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The Thursday wrap

| Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Moody's Investors Service says Venezuela is in danger of economic and financial collapse. Thus, it has downgraded the South American nation's credit rating. The move comes fast on the heels of another rating agency, Standard & Poor's, doing the same thing. It's yet another lesson in the “benefits” of socialism. ... Moody's, by the way, likes Pennsylvania's coming new gas tax hike, a hike that could leave the Keystone State with one of the highest fuel taxes in the nation. We all should be curious to see what Moody's has to say when the tax hike further retards the commonwealth economy (outside of the transportation-government complex, that is) and tax revenues slip. ... reports that the Department of Health and Human Services plans to hire a public relations firm “to help the embattled agency not appear ‘ignorant and unaware.'” Allow us to translate: The federal government will spend oodles and boodles more of your money to cover up its ignorance and unawareness. Gee, anybody ever think to fire these idiots? ... The Examiner of Washington notes that the federal government “ended up paying $2 billion to employees who were told not to come to work because they were deemed ‘non-essential'” during the government shutdown. Ah, Washington. ... Your federal government spent $1.9 million for “lifestyle” coaching for Senate staffers, The Examiner also reports. Part of that coaching — “the benefits of a good night's sleep.” One would think most Senate staffers learned that lesson in junior high.

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