Happy New Year!

September 30, 2013 - 3:51 AM
There a many, many calendars to mark the passage of time. There are, according to Wikipedia, 48 current calendars and 22 obsolete calendars ranging from the well-known Aztec Calendar to the more obscure Xhosa calendar (unique to certain areas of Nigeria).

These 70 calendars do not include the Star Date Calendar, utilized by the United Federation of Planets; nor the U.S. Fiscal Year Calendar, utilized by a total of 536 people: The voting members of the U.S. House and Senate and the President of the United States.

Tomorrow, October 1, 2013 is the first day of the new U.S. fiscal year; thus tonight is Fiscal New Year's Eve.

Whoo. Hoo.

Can't wait to see the "Members Gone Wild" segment on TMZ television tomorrow.

You may have read, seen, or heard that the Congress and the President have lurched to the end of the fiscal year without having passed, much less signed, a single appropriations bill.

Not one.

This, in spite of the fact that, according to the Library of Congress, the House has been in session for 115 days so far this calendar year; the Senate 98 days.

That is out of a possible 272 calendar days, 39 weeks - 78 weekend days.

I know that includes Saturdays, Sundays, and major holidays like Hug Day (February 13) which quite logically leads to (this is true) Children's Day nine months later (November 14 in India) but there are some people who actually work on those days. As well as Mondays and Fridays which are often travel days for Members of Congress and golf days for President Obama.

According to an article in the Washington Post this past summers, Members of Congress spend "4 - 5 hours per week raising money." Doesn't sound like a lot, but if all of your employees spend more than 10% of their 40-hour work week on self enrichment you might get a bit cranky.

Four hours per week times the aforementioned 39 weeks = 156 hours, or an entire month that they should have been doing things like passing appropriations bills - or coming up with alternatives to ObamaCare - that they weren't.

They were raising their money to stay in office so they could continue to not make decisions on how to spend our money.

Why?

Because nothing -- nothing -- is as important to an incumbent Member of the U.S. House or Senate (who is not planning to retire) as continuing to be an incumbent Member of the U.S. House or Senate.

So, the most important calculation to a Member of Congress (who has to run for re-election every two years) or to a Senator who is "in cycle" (up for election in 2014) is: How will these Shut-Down, ObamaCare, Syria, debt limit, Food Stamp, Student Loan, Medicare, Medicaid, and similar votes be greeted by the "Folks Back Home."

The simple answer is: How they will be greeted by the "Folks Back Home" depends upon whether they put money into, or take money out of, the pockets of the "Folks Back Home" or the parents or children of the "Folks Back Home."

Will ObamaCare let my kid, who happens to be 24 years old with a bachelor's degree in marketing and is currently living (with his/her significant other) in my basement, stay on my health insurance so I don't have to worry about having to turn my 401(k) over to the hospital if, God forbid, he or she is involved in a serious car wreck?

I'm for ObamaCare.

On the other end of the generational telescope, will senior services (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and similar) allow my mom and/or dad live somewhere other than my basement as their needs become more insistent?

I'm for those.

Am I a student who didn't know that you couldn't discharge student loans through bankruptcy and thus have this "Scarlet SL" branded on my forehead for the whole of my working life?

Cut the interest rate on student loans. Let someone else pay for it.

We could go on and on, but remember how we used to scoff at Sweden's social program that included taking care of its people "from the cradle to the grave?"

Compared to what Americans expect of their government in 2013, Sweden looks like a Charles Dickens' novel based on England in the 1830s.

I don't have a good answer for what will happen as the invisible ball drops from the U.S. Capitol Dome marking the beginning of the New Fiscal Year.

I do know that we blame our elected officials for this but, as Cassius said to Brutus in Julius Caesar (Act I, scene 2): The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves..."

Happy New Year.

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: The Wikipedia list of calendars and the Library of Congress' list of workdays. Also a really nice Mullfoto from a trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan a week ago.