A Stones Throw 2-28-13


I am finally confused to the point that I need help. I am looking for anyone who can help me understand politics.

If I understand correctly, Republicans in Congress continue to block budgets, debt ceilings, and anything else needed by this country unless, at best, any agreement includes a reduction in income taxes, or at worst, no increase in income taxes.

At the same time, Democrats continue to demand higher income taxes for businesses and for higher wage earners.

Thus a stalemate.

The same stalemate exists in the Indiana Legislature.

Well – not exactly.

In Indiana, Governor Mike Pence – a Republican – has called for an income tax rate reduction for all Indiana residents. With a Republican-controlled legislature and a Republican governor, we can all look forward to that income tax reduction.

Well – not exactly.

Republicans in the Indiana House blocked the tax decrease. You read it right – Republicans blocked the Indiana income tax decrease.


Perhaps because Democrats supported the tax reduction and Republicans simply cannot agree with Democrats on anything involving taxes.

Maybe this is because Republicans know, based on past experience, that when Democrats disagree with the Republican agenda they just pack up and move to a motel out of state – thus bogging down any action.

Fortunately, our Congressmen and women don’t do anything as juvenile as this. Instead, when faced with a challenge that must be solved in order to save our struggling economy, our Congressmen and women go on vacation.

As I write this we are less than a week away from “Sequestration.” If Congress cannot agree to legislation prior to March 1st, massive random spending cuts will radiate throughout the country. Hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost. The economy of the United States will slow by nearly 1/2-percent a year – enough to plunge us back into a recession.

Not a problem.

It is vacation time.

I think I worked for the wrong companies during my last 40 years. I can remember several planned vacations that were canceled by my bosses because we had “a problem that must be solved” before anyone could take vacation.

When that happened, I canceled my vacation and I, and others, dug in to solve the problem with a plan designed to keep the problem from resurfacing. Then, I went on vacation.

Not Congress.

Even the future of the American economy is not serious enough to cancel a vacation. Besides, as President Obama stated in a recent press conference, all it takes to solve the problem is for the Republicans to compromise just a little.

Of course, the functional translation to this statement is “Republicans need to do it my way – or hit the highway.”

Republicans agreed – they hit the highway.

They went on vacation.

They vowed to return early if only the Democrats would compromise – using the same definition of compromise the Democrats used – only from a Republican position.

Finally the Democrats agreed with the Republicans. They hit the highway too. They went on their scheduled vacations.

Not to worry – as long as Senior citizens and our Military men and women can be threatened with reduced income if Congress fails to pass new laws that will avoid sequestration – Congress will save the day at the final moment.

Unfortunately, that is exactly what will probably happen.

Congress will save the day – not the future.

In fact, President Obama has asked Congress – upon their return from vacation – to pass a “short term” bill that will delay sequestration long enough to give Congress time to pass a long term bill.

This is almost laughable.

If I remember correctly, last month’s “fiscal cliff” bill was a short term bill designed to give Congress time to enact a long term bill that will avoid both sequestration and any future talk of a fiscal cliff.

It worked out well – didn’t it?

Oh well, at least the people we entrusted our future to, and that of our children and grandchildren, enjoyed another week of vacation.

At our expense.


I would be remiss not to comment on the Danica Patrick revolution.

While I have always been an ardent supporter of Danica, her move from IndyCar racing to NASCAR put both her and NASCAR’s reputation at risk.

Danica was voted the most popular IndyCar driver for six years in a row. She appeared as a swimsuit model in the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. She has been the “face” (actually body) of “Go Daddy.com.”

Danica became so popular that like Cher and Madonna, there is only one Danica.

After seven years on the IndyCar circuit, Danica took her face, her body, her effusive smile, and her driving ability to NASCAR. At 5’2″ and 100 pounds, Danica readied herself to take on the “big boys” of NASCAR.

Being both a Danica fan and a fan of NASCAR, I was concerned with her move. For the past several years the popularity of NASCAR has waned. Where, in the past fans filled the stands of race after race, those same stands now often seem almost empty.

NASCAR fans are no longer drawn to live track action. At the same time, television ratings for NASCAR continue to fall.

Danica to the rescue.

Or not.

The obvious question when it was announced that Danica would be moving from IndyCar racing to NASCAR was “is this just a publicity stunt designed to get people interested in NASCAR again?”

In other words, is Danica being used? I realize it is hard to envision someone who is being paid millions of dollars a year might be “being used,” but in this case, it was a valid question.

A valid concern – especially if you are either a Danica fan or a NASCAR fan – or both.

Not to worry.

Last week Danica showed the world she is not just a token female driver. She showed the world she is not just a pretty face with a great smile. She showed the world she is not just a publicity ploy for NASCAR.

And, she showed the “big boys” of NASCAR that she is a force to be reckoned with. That she is there to stay.

Danica didn’t have to say anything. Her driving said it all: “Move over – there is another sheriff in town.

And, her name is Danica.”

– Mike Cooney