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Monday, March 29, 2010

We shall see

What feels like many moons ago, I was standing on S. Washington Street while taking pictures of a few over sized footers that were being poured for the then-promised movie theater in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

And a couple of fingers gouged my left shoulder in borderline hostile fashion, while a familiar voice coming from behind me said, "What do you think, tough guy?” That voice was being emitted from the oft-flapping lips of our former mayor. So, in direct reference to the supposed construction of the theater complex, I asked, “How are we going to pay for this? We don’t have the money to pay for this.”

He shot back with, “It’s being built, isn’t it?” I repeated the former of my first two promptings of him. And he then repeated those same exact words, “It’s being built, isn’t it?”

As I holstered my camera and right before I turned my back on him for the final time, I muttered, “We shall see.”

And in no time at all, we did see what was what. Or what wasn't to be.

As we all know, that theater project never progressed past the pouring of those huge footers. Footers that ended up costing the taxpayers of this city $5.3 million dollars that went unpaid until the next administration of the city retired those overdue debts.

That mayor was big on ideas, but he was woefully short on the execution end of things. But more importantly for Wilkes-Barre and it’s then fast-fading fortunes, he was financially irresponsible. That’s being too kind…he was financially reckless, as evidenced by the record number of Tax Anticipation Notes he needed just to stay afloat during his regrettable eight-year term.

But he was doggedly consistent in one respect, in that he was demonstratively disdainful of anyone who dared to challenge his self-acclaimed utter and profound brilliance.

Enter Markie.

All of which sparks this internal feeling of being eerily familiar when compared to the self-absorbed and equally self-indulgent Obama administration, whereas this coming health care boondoggle is concerned.

I would ask the same of him, how are we going to pay for it?

Well, the Congressional Budget Office said this and the Congressional Budget Office said that and on and on he’d likely wax smugly poetic with that trademark self-assuredness of his.

But I’d still have to press on, because those CBO guesstimates are based on a flourishing economy, and with the unemployment numbers being halved over the first five years of the ten years of the health care reform period. In essence, they were the best-case scenario numbers. So the best guess they’ve got is that, if all that currently ails us is fixed in very, very short order, it’ll cost us a trillion dollars during the first decade?


So, with the massive escalation in debt during his first two years coupled with the even faster escalating debts over the course of his legacy-building program, the debt service of the United States will approach that of a pre-Falklands War Argentina.

And for those of you not real familiar with that egregious miscalculation, Argentina had so crippled it’s own economy in such a similar fashion, it felt it needed a nationalistic war of appropriation so as to distract the populace from the all-encompassing futility of their own predicament.

And despite Obama’s obvious disdain for those that elected him but who cannot figure out why at this maddening juncture, I would still have to ask: How are we going to pay for this?

And the only honest answer would be that we’re not going to be able to afford this. Not without a rationing of health care at some level of the system. Not without higher taxes. Not without a hasty and destabilizing exit from Iraq, and possibly Afghanistan, too. And not without a serious scaling back of federal spending.

In the end, we’ll be forced to pay far more for far less, and we’ll have no one to thank for it save for the financially reckless false prophet-in-chief who is noticeably disdainful of those who are seriously taken aback by his foolhardy financial brinkmanship.

I say again, we shall see.

Exit Markie.


Pic: My grandson Zach putting on his Piranha Face. Don't ask.

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