This time of year Buzz, my 12-year-old hound, likes to spend the last few minutes of the night in the backyard barking at nothing in particular.
In his younger days, he was much more selective. If there were nothing to bark at– no deer, no rabbits, no joggers– he’d do his business and return to the house in short order. If there was something– see previous list– he’d carry on with great vigor, his entire body convulsing to give mighty barks. Not that it matters either way, the critters that cruise by the yard learned long ago that Buzz can’t get through the fence, so they graze with impudence only a few feet away.
You’d think it would drive Buzz crazy but he seems to take it all in stride as part of his daily routine: sleep, eat, do business, bark at something, and repeat.
Sometimes I think I’m a lot like Buzz, barking to no avail at things that are just plain wrong, but I could take a lesson from him on how not to let it grind on me.
Look at this ongoing brouhaha happening over the federal budget and debt limit.
I’m on record, have been for a long time, warning that something needs to be done to fix deficit spending.
You can try to confuse the issue by making claims, just or unjust, about who is responsible, but it does little good in fixing the problem. The truth is it comes from both sides of the aisle. Republicans are at fault for passing tax cuts that weren’t needed– our millionaires were doing just fine without it. Democrats share equal blame for not curbing entitlement programs. Both are to blame for allowing us to borrow money to fight two wars without making sacrifices at home, like higher taxes or reduced spending.
But whoever is to blame, a fix is needed to turn the tide and some compromises are in order. From what I read, the president and Democrats are being fairly reasonable while Republicans are acting like greedy, spoiled brats, with the worst of them on the far right, i.e. the tea partiers, ready to take us down the tube with their extremist views.
We have one of the lowest tax rates of developed countries and the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest continues to enlarge. Rich people are not paying their fair share. To get you to do this, I am willing to cut back on social welfare but would also ask to take a look at cooperate welfare. I think you’re jerks for doing it, but go ahead and cut funding for things like public swimming pools. The rich can still use the one in their back yard or go to the club.
Just don’t be hypocrites, okay, like our Governor Terry Branstad.
In case you live out of state or in Iowa but under a rock, Branstad broke onto the scene here in Iowa with tough-love remedies for our state’s financial problems. Among programs he’s tried to cut back on is one that pays for children from poor homes to go to preschool. Besides reducing the funding for the program, he wants to reduce standards so children can be placed into centers without licensed teachers. This way “teachers” can be paid minimum wage. He’s also moved to reduce the wages of state workers (but not his own) and layoff 1,500 workers.
Meanwhile, Branstad is a triple dipper. Besides his salary for being governor he collects a hefty pension for work he did with the state previously. That’s the double dip. The triple dip comes from the fact that he owns and leases about a dozen buildings to the U.S. Postal Service. These are usually sweet deals but I guess they are out there for anyone with the right connections to make.
The thing is, however, that the postal service is trying to close some of its smallest offices in an effort to cut costs. From a business standpoint, this makes total sense. Between the lease of the building and the salary of a Postmaster, small town post offices operate in a pool of red ink. The advent of the Internet has made it even worse.
But guess which governor/property owner is against it because it will cost him money? And that’s the problem with Republicans; besides being rich jerks, they are hypocrites.
But I think I’ll go in the backyard and bark for all the good it does to point it out.