Hey 3.5 readers.
I try to avoid getting political on this fine blog, largely because the Internet/social media has ushered in a whole new era where people debate, not by the Marquess of Queensberry rules of old, but rather like the pro-wrestlers of today.
In other words, in the past, two parties would show up, debate, stay relatively cordial, and then agree to disagree.
Today, it’s pretty much you’ll inevitably say something that offends someone and rather than explain their side, they’ll just conk you on the head with a folding chair, Hollywood Hulk Hogan style. OK, they won’t use a chair, but they’ll use fighting words. They’ll get personal and at some point, it will be implied that your mother wears combat boots (less of an insult today than it was 30 years ago, but anyway.)
Our political system sucks and politicians aren’t motivated to do the right thing. TV and social media means the politicians react to the headlines of today, while they are happening right now, and in life, whether it is a disaster or a suspicious lump on your nether regions, what you did in the past to prepare for these sorts of things is more important than what you do once disaster strikes.
Think about your own budget. Do you spend recklessly? Maybe you do. We’ve all been there from time to time. But still, you have a general awareness that you need to save. You need to pay bills on time. You need to keep some money on hand for a rainy day. Sure, you’ll see nice things and want them, but hopefully, some voice in your head reminds you that it might be easy to charge it on the credit card today, as if that credit is free money, but the bill will come back to haunt you.
Our politicians have zero motivation to NOT spend foolishly. They have no motivation to prepare for a rainy day. They have no motivation to keep borrowing low and they definitely have no motivation to keep some money on hand for a rainy day.
Think about the coronavirus. I hate to break it to you, but we aren’t in a situation where everything is going to open up in May or whenever and we no longer have to worry about catching a dreaded disease. This shutdown was never about that. It was a fear that our hospitals weren’t up to snuff, that they didn’t have enough medical equipment, beds, and space to take care of a large influx of sick people. Thus, if too many sick people flood the system, the medical staff can’t respond to patients fast enough. This leads to more people getting sick and not being cured and before you know it, wammo. It’s the Walking Dead world, and we are all Rick Grimes. Actually, I’m awesome, so I’ll be Rick Grimes. You nerds will be Shane at best.
Why didn’t the politicians prepare? Swine flu happened in 2009. That wasn’t as deadly as corona, but it was still bad. It was bad enough that it scared Hollywood into making a movie called Contagion where Gwyneth Paltrow’s virus fighting doctor character (SPOILER ALERT) dies and gets his face cut off so her body can be studied for science.
But the politicians weren’t that motivated. Politicians don’t get applause for making sure hospitals have enough beds. They don’t get praise for making sure hospitals have enough ventilators. They don’t get likes for making sure hospitals have enough masks and gloves or space.
Politicians get applause for dissing their opponents. They get applause for dishing out free money and why not? If you’re dumb enough to give me your credit card and tell me its ok to spend whatever I want, then I’ll gladly buy a round of drinks for every schmuck at the bar, take the applause, then stick you with the bill. Am I going to buy equipment to make sure people can be helped in the event of a crisis? Pfft. No. Where’s the applause in that?
Think about how you run your own household. You probably have some kind of a budget, even if its in your head. You keep track of bills and expenses. Maybe not on a nice flowchart but you have a general idea. You have an idea of what in your house is broken and falling apart. You have an idea of how much longer you can use this not so good appliance before you have to cave in and buy a new one. You want to buy that fancy watch, sweet leather jacket or go on that awesome vacation, but you balance those wants with the needs of maybe some day you’ll need a new dishwasher, or your fear that a pipe will burst and you’ll need to hire a contractor to fix it and you wont be able to if youve spent all your money on comic books and bubblegum.
Unfortunately, politicians look at tax revenue as free money. Free money to use to reward allies and punish opponents. Free money to waste and why not because more free money will always come along. And I hate to break it to you, but the money you give them today was already spent a long time ago. The nation is being run on loans, or if you think about it, on a massive credit card.
When you see the US helping everyone around the world, that’s nice, until you realize we ran up the credit card to do it. If you use your credit card to buy your neighbor’s kid an XBox, people will think you’re a nice person…for about five minutes, until everyone realizes your own kid doesn’t have shoes and your credit card bill is so high and your free cash is so low that your own kid will have to run around barefoot.
Overall, I wish there was a better system where politicians of both parties were inspired to keep costs and debts low, and to save, save, save for a rainy day. To spend money on necessities rather than wants, to prepare for disasters ahead of time.
Long story short, 3.5 readers, unless you poop a crazy amount, you probably were always keeping a few spare rolls in your closet, so when the corona shit hit the fan, you didn’t have to run to the store and do a battle royale with all the people who didn’t keep enough rolls of butt wipe handy. You did it because you knew you had to take care of yourself. No one else will.
Politicians don’t think like that. Spend, spend, spend. Ignore potential looming disasters. Someday, some other schmuck will be stuck with the bill and the blame while they’re chilling out on a beach somewhere…with all our toilet paper.
End of BQB rant. Thank you.
PS – Imagine you are a parent. You send your kid off to college. You give them a prepaid debit card and tell them this is for important things only. Your kid comes home and tells you they spent all their money on booze, parties, and they bought gifts for their dumb friends. But then they tell you that they don’t have any money for text books, clothes or basic necessities.
Next time a politician gets on TV and tells you they spent your money helping out some OTHER country, maybe remind them that they were supposed to make sure the kids in America had shoes and textbooks and food first.