The Elephant in the Political Room
Despite the festive convention celebrations of both major parties, an “elephant in the room” continues to be ignored by virtually all politicians. That elephant is the ballooning national debt. One party treats it like the weather: “It’s natural—not man-made.” The other party treats it like a future problem, enabling them to “kick the can down the road,” to use a favorite Washington metaphor.
Though managing the debt appears to be nearly impossible for politicians, Congress and the next President can do it if they act like managers of a business. Here are three steps that any intelligent business executive would take.
1. Freeze all new hiring and ban replacement of people who retire or leave their jobs. This regulation would apply to every part of the government except organizations responsible for protecting the homeland and the military. Note: It could not apply to the military because single-term recruits leave after four years of service and must be replaced by new inductees.
2. Create a detailed budget, with every departmental budget reduced by one percent. Note: The US has not had a detailed budget submitted to Congress since 2009. Instead, the same old budget remains, with overall increases negotiated every year.
3. Change IRS rules, eliminating 501(c)(3) tax exemptions. This change would require non-profit organizations to pay taxes on all donations. All new taxes received by eliminating exemptions would become part of retiring the debt.
Along with these changes, there are a few more strategies that would help. For example, the US government could sell off more than 2,000 buildings that are no longer in use. Maintaining them—taxes, upkeep, insurance reserves and building security— wastes nearly $3-billion a year. If they could sell them, they might net another few billion.
Why should we pay attention to this boring subject? If America can’t curtail the growing debt, the interest alone will soon become so steep that the government will be unable to function. The vast debt size—more than $19-trillion—is impossible to pay down with tax increases. And the political fantasy of seizing billions of dollars from the wealthiest Americans would only pay for a tiny portion of one-year’s interest one time.
The US Treasury and Federal Reserve will have only one choice: to print and distribute trillions of dollars of new inflated currency. That will make the value of every middle-class dollar worth less and undercut the lifestyle of all Americans. All personal investment and retirement planning will erode. And the debt problem isn’t a forecast for the vague long-term future. The “future is now!” Inflation has already begun, and will accelerate if and when the economy improves.
TV Networks Fear Huge Losses
Leaks from highly placed government sources have caused grave concerns among TV news networks. According to rumors, the White House and Congress are negotiating a deal in which all tax exemptions for non-profit organizations will end. This move will terminate or sharply reduce donations to Political Action Committees. Under the current system, donors can contribute tax-free funds that organizations use to purchase TV advertising for political candidates. If only half of those donations could no longer be tax-free, that TV advertising revenue would disappear.
Led by CNN and Fox News, network executives met clandestinely to assess the potential financial damage to themselves. Following is a confidential record of the meeting,
Participating Networks: Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC.
MSNBC: “Where the hell are ABC, CBS, and NBC? We thought this meeting would include all networks.”
CNN: “Those three hypocrites are all supported by the Clinton Foundation, with funds running through a series of shell companies. Their sole purpose has been to support the Clintons.”
MSNBC: “Isn’t that illegal?”
Fox News: “As Bubba said to his zipper, ‘it’s only a problem if you’re caught.’”
CNN: “We three have got to keep earning those advertising dollars. What can we do?”
Fox News: ”We can always push for more advertising from drug companies, gold bullion pedlers, insurance vendors and shyster law firms.”
MSNBC: “Oh please! We get at least a thousand complaints about that stuff every day. If we crank it up, viewer’s heads may start to explode.
CNN: “We only had 22 primary debates. Maybe we can push the parties for more as we approach the general election.
Fox News: “That’s a non-starter. The campaigns won’t have money for more.
MSNBC: “Maybe we’re approaching this the wrong way. Why don’t we create a strategy that gets the Administration to back off?”
CNN: “Good thinking! What can we do to blackmail the White House, without going to jail or getting shot by a Secret Service Agent?”
Fox News: “How about this? We can create an animated cartoon depicting a reality show, called: ‘Keeping Up With the Obamas!’”
MSNBC: “We can show the White House the first cut. When they panic, we can suggest a deal to keep ‘Citizens United’ and all other PACs in business.”
Fox News: “Hmmm…What can we script that will scare the hell out of them?”
MSNBC: “How about showing the President making some deals that the Republicans criticize.”
FoxNews: “Maybe we can have him making a deal with the Iranian mullahs, and then show the mullahs rolling on the floor laughing at him.”
CNN: “Or learning from MIT professor Gruber, that Obamacare is a fraud. Or maybe meeting an ISIS terrorist, with a huge knife, who says, ‘Do you really think we’re the JV team?’”
Fox News: “He’s already embarrassed about those things. We’ve got to be more original. Let’s depict him naked in a hot tub with Monica Lewinsky, smoking a cigar.”
MSNBC: “Great! Then Michele comes in and catches them!”
CNN: “OMG! Let’s do it. Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
Fox News: “And pray that this was only a satirical fantasy!”
Hillary Strikes Back
Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton was frantic. She had watched every minute of the Republican National Convention and couldn’t contain her fury. She called a 6:00 AM meeting with her closest campaign advisors: Chief of Staff John Podesta, deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin, foreign policy advisor Jake Sullivan, and her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Glassy-eyed, the candidate screamed every word, as though she was facing a hostile audience.
“LIES, LIES, LIES! It’s a vast right-wing conspiracy! We can’t let those jack-booted Republican thugs get away with those lies!”
“That story about the email server is a LIE! I never did that. Maybe it was you, Bill. Or maybe it was Huma. I NEVER DID ANY OF THAT! I always thought a server was someone who worked in a restaurant. It was probably Cheryl Mills. Not me! I don’t understand technical things!”
“And they blamed me for Benghazi! BENGHAZI? I never heard of the place. And I wasn’t asleep during the attack. I was taking a bubble bath. Barrack was asleep. It’s not my fault. And I thought it was all about a terrible video. I read about it on Twitter. I didn’t lie! I NEVER LIE!”
“And how DARE they blame me for Iran, and Syria, and ISIS. That was all on Barrack. I didn’t know anything about that. Barrack and whatsername, Susan Rice. The National Security Advisor. They did all of those things. NOT ME! I was racking up airline miles like Barrack ordered. I’m a MILLION MILER! How could I have time to run foreign affairs?”
“I’m innocent. And very tired. I need a nap,” the candidate whispered. With that, a slumping Hillary Clinton quietly left the conference room.
Hillary’s advisors looked at each other, with jaws dropping. No one spoke for a minute. Chief of staff Podesta turned to former President Clinton, and said, “She’s finally gone full-tilt. We can’t let anyone know about this. We can’t let her in front of a microphone at the Convention, he continued. “We’ve got to implement Plan B.”
“I HATE Plan B!” whined the former President.
“It’s the only way back to the White House,” countered Podesta.
“Alright,” surrendered Clinton. “I’ll be her stand-in. I’ve been practicing. I have the voice down pat. And I had the wig re-fitted to her hair-do. I can handle the make-up pretty well. Just don’t let those damn TV cameras get too close.
“I know I can pull this off. In fact, I look pretty GOOD as a woman. Imagine a Hillary that makes sense,” he laughed.
“But I’ve got two conditions. One is that I get to pick my own transgender bathroom, no matter what Barrack says. And the other condition is my wardrobe. Get me some good looking dresses and pants suits. I can’t stand her style. Think of it as a presidential body makeover!”