President Reagan used to say, "There you go again," so here we go again. Our Republican-dominated Congress is reforming our tax code much like Congress did back in Reagan's day. Those of us who actually remember Reagan know that Reagan was a really wobblyheaded, senile old actor who often replied, "Well ... (wobble, wobble) ... er ... uh ... " and sometimes confused reality with movie fiction. Under Reagan's lack of leadership, congressional spending got so out of control Reagan became the first U.S. president to budget for over a trillion dollars. To make matters worse, Reagan's Republicans reformed the federal tax code to benefit rich folks. The first cuts were made in 1981. The second cuts were in the 1986 Tax Reform Act. These tax laws resulted in the worst stock market crash in history, remembered as Black Monday. Republicans like to blame Iranian Silkworm missiles, but the TRA was passed Oct. 22, 1986, and the crash happened all around the globe only a year later Oct. 19, 1987. When the dust settled, Reagan had destroyed the American economy, and his successor, George H.W. Bush, suffered the consequences in defeat at the hands of Bill Clinton, the only president to balance the federal budget four years in a row. Clinton's successor, George W. Bush, cut taxes twice and caused the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.
So, here we go again making the same Republican mistakes. We just love to suffer.
Lyndon Johnson drank a quart of bourbon every day. Everett Dirksen sipped champagne all day long. Nixon mixed booze and pills. FDR, Tip O'Neill, Teddy Kennedy, Wilbur Mills: They were all alcoholics, but they got things done. Social Security, civil rights legislation, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act — they somehow managed to move the ball down the field despite the fact that they were drunk while doing it. Trump doesn't drink, and I'm beginning to think that might be the problem. Perhaps we need to feed him a bottle of Wild Turkey and a six-pack of PBR every day. We just can't continue to have him staggering around the White House sober. The country might not be able to survive much more of that.
Hold the salt
Fine review of the redone Clinton [Presidential Center] restaurant. But I urge you not to encourage the chef to add more salt. Most chefs over-salt. We can add more but we cannot remove it.
Howard J. Barnhard
From the web
In response to a Dec. 5 Arkansas Blog post on the approval of a new security plan for the Ten Commandments monument that was shattered the day it was originally installed by a man driving a Dodge Dart. The new plan will have the monument in the center with bollards — thick posts — flanking it on each side:
With a little bit of sanding, that could look a whole lot more like a penis.
In response to a Dec. 4 Arkansas Blog post discussing an interview with the CEO of Dollar General, Todd Vasos. The chain targets people who make less than $40,000; Vasos said "the economy is continuing to create more of our core customer.":
I was in a Dollar Store this morning. I needed antibacterial hand wash and I had three options. I could drive 5-10 minutes to the local Dollar Store and spend $2 for the name brand I use. I could drive 30 minutes to the nearest Walmart and pay $3, or I could go to the local grocery store or drug store and pay around $4.
The same scenario applies to other name-brand laundry supplies, paper towels and household products.
There is a Family Dollar and a Dollar General in our rural town of 2,500. Both are always busy. There are two Dollar Stores within 10 miles and another one 19 miles away. If you take the Pottsville exit off of Interstate 40, the only lights you will see for several miles will be from the isolated Dollar Store located there.
I'm in our local store often. I know the manager and most of the employees well enough to ask about their families and their lives. It's an older building but always very clean and the shelves are well stocked.
I realized that certain people attached a stigma to shopping at the Dollar Store when I ran into a wealthy lady in our local store and she immediately went into defense mode and offered a lengthy explanation as to why an emergency necessitated her being in "that store." The store manager overheard and winked at me behind the lady's back when I said, "Hey, I'm in here all the time."
These stores fill a need in rural areas, not only for bargains on name-brand items but even more so on generic brands. As mentioned previously, not everyone has transportation to travel to the nearest Walmart, 30 minutes to an hour from most places in this county. The Dollar General CEO is right on target with his assessment of the situation. It's a sign of the times we are in.
In response to a Dec. 4 Arkansas Blog post on the hiring of Hunter Yurachek away from the University of Houston to be the new athletic director for the University of Arkansas:
Took me three years to learn how to pronounce Bielema. Now it's Yurachek.