“If you’re spending too much the only solution is spend less” WRONG

The Republicans claim it’s “common sense” that if you’re spending too much, the only solution is to reduce spending.

It’s a saw that my generation has been repeating as a mantra in self-help circles since the 1980s, when the war on the middle class was declared…while, oddly enough, increasing spending and debt. They propose to lose weight: they become grossly fat. They propose to save money: they get into deeper debt.

And I’m one of them. I did propose to lose weight and start working out in 1981, and for some silly-assed reason, I did lose weight and haven’t missed a week of exercise at least 4 or 5 times a week for thirty years. However, my financial affairs are not in order, and I still use Nicorette gum. The failure of us all after years of self-help to address most of our problems indicates in the case of smoking addiction but in the case of financial problems a wider social problem.

People of my generation who resolve to do certain things, some of them quite extraordinary such as running an ultramarathon or staying married for the sake of children, can and have done those extraordinary things! But there are other things which people fail at, and one of them seems to be simple financial security, which (as opposed to becoming super-rich by being, in most cases, an utter swine) seems rare these days.

There are exceptions. Ordinary and decent people do buy homes and save but even they occasionally max out on credit and for the most part, a medical emergency can be a disaster even for them: while it is not in other developed countries.

The problem is that lower middle class saws of the sort spoken around the dreary kitchen table are usually just warmed over forms of false consciousness which evade reality.

Because if you’re spending too much another solution is quite plain…increase your income.

Take a second job.

Start a home business such as Melaleuca or Amway.

Teach your skills in the evening at a community college.

Get a real estate licence.

If you are hot, move to a community (such as Hong Kong or Nevada) where prostitution is safe and legal and sell your body.

Stop screwing up at work and get a bonus or a raise. Read the manual you never read, start serving customers better.

You’re “unemployed”, you’ve maxed your benefits, and you’re working temp or part time or not working at all?

Boo hoo.

Are you aware, chump, that there is no such thing as unemployment in countries where there is no unemployment insurance?

In Jakarta, you lose your job, your Mom says, bullshit you’re unemployed, you go see Uncle now, and the next day you have a job selling DVDs and clove cigarettes.

In Texas, you’re not unemployed. You have a new job, and that’s finding a job. The pay? Lousy: it is a part of the future income of whatever job you find. The business class, say what you like, keeps us honest.

Work more temp jobs work longer part time. Create wealth without thinking of the reward.

March or die mes enfants.

The question remains, is what is the over-spending for. The days have gone when Americans were spending money on overlarge McMansions and SUVs.

If you’re “spending too much” on medication for a sick child, in fact, the solution is not to eliminate the medication and let your child die. If you need a computer to find a second job, the solution is not to not buy the computer.

The solution is to fuck or walk. It’s to get them to sign on the line that is dotted. Get mad you SOBS!

Create wealth!

“Get outa here and get me some money too” as Billie Holiday sang.

The Republicans think we’re spending too much on… national parks, libraries, and Medicare. Somehow they eliminate federal supermax prisons on which billions have been spent to create deliberately inhumane conditions which drive prisoners insane and which have caused a massive hunger strike in California as I write.

Somehow they eliminate defense spending including the continuing costs of Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Joseph Stiglitz in The Three Trillion Dollar War, no plan was made in particular for Iraq to pay its real costs including veteran’s benefits. This same author writes that the Pentagon has no budget, simply asks for what it needs year to year, and gets it most of the time.

The Federal equivalent of a second job or selling your bod?


Even Grover Norquist, of all people, said in an Op Ed this week, in the International Herald Tribune, that “letting the 2002 tax cuts lapse” would be permissible in his insane anti-tax “pledge” religion because it would not be the sin of raising taxes. If Norquist has finally a grain of common sense, what is wrong with Boehner and the House majority?

It sounds right wing of me to say “create wealth” and then call for redistribution, but in fact there is no contradiction whatsoever. Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society. Real satisfaction is in wealth creation: when I figured out a difficult software problem in Silicon Valley in the past, when I show up for an audition on time or teach a class today, I am rarely thinking of the reward.

For one thing, Chinese employers like to pay slow. For another, even my housekeeper and the Hakka women who pick up the trash take pride in a job well done and wealth creation in the form of cleanliness, a simple form of wealth next to Godliness.

Just.Raise.Taxes. They may not be like Glengarry leads, waiting out there to give you their money, but Americans are patriots and will pay for a fair increase in taxes.


Close corporate loopholes and impeach House legislators who make a game out of passing invisible near-private “laws” providing one-off (but repeated) tax holidays to favored corporations.

Raise the progressive rates on top incomes. I was physically ill today to read that while children are dying dying dying in poor communities, other children are being flown in private jets to summer camps in Maine.

This isn’t America. It’s a Laura Ashley fantasy, an Upstairs Downstairs wet dream, that was sold to pathetic losers of the middle class way the goddamn hell back in the Eighties when those deluded fools thought they were going to be Masters of the Universe…and are now living in motels while their managers are in clover. It is a nightmare.

It must end.

If you’re spending too much, one solution, but only one, is to spend less. Another is to create wealth…and not sit around complaining that the government won’t let you!


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