Suffolk County, New York has taken the budget cuts to a new low: firing Santa David McKell, 83, to save $660. Fortunately, the Obama Administration is continuing our spending billions in Iraq and Afghanistan so McKell could still look for a job from Halliburton, though Santa positions tend to be limited.
McKell is a World War II veteran and former homicide police detective who has been the local Santa on Long Island for more than nine years.
[Update: Steven Colbert appears to have stepped in to cover the costs. However, I would prefer freeing up those billions being sent in our continuing wars].
To complete the seasonal onslaught, President Barack Obama has announced a new Christmas tree tax. At first I thought that it was a tax designed to cover the environmental costs of such harvesting. I love fresh trees at Christmas but would be happy to pay extra to deal with the environmental costs. However, this new 15-cent charge on all fresh Christmas trees will go to improving the image and marketing of Christmas trees. The government will create a new “Christmas Tree Promotion Board.” The Administration explains that he purpose of the Board is to run a “program of promotion, research, evaluation, and information designed to strengthen the Christmas tree industry’s position in the marketplace; maintain and expend existing markets for Christmas trees; and to carry out programs, plans, and projects designed to provide maximum benefits to the Christmas tree industry” (7 CFR 1214.46(n)).
It is of course remarkably dumb in an election year during the holiday season to announce such a tax but this White House appears the most politically tone-deaf Administration in decades. To make it even more incomprehensible, they announce the tax, take widespread criticism, and then the next day they announce that they will delay (though not cancel) the tax. In the end, however, I am most interested in whether we really need a new Board or to subsidize an industry’s image building at a time of economic distress. It is not the 15 cents per tree. I thought we were trying to reduce government. The Administration is slashing scientific and educational programs, but we really need a Christmas Tree Promotion Board?
Source: BDtonline as first seen on Reddit.