Tags: thanksgiving | turkey | government

Taxes Hard at Work — Paying Advisers for Turkey Q&A

Image: Taxes Hard at Work — Paying Advisers for Turkey Q&A
Turkey hotline to turkey pardoning — govt hard at work. (AP)

Friday, 27 Nov 2015 12:45 PM Current | Bio | Archive

On Thanksgiving Day six federal employees were sitting by the phone like the Maytag man, hoping for the United States Dept. of Agriculture to spring into action and aid “people who need help preparing their Thanksgiving dinner.”

And on line No. 2, the National Institute of Health was ready to help Americans digest their dinner.

Pete Kasperowicz of the Washington Examiner tells us prior to national Turkey Death Day these poultry potentates took a break from dispensing red tape and instead dispensed advice — as long as you observe banker’s hours and call between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

That span pretty much limits incoming calls to nannies, daycare workers, government employees and the reviled stay–at–home moms, since the private sector working mother — for whom the Obama administration fights so hard — is at work.

On Thanksgiving Day the hotline help hours were limited to 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., because even at double–time wages bureaucrats don’t want to put in a full day.

Kasperowicz says the masochists who enjoy phone trees can bypass humans altogether and go straight to the recording. Tech–savvy taxpayers who have honed their online skills at HealthCare.dud can get Internet advice.

There the ill–informed will find handy tips on the ways injecting marinade differs from an enema, the reason playing “find the giblets” should be done before cooking, why putting stuffing inside the carcass may qualify you for a new salmonella study and how the easiest way to take the turkey out of the oven is to reverse the procedure you used to put the bird in the oven.

Last year after fielding calls at the punishing rate of eight per hour the exhausted Tryptophan Team made its way home.

Before you start getting all misty–eyed thinking about the turkey responder’s sacrifice, consider this.

The Aztecs first domesticated turkeys in 800 BC, long before Big Government was a gleam in FDR’s eye. In a reversal of the usual procedure, the Aztecs used turkeys to provide decoration and humans for sacrifice, but evidently the relationship soured because in 1100 AD Anasazi Indians added turkey to the menu.

America chewed happily along until about 1981 when the deteriorating state of the nation’s schools combined with the breakup of the family to produce consumers who instead of seeing dinner when they looked at a turkey, beheld a mystery wrapped in skin you weren’t supposed to eat.

There were two responses to this culinary dilemma. The first from the USDA (see above) that grew from a single farmer holding a hand–crank telephone into the six–person dynamo it is today. And the second from Butterball and its “Turkey Talk-line.”

The Turkey Talk–line began with six operators and now boasts over 50 experts. Each year the operators talk turkey with over 100,000 callers. Weekday hours are from 9 until 9  and 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. on weekends. As Thanksgiving approaches and the confusion ramps up, the Talk–line hours expand until 11 p.m. On Thanksgiving Day itself, Butterball answers cries for help from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

The company even has special male operators for men too embarrassed to discuss woman’s work with an actual woman.

A comparison between the two outreach efforts reveals once again the private sector is more responsive than sluggish Uncle Sam, although I imagine the operating budget for both is identical. Even better this Butterball turkey telecommunications network — wait for it — doesn’t cost taxpayers one thin dime!

There is simply no comparison between advice experiences. Calling Butterball can be an impromptu experience, while getting the USDA on the line is like scheduling an appointment with an Obamacare doctor. The one you didn’t want to keep.

And if talking to the USDA bureaucrat is anything like a conversation with a census taker, they’ll be asking you questions before answering yours.

1. What’s the pay differential between the CEO and the cashier who rang your turkey up?

2. Is your turkey kosher, Religion–of–Peace halal, industrial–cruelty or free–range?

3. Have you considered donating your meal to a Syrian refugee?

4. How many food groups will you be serving?

5. How many racial groups will you be serving?

6. Do you eat the white meat first or last?

7. Do you intend to say grace over the meal? If so, is everyone required to participate?

8. Do you plan to allow guests to use salt? Butter? Trans–fats?

Still I’m certain that in the avalanche of calls to Butterball and the trickle of inquiries to the USDA, no one is asking the most pertinent question: Why is the federal government spending tax dollars to give advice on how to cook a turkey?

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher (for the League of American Voters), and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.


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Why is the federal government spending tax dollars to give advice on how to cook a turkey?
thanksgiving, turkey, government
Friday, 27 Nov 2015 12:45 PM
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