’Twas the night before Fiscal Cliff, and throughout the land,
Democrats, Republicans were taking a stand.
Their positions unwavering, intractably firm,
With donkey-like stubbornness or entrenched pachyderm.
But the public were hopeful all snug in their beds,
With visions of compromise alive in their heads.
“Come on!” said the people in frustrated dismay.
“Abandon this meaningless partisan fray.”
When Obama and Boehner finally met,
Their first thoughts were not of a country in debt.
And Obama, the chief, said to Boehner “Oh crap!
I’d rather depart for a nice winter’s nap.”
“I know,” sighed Boehner “I’ve plenty to do,
Was planning to take a vacation or two.”
“Never mind,” said the Prez, “we’ll just keep delaying,
Who cares what the grumbling public are saying.”
But out in the blogosphere there arose such a clatter,
The people revolted, resolving this matter:
“There’s only one way to deal with such fools
Obama and Boehner must settle by duel.”
“No way!” said Obama, “I’m renowned for my peace.
“With a medal of proof on my lounge mantlepiece.”
“I agree” cried Boehner, not eager to battle,
And caught the first plane heading out to Seattle.
“Come back,” yelled the people, “we demand this by right,
You’ve had chances to talk, now you settle this fight.”
But the pair, reunited, were far from impressed,
As the thought of a duel made them rather depressed.
As he pondered alternative White House residents,
Obama now saw why we have the vice presidents.
Quick thinking, as always, to Biden he beckoned,
“Get over here Joe, and I’ll make you my second.”
“Now Joe I expect you’ll appear around dawn,
To face off with Boehner on the White House’s lawn.”
“Yeah right!” smiled old Joe, “Would love to assist,
I ain’t packing no pistol – what if I missed?”
And then, in a twinkling, Obama’s next step,
Was to call up more buddies, to be his next rep.
“Now Pelosi! Now Clinton! Now Durbin and Reid!
But all vanished from Washington with notable speed.
“Oh dear,” mused Obama, “now what shall I do?”
So he phoned up Boehner for a quick rendezvous.
“My friend, we are beaten, let’s abandon aggression.”
“Agreed,” said the Speaker, “it’s time for concession.”
So they sprang into action, both recommending,
Adding some taxes and cutting some spending.
Then I heard them exclaim, “We’ve reached a consensus!
Good-bye Fiscal Cliff, we’ve come to our senses.”
(Thomas’ features and columns have appeared in more than 250 magazines and newspapers, including the Washington Post, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and Christian Science Monitor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org).
’Twas the night before Fiscal Cliff, and throughout the land,
Slower rise in health care spending is a big deal
The sky isn't falling. The train is not wrecking. The end is not nigh. And to drag this out a bit, the tidings are not all bad.
The Social Security and Medicare trustees have spoken in their latest annual report: Social Security's not-too-serious condition remains unchanged from last year. But the outlook for Medicare, the more shaky program, has brightened modestly.
Permission sometimes easier to get than forgiveness
Forgiveness is easier to get than permission, an old adage holds. But that’s not always the case.
In local government, however, it’s usually better to let everyone know what you’re doing and offer a convincing justification before taking action.
CENTRAL KENTUCKY SHINES IN GLOBAL DEMILITARIZATION EFFORT
Too often, news is made when things go wrong. TV, print and radio and the internet are filled with worrisome headlines about international terror and wars, making it easy to feel confused, overwhelmed and helpless. But recently, Central Kentucky witnessed a positive development of which it can be proud: the attention from international disarmament leaders to our efforts to destroy lethal chemical weapons at the Blue Grass Army Depot.
Squawking about pension reform doesn’t make it so
Recently, I was a panelist on KET’s “Kentucky Tonight” program about the commonwealth’s public-pension crisis.
Much of the discussion reminded me of an annoying rhetorical tactic generally reserved for parrots, but often employed by cheerleaders for bigger, more -costly government: repeating the same nonsense over and over until viewers cave to the pure monotony.
Americans deserve the IRS
Individually, Americans do not deserve to be subservient to such a fear-mongering, intimidating and powerful agency as the Internal Revenue Service; but collectively, we do. Let's look at it.
Since the 1791 ratification of our Constitution, until well into the 1920s, federal spending as a percentage of gross domestic product never exceeded 5 percent, except during war. Today federal spending is 25 percent of our GDP. State and local government spending is about 15 percent of the GDP. That means government spends more than 40 cents of each dollar we earn. If we add government's regulatory burden, which is simply a disguised form of taxation, the government take is more than 50 percent of what we produce.
It is that time of year again.
Some years ago, I was invited to speak at the graduation ceremonies of a liberal arts college. Later, many in the audience told me they expected a very political speech. Some of them were relieved; others were disappointed. I don't do politics at graduation.
Graduation is about life.
My high school graduation was OK. I gave a speech. My family was there, intact, probably as happy as they ever were (But did I know?). We went out for Chinese food afterward.
Coal problem worth tackling in Washington and Frankfort
Despite hysterical cries from radical environmentalists, neither Sen. Rand Paul’s Defense of Environment and Property Act nor Sen. Mitch McConnell’s Coal Jobs Protection Act would allow activities that bring harm to Kentucky’s wildlife or waterways for the sake of propping up the coal industry.
Peter Perlman — Life lessons from a lawyer’s lawyer
One of the great moments of my life was sitting next to legendary Louisville attorney Frank Haddad at a luncheon when he learned he had received the first Peter Perlman Outstanding Trial Lawyer award from the Kentucky Academy of Trial Lawyers.
As they started his bio, the surprised Frank started crying like a baby. A sudden heart attack took him less than a year later. Winning the Perlman award was the crowning achievement of his career.
Credit score insanity
Frequently, people stop me and ask me personal finance questions.
The most common is how to improve their credit history score.
If you need to improve your credit score, it means you have lousy credit. Before fixing the score, people need to ask how their credit got so bad to begin with.
‘Tells’ about who will blow their money
Kentucky Derby week is one where gambling takes a forefront in my life. Along with the non-stop activities in my home state, I am speaking at a dinner for the Society of Settlement Professionals in Las Vegas and a film crew from Italy is flying in from Rome to interview me for a documentary about lottery winners.
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