Cliff Notes

Posted From Hobart,Tasmania


Cliff Notes. The savior of every self respecting underachieving student. You didn’t have to read the book but you had all the important features including a few well placed quotes to prove you had been hard at work. Who knew?


Is it just me or do the Village Idiots in Washington really seem to be playing out some sort of theater? Tragedy or comedy? Name your poison. Like Les Miserables it seems to go on forever. We all have known for the last 18 months the day was coming. Yet they all fiddled while the country was burning. Pick whomever you want to play Nero.


What am I thinking? I am enroute from Melbourne to Hobart, Tasmania. I should just sit back and join 99% of people on this cruise. Sip champagne on this New Year’s Eve. Finally, I am one of the 1% of something. It doesn’t feel that great.


A newfound cigar buddy and I were dwelling on the cosmic. I spoke of how we could make a real dent in this mess with a few simple steps. He was in the Army for twenty years and now works as a contractor to the government. He did not disagree. 


Let’s go to the spending side of the ledger. On a roll I want to start with Medicare. We could lop off billions with one stroke of the pen by repealing the one section of the Prescription Drug Bill that says we can’t bid out the drugs. The VA pays 1/2 of what Medicare does. Sorry former congressman Billy Tauzin and Mr Merk, Lily and the Johnson twins. You lose. We win.


Then let’s take fraud. There is approximately $80 billion of illegal billing by scam artists, docs and hospitals alike. We can’t hire more investigators because Congress does not want to be accused of spending money. This even though it can be proven that money spent on curbing fraud can return 12-20% return on investment. As in ROI all you corporate types. Rocket science at its best.


So let’s outsource. Put out a bounty on the crooks. Let’s say The Fraudbusters  get 20% of whatever we find. Let’s not get greedy. Twenty per cent of $10 billion is $2 billion and our operating costs should be around $100 million. Now we are talking some serious scratch TTG. 


Don’t stop there. Let’s take on my beloved Navy. Forty years ago as First Lieutenant on the Good Ship Lollipop, the supply officer showed up on deck. He said we needed new mooring lines and the ship’s boats refurbished. Okay, what’s up pork chop? It seems we had to spend $1 million by November 1 or we would lose the money for next year.


Now a mill was big dough forty odd years ago. I went back to my stateroom and tried to figure out what the multiplier was as one ship in the Atlantic Fleet, of a bigger US Navy, that was part of the Department of Defense, which in turn was a part of the US Government. 


Sorry kids my poor feeble brain fell short. But what I lacked in horsepower I hope I made up for in common sense.This budgetary nonsense  goes on each and every day of every year.Year in. Year out. 


 Just think of all the land owned by the Government. Incredible amounts of raw dirt and office buildings. If we sold off even a portion we could get a pretty penny and put a lot of land back on local tax rolls. Sorry big guy, what was I thinking? That’s way too easy


Now let’s talk about farm subsidies. We pay farmers not to grow things. We have quotas and taxes to protect sugar growers. Dairymen. Wheat farmers. We have pushed this little boondoggle called ethanol and presto changeo the price of corn has gone through the roof. 


The worst part is that there have been huge consolidations of every sort in the farming industry. So what we are really talking about is corporate welfare at its worst. But wait there is more. In the last twenty years the number of independent farms has fallen drastically but the Department of Agriculture has almost tripled in size. 


I don’t have an MBA. I was a poli sci major at Georgetown. But what I am talking about could clean up our act in a few easy steps. We are talking about saving money where it is being wasted. We are not even eliminating anything. That comes later. We are just talking about a different way of doing business. Not bookkeeping gimmicks. Real live savings. 


All right you conservative hacks don’t think you are escaping. Yes we do need higher taxes. The farce of cap gains on hedge fund managers has got to stop.  Tell your big mouthed champion, Liberal Chuck Schumer to knock off the BS. He bobs and weaves like Ali when asked the question. 


In addition all the argument about higher taxes on the wealthy could be solved by eliminating or putting caps on deductions. But all the higher receipts have to go towards  reducing the debt not creating some new agency.


What is beyond bizarre to me is this negotiating behind closed doors.What in God’s name could they be talking about? I suggest we put every meeting on CSPAN. That’ll fix em.


Look, I should be chilling by the pool but this is much more important to me. If anything I say surprises you then you are either not listening to what is going in the world or you don’t care. Either way that is shameful. Let’s take one thing like the repeal of parts of the prescription bill or the formation of the Fraud Squad and run with it. Let’s be our own pressure group. 


Okay. I have given you the Cliff Notes. You don’t even have to read the book. Just show up for class and make noise. Ask questions. Don’t take stock answers. It will be an easy A.


Happy New Year from your happy wanderer.


As always

Ted The Great.



Sorry.Can’t get things factual. My access to the internet is almost nil. If any of you are having difficulty receiving parts of Ted’s Head, my apologies. Lastly, thank you as always for your many comments. I will get back to you whenever I can.

5 thoughts on “Cliff Notes

  1. Ted,
    Happy New Year to you and Kathy. Great to read about “logic & simplicity” in your well done remarks. Thinking some of these things would work is realistic, how we actually gets some positive direction is the issue. Enjoy your trip and return safely. Dave & Rae

  2. You need to run for office! Why can’t our elected official see how clear all of this is?
    Missed you guys this weekend – Hilary loved your effforts to reach out from far corners of the world!

    Love you Man! Jim

  3. Good article. Hope you’re having fun.


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  4. As that referred to cigar smoking bud I can without hesitation say that you two are missed all over the boat. Sorry we were not present to commemorate your departure. I have signed up as an email follower and await the next post. Travel light…N

  5. I just read thru August and can’t remember the first part. I need to take a break! A lot to digest. Sounds like you and Kathy have been on some wonderful trips
    I’m in AZ until April. My friend Bob is having a knee replacement Monday. He needs it.
    Kids are good Kyle and Crystal are expecting a baby in June, I’m exercising like mad to stay in some kind of shape. Enough!
    Give Kathy my love will talk to her soon
    Thanks Ted for sharing this with me. Judy

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