Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The punchline that won't die...

Back the last time we were worried about shooting at human wave attacks on the 38th Parallel, our boys wore wool uniforms in the Korean winter. To make sure that General Mark Clark's troops wouldn't be caught shivering in the trenches, Congress passed a program of price supports for wool and mohair and, as government programs are wont to do, it lingered long after our military's winter uniforms went synthetic.

Mohair price supports became something of a punchline for jokes about Washington waste and pork barrel vote-buying* and were deep-sixed by the Republican House in the mid '90s, only to crawl from the grave in the early Aughties, ensuring that poor ranchers like ABC anchor Sam Donaldson would get their government mohair subsidy checks.

It looks like Paul Ryan gets to look tough by proposing to shear the mohair moochers again. It's a good shaggy goat of a punchline that just. won't. die.


*Although even if you sewed up the vote of every real, live sheep rancher in America, that's barely enough voters to ensure your appointment as dogcatcher in Peoria.

9 comments:

Bubblehead Les. said...

Aren't we also still paying for "The War to End All Wars" with that Telephone Tax?

Ian Argent said...

That was the stumble up San Juan Hill, and while I believe the tax is technically still on the books, there was a court case recently that said the tax was being illegally enforced against modern billign practices, and the .gov was forced to disgorge the estimated value of $STATUTE_OF_LIMITATIONS$ years worth of improperly collected taxes - it was a checkbox on the 1040 the following year

Bubblehead Les. said...

Thanks Ian.

docjim505 said...

Why would I not be surprised to learn that some of the members of Congress who heroically sponsored this vital bill* might have had a teensy-weensy financial interest in wool and mohair? I've gotten to be so cynical...

===

(*) They TOTALLY supported the troops, you know... I mean, AFTER our guys got creamed in the initial invasion and shivered in misery through the first winter or so due to Congressional neglect of the defense budget.

Ed said...

Watch out, kids. It's about to become hairy!
Mohair is shorn from Angora goats, not sheep, while Angora comes from Angora rabbits.

From Matthew 25:31-33

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Aesop said...

While I understand Rep. Ryan's intentions, I don't really mind the mohair subsidy. Getting all lathered up about it is kind of like getting all yappy about the nutritional value of breakfasts on the Cunard line after the Titanic disaster.

But if they'd gin up a bill to stop subsidizing Sam Donaldson under any circumstances, I'd take my winnings and declare victory for the republic.

Goober said...

Aesop;

The biggest issue that we, as a nation, are having in getting this budget under control is the dismissal of small budget items as being "too trivial" to make a difference in the grand scheme.

One wonders how many thousands of these "too trivial" items are being moved to a back burner and ignored, and what the total value of all of those items, added together, ends up being.

My guess is that the combined amount of all of them is far from trivial.

Tam said...

Million here, million there, pretty soon you're talking real money... ;)

gnholb said...

My herd of Mohs is too small to qualify for the subsidy.

Figures.