Tag Archives: Mississippi

Where is My Stimulus Package?

My friend Harold is one of those “good old boys,” born, raised, educated, and working in the great state of Mississippi. He talks tough and looks every bit like the hard working man that he is.  When he asks how I or my family is doing, I know that he is sincerely concerned.  Just this past Friday, Harold emailed me about an opportunity he feared I might overlook.

“Just wanted to let you know,” he wrote, “today I received my 2011 Social Security Stimulus Package.  It contained two watermelon seeds, cornbread mix, a prayer rug, and ten coupons to KFC.  The directions were in Spanish.  Hope you get yours soon.”

I immediately fired off a reply thanking him for his concern and assured him that I would be on the lookout for an email from our generous Uncle Sam.  Since Harold’s last name starts with “M” and mine with “W,” it is not unusual for communications from our well-to-do uncle to reach Harold before they reach me.

It is possible, I suppose, that my Stimulus Package was sent by “snail mail,” and is therefore “in the mail,” as they say.  Uncle Sam is known for his thrift.  Some folks I know go so far as to say that he is “penny wise and dollar foolish.”  I’m not sure if I agree.  I always try not to be judgmental.  “Think before you speak.”  “Get your facts right.” That’s what I say.

Harold’s good news of an impending gift from our uncle does, however, present me with a bit of a dilemma.  Having given some thought to how I might make the best use of my Stimulus Package, I can see where there may be some problems.  “Don’t be caught day dreaming when the good fairy comes,” that is what granddaddy use to say.

What am I to do with the watermelon seeds? All of my land is in some sort of government land bank.  According to my accountant, I cannot plant anything on it.  If I do, I will lose my government check for the non-use of my productive land.  Right now it is growing a nice dependable “green” crop.  We all want to “go green” these days, as you know.

I do not want to appear unconcerned about the need for economic recovery.  So, I am willing to try out planting those watermelon seeds.  I will need, of course, some assistance from the government.  The soil will need to be tested for its suitability for growing watermelons.  I understand there is a government agency that will do that for me, free of charge. 

I will have to purchase some new farm equipment to actually plant and harvest the crop, assuming that all goes well with the weather, etc.  I am trusting that there will be some help in that area with tax write-offs, depreciation tables, and an interest free “small” business loan, etc. 

Also, I will have to assume that those troublesome federal agents will not try to interfere with my efforts to provide financial assistance for the needy Hispanic immigrants in my area.  Let us not have any of that shit about “illegal” immigrants.  If they are here, they must be legal.  Right?  The federal government won’t have let them in if they weren’t, would they? 

I might point out that we have a very nice Super Walmart nearby.  Since it opened a few years ago, all of those small local businesses that were charging such high prices have closed.  It may be true, as some liberal critics have charged that the abandoned buildings have made the town look more like a mini Detroit than Mayberry, but we must accept progress. 

There shouldn’t be any problem with my workers living off of the wages I pay.  The wages are, after all, determined by the market forces at play regarding illegal immigrant labor.  I do not wish to brag, or pat myself on the back, but picking watermelons in the healthy open air is much better for them than working long hours at either Walmart or a chicken plant.

Did I mention how competitive the watermelon market is at present? Watermelons of substandard quality are being brought in and sold at ridiculously low prices by Walmart and other mass marketers.  I must assume that Congress will authorize a suitable watermelon subsidy to cover my losses.  I do want to be patriotic.  I do want to do my part in the economic recovery, but as you know, no one wants to take risks these days, at least not until the economy recovers.

What the hell am I to do with the cornbread mix?  I am grateful that they did not just give me surplus cornmeal, flour, etc., like the government did in my granddaddy’s time.  But why should I have to add the water, mix it, and bake it at my own expense?  What does Uncle Sam think?  Just because he gets everything free—e.g., health insurance, full pension (even if he works only one day), travel allowance (or even a chauffeured ride to Walmart)—does not mean that I can afford to hire a cook.  It would make more sense to send me some sort of food stamps or a plastic card that I could use at Walmart to get my cornbread muffins already made and packaged.   Need I point out that more people would be employed by doing it that way?  What does it take to get those politicians in Congress to think?

Prayer rug?  Well, the wife has been praying a lot lately.  The house does need some work done on it, especially after that bad wind blew some shingles off of the roof.  I have applied for some of that government emergency aide, but FEMA seems to be dragging its feet on getting it to me.  When it comes in, we plan to not only repair the roof, but also replace the rug in the living room and remodel the kitchen.  You know what they say, “If the wife ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

As for the KFC coupons, ever since those Yankees bought the colonel out, God only knows where they get that stuff they call “chicken.”  It may come from Vietnam, bird flu virus included at no extra cost.  Besides, we eat catfish (also from Vietnam) and suck crawfish heads here in Mississippi.  Nothing brings the community together better than a good gospel sing and dinner on the grounds with fried chicken and catfish, boiled crawdads, and hushpuppies.

Our country is going through a difficult time.  Ever since FDR foisted his socialist New Deal on the nation, we have been burdened with high taxes.  When will people wake up and admit that if you force higher taxes upon the rich, there will be less wealth to trickle down to the needy?

Do not fear.  We will get through this econnomic slump, so long as they don’t mess with our Second Amendment rights.

Now where is that Stimulus Package?

Until next time, be good to all God’s creation, and always live under the mercy.

 

 

 

 

Keeping the Lost Cause Alive

I picked the Sunday paper up from the drive and took it into the house. I stood over the trash can, as I always do, and began sorting. First, I threw all of the inserts, except the manufacturers’ coupons, in the can. Then, I threw in the want ads and real estate sections, and finally the sports section. That’s right; I have zero interest in sports. In fact, the last game I attended was a football game in 1957.

Having saved the main news section, metro/state news section, and the opinion section, I began reading the headlines while sipping a cup of coffee. There really isn’t much worth reading in the newspapers these days. Whatever news a person wants comes quicker over the internet. The only valid reason for reading a newspaper, especially in public, is to appear literate. Back in “ye olden days” a person who wanted to appear intelligent and informed would carry around a copy of The New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, or New York Times. Today anyone seen reading a book, magazine, or newspaper is assumed to be an elitist.

Enough of that, what I want to talk about are two short articles in the Sunday paper that caught my attention. The first bore the headline, “Citizens’ Council’s tax status revoked.” For those of you who are over fifty or living outside of the Deep South, it was better known as the “White Citizens’ Council.” It was founded in Indianola, Mississippi in 1954, to fight desegregation and “help maintain our Southern way of life.”

The founder of the White Citizens’ Council was a former Mississippi State University football star and prominent Delta planter, Robert “Tut” Patterson. The organization grew rapidly. Soon there were member councils throughout the southern states with as many as 60,000 members. Many of its members were prominent citizens—judges, lawyers, bankers, politicians, and even preachers.

Well, back to the issue of the infamous IRS revoking the White Citizens’ Council’s tax exempt status. According to the article in the Sunday paper, a Mississippi accountant and graduate of the University of Mississippi—a.k.a. “Ole Miss”—found the Council’s name on a list of 275,000 organizations across the nation whose tax exempt status was being revoked. Not being familiar with the history of his state, Mr. Norris sent a form letter to the Citizens’ Council in Jackson offering his services to the organization, if they wished to recover their tax exempt status.

Mississippians are not noted for their attention to history, unless it has to do with the Civil War—a.k.a. War Between the States. Mississippi was the only one of the former so-called Confederate States of America that did not abolish slavery in 1865. The planters feared that they would not be reimbursed for the monetary value of their former slaves. It was not until March 1995 that the state legislature finally got around to formally abolishing slavery in the state of Mississippi.

Another article that caught my attention was titled “Ala. Still collecting Civil War tax.” Could it be true? Is the state of Alabama, the state that calls itself the “Heart of Dixie,” still collecting a Civil War tax from its citizens, almost 146 years after the war ended? Yes Sir, they are!

It seems that Alabama imposed a property tax to support a home for Confederate veterans who returned to Alabama after the war ended in 1865. The last surviving Confederate veteran living at the home died in 1934, but the state never stopped collecting the property tax.
The property tax in question is 6.5 mills, or about $39 on a home valued at $100,000. Three mills are used for education, 2.5 mills are applied to the state’s operating budget, and 1 mill, originally for support of the veterans’ home, is now used to fund the Confederate Memorial Park. It costs money to keep the memory of the “Lost Cause” alive. In fact, it costs almost half as much as is given to education from collecting the tax.

Shortly after I first moved to Mississippi some 18 years ago this month, I purchased a book of Mississippi jokes put together by a couple of Alabamians. In the introduction, the authors said that the people of Alabama are grateful to God for Mississippi. Why? Because that means that Alabama does not have to be the last in the nation on everything positive, and the first in the nation on everything negative. I’m not sure that the competition is always limited to those two states. I suspect that Louisiana and Arkansas are in the running.

Well, that’s the news from the Deep South. For those who do not subscribe to the Sunday edition of Jackson, Mississippi’s Clarion Ledger, you can find the articles mentioned on the internet at http://www.clarionledger.com/section/NEWS01/Metro-State.

Until next time, be good to all God’s creation, and always live under the mercy.