Monday, December 28, 2009

Monopoly Rules

On December 21st, the President, touting some 41 billion the federal government would save by 2011, said the following. "The Federal government can no longer spend taxpayers' money like it is “monopoly money.” I'd congratulate the President but he already did for himself anyway, and it just means our deficit is 12.1 trillion plus at the moment, as opposed to 12.5 trillion plus at the moment.

Keep in mind, I concede that any government must spend money to function. In Monopoly, every player starts with 1,500 in cash. But the Democrats have gobbled up the utilities, the cars, they're the banker and seem able to roll doubles three times in a row without going to jail. People are selling the houses they've amassed on their properties to pay the bills while Congress never pays the luxury tax and keep raiding the parking lot and community chest for extra dough. We pass go. We do not collect the 200 dollars, they do.

As straw men go, this one is pretty weak Mr. President. It's not like tax payers have been beating on Congress's door saying, "Spend more! Spend more! We know who we're working for!" Like his predecessor, he gets the bills congress passes. They write the bill. He signs the bill. We pay up the bill. It is very convenient.

He's right though, it's not monopoly money, it's ours. Even though both games are made in China, it's not like we can raid the Game of Life for more funds if we run out. This scenario is more like Wheel of Fortune and we landed on Bankrupt. In one year, we've added a third to our total national debt. I'm not sure we can afford much more of the current government's financial restraint. The government plans to pass health care and cap and trade is next and silently, they've raised the debt ceiling so they could borrow more. The president's "I feel your pain and that's why I'm scolding CEO's, banks and Congress." moment does not resonate a real thirst for fiscal thrift.

I sympathize that the problems the current leader of the land received upon taking office were not easy, but to lecture on how the government will be cutting coupons from now on is laughable given the current Congress's monopoly on power and the Executive's fetish for the high life.

The Presidency is supposed to be a symbolic office in addition to being an actual executive office. Let us examine the symbols we've seen. His wife wears 400$ sneakers. He feasts on Wagyu Kobe beef at 100$ a pound. His kids go to Sidwell, a $28,500 per kid per year school. This year, they Christmased in Hawaii at a place that costs more per day than Boardwalk or Park Place with hotels. Now it's okay that the first family wanted to go take a vacation and Hawaii even makes sense for their family; but they've had more than a few. Trips this year included a jaunt to China, Copenhagen, France, Germany, England, Cairo, the Virgin Islands and the pricey date night in New York plus those necessary democratic fundraisers that are scattered throughout the land. I didn't go to Harvard so maybe I'm missing the nuance, but these things do not seem to me like symbollic empathy with the poor, down trodden or economically struggling.

With 10% unemployment and 20% underemployment, 401K's that still offer little hope for a secure future, underwater mortgages, looming higher taxes on a federal and state level to make up the shortfall of projected income for new and reallocated spending, most people scaling back on even everyday things. Maybe he should you know, trim it back a bit, have the staff shop at Costco or use priceline to book his hotels and maybe occasionally order up some ground chuck or pasta for dinner.
Bo could switch from the gourmet can food to dry, just to underscore the "skin in the game" and sacrifical stewardship of the public trust and public funds the President feels those in government ought to be so concerned about.

Then he could say, he understands and that these tight economic times even affect his own family.

But for the rest of us taxpayers, we've got to keep rolling the dice and hope we can keep landing on Chance to get taken to a Railroad we own, Go or directly to jail, and that last one might be cheaper than even just visiting.

1 comment:

MightyMom said...

he's just one big game of Sorry!

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!