Let’s see, the President of the United States makes $400,000 a year, plus another $100,000 (non taxable) for travel expenses, and an additional $50,000 “special” expense account, and, oh yeah, another $19,000 for “entertainment”.

 Let’s see, the President of the United States makes $400,000 a year, plus another $100,000 (non taxable) for travel expenses, and an additional $50,000 “special” expense account, and, oh yeah, another $19,000 for “entertainment”. He flies his whole family to Hawaii every year for a Christmas vacation! There is a Congressman from Texas named Michael McCaul who lists his net worth at $294 million! Representative Darrell Issa from California weighs in at $220 million. Senator John Kerry’s total worth is $193 million.  Nancy Pelosi’s net is a mere $35 million or so. Lamar Alexander, a Senator from Tennessee who has made a career out of putting on a plaid work shirt and “being one of us”, is worth $10 million. Congressman John Boehner, who checks in way down the list, still is worth $2 million.

You’re telling me these kinds of people can get up with a straight face and talk about “going over” some kind of mythical fiscal cliff? You think they are sweating their next pay check? Reckon any of them have ever counted the change in their pockets before walking into McDonalds? Or admired that shirt in the window….until you silently turned the price tag face up? Wonder how many of them have asked someone to “please hold that check till Friday”?

We may have the wrong people voting for us on this deal.

Baseball consumed my early years. I loved it and I was fairly good at it. I could have been even better if I had owned a real glove. With all my heart I coveted one of those Rawlings three fingered PM “Playmaker” models. They cost $12 dollars even in 1954! You talk about a genuine, sure nuff, real “fiscal cliff”! I spent my youth hemming up line drives off the bats of Jackie Burns, Bobby C. Melton and Buddy Wiggleton with a “dollar and a half” Revelation glove my older brother had purchased at the Western Auto.   

I remember the year Dad lost two eighteen wheelers. One of them caught fire over some faulty wiring as he was driving a load to Tupelo, Mississippi; and one of his drivers wrecked the other one. We didn’t fly that Christmas to Hawaii. We huddled around the tree as he passed out some nuts and oranges to my brothers and me for our presents. This is not a sob story. As I look back, that might have been the best Christmas my family ever spent together. We enjoyed, respected and loved each other because each other was about all we had! But the point here, of course, is that there was no bail out for us. We couldn’t “post pone” our money problems to a later date. We didn’t get to take a vote. We weren’t play pretending or posturing for some kind of political advantage. We were flat broke! And no one, no institution, no World Bank or no unending stream of tax dollars were rushing to our rescue.

Don’t play games with me about fiscal cliffs. I have hung over the edge!

I stood in front of Mr. Cannon’s Rexall Drugstore up on the square and stared endlessly at the Timex watch he had in his window. That thing was shock proof, anti-magnetic, glowed in the dark and best of all, it had a red sweep second hand. A life long love affair with time pieces of all kinds began for me as I leaned against that glass. It cost nine dollars. Might has well been nine thousand! There wasn’t a cliff here. It was a stone wall that reached from Mr. Cannon’s concrete sidewalk to the sky!

Billie Jean liked me a little back in high school. I kinda liked her back but she was big on brand name sweaters, eating out and, boy howdy, how she loved going to the movies! I was working summers at the swimming pool and cutting firewood for a little extra money……but Billie Jean’s taste seemed to outstrip my pay check. I liked long walks on a bright sunny afternoon or a bicycle ride out to the Tri-County Stockyards. She didn’t give a hoot about sitting on the porch and watching for out of state cars to pass by. I was sixteen years old. And I was forced to think about a budget. It was idiotic to expect that I could spend more than I had! It fell my lot to determine when I had the money for a movie and when we had to ride out to the stockyards. Somehow I managed to live life, enjoy Billie Jean’s company, buy a Timex and make enough sensible decisions that I didn’t go over any fiscal cliffs…..

Folks, most all of you have done the exact same thing! Daddy would say we were “living within our means”. If we figured it out years ago, why does it seem to be such a mystery to our national government? 

It might get back to a Senator that is worth $200 million not being in touch with the rest of us. A Congressman raised on caviar and Rolexes might not have a clue about a bicycle ride versus a fifty cent movie. Of course, when you take Billie Jean along, it became a dollar movie. And sometimes that extra fifty cents made the difference!

I don’t think they count half dollars like we used to.

And they can talk “fiscal cliff” until the cows come home, it doesn’t ring authentic to me when so many of the ones voting for us have such a large personal safety net to fall back on. We need to send people to Washington who have actually SEEN a fiscal cliff!

Or, maybe, it would be a refreshing wake up call if we plunged over one time. I wonder how we would react as a nation if both of our trucks got destroyed in the same year……