Lesson for Congress: Sometimes an eagle has to drift a while just to survive

Maybe Ben Franklin got it wrong, and the bald eagle is the best candidate for our national bird.

Cousin Amanda, last year with the condors in California, spends this summer with the bears, salmon, whales and other spectacular wildlife in Alaska.  (Internships are great, for the interns, no?)

Comes this photo of our national symbol, the bald eagle:

Eagle in the water near Hoonah, Alaska; photo by Amanda Holland (rights reserved)

Yeah, it’s a bit of a flyspeck on the horizon photo, but it’s still instructive.  Probably looking for fish, this bird waded too far out into the estuary.  Once it realized it was wet, and in the water, it tried to swim to shore.  Eagle wings are made to soar, however, not swim.  Swimming didn’t work.  At this point, the bird could have continued to struggle to do the impossible, and probably drown; or it could just give up, and drown.

Or, it might sit tight and wait to see if another opportunity presents itself.  After about an hour in the water, the bird drifted into shallow water where it could walk out.

Ms. Holland posted this photo on her Facebook site.  A friend there observed, “The symbol of our nation floating aimlessly with the tide because it is too bogged down to do anything else… How much irony can exist in one single photograph?”

Sometimes we get in “too deep.”  We may want to soar, but that’s not possible.  But if we’re patient, if we don’t do stupid stuff, we might just drift into safer waters, and survive, and thrive.

Yeah, we know, Tea Partiers: You think the nation spends too much money.  That’s a debate worth having.

But that’s not worth failing to raise the debt ceiling.  Failing to raise the debt ceiling will cost the nation, by conservative estimates, a half-trillion dollars in increased interest rates, with no gain of any program or paying of any debt.

It’s time to drift with the flow of events.  Raise the debt ceiling now, and survive without doing something stupid.  We can discuss solutions later, rationally, once we prevent the waste of a half trillion dollars, eh?  Time to stop fighting and stay alive, Congress.

We can learn a lot from the bald eagle.  I think even Ben Franklin would agree.

What’s that, Ben?  Our follies tax us more than taxes?

“Friends,” says he [Father Abraham], “and Neighbours, the Taxes are indeed very heavy, and if those laid on by the Government were the only Ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our Idleness, three times as much by our Pride, and four times as much by our Folly; and from these Taxes the Commissioners cannot ease or deliver us by allowing an Abatement. However let us hearken to good Advice, and something may be done for us; God helps them that help themselves, as Poor Richard says, in his Almanack of 1733.

— Ben Franklin, The Way to Wealth, 1758


10 Responses to Lesson for Congress: Sometimes an eagle has to drift a while just to survive

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    First rule of survival: Don’t give up and drown.


  2. James Kessler says:

    Well Cantor’s desire to not raise the debt limit can be traced back to not only right wing ideology but also his desire to see the US default so the short selling investments he’s sunk money in makes him several million dollars.

    Yes a US Congressman has literally bet against the United States government and is seeking to steer the results of that “bet” so that he makes himself millions of dollars.

    If that’s not evidence of high treason I don’t know what is.


  3. James Kessler says:

    To quote myself: Oh and with Ryan the reason i used the word “supposedly” is that I was quoting from Wikiquote

    Bah, I meant Wikipedia.


  4. James Kessler says:

    Oh and with Ryan the reason i used the word “supposedly” is that I was quoting from Wikiquote and that’s exactly what it says. Apparently noone is quite sure whether he did or not, possibly not even himself.

    On other business related note, Ed, did you hear Congresswoman Harpy is about to lose her license to practice law in Minnesota? Not to mention the fact that she’s failed to file financal disclosure reports on time for about…oh…the last five years. The 2011 one was due in May, she still hasn’t filed it. And oh, the 2008 one is incomplete since it doesn’t show the money she got from the feds for her family’s farm and its been that way since, well, 2008.

    But then she long had the same problem with her minnesota financial disclosure reports when she was a state senator. and oops..her PAC has the same problem and recently got called to the carpet by the FEC.

    The Republicans might as well nominate Reagan or the elder Bush then the current crop.


  5. James Kessler says:

    Boehner: worked in a bar at age 8. (Ah the joys of child labor, no wonder the Republicans want to bring it back) and then worked for a plastics company eventually becoming its president. He should have enough sense to realize that when a “business” is in the red the last thing you do is cut revenue. But there his tea party masters sit going “Sir, we have a huge deficit, you will cut our revenue by half to fix it.” Was also in the military for all of 8 weeks before being honorably discharged.

    Cantor: worked in his family’s real estate business. He’s missing the same sense that Boehner is missing when it comes to business being in the red and revenue.

    Ryan: Supposedly worked in a branch of his family’s earth moving business as a consultant but other then that has been a government employee. Missing the same sense as Boehner and Cantor with the added caveat he actively wants to bankrupt the middle class and the poor and is not subtle about it.

    McConnel: Joined the military after graduating college in July of ’67. Discharged from same military in August of the same year for “optic neuritis” which is a symptom of, not an inclusive list: MS, Lupus, Herpes, Lyme Disease and Syphillis, Inflamatory Bowel disease (which would explain a lot about his attitude), Drug induced vasculitis, and diabetes. Other then that has been a government employee since 1976.


  6. Ed Darrell says:

    How about Boehner (who has, as I recall), Kantor, Ryan and McConnell? Rand Paul was a physician, which makes him an expert on everything, he thinks — but I don’t think he’s ever operated a business where he wasn’t the professional at the top.


  7. James Kessler says:

    (I wonder if any of them have ever operated a business — anyone know?).

    Well Mitt Romney has..but then his business was buying up other businesses, firing all the employees and then raking in the profits.

    Michele Bachmann hasn’t. She’s been a government employee all her adult life. Then there is the scam her husband has going on stealing our tax dollars. Of course she rails against government largesse…while sucking on the teat of the government cow herself.

    The only one I can think of off hand is Herman Cain and Herman Cain is nuttier then a room full of mental patients on laughing gas.

    Well I suppose there is Donald Trump…but exactly how many times has Trump declared bankruptcy now? One could argue that the Donald has made a business of declaring bankruptcy.


  8. Ed Darrell says:

    By the way, Morgan, about the article you linked to with the exclamation points (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/post/ten-things-that-happen-if-the-boehner-bill-gets-through/2011/03/29/gIQA1nLLdI_blog.html ):

    Boehner’s bill is unconnected to reality. To get a raise in the debt ceiling, we need to reduce discretionary spending, or other spending, by an equal amount?

    I’m more convinced than ever that one of the key problems is that Republicans have no idea how business runs (I wonder if any of them have ever operated a business — anyone know?). This would be like a business taking out a mortgage to build a new manufacturing plant. Before the plant was completed, a flood took out the machines in the building — so the company went back to the bank for a larger loan, to cover the cost of repurchasing the machines, knowing that they were going to eat costs, but trying to keep the company running.

    Boehner Bank, however, agrees to loan the money only if the company can reduce its expenditures by an equal amount.

    The purpose of the loan was to keep the company running. That can’t be done with the restrictions, and if you know anything about businesses and budgeting, you’ll figure out why very quickly.

    I’ll wager no tea partier will know why the loan on those terms is a bad deal.


  9. Ed Darrell says:

    See, Morgan? Regulation is a good thing. But for the EPA’s ban on DDT in agriculture and the Endangered Species Act’s protection of eagle habitat, we couldn’t have learned these lessons.


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