Notes from around the Human Experience…
THE ART OF THE DEAL: Twice in the past couple of weeks we’ve seen examples of President Trump working deals with the Democrats. Earlier this month they came to terms on a deal to extend the debt ceiling and on a relief package for Hurricane Harvey victims. This week Trump announced he and the Democrats were working on a plan involving the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
WTF???: In both cases, GOP Congressional leaders were left to scratch their collective heads and wonder what in the hell was/is going on.
Dry, Technical Matter: The debt ceiling came about in 1917 when Congress grew weary of its Constitutional duty of approving each instance of the Treasury Department borrowing money. The debt ceiling meant the Treasury Department could issue bonds without Congressional approval, as long as they didn’t go past the debt limit.
Most nations don’t have a debt ceiling because they live under some semblance of fiscal sanity and don’t need one. In fact, Denmark is the only other nation with a debt ceiling and theirs is so high it is not particularly relevant.
FunFact: Our current debt ceiling is $19.8 trillion. Our current national debt passed $20 trillion on September 7. Except for a couple of days during the Andrew Jackson Administration, this nation has always been in debt and a day-by-day analysis of our country’s debt figures shows there are days where our debt has actually gone down $50 million or so.
Further research into this matter gave us a headache.
Back On Message: We are pleased to see any sort of bipartisan cooperation. Though it should be standard procedure, actual bipartisan cooperation on something that is in this country’s long-term interest is a rarity on par with a total solar eclipse: it doesn’t happen too often. Whether or not these deals have any merit or not is beside the point. We actually have a Republican president making deals with Democratic Congressional leadership.
That this is happening is not altogether surprising, either, because Trump has been notably frustrated by his own party’s inability to get anything done despite having a majority in both houses of Congress That this was due as much to a complete lack of leadership from the White House as anything else doesn’t bother Trump at all, though it has meant the GOP has been unable to govern.
Forgive Our Cynicism: Of course, Trump and the Democrats aren’t doing deals out of benevolence or because they care about you and me, we the people. They don’t. If they did we would have a nation at peace with an economy anchored in low taxes and free markets. And make no mistake about it, there’s something in these deals for each of them, but that’s the way the world is built. But after decades of fractured and bickering government, even this small step is nice to see. We’ll take it.
ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE!: The Cornell Daily Sun is published for the first time on this date in 1880. It remains the oldest collegiate newspaper in the country, publishing every day while school is in session.
Great Moments In General Motors: General Motors is founded on this date in 1908 by William Durant in Flint Michigan. The next day Durant, who had owned some Ford dealerships and had been making horse-drawn carriages since 1886, purchased Buick and would later add Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Cadillac, among others. Durant was forced out in 1910 by his stockholders after a deal to buy Ford fell through and he would form Chevrolet in 1911.
Get Out Your Record Books: Jim Bottomley of the St Louis Cardinals establishes a new major league record with 12 runs batted in in a game on this date in 1924. Bottomley went 6-for-6 with two home runs and a double in a 17-3 win over Brooklyn, whose team was then known as the Robins. Bottomley broke the record of 11, established by Brooklyn’s manager that day, Wilbert Robinson in 1892.
The Post Game Show Is Brought To You By Old Style Beer: With the loss, the Robins drop to a game-and-a-half behind the eventual pennant winners, the New York Giants, who split a doubleheader with Cincinnati. The Cardinals had been out of the race for several weeks.
Oh Yeah: Bottomley’s record still stands, though it would be tied by Mark Whitten, also of the Cardinals, in 1993.
It’s Good To Be The King, At Least Till You’re Deposed: A coup to depose Argentine president Juan Peron is launched on this date in 1955. It would be successful three days later and Peron barely made it out alive, escaping on a gunboat provided by neighboring Paraguay. Peron would spend 18 years in exile in various places in South America and Europe before returning to the Argentine presidency in 1973.
That Will Teach Him To Snitch For The CIA: Former dictator of Panama Manuel Noriega is sentenced to 40 years in US prison on this date in 1992. This follows his conviction on drug trafficking and money laundering charges, despite the fact he had been a useful CIA informant for decades. Noriega would later be extradited to France and then to Panama, where he died this past May.
Quotebook: Basic human nature never changed; the collective human text demonstrated that incontrovertibly. – Fred Kaplan, Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Oliver Wendell Holmes, then an officer with the 20th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, wrote a fifth verse to The Star Spangled Banner. While popular during the war in the North, few remember it today.
Today’s Stumper: When was General Motors removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average? – Answer next time!