Just PLEASE don’t take away my lobster!
So, the world’s going in the tank, apparently. Well, not the whole world, just our particular country. And particularly my specific corner of our country, I’m sure, because that’s just typical ... not that your corner is automatically better, but I’ll bet it is, simply because it’s not MY corner.
I’m watching the Congressional Budget Debate. Which Congressional Budget Debate, you ask, and well you should, because this is officially Congressional Budget Debate number 3,486 -- and that’s just since last week! (In fact, there have been so many of them that they’re thinking of not capitalizing the B and D in budget debate any more.) And, none of them has had much impact with Joe Public, who may not know who Harry Reid is (“Wasn’t he on ‘Dancing With the Stars’?”) but is mad as hell about gas prices.
So, in a nutshell:
1. “We” (and by “we” I mean NOT ME) have been spending not just like drunken sailors, but like sailors who are so drunk they’ve developed alcohol poisoning, have been rushed to the hospital, pronounced dead, brought back to life, and are headed to a rehab clinic, but as they’re rolled outside on the stretcher, with their last remaining brain cell they fling their arm out, grab a bottle right out of a wino’s hand and drain every last drop. ... THAT’S the kind of spending “we” have been doing.
2. Most of our spending has gone to fund programs to “help” people ... again, NOT ME. And now folks are hooked on these programs, and are clutching them like a toddler biting down on his pacifier so Mommy can’t take it out of his mouth, even for the Christmas picture! We call these “entitlement” programs.
3. These “entitlements” comprise 62 percent of our budget, national defense is about 20 percent, paying our debt is about 6 percent, and that leaves approximately12 percent for all other government programs or agencies (most of which, in my humble opinion, should be literally dropped off a cliff anyway, but whatever, nobody asked me).
4. So, let’s pretend we’re a typical American family sitting around the dinner table at a “family meeting”, talking about Dad losing his job as CEO of a newspaper company, and getting a new job as a newspaper delivery boy. His income has dropped from like a zillion a year, to $40,000. (And, Mom’s income -- from raising rabbits part time, which is all she is fit for, as a stay-at-home Mom who for 15 years has had little to no opportunity to speak “grown-up” words -- brings in around $10,000.) And, of course, there are no other jobs on the horizon.
For years, they grew college funds for each of their four children; they’ve taken huge vacations; they’ve bought an oceanfront mansion on a cliff in Maine, where it’s like never hot, and you can eat lobster every single day at EVERY SINGLE MEAL if you want to! ... (ahem) ... sorry. They have a private plane, a yacht named, well, let’s just call it The Victoria, and they drive BMWs. Each child has his/her own car, or has been promised one, and the kids go to private schools.
Now, the family income is around $50,000. But, the family expenditures -- if they continue to live this lifestyle, which, please, who wouldn’t -- are around $100,000. This means ... got a pencil? ... the family is $50,000 SHORT!
For a while, the father borrows that $50,000 from China, a country he respects for its robust economy, not to mention its Mu Shu Pork. But this results in mounting debt with huge interest rates, because making Mu Shu Pork ain’t cheap.
Hence, family meeting, just like in Congress, where they freak and whine and demand and refuse to cut anything. But Dad shows them the chart: 62 percent spent on mansion payments, cars, boats and private schools; 20 percent on college funds, health insurance and emergency savings; 6 percent to China; and 12 percent for food, clothing -- and Mom’s shoes, which are non-negotiable.
They need to cut their spending (or they need to “raise taxes” on the kids, who are already babysitting, cutting lawns and selling lemonade as hard as they freakin’ can ... I’m just saying ... and, even if the kids gave every penny they made to Mom and Dad, it wouldn’t be enough to make it through THREE MONTHS of this “drunkenness”) or they need to ask China for more money. And, at some point, China is going to show up at your front door with Mr. Fore and Ms. Closure.
Now, I ask you, is this rocket science?
Hmmm. Think we can do without just a LITTLE of what we THOUGHT we were ENTITLED to? Yeah, I think we can. Because “we” aren’t just drunken sailors -- “we” are alcoholics -- and it’s time for a “Come-to-Jesus!” meeting for every “we” in our government!.I’ll bring the Mu Shu Pork.
Vicki Wentz is a local writer, teacher and speaker. Readers may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting her website at www.vickiwentz.com.