Tonawanda News

Columns

December 7, 2012

The more I learn the less I know

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — As an American citizen who admires both Mr. Obama and Mr. Letterman, I wonder if this a quid pro quo of sorts, a thank-you note for Letterman’s recent work in making Obama look good and Mr. Romney look like Thurston Howell III, and I wonder if this is how UFO enthusiasts get started.

Back to the story: the “fiscal cliff” tales are a little like learning pro-government and rebel Syrians have moved into the neighborhood. You know something’s about to go wrong but you don’t know the magnitude of it.

Will our first paychecks of the new year (or pension checks or government transfer checks) have numbers completely warped from what we’ve become accustomed? Does the price of everything suddenly go up? Are half our soldiers out of work? Can I assume the price of gas will rise? Everything makes the price of gas rise. Is this a good time, or a bad time, for a terrorist attack?

In short, does anyone know what he or she is talking about when this is the topic?

And by extension, does anyone with his/her mouth open know anything?

This, I find bothersome. The more I hear, the less I understand.

One of this country’s great social philosophers, George Carlin, pointed out every statement is a guess. What the best doctor will tell you, the best plumber, the foremost political pundit or stock market analyst; it comes down to simply taking a stab at something. This is what this little taxpaying American citizen finds so maddening about the topic everyone in media, but seemingly no one in daily life, is talking about. How the “fiscal cliff” stuff will impact me, and you, remains a crapshoot.

Among the many things I learned from my study of baseball is something once said by an executive of the Toronto Blue Jays, who pointed out any decent accountant can make a $4 million profit look like a $2 million loss. Assuming it’s true, it has colored my outlook on things ever since I heard it. I suspect the first pay period of the New Year will look like business as usual, and any cracks in the system will be neatly papered over by accounting tricks. That’s why we pay these Congressmen, anyway.

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