Friday, January 11, 2013

2013 RESOLUTIONS 4,591


Art for this article courtesy of "Google Images".  Titling and 
captions by F. Blaze Noodleman.  Special thanks to the 
"Washington Post", the "Weekly Standard" and all the great
cartoonists who have their work posted on "Google". 

A new year gives us plenty of time and opportunities to accomplish
new goals and objectives!

 by Felicity Blaze Noodleman

Now that we’ve completed our first full week of the New Year it might be a good time to consider to some realistic “New Year’s Resolutions” for 2013.  My spur of the moment New Years Eve proclamation was not to say “Happy New Years”,  but simply say “2013”.  I don’t think this year will be a really great one for several reasons not to mention the superstitious stigma that goes along with the number thirteen!

We’ve put off writing this article until the first week of the New Year was complete in order to have a better perspective concerning the “Fiscal Cliff” situation playing out in Washington as it is unfolding.  Truthfully I can’t remember a more ominous threat confronting our nation than today’s national debt.   This dilemma just puts such a damper on all the festivities of the season making celebration difficult.  It comes as no surprise that Washington has resolved the matter in their typical fashion.  After all, the tax and spend mentality on Capitol Hill has been going on now for more than two generations and it’s not likely to change overnight.

We may need to have a copy!

The article I wanted to write about resolutions has been joined at the hip by the news of the Federal Debt and some how they seem to be curiously intertwined!. Below are two articles documenting Washington's actions concerning their handling of the so called "Fiscal Cliff" and Washington pay raises ordered by President Obama over the holidays.  One article from "The Washington Post" and the other from the "Weekly Standard".  This news makes me feel like I've had  "Triple Bypass" surgery.

Bad habits can become monstrous if uncontrolled.

A ‘fiscal cliff’ nightmare that’s far from over

By Ruth Marcus, Published: January 8 

The Washington Post 

Last week, I described the “fiscal cliff” deal as a pathetic punt. In light of later developments, I am worried that characterization was overly optimistic. The punt part stands: The expiration of the Bush tax cuts, and Republican desire to continue them in perpetuity, represented a point of maximum leverage to obtain a grand-enough bargain

Ruth Marcus
An editorial writer specializing in politics, the budget and other domestic issues, she also writes a weekly column and contributes to the PostPartisan blog.

That moment was squandered, perhaps irretrievably. “We should never, ever, ever try another grand bargain, at least until the president is willing to lay all his cards on the table,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told me. Corker’s comments are all the more depressing because he is a political realist who laid out his version of a grand bargain during the cliff talks — a bargain, by the way, that would have yielded way more in new tax revenue than what President Obama received in the deal. But the elusiveness of the bargain is not the reason for my growing pessimism. My glumness stems from the imminence of three new cliffs — most importantly, the government’s bumping up against the debt ceiling — combined with Republicans’ stated refusal to accept any new taxes beyond what was just agreed to.
No new taxes was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s message as he made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows. “The tax issue is finished, over, completed,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “That’s behind us.”
Perhaps this is just a bargaining position, but McConnell (R-Ky.) is too canny to be so dogmatic if he envisions ultimately having to back down. And other Republicans more open to raising revenue than McConnell have been similarly insistent. Of Obama’s ability to win new tax revenue, Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) told me, “He just lost that opportunity — that’s gone.”
Which sets up the following conundrum:

(1) The president says he will not negotiate on the debt ceiling.
(2) The president says he will not accept a spending-only deal. “If Republicans think that I will finish the job of deficit reduction through spending cuts alone . . . then they’ve got another thing coming. That’s not how it’s going to work,” Obama said even before the House voted on the cliff deal.
(3) Republicans say they will not accept new revenue.
(4) Republicans say they will increase the debt ceiling only in exchange for equivalent spending cuts.
The first two positions cannot be squared with the second two. Someone’s going to have to blink.
The White House is betting that it will be Republicans. Administration officials point to warnings from former House speaker Newt Gingrich about using the debt ceiling as a negotiating tactic. They note that McConnell shied away from repeating debt-ceiling threats, and that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, described the debt ceiling as “not the ultimate leverage.”

As the administration sees it, Republicans, having been forced to yield on tax rates and revenue, will capitulate again on governing-by-extortion over the debt ceiling. Republicans, in this assessment, are unprepared to shoot the hostage, and their business allies will not permit it. The other points of leverage — a government shutdown as spending authority expires, or allowing the spending sequester to take effect after the two-month delay — will also prove too painful and dangerous for Republicans to exploit, this argument goes. Meanwhile, confronted with the shiny bauble of tax reform and lower rates, Republicans will prove more willing to accept additional revenue.
Maybe, but this assumes a lot more rationality on the part of Republicans, particularly House Republicans, than the record supports. “When you have a party so deeply divided, with so much anger directed at one another, with constituency groups that are so hard-line, it is very difficult to see how Boehner can lead them to a place where they can get a deal done” with the president and congressional Democrats, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told me. “The angst is justified.”
And it fails to factor in Republican skepticism that Obama will stick to his I’m-not-negotiating guns. The president peered over the edge of the fiscal cliff and retreated with far less than the bargain he sought. How much credibility does he have with blustering over the far more dangerous situation of the national credit rating?
“I’ve seen this guy in action and he’s not going to let it happen,” one senior congressional aide told me. “He will blink.” Here’s the scary part: This scornful assessment comes from a Democrat.

The Washington Post 


Obama Orders Pay Raise for Biden,

Members of Congress, Federal Workers

The Weekly Standard
12:50 PM, Dec 28, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama issued an executive order to end the pay freeze on federal employees, in effect giving some federal workers a raise. One federal worker now to receive a pay increase is Vice President Joe Biden.
According to disclosure forms, Biden made a cool $225,521 last year. After the pay increase, he'll now make $231,900 per year.

Members of Congress, from the House and Senate, also will receive a little bump, as their annual salary will go from $174,000 to 174,900. Leadership in Congress, including the speaker of the House, will likewise get an increase.
Here's the list of new wages, as attached to President Obama's executive order:

"A new executive order has been issued providing for a new pay schedule beginning 'on the first day of the first applicable pay period beginning after March 27, 2013,'" reports "The pay raise will generally be about 1/2 of 1%."

Jeryl Bier points to an example of the pay increase for average government executives:

"Not much of an increase, but an increase all the same," Bier notes.

And the timing isn't great either: Just as President Obama and Congress try to avert going over the "fiscal cliff," he doles out pay increases to federal workers.

UPDATE: According to a senior Republican congressional aide who has reviewed the executive order and consulted with the Congressional Budget Office, Obama's pay raise will cost $11 billion. "The CBO told us that the President’s pay raise for federal workers will cost $11 billion over ten years," says the aide.

The aide explains, "On the cost-estimate, CBO says the (discretionary) cost of the .5% pay-hike the President is calling for in the Exec Order – relative to a freeze – is about $500m in FY 2013 and $11 billion over the ten years from FY 13 - FY 22.  The reason why the FY ’13 savings is only $500 million is because the pay hike as proposed by the President’s Exec Order would not go into effect until April 1st, 2013 - when the current CR expires. So it only covers half the fiscal year. The annualized cost of the pay hike is about $1 billion/year."

The Weekly Standard

The President signing a bill putting as end to pay freezes.

The "Party" and too much excess can lead to grave consequences!

Since Washington had a really great Christmas, now we have a better view of the direction 2013 might be headed in (wish I could raise my credit limit and give myself a raise).  Without consulting Dr. Phil McGraw here are some ideas and suggestions for 2013 resolutions.   We also have some cartoons to illustrate making the whole idea of resolutions and commitments more realistic for the times we are living in!  I should also say that the list of most common resolutions is also the same as the list for the most commonly broken resolutions so beware and stay away from the really hard goals for 2013.  Make adjustments in your life style which you would be able to accomplish.  (Please forgive us if some of the cartoons have a political slant but they were just to good to pass up!)

Making a resolution is actually planning for the future and should be something we can build the remainder of our lives on.  The practice of making resolutions at the beginning of a New Year is probably older than the first written calendars themselves and can be traced back to the ancient Babylonians and Romans who would make a promise to their Gods at the beginning of their New Year.  In Judaism the atonement of sins is made during the first 10 days of the New Year beginning on Rosh Hashanah, which marks the first day on the Hebrew calendar and the ritual concludes on Yom Kippur marking a new beginning.  During the middle ages Knights took the “Peacock Vow” at the end of the Christmas season renewing their commitment to Chivalry.   

There have been many Calendars used by different cultures down through the ages culminating with the calendar of today which is commonly known as the “Georgian Calendar” and is the “de facto” calendar used throughout world.  Each marks its first day of the New Year accordingly and is known by different names such as “Islamic New Years”, "Jewish New Years" or “Chinese New Years” for example.   On January 1st. it is a common practice to make resolutions to mark a commitment for the New Year.  Some of the most common resolutions are listed below:


  • Lose Weight
  • Exercise More
  • Save More – Spend Less
  • Get Organized
  • Enjoy Life To The Fullest
  • Learn Something New And Exciting
  • Quit Smoking
  • Volunteer
  • Fall In Love
  • Spend More Time With The Family
  • Eat Healthier
  • Drink Less
  • Travel
  • Be Less Stressed

The most common resolutions have to do with weight loss,
exercise and diet - probably to do with over indulgence over the
holidays.  Incidentally; there have been more books written on
these subjects than any other of self help topics.

Is controlling stress a goal for you?  Take a look around you to see the areas
which need management.

Quiting smoking always ranks high on the list of resolutions.

Quiting drinking is always easier after the holidays!

It's always a good idea to take all things in moderation.  
A regiment of self help books might be in order.

Reducing stress may require some other adjustments to your life style.

Some cases may require more professional help!

Some other resolutions which might be more easily kept are as follows:

The list process can take some work if you are undecided.

  • Showing Up At Work On Time
  • Driving The Speed Limit
  • Getting More Sleep
  • Get A Make Over
  • Drink Less Coffee
  • Budgeting Income
  • Making a Schedule 
  • Continue Education
  • Read More
  • Clean Storage & Closets / Donate to Charity
  • Eliminate Texting and Talking on Cell Phone While Driving

Driving the speed limit may require some other adjustments!

No matter what your choices and decisions are we hope you will be a successful and happier person in 2013!  If you're to undecided don't worry there's always 2014.  If keeping those resolutions don't work out at first - keep trying.  Nothing gained if nothing is ventured!   I'm Felicity and you've been with the Noodleman Group.

Out with the old . . . In with the new.

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