Published 12:00 am Monday, March 4, 2013

President has his eye on midterm elections
I watched the president’s daily pep rally as usual, except today the revulsion was overwhelming. Today, he directly named the Republican leadership in Congress as the cause of the most recent “crisis.” No culpability for himself, none for a Democrat-controlled Senate, only the Republican leadership, the speaker of the House, specifically.
Case in point: This administration doesn’t operate by a budget, as most American businesses and households do, but by “continuing resolutions” (CRs). In regard to the resolution required by the end of March or the government shuts down, the president said he made a deal with Congress in regards to CRs; the deal was signed by the speaker, and he expects Congress to stick to the deal they made with him. Oh, really!
What he didn’t say and the press didn’t ask — no surprise there — is what about the deal he made with Congress concerning mandatory “sequestration” reductions of an increase in government spending? This is the deal he agreed to where tax increases would be followed by significant funding reductions unless alternative action occurred.
Tax increases went into effect on Jan. 1, Mr. President. Why should the deal allowing the government to operate be any more binding than the deal you also made to reduce spending? Rhetoric today makes the end result even more clear than in the past — regain control of the House of Representatives and thereby control the entire government, regardless of the means.
The president of the United States has now clearly charted a political course leading to the midterm elections next year! In so doing, it should be painfully obvious to even the most uninformed citizen this president intends to throw you under the bus in order to regain control of Congress. And for 17 months!
— James G. Grizzard


Helping the jobless
Friday night I went to Representative Warren’s Town Meeting to ask him a simple question about the impact of the new unemployment bill. I wanted to know how middle-class people who were out of work through no fault of their own could get by on $350 a week.
I asked Mr. Warren just that — how do you live on $350 a week? In response, Mr. Warren gave us a brief history of unemployment, including who the legislation affected (those earning over $55,000 a year, about 16-20 percent of wage earners) and how much North Carolina has had to borrow since the Recession began (about $2.5 billion), along with the financing (both FUTA and SUTA). All of this has been published in the Salisbury Post previously. Curiously he failed to bring up the retroactive tax bills small businesses are being hit with or the requirement that after 10 weeks, anyone offered a job at $420 a week either accept or lose their unemployment.
When he was finished, Mr. Warren still hadn’t explained how people in the emerging middle class (earning over $55,000) were supposed to live while looking for work in their professions or crafts. When pressed on this, he suggested “doing what you have to” or picking a new career path, questionable help for skilled craftsmen and professionals. One audience member suggested “relocate”! That’s just what we need, to run the middle class out of North Carolina!
It seemed to me the GOP/Tea Party people are much more concerned with the financial aspects of unemployment than the human side. Perhaps that’s because they’ve been handing out the pink slips instead of receiving them.
I don’t know, but none of them at the meeting seemed to care about the unemployed, or how their neighbors who are affected would fare. Just about the impact on their taxes.
They seemed a lot more like the Pharisee and the Scribe in the parable than the Samaritan. That “Love thy neighbor” stuff didn’t seem to be very popular.
— Jack Burke


Sequestration history
Oops. It’s still available on the Internet. Normally, this probably would have disappeared long ago. I know, because I often spend countless hours researching things, and I’ve seen documents mysteriously disappear off the Web. I think they just missed this one.
Back on July 31, 2011, the Obama administration ( issued a press release titled “Fact Sheet: Bipartisan Debt Deal: A Win for the Economy and Budget Discipline.” In this press release, President Obama takes credit for the “automatic sequester,” saying that, “We at least put in place an additional $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction by 2013.”
It goes on to say: “The deal includes a mechanism to ensure additional deficit reduction, consistent with the economic recovery. The enforcement mechanism would not be made effective until 2013, avoiding any immediate contraction that could harm the recovery. And savings from the down payment will be enacted over 10 years, consistent with supporting the economic recovery.”
In other words, sequester won’t harm the economic recovery; instead, it’ll fully support it.
Now, all of a sudden, he’s blaming Republicans for the sequester, saying it’ll cause massive layoffs, disrupted airline schedules, prisoners released, loss of Head Start, reduced hours at national parks, furloughed meat inspectors, families cutting back, etc. etc.
So why did Obama’s rhetoric suddenly turn around? Why is he now directing these cuts at working men and women, instead of cutting the massive waste and fraud that he promised originally? The answer’s pretty simple when you think about how likely it is that the country is already sliding back into recession. The massive debt has big industry nervous, Obamacare has businesses cutting workers’ hours or letting them go completely, and the threat of higher taxes is keeping the big money overseas.
Rather than admit his economic failures, Obama is using sequester as an excuse to make unnecessary cuts. Then he’ll blame Republicans for sequester, and sequester for the second recession.
— Steve Pender


Volunteers needed …
The calendar says MOW … It’s not a reminder to cut the lawn. It’s one of the most satisfying, simple services I do. The work that Rowan County’s Meals On Wheels makes a big difference to those who receive the hot meal assistance and to those who can assist in delivery. For about a year, I have been a substitute driver, delivering food to quite an array of needy folks. It has been an eye-opener for me. It has also been very gratifying. Do you have a car and an hour a couple times a month? Get hooked in this feel-good activity. Call and volunteer. Make a difference to someone in need — and to yourself!
— Pat Murtaugh


… Homes for pets, too
Congratulations to the employees and volunteers of our Rowan County Animal Shelter for placing 150 dogs and 50 cats for the month of February. They work relentlessly on a daily basis to place these pets. Thanks to the Friends of Rowan County Animal Shelter on Facebook for daily networking to save their lives. If you’re a Facebook user, please “like” them so you can see what animals are available and share with others. I believe this has made the biggest difference in keeping some of God’s creatures out of the cruel gas chamber. It’s unfortunate that our animal shelter is a high-kill facility, due to lack of funding by Rowan County commissioners. If you’re looking for a pet, please take time to see what’s available at the shelter. And more importantly, please do the responsible thing and have your pet spayed or neutered.
— April Eddinger Sherrill

Mt. Ulla