all don't redistribute a little wealth to those that are making far more than the rest of us (but just under the $250K line used to designate 'the two percent')? And now that so many of them are retiring because of the toxic atmosphere they've created in Washington DC, there's some pretty fat pensions that have to paid to those who've made millions trading on the inside legislative and regulatory information they've gathered while in office.
So I say Phoooey to the current nonsense and worry being spewed about driving off the Fiscal Cliff in 2013. I say that when we see that cliff, let's punch the gas and make a Dukes of Hazard, General Lee effort at the jump! It's time to stand up and be counted for a government that's doesn't appear to be doing so well in the polls and fro some reason seems a bit short of cash. This is the Christmas season after all and our government needs us. (Oops, did I just violate Jefferson's principle of the 'Separation of Church and State' by mentioning a religious holiday and government in the same sentence? Sorry ....) I say we all show the spirit of giving that Americans are famous for (even evil Republicans) and put some of that money we were going to use for holiday charitable donations (no doubt for no better reason than so we could write them off our taxes) and presents for the kids and put it instead where it can do the most good; in the hands of our trusted and respected politicians. After all, who better than they would know what's best for us. Besides, with just a little bit of luck, they might give a little bit of it back to us.