Another Shovel Full Of Sh…ope

Pass this bill now!

When a sales rep calls on me, and pushes me to buy his product he sometimes uses a tactic of saying “this offer is only good today.” If ever there is a phrase that will end the sales call that is it. President Obama made his American Jobs Plan address before both houses of Congress on Thursday. He used a similar tactic to express the urgency of implementing his new and wonderful plan. One news clip I saw on the day after, documented the President saying, “pass this jobs bill” seventeen times in about forty minutes. My math works that out to once every two point three minutes. Frankly, I tuned him out after the first one.

Why the big sense of urgency? Joblessness no longer needs verification. The jobless rate has danced around nine percent for more than two years, and the President has promised on many occasions that jobs will be his highest priority, that is after golf, parties, travel, and fund-raising. Why did he delay introduction of this big plan until after Labor Day? The answer might be that Labor Day is the traditional opening day of political campaigns. Could it be that the real answer is that the President is now beginning a campaign to save his own job?

Here are five points covered in the American Jobs Plan.

  1. Cut Payroll taxes. This one is good. If people have more money in their pockets they will spend more. If they spend it on goods and services and not save it, the increase in sales may cause manufacturers to increase production. Increases in production may need more workers, provided the factories producing the product are in the USA, and not in China.
  2. Transportation Infrastructure. He made it sound like our Interstate system is a disaster. I can tell you that it is not. It is the best system of roads in the world. True, there are rough sections that need repair, but whole roads do not need replacement. He compared us to the Chinese who are spending money to build a complete Interstate system modeled after the USA. The roads are overkill in a country that still uses bicycles and motorcycles as its primary mode of travel. They are about fifty percent complete. The error of Obama’s logic is that only a small percentage of Chinese own cars. I question the need for a massive rebuild program for Interstates at home. What does Uncle use the gas-tax money for? Every time Congress put a new tax on gasoline it was under the guise of maintaining roads. Americans pay $68,346,000.00 Federal tax on gasoline yearly.  What does Uncle do with all that money?
  3. School Infrastructure. Obama wants to spend $25,000,000,000.00(billion) on school infrastructure. This one really gets me. I’m sure if we were to trade in the Department of Education Budget ($90,000,000,000.00 in 2007) for new school buildings we would not need additional money.  School Districts are responsible for maintaining and replacing buildings. We pay big-time taxes for schools. Most of the money goes to support union salaries and benefits (Obama wants another $35 billion to protect teachers). If School Boards were tougher, school buildings would be in good condition, and if local politicians would not crumble under pressure from parents, Teacher Unions would not be pirating State coffers for more. Most of the crummy school buildings are in Democrat controlled cities like Chicago where unions and graft comes before kids.  If memory serves me right, I heard the same rhetoric during the President’s speech to sell the first Stimulus. If he were serious then, these buildings would be completed and paid for by now. Where did the Shovel Ready Stimulus money go?
  4. Get Veterans Hired. A noble idea. Businesses need more business in order to hire more people. How do they do that? Fine, there will be pressure from the Feds to hire vets, another noble idea, but it just displaces one out of work person for another.
  5. Tax Credit for Hiring Long-Term Unemployed. Isn’t this at odds with hiring Veterans?

Nice try President Obama, but “pass this jobs bill” sounded a lot like an offer that is only good if I buy today. Hit the road buddy; sell the snake oil to your socialist friends.

Following Up With the Movie Version

Last night I followed through on a promise I made to myself about the book “East of Eden.”  I watched the movie to see how accurately Hollywood followed Steinbeck’s work. My grade is a B+. The movie followed the book story quite well. Except for eliminating a central character Lee, adding too much strength to the Sheriff, and changing the ending to shorten the film, the movie told the story well.

The original work is six hundred pages long. I wondered where the movie would start while I was reading. When I finished, I surmised that the script could only cover the last two hundred pages, and that is exactly what happened.

I remember seeing coming attractions for the film which touted James Dean as a powerful new actor. It’s taken  me over fifty years to finally watch the film. James Dean was magnificent in the role of Caleb Trask, a moody young kid who needed answers about his life. His twin brother (not identical) seemed to have it all together, but in the end, the moody kid endures life, and survives the answers he uncovers. His brother, could not deal with the same answers, and loses it He joins the army to fight WWI and dies in action.

I give this film five stars, although a little late. If you haven’t seen it yet, find a copy in the library or rent one and watch. You won’t be sorry.

During the movie I set a new goal, i.e. why not read Dean’s biography, and watch all of his films? The DVD I borrowed from the library came with a second disk, it had Dean’s biography. I enjoyed it as much as I did the film. Dean only made three films before he died, and now I’ve seen two of them. I saw “Rebel without a Cause,” a couple of times. The last film is “Giant.”

The only pleasure missing from this viewing was the company of my grand-daughter Dana. I know we would have had a great time discussing the story and the characters. Oh well.