As you know, President Obama has been flying around the country going to town meetings telling everybody what they don’t want to hear, which is that Washington is out of money, they have to cut this and cut that, and they have to ask the people who have the money, or who they think have the money—the rich—to give more of it to the government than they have heretofore. Specifically, he is asking people around the country to call their Congressmen and tell them to sign the bill, all 1,100 pages of it, which he has plunked down on all their desks and asked them to sign right away.
According to the pundits, there are so many items in this bill that the Democrats and Republicans can not agree upon, it is being given a snowball’s chance in hell for passage, but wait a minute. There are a few parts of it that both sides agree on. One is to have a government “yard sale.” Find government owned things around the country they don’t need anymore and sell them. Have a yard sale. They’ve listed the things they want to sell.
And wouldn’t you know it, right there on page 523 is something very familiar to all of us here on Long Island—Plum Island.
It’s 845 acres of rolling hills, sandy beaches, beautiful views, complete solitude and all yours for, well, it doesn’t say, but millions. Millions and millions.
It may come as a shock to some that the President wants to sell Plum Island. But then there are others who know the score. Since 1954, this island, a 20-minute ferry ride from Orient Point, has been home to the U.S. Animal Disease Center. It was here that the cure for hoof and mouth disease was found. It was here that other animal diseases have been studied in the hopes of finding cures. People—employees—continue to take the ferryboat out to the island from Orient every day, and those who work in the laboratories go through the decontamination procedure when they arrive and then again when they leave to go home. And what they know, and what a lot of other people also know, is this work is coming to an end in the next year or two. They are building a new facility for this in Kansas.
The reason why the Animal Disease Center was put on the island all these years ago was because it was so isolated. Even though the diseases studied are not contagious to humans, its best to be on the safe side. Back in 1954, they put it on a remote island where few people could be harmed if things went wrong. That was then. Few people lived on the East End in 1954. This is now. The East End is teeming with people. So they have to do this work elsewhere.
Five years ago, the site in Kansas was selected. They’d close Plum Island. Sorry about that. But then, they found themselves short of money to build the Kansas facility. And so, for now, the Animal Disease Center soldiers on, though its days are numbered.
And after that, what? So there it is, right in the President’s new bill.
Every time you turn on the TV or go on the internet or read a newspaper, you read that this place and that place are short of money. Greece is short of money. Iceland got so short of money it went bankrupt. Medicare is short of money. Social Security is short of money. The banks are short of money. Industrial production in China contracted in the last quarter. Didn’t know that, did you? China is short of money. Russia is short of money. Kodak is short of money. The Army is short of money. Portugal is short of money. Ireland is short of money. Japan is short of money. United Air Lines is short of money. Hewlett-Packard is short of money. Anybody want to buy their computer business?
Real estate developers are short of money. The gamblers in Las Vegas are short of money. Homeowners are short of money. New York State is short of money. Southampton is short of money. East Hampton bonded our grandkids because they got short of money. The Space Program is short of money. The big charities are short of money. The wind and solar industry are short of money.
Where’s the money? I don’t know. It used to be Japan had it. But then they lost it. Before that America had it, and they lost it. And before that, the English had it and they lost it. Now everyone thinks the Chinese have it. But now that’s getting wobbly. China’s money is leaking away.
So where did it go? If nobody has it, how is that? Did it just evaporate? Did it get left out in a rainstorm? Did it dry up? Float away? Crumble into dust? Has the planet sprung a leak?
It must be somewhere. Just keep looking. If you hear about any of it, let me know. Is there any behind that sofa?
Here’s what I say. Print some more of it. Get those presses rolling. Pull up the trucks load ‘em up, and take the money to vaults. Put other bushels of it in freight cars, on airplanes, on steamships, in busses, in dirigibles, send it around. Get it everywhere, into all the far corners of the earth. And if it still runs out, print still more of it and spread that around, then print still more and more of it and spread THAT around. Once it is everywhere all spread around, I predict, everybody will have a smile on their face. Everybody will reach into their pockets and buy this and buy that, and everything will start moving again. Our troubles will be over.
Remember it was me who thought of this.