Crazy Logic

Of all the crazy propositions being thrown around in the current debt crisis talks, the tough, ‘zero tolerance’, ‘no tax increases ever’ seem craziest to me. For one thing, every cut is a cost of living increase on the people who lose a service. Another fact of life is that you have to expect the unexpected. We got government help for last year’s floods, and the Mall looks better when it’s not underwater. We can’t write inflexibility into our Constitution and expect our kids to go back on the gold standard.

This all reminds me of the magazines, like Women’s Day, I read when I was a teenager. There was an article about a housewife who decided that the weekly grocery budget for her family of four should never exceed $20.

Even in the sixties this made grocery shopping a full time job. The woman spent hours clipping coupons, and drove many miles burning the cheap gas of the good old days because Krogers was selling apples 2 cents cheaper than Star. She sent her husband to work with a peanut butter sandwich, or a cheese sandwich, on alternate days. She weighed her kid’s snacks. The kids were probably doing other kid’s homework for candy money, or majoring in home ec so they could be around food, but so help her God, she never spent more than $20. This woman had faith. She could stand on her principles. She was demented.

Even in the late sixties inflation was nibbling at her $20, forcing her to deprive her family to stay within her budget. The value of money in relation to groceries varies according to forces much larger than one thrifty woman can control, even if she is obsessed. She might be smart to spend more on the 2 for 1 pasta sale and save later, just as a homely example. Or, for the love of God, get a part-time job before the kids get rickets.

‘Money is just a form of energy’, say the New Agers, and they are twits. Money is real enough, but is not changeless in value. If you leave your baby in a burning house to save your wallet you’ll be counting your bills in jail, right? But it’s a virtue to defund fire prevention and public safety? Our children are not being hurt by cuts in education? We should let the old people end up in homeless shelters?

I don’t know what clump of sausage will come out of this mess in Washington. I’m not an economist. But even I can see that starving the government and feeding the corporations will leave citizens on the losing side.

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5 responses

  1. Well said again Nancy. Here’s a link to an interesting note at TPM about how Republicans seem not to trust the flexibility of our republic.
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2011/07/do_republicans_hate_republics.php?ref=fpblg

  2. Nancy-one ppoint you didn’t address is that government doesn’t MAKE anything.
    Even the great projects of the Thirties that Rachel Maddow justifiably is proud of resulted from the use of materials provided by private industry.Think about that for a mnute.
    Our “industry”today are too often house of cards operations like AIG.
    The extreme environmentalists have forced fabrication industry to re-locate abroad along with terrible treaties like NAFTA and WTO domination.
    Brazil,China,Indonesia,India,Korea,and Taiwan are forging ahead making all sorts of products.The “green” people(nothing personal) :) are as quiet as little churchmice on this.

    1. 2 of the buildings I visit, Centerdale Manor and Brook Village, are going to have a massive cleanup. It was a little item in the paper but I’m shocked at the cost. Some factory reaped the profit, we pay the bill. Too bad some green person didn’t stop them from polluting.

      1. Great-let’s just bring everything down to small scale and forget that there are very few industrial jobs left here so you either get a high level education or eat —- at some subsistence service job.
        There are polluters overseas too who make us look like amateurs-they don’t count I guess-they don’t even TRY to contain the damage.
        Overseas-hell,try Mexico.
        Is making a profit a crime?
        I don’t think so.
        Maybe Mr.Chafee can share some of his obscene wealth by not cheating on taxes for eleven cars.
        Does one get a pass on being a scumbag for being a “progressive”?
        I need to shut up now for reasons I’d sooner keep to myself.

  3. I recall a quote that goes, “The democracy of today holds the liberty of one man to be absolutely nothing, when in conflict with another man’s right of property. Republicans, on the contrary, are for both the man and the dollar; but in cases of conflict, the man before the dollar.”

    The author of this quote was Abraham Lincoln, 1859. It’s stunning to see how far the modern republicans have strayed from their origins.

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