'Cliff' jumping is newest national pastime
How was your fall from the “fiscal cliff?”
Have you been bruised because Congress didn't extend the 2 percent, two-year tax break in Social Security contributions, thereby reducing your “take-home pay” by $2 for every $100 in gross wages?
Have you received your 1.7 percent cost-of-living “raise” in monthly Social Security benefits only to see the government that giveth also taketh by deducting an extra $5 for Medicare Part B premiums?
Fine print in the legislation supposed to start bailing us out of economic ruin included $430 million to Hollywood to encourage TV and film production in the U.S., $331 million to help small railroads maintain tracks, $222 million in tax reimbursements for rum from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, $70 million in tax breaks to NASCAR for race tracks, $59 million for algae growers to produce new biofuels and $4 million in tax credits for people who buy an electric motorcycle.
The “pork bill” comes to more than $1.1 billion
The knuckleheads in Washington have already moved on to the next and arguably bigger crisis - the national debt.
It's now $16.4 trillion and growing faster than you can count.
That's the segue for another of our occasional Q&A columns.
Q. – How do you handle personal debt?
1) Better than Congress
2) Not buying more than I can afford or things I don't need
3) Buying now, borrowing now and not worrying about how to pay later
4) Taking more chances on Powerball despite the 175,000,000-to-1 odds of striking it filthy rich
Q. – What's the most important thing in your life?
1) Health and happiness
4) Bacardi rum and electric motorcycles
Q. – Who are the most important people in your life?
1) Family members
2) Friends and neighbors
3) Ben Roethlisberger and Sidney Crosby
4) Parole officers
Q. What was your New Year's resolution?
1) Lose weight
2) Quit smoking
3) Vote ‘em all out
4) Buy a handgun
Q. – Which local event do you most look forward to this year?
1) Reopening the Charleroi-Monessen (Tener) Bridge, closed for repairs for nearly four years already
2) Demolishing the Donora-Webster Bridge, closed because of old age since July 2009
3) Grand opening of the Lady Luck Casino at Nemacolin Woodlands
4) The Monessen/Rostraver and Belle Vernon Rotary Club “Oldies Dance” Jan. 26 at Rostraver Central Fire Hall.
Q. – With slot machine revenues up 2.7 percent statewide last year, including $249.9 million at The Meadows Casino, how did people benefit?
1) It knocked off between $150 and $200 on school property taxes, proving that gambling plays
2) Players Club members were rewarded with cheap “Made in China” gifts
3) People who couldn't afford to lose money lost it anyhow, but look at the fun they had
4) They got free parking
Q. - Which upcoming fight will draw the biggest headlines in The Valley Independent?
1) Gov. Tom Corbett trying to raise more money for PennDOT
2) Luke Ravenstahl vs. Bill Peduto in the race of Pittsburgh mayor
3) Monessen pro boxer Sammy Vasquez Jr. and his next opponent
4) Members of the Ringgold School Board
Thought du jour - At one time, fun was dancing cheek-to-cheek. Today, survival is living check-to-check.
Joe Grata is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pens get physical, trade Goc for Blues’ Lapierre
- Pirates trade Snider to Orioles for minor league pitcher
- Now a Patriot, RB Blount’s thrilled to have moved on from Steelers
- Medicare payments to tie doctor, hospital payments to quality rather than volume of care
- Letang produces 5 assists in return as Penguins defeat Jets, 5-3
- No cross-checking here: Penguins misspell ‘Sidney’
- Winfield man is one of a few to attend all 49 Super Bowl games
- Pennsylvania shale gas producers received hundreds of environmental citations in 4 years, PennEnvironment says
- Penn Hills water main break creates car-swallowing sinkhole
- Cal U professor who died in campus office was lawyer, civil rights leader
- Pennsylvania’s teacher pension system scores D plus, National Council on Teacher Quality says