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Our 10 Percent Solution to the Latest Partial Government Shutdown

In the satirical spirit of the great Jonathan Swift, we propose a “Modest Proposal” to end the latest partial government shutdown. The idea first came to us when we heard President Donald Trump bragging on Wednesday to the troops at an airbase in Iraq about the 10 percent raise he’d given them after the past many years of no military pay raises at all.
As a matter of objectively provable fact, all of it was typically Trumpian balderdash. For the past many years of Republican and Democratic administrations everyone in the military has annually received a slight but slightly-ahead-of-the-inflation-rate pay hike, and although the latest 2.9 percent bump was a bit more than usual it’s still a full 7.1 percent less than what Trump bragged about. Even so, many of the troops and most of the fans back home were applauding Trump’s principled generosity to our brave men and women in the field. The die-hard Trump fans have always been willing to believe what balderdash Trump tells them, and dismiss the objectively provable facts as “fake news.” In the run-up to the mid-term elections Trump also promised a 10 percent tax cut to the middle class, which came as quite a surprise to the Congressional Republicans who were then in recess, and although it never came to pass it was widely applauded by the true believer.
Which leads us to our modest proposal to end the third partial government shutdown of Trump’s administration. If you’ve been following both the “fake news” and Trump’s “Twitter” feed you know that Trump won’t sign any spending bill or resolution to keep the government open that doesn’t include billions of dollars of funding for a big and beautiful sea-to-shining-sea wall along the Mexican border, the damned Democrats don’t want to pass any spending bill or resolution that funds any significant border wall, and with the Democrats poised to seat a House majority in a week or so the impasse is likely to linger for a while.
The most obvious solution, then, is to claim that the big beautiful border has already been built and victory has been won. For more than a year Trump has falsely been claiming that the wall is being built, and although that’s typically Trumpian balderdash the die-hard fans have been believing it, so they’ll also probably buy that the project has been completed.
Back during the campaign, when Trump was promising that no Democratic votes were needed because Mexico would happily pay for his promised border wall, he also said the wall should be transparent enough that we could see what those wily Mexicans were up to on the side and that any Americans walking around the border wouldn’t be hit on the head by any of the bundles of drugs they were tossing over the wall. So why not claim that the wall has been completed with Mexico’s happily provided funding, and that you just can’t see it because it’s so splendidly transparent? The die-hard fans will probably buy it, even if the majority of the country buys into the “fake news” reports that as a matter of objectively provable fact a wall doesn’t exist, and at least it would temporarily end the latest hubbub about the latest temporary government shutdown.

— Bud Norman

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New Year’s Eve, 2014

We had ambitions to write something about the latest economic news today, but that requires too much research and reasoning, the weather is too dismal to deal with the dismal science, and the date on the calendar makes it too easy to put off such serious matters until next year. New Year’s Eve is best spent at leisure, recuperating from the year past and readying oneself for the one ahead.
Some people celebrate the occasion by getting rip-roaring drunk, which might be useful for recuperating but is not conducive to readying. Others prefer a quiet and contemplative evening at home, but even their most thoughtful resolutions are usually long forgotten by the time the weight loss programs and smoking cessation drugs and health club membership ads have disappeared from the airwaves sometime in early February. Our preference is for something in between, with a couple of convivial libations along with a hearty repast in the company of few old friends before heading home to quiet and solitude to steel ourselves for the the coming months of cold and barren winter and whatever might come after that. A few inexplicably lucky folks will spend the day golfing on some publicly funded by otherwise private golf in warm and sunny Hawaii, but we’ll forgo our rants about that guy until another day.
Tomorrow is a day off for almost everyone, which is certainly worth celebrating, and we still have a few tweaks left on a novel that will be e-published any minute now and a few other important end-of-the-year chores to attend to, so we’ll leave the macro-economics and the rest of that big picture stuff until next week. Whatever plans you might have for the rest of the day, we thank you for spending a moment of it here and hope the rest goes even better.
Happy New Year.

— Bud Norman