Monday, May 2, 2011

Week of 05/02/2011

Conveniently Broke
– by David Matthews 2

“We’re broke!”

There are two reasons why someone would say that.

The first is that you really ARE broke, as in there is no more money and you don’t know how you’re going to be able to pay for the things that are due now.

Sadly, there are way too many people in this country that are being FORCED to say this version. They would rather not, but they don’t have a choice. All of their money is gone and they may even have to sell some of the things that they have in order to get by.

But the other reason why that would be used would be to say that you don’t WANT to spend money on certain things and it’s easier to say that you’re broke instead of listening to an endless sales pitch or guilt trip. It’s easier to say “I’m broke”, than to say “no.” Some people actually find it easier to accept being told “I’m broke” than it is to hear “no”.

These are the people who are “conveniently broke”. They are “broke” when it comes to certain things, but then have endless money when it comes to other things, especially the things that they REALLY like. They’re “broke” when it comes to paying their half of the utilities, or “broke” when it’s their turn to buy groceries, or “broke” when it comes to paying certain bills. But they seem to have plenty of money when it comes to shopping, or when it involves to going out to eat. The electric bill may not get paid on time, but they’ll never miss a weekend of dancing and drinking. That $50 they owe you won’t get paid anytime soon, but you can pester them about it after they get back from their third vacation in six months.

That, I think, is probably the BEST way to tell the difference between being “conveniently broke” and actually BEING broke. When you still have money to do the things that you want to do and you were not forced to sell off your valuables or do something normally reserved for the “red light district”, then you’re really NOT BROKE!

So let’s talk about the new group that claim to be “broke”.

I’m talking about the conservatives and neo-conservatives that claim to speak on behalf of America. THEY are the ones that are now screeching at the top of their lungs “WE’RE BROKE! We don’t have any money! WE ARE BROKE! We can’t spend what we don’t have!”

Excuse me a second, cons and neo-cons, but are you talking about yourselves or are you really talking about us as a nation? Because if you’re talking about yourselves, then you might want to stop trying to have these last-minute rallies in Washington to complain about how “broke” you really are. While you’re at it, you might want to lay off the book-buying and bumper-sticker purchasing and the campaign contributions if you’re really “broke”.

If, on the other hand, you’re presuming to speak on behalf of myself and the rest of Americans…

First, stop it. That’s sheer arrogant presumptiveness, and you barely have enough intelligence to speak for yourselves, never mind PRETEND to speak on behalf of anyone else. (And we won’t even get into your lack of qualifications to speak on behalf of someone like yours truly.)

Second, if you’re trying to speak on behalf of this nation, then you have a little explaining to do when you proclaim that we are “broke”.

If we’re really “broke”, then why are we still fighting wars around the world? Better still, why are you insisting that we CONTINUE to fight wars around the world? Bullets aren’t cheap. Planes aren’t cheap. The salaries of the generals certainly are not cheap. And the fuel to transport everything that makes a war so “fun” for you guys REALLY is not cheap! So if we’re really “broke”, meaning we don’t have any money, then how can you insist that we continue to keep this going? Do you honestly expect our soldiers to work FOR FREE?

By the way, since you guys like keeping Guantanamo Bay open as your personal Roach Motel for Bad Guys, how much do you think it costs for us to keep that place open and keep those Bad Guys in there indefinitely? You don’t want to try them. You don’t want to deal with them. You just want them to stay there and leave them there to rot. Well that also isn’t free.

Speaking of trials; how is it that you’re INSISTING that we defend an unconstitutional law like the ill-named “Defense of Marriage Act” all the way to the Supreme Court if we don’t have any money? Lawyers aren’t cheap, and neither are court costs! Besides, I though you guys HATED judges! You accuse them of “legislating from the bench” all of the time. I know it sounds funny but President Obama actually did you guys a FAVOR in not taking this to the highest court. He spared you from being forever BARRED from doing something like that again should the highest court actually rule according to the Constitution. I’d think you’d guys should be a little grateful… instead you’re insisting that the money be spent anyway. Where is it going to come from? Are you taking it out of Speaker Boehner’s spray-tan allowance?

How is it that we supposedly “don’t have any money”, and yet you STILL insist on spending OODLES of money on prosecuting medicinal marijuana users in the states where it is legal, and going after the adult entertainment industry - which at least keeps people EMPLOYED; which is something that you guys don’t want to do - and continuing to threaten to go after the rest of the entertainment industry if they don’t kowtow to your puritanical standards? Why do you insist on spending money that we don’t have just to appease your own personal moralistic whims if we REALLY ARE “broke”?

Of course it should be said that anytime we have a disaster, we should be generous with the funds. The various states in the American Southeast are quick to belly up to the federal trough for assistance… many of those states are governed by conservative and neo-conservative politicians who campaigned on the promise of “fiscal responsibility” and complained endlessly about the federal government giving money away, and there they are saying that the same federal trough is the only thing that will get them through the needed recovery.

But… I thought we were “BROKE”! How can you guys be hitting up the feds for “disaster welfare” when you complain about every OTHER kind of spending?

You know, when private companies have financial troubles, all employees are expected to endure some deep cuts in their pay, or in their benefits, or even in their pension programs. So I guess we should be looking forward to hearing how the members of Congress will be going without pay for a while, or maybe having their pension programs put on hold for a bit, or how they would have to forego their freebees and their staff…

Wait… they’re NOT getting pay cuts? They’re NOT losing their pensions? They’re NOT decreasing their staff or cutting on their perks? Why not? Aren’t we “BROKE”? Where’s the money for that coming from? I mean, you have this huge laundry list of things that you claim that we can no longer afford, but somehow the people making those “hard decisions” aren’t practicing what they preach? You have conniptions over what the President spends for his trips and who goes with him. Why aren’t you doing the same for your own people?

Well, let’s get brutally honest here… the truth of the matter is that American isn’t REALLY “broke”. It’s just “conveniently broke”. Sure we’re up to our eyeballs in debt, but that’s really no different that many Americans today, especially while still in the middle of this Great Recession. We’re ALL having to tap into places that we originally didn’t plan on tapping into and hoping that at some point we’d be able to get ourselves out of that hole.

The problem is that the people who are screaming the loudest about this problem are also picking-and-choosing WHICH things that we’re supposedly “broke” about, and that choice is being made not on NEED, but on their own partisan wants and desires, not to mention their own sense of entitlement and greed. We’re supposedly “broke”, but there’s still money to fight foolish legal crusades. We’re supposedly “broke”, but we can go fight expensive wars around the world. We’re supposedly “broke”, but Congress still gets an automatic pay increase at a time when millions of Americans are still trying to get work.

If the conservatives and neo-conservatives, especially those in Washington, want to show that they’re serious about this problem, then they need to demonstrate it themselves by making cuts in their own wants and desires. That means no more Drug War, no more XXX war, no more DOMA talk, no more blood-for-oil-war, no pay raises, no first-class flying, no franking… and you MAY want to consider selling off a few monuments and doing something that used to be reserved only for certain Congressional pages and White House interns. You say we’re “broke”? Then start acting like we REALLY are!

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