Friday, June 3, 2022

The More Things Change...

Original title: Republicrats v. Depublicans (7/29/15)

Image by chayka1270 from Pixabay 

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.  

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in a debilitating meltdown.  


Featuring Dana: Hallucination, guest star, and charming literary device 

"Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason." 
                                                                                                       -Mark Twain

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

I'm spending the summer in a cabin on a beautiful lake somewhere in the Swiss Alps, working on my memoirs, and trying to decide if this column will resume post-Labor Day. The market has found me wanting; I'm buying all of my own coffee. So be it, I remain an unrepentant supporter of capitalism. 

My big brother Eddie is my only financial supporter so I'm starting to feel like Van Gogh... without the world-class talent but with both ears. I'm also considering publishing only when the spirit moves me. Cranking out columns week after week, while enjoyable, is hard work — well, intellectually speaking — at least for me. 

{It sure ain't roofing or the like you whiney b...}

In the meantime, I'll be republishing (relatively) gently edited columns with updated statistics and facts in [brackets].  

With apologies to JFK, I ask not why the federal government is so jacked up, I ask why it works as well as it does. I'm not an anarchist, only a sorta/kinda libertarian. I believe we need rules on the playground as well as an intelligently designed safety net. I would like the rules to be as few in number as possible and rationally conceived to maximize fun and minimize stepping on each other's toes. 

In light of our national debt, 57,000 [92,000] bucks each as this is being written and steadily increasing as you read this, cutting spending [prior to modern monetary/free lunch theory anyway] is always on the agenda. Both parties define cuts as spending a little less on planned increases over a ten-year period, to make "cuts" appear larger.

Think about that. Congressperson Stumblebum looks into the camera and with steely resolve states that if re-elected she'll [he'll/they'll] battle to get government spending under control. How? Simple. Increase spending by slightly less than already planned, over the next decade, and call it a spending cut. She won't put it like that though. She'll tell you that under her plan spending at the Department of Bonkercockie will be reduced by a billion dollars a year. With a little luck, Congressperson Stumblebum will be a lobbyist long before that decade is up and she'll no longer have to dirty her hands running for office in order to get her dirty little hands on other people's money.

She, and most likely the media source that provides you with this information, won't bother to mention that we don't have ten-year budgets. We have one-year budgets, at least in theory. Congress hasn't actually passed one since 1997. The one currently proposed is a product of the Republicrats, Depublicans don't support it and if it is passed in its present form, Mr. Obama has made it clear he will veto it.   

President Obama created the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission in 2010 to study and make recommendations for fixing our financial problems. You may have noticed The Fedrl Gummit has maxed out its credit cards, but the issuer (themselves) keeps sending out new ones (to themselves).

The commission was originally a provision of a bipartisan law that would require Congress to vote only up or down on the commission's recommendations since apparently Congress long ago lost its ability to compromise on virtually anything. The law didn't pass because some of the original Republicrat co-sponsors voted against their own bill.

Mr. Obama decided to set up the commission by executive order. The commission came to the conclusion that if we were to plug enough loopholes and eliminate enough special favors and social engineering from the tax code we could lower everyone's taxes. Toss in some real spending cuts and entitlement reform and now we're getting somewhere. Mr. Obama, and Congress, stuck the report in a drawer and returned to job one, staying elected. 

Mismanaging our money is not the only task the federal government excels in. No private entity can hope to match the government when it comes to creating Rules&Regs. The Federal Register (which contains 70,000+ pages as of 2020) lists all the rules and regulations you're supposed to follow if you have the good fortune to live in the USA.

If there was a board game called, "Life In a Free Country," in addition to the instructions on how to play the game there would be a multi-volume set of books [PDF files?] containing all the Rules&Regs you need to follow in order to remain on the straight and narrow as determined by Congress and the 2,711,000 [2,878,000] non-military employees of the federal government. 

How many Rules&Regs are there in the land of the free?  According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute's 10,000 Commandments 2021, "Since the Federal Register first began itemizing them in 1976, 208,155 final rules have been issued."

How on Earth did Congress find the time to write so many Rules&Regs? That's where the 2,711,000 [2,878,000] bureaucrats come in. Realizing that writing all those Rules&Regs themselves would be inefficient and detract from time on job one (see above), Congress passes legislation that authorizes the bureaucrats to create the Rules&Regs needed to put the brilliant ideas of their overlords into effect.

This practice helps to stimulate the economy by providing work for registered lobbyists [12,137]. Never let it be said that our fearless leaders can't hold their own when matched up against the folks that ran the Roman Empire into the dirt.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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Feel free to comment and set me straight on Cranky's Facebook page. I post my latest columns on Saturdays, other things other days. Cranky don't tweet.


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