I had yet another joyous Sunday in Miami, OK. The Saints worshiped together with a fine sermon by Steve Kendall and then retired to the dining area to share a noon meal. I can not possibly express how much I enjoy their fellowship. Even with a late departure, I was able to arrive home before the long awaited Puppy Bowl.
A Tax Cheat
An interesting fact in the news in the last few days is the continuing difficulty of the new administration to find candidates for the cabinet who are not ducking charges of either tax evasion or illegal use of immigrant labor. Most prominent at the moment is good old Tom Daschle.
He came to the Senate from South Dakota as a man of very modest means. By the time he was finally ousted by John Thune we found he had become a millionaire. We also found him in arrears on his taxes by the sum of $128,203 plus interest (no penalty?) of an additional $11,964. It appears he accepted the donation of a limo and driver from a constituent and failed to report the value on his taxes. This error (or evasion) from 2005, 06, and 07 was cleared up in the nick of time to appear before the Senate investigating committee. Just about every tax payer knows that “value in kind” constitutes income. I can tell you from personal experience that when you win goods or services on a quiz show you are presented with the appropriate form detailing the cash value of the prizes for tax purposes.
Mr. Daschle shares a joint checking account with his wife, Linda, who has been a lobbyist for many years. He claimed that she did not lobby the senate, but only the house in her time in Washington. During that period, the couple acquired considerable wealth but we are led to believe that the wife of a US Senator never discussed any of the lobbying efforts with her husband. No mention was made of conversations they had about the “tooth fairy”, “the Easter bunny,” and “Santa Claus.”
One of the problems with re-cycling the left-overs from the Clinton administration is the comfort level these people have with defrauding the US Treasury. Surely there must be someone clean enough to pass muster and take these jobs. Maybe the president could flip through his Rolodex and find someone from Chicago who—never mind!
A Lynching in Springfield
Those of us who try to keep up on the news and then write about it are grateful to the Illinois Senate for returning a bill of impeachment for Governor Rod Blagojevich. I hope he decides to retire quietly and no longer be an item because I am just plain sick and tired of trying to spell his name. I did actually even learn how to pronounce it. What a waste of hair.
As I watched the proceedings, I was stricken with the matter of his fellow Illinois pols submitting accusations but not offer him the opportunity for rebuttal of witnesses, facing his accusers, or mounting a defense. I am aware that toward the end he had the opportunity to speak but that, in itself, does not answer the other questionable practices. I don’t care who you are or how serious the crimes with which you are accused, every citizen should have the complete right to a defense. I guess I’ll never ever understand politics in Illinois. The final tally was 97-0—I guess they wanted rid of him.
A National Tragedy
The consensus among many of the financial writers that I have read recently points to what I had suspected all along. The nation, in its resilience and ambition, would have probably righted itself and found a recovery on its own; minus several irresponsible banks and large manufacturing firms. As previously pointed out, we have lost huge corporations before and we shall again if the government would only get out of the way. As it is we have legislated away the public purse by throwing money at things which will do little to bring immediate relief. Even the long term value is questionable.
I found this entry by Dan Riehl which says it far better than I, so I shall repeat it here for your consideration:
“Eight hours of debate in the HR to pass a bill spending $820 billion, or roughly $102 billion per hour of debate.
Only ten per cent of the “stimulus” is to be spent on 2009.
Close to half goes to entities that sponsor or employ or both members of the Service Employees International Union, federal, state, and municipal employee unions, or other Democrat-controlled unions.
This bill is sent to Congress after Obama has been in office for seven days. It is 680 pages long. According to my calculations, not one member of Congress read the entire bill before this vote. Obviously, it would have been impossible, given his schedule, for President Obama to have read the entire bill.
For the amount spent we could have given every unemployed person in the United States roughly $75,000.
We could give every person who had lost a job and is now passing through long-term unemployment of six months or longer roughly $300,000.
There has been pork barrel politics since there has been politics. The scale of this pork is beyond what had ever been imagined before — and no one can be sure it will actually do much stimulation.
Wall Street didn’t have Obama’s chutzpah. And it didn’t do nearly the damage to the nation that this bill will do.”
Dan brought up some things which we all need to consider. Someone needs to remind the president and the Democrat congress that 57 million people did not vote for him. He has no clear mandate even though he acts like it. As his supporters are soon to find out, presenting speeches from a teleprompter is not governance. One is frivolous: the other vital.
I have been home a week now and I’m sure you can tell the difference. Although I thoroughly enjoyed being with the grandkids, I did miss the opportunity to visit with you through the blog. You all have become an extremely important component in my life. Everyone should have a sounding board to address to avoid the frustrations of watching the world fall apart around him alone.
We dodged the bullet on the latest ice storm and were only inconvenienced with very, very, slick roads for a couple of days along with some low temperatures. The snow and ice cover is now about 98% gone and only present where Jan and I step. I learned this last night as she raised her pant leg to show me the abraded areas from a fall. Dr. Moon has pronounced that she will live. Others, east and north of us, were not so lucky and will require all our prayers. We know from experience that it’s rough to lose your power—especially in a rural area.
To each of you, I extend hearty thanks for you patience and loyalty while I was off gallivanting.
In His abiding love,