Topic: "Balancing the Budget"
Experiencing two Sundays in a row, which is how it seems due to the fact that the New Year's Holiday is celebrated this year on a Monday, Frodo has had an opportunity to run a few numbers. Mick, the Wonder Dog, and Princess Fiona are asleep at his feet since the Shire is also undergoing an all-day rainfall. Although they are not impressed by Frodo's calculations, they remain watchful.
George W. Bush receives an annual salary of $400,000 as President of the United States. With five years in position this means that the taxpayers of the United States have paid him $2,000,000 for his service so far. During this period of time he has failed to capture Osama bin Laden, he has alienated nearly the entire Muslim World, he has transformed a budget surplus into the most grotesque and endless deficit in the history of mankind, and he nominated Michael Brown to be Director of FEMA. This is obviously not an all-inclusive list of "accomplishments."
Frodo believes that numbers do not lie. Frodo opposes everything until he has an opportunity to see what the numbers say. Frodo thinks the "flat tax" is unacceptable for example, and that will be his opinion until somebody presents some figures to show that the collection of revenue can be done for less cost than the present methodology. In any event, Frodo presents the following, dear reader, for your consideration in properly assessing the Bush Administration.
Since George W. Bush, per Mrs. Bush, is always in bed by 9PM, Frodo can safely assume that Bush sleeps approximately 8 hours every night. This represents one-third of his total presidency, so far. In addition, per news reports, the total amount of vacation time that Bush has spent at either Camp David, the Bush family compound in Maine, or at the Crawford ranch now totals 365 days, or one-fifth of his entire time in office. Further, per his own statements, Frodo knows that Bush "works out" two hours every day, often on a mountain bike. This represents one-twelfth of his available workday. Finally, Frodo feels that at least one hour of every day is lost to everyone for personal hygiene and miscellaneous activities, this obviously is another one-twentyfourth of time available.
Converting the fractions to percentages is not too complicated, even for a Hobbit. "Let's see, one-third equals 33%, one-fifth is 20%, one-twelfth is about 8%, and one-twentyfourth is about 4%," said Frodo. "That means that President Bush is unaccounted for, hence available, for official business, about one-third of the time," he added. "What this means is that in five years as President of the United States, George W. Bush has shown up for work for almost one year and seven months," grinned the mathematical wizard.
Frodo is examining the greetings he has just received from the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. Frodo is also comparing the amounts paid for gasoline in the year before George W. Bush became President, and what he has paid in the year just past. Frodo recognizes that Bush doesn't whip out his VISA card and run it through the pump when he fills up one of his SUV's. Frodo also notes that Bush has a slightly different health plan from most Americans, so he may not be totally aware of that cost as it effects his subjects either.
As Frodo said earlier, numbers don't lie. Frodo remembers the words of David Stockman (Director of OMB under Reagan), "Nobody here understands these numbers." Maybe if we paid the President by the hour, he might have a little more appreciation for what Karl Rove isn't telling him.