This weel I choose not to discuss the current unpleasantness in Washington, because in Mitch McConnell's Senate, it my be over by the time his paper comes out. Instead, I want to point out three examples from Thursday's Democrat-Gazette to show you why, if you want to know what's happening in the world, you really need to read a good newspaper everyday.
I know that the idea of actually reading the news appalls some of you, but a good newspaper is the best place to get the news with no bias in it. And you don't have to ready every word of it. Just skimming through the stories for 30 minutes can leave you better informed than watching one of the three news channels all day.
The first story does touch on the current unpleasantness in Washington, but now about what is happening on the Senate floor. Instead his focus is on the gallery above, where the public is allowed in – until now. For some reason, they only allow it to be filled to about half of its capacity. In addition, people have to wait up to three hours to get in, and then are only allowed to stay for 30 minutes.
This was especially irritating to the man, whom, if the President read the story, would want him to have a permanent seat up there. The man is Randy Dyess of Florida. Dyess describes himself as an “extreme Republican.” He also says that President Trump is greater than Lincoln. If Dyess can't get in the gallery again, maybe his family can find a nice institution in the country where he could stay for a while.
On the other hand, if Dyess is aware of this next story, he might change his lofty idea of President Trump. Last week while attending a world economic summit in Europe, the President gave an interview where he indicated he might be willing to enact cuts in Social Security and Medicare. When asked if there might be cuts to the programs in the future, he said, “At some there will be.” He added, “At the right time we will take a look at it.”
Trump's staff went into immediate damage control and issued a statement saying that the President meant that he was looking into ways to cut waste and fraud out of the programs in order to cut their cost. If that is his true intention, then it might be a good idea, because both programs have plenty of waste, and are targets for fraud.
My worry when a Republican talks about budget cuts is an old one. That's because when it comes to budget cuts, Democrats use a scalpel, while Republicans use an axe. Democrats carefully cut out waste and fraud, while Republicans just chop off money that hurts the people in need.
This last story concerns our state constitutional officers and legislators who work so hard for us (stop laughing). The commission set up in 2014 to set their salaries has decided to give them a 2.5% raise. The Governor will go from $148,134.60 to $151,837.46. Legislators will go from $41,393.64 to $42,428.48.
Lt. Governor Tim Griffin tried to refuse his raise because he, like legislators, is considered part-time employees. The request was denied. If he truly meant he didn't want the money, good for him. If, on the other hand he did it knowing it would be denied, that's not so good.
The raises are particularly galling to people on Social Security, who only get a 1.6% raise this year. You could argue that retirees don't work as hard as the Governor or Legislators and that would be true. It would also be true that retirees don't do near the damage that those guys do.
That's just three examples of stories you might have missed by not reading the newspaper. There are many more.