Saturday, May 4, 2024

Summer Reruns

The original column was published in July of 2015.
Image by JamesDeMers from Pixabay

This weekly column consists of letters written to my perspicacious progeny  the Stickies — to advise 'em now and haunt them after I'm deleted.

Trigger Warning: This column is rated SSC-65: Sexy Seasoned Citizens   



Featuring {Dana}Persistent auditory hallucination and charming literary device 

“Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country” -John F. Kenedy

Dear Stickies (and gentlereaders),  

Greetings and Salutations from the South of France!

Very long story short, a friend of mine, who just happens to be an absurdly wealthy business mogul whose identity I've promised to not reveal...

{Does his last name rhyme with tusk?}

When he discovered that the executive staff of The Flyoverland Crank, Inc. was enjoying a most expenses paid retreat on the shores of Lake Erie to work out the details of a significant change of company policy (stay tuned) and that we would be publishing reruns of beloved columns for the next month or so...

Well, he suggested I borrow his villa in the South of France for a much-needed break and induced a... um, friend of his, Collette, to be my personal tour guide to help make the most of the experience since I've never been out of North America. 

Another long story short (forgive me) concerns the fact that when I started to "lightly edit" old columns for republication I discovered that while basic narratives generally held up, facts and my personal opinions had often changed. 

Most importantly, my writing style has changed so much that what follows is a heavily edited version of the original that's essentially a new column. Looks like my vacation is going to be a working vacation but it's better than no vacation. 

With apologies to JFK, I ask not why The Fedrl Gummit is so jacked up — I ask (all things considered) why it works as well as it does. 

I'm no wild-eyed campus-crashing Wokie. I'm merely a sorta/kinda libertarian with strong conservative impulses and undeniable leftover old-school liberal notions as I'm very concerned about what should be done to aid those left behind by the global economy.

I believe we need rules on the playground, as well as an intelligently designed safety net. But I would like the rules to be as few in number as possible and rationally conceived so as to maximize our fun and minimize our stepping on each other's toes. 

And I can't help but wonder if our ever-growing debt is going to blow up the economy because we're not willing to do what it's going to take to truly slay the inflation dragon.

{Those left behind? You ain't seen nothin' yet. Wait till white-collar jobs start being "disrupted" out of existence by AI in significant enough numbers to begin generating scary headlines and stories — written by AI! Look on the bright side, with any luck, you'll be dead before the economy collapses.}

I wonder if the arrogant, dismissive phrase "learn to code" will be replaced by learn to weld, or plumb, or build? But I've gotta stay focused on rewriting the original version of this column, Dana, my new friend Collette has made dinner reservations for us at Auberge du Vieux Puit in the Corbières Hills this evening. 

{Right. Good thing staying focussed is one of your strong points.}

Our national debt is 57,000 103,000 bucks each as this is being written, and steadily increasing as you read this. While cutting spending is always occasionally on the agenda, both parties define "cuts" as spending a little less on planned increases over a ten-year period, to make the numbers bigger.

Think about that. 

Congressperson Stumblebum looks into the camera and with steely resolve states that if re-elected she'll battle to get government spending under control. How? Simply, increase spending by slightly less than planned over the next decade, and call it a spending cut. 

She won't put it like that though. She'll tell us 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 the 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 remind you that we don't have ten-year budgets. We have one-year budgets, at least in theory, we haven't actually operated under one since 2010 I don't know when. 

{Ah-ha! So the number you used back in 2015 was...}

I confess I can't remember where I got it, and when I went a-googlin' to see if it was accurate I got so lost I gave up and had to take a nap. The Worldwide Web of Contradictory Knowledge (WWCK) supplied multiple answers 

{AI is going to fix that!}  

"Back in the day," President Obama created the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission (2010) to study and make recommendations for fixing our financial problems. 

You may have noticed The Fedrl Gummit long ago 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 Congress long ago lost its ability to compromise on virtually anything. 

The law was never actually passed, in fact, some of the original co-sponsors voted against it. Mr. Obama decided to set up the commission by executive order. 

The commission figured out 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 you're getting somewhere!

Mr. Obama, and Congress, stuck the report in a drawer and returned to Job-1, getting/staying elected.   

Mismanaging our money is not the only task The Fedrl Gummit excels in. No private entity can hope to match the government when it comes to creating rules and regulations. 

The Federal Register is the official record of all the Rules&Regs you're supposed to follow if you have the good fortune to live in the USA.

If there was a board game about the USA called, Life In a Free Country? in addition to the instructions on how to play the game you'd need an app to keep track of all the Rules&Regs you need to follow in order to remain on the straight and narrow as prescribed by Congress and the 2,711,000 2,950,000 civilian employees of The Fedrl Gummit.

I got the new number from USAFacts — "The federal government employs almost three million people and is larger than some industries in the US." However, if you go a-googlin you will discover different numbers reported by different sources so feel free to choose the one you prefer.

Incidentally, USAFacts was founded by Steve Ballmer, a former Microsoft CEO with more money than God who picks up the tab. 

It's not a registered (tax dodging) non-profit, it doesn't run ads, and nothing's for sale. He put it together, and maintains it, because "...unlike businesses, US governments are not mandated to compile reports on their expenditures...Americans need access to government data to understand the state of the nation."

Oh, I almost forgot, The Federal Register has  80,000 90,402 pages.

How on Earth did Congress find the time to write so many Rules & Regs? That's where the 2,711,000 2,950,000 bureaucrats come in. 

Realizing that writing all those Rules&Regs themselves would be inefficient and detract from time spent on Job-1, Congress passes thousand-page laws without reading them that authorize bureaucrats to create the Rules&Regs needed to put the brilliant ideas of their overlords into effect.

That's right fellow citizens, America has 2,711,000 2,950,000 potential rule writers on the Swamp's payroll.

The good news is the Supremes are currently contemplating doing away or at least placing limits on rule by bureaucracy. Fingers crossed. 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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