Weatherford Democrat

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September 29, 2013

NOW HEAR THIS: Celebrating a happy new year

By LARRY M. JONES

I’m certainly looking forward to it, and I’m sure that most of you are, as well. I’m talking about going out and celebrating New Year’s Eve tomorrow night. Down here on the “pore farm,” we old folks will likely stay home but, I’m sure we’ll have champagne, a big band, dancing till the wee hours, and a rousing good time will be had by all. Well, maybe not. …

Most of us think in terms of our year normally beginning on the first of January. We file our income taxes and make other plans in accordance with how our calendars are printed – January through December. However, if we were the federal government, we would do things a little different, just like everything else that comes out of the “great puzzle palace to the east.”

When I first became an indentured servant of the Department of Defense back in 1967, the fiscal year ran from July 1 through June 30. Just when I was becoming accustomed to having a new date for the year to begin, low and behold, in 1976 the feds changed it to begin on the first of October. I’d like to blame the incompetent peanut farmer from Georgia who was sitting president at the time, but it was actually created by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. Wow, what a moniker.

Officially, the reason for changing was to allow Congress more time to arrive at a budget each year. Personally, I think that it was done to merely kick the proverbial can down the road for three months, shuffling monies, and obfuscating the budget process even more.

All “bean counters” possess a large tool chest of tricks to play the fiscal shell game. One of the first that I saw in the Navy was the way paydays were manipulated. If I recall correctly, in the 1960s the military was paid twice monthly, in the middle and at the end of the month. Depending on when weekends fell, the pay periods could vary from 13 to 17 days.

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