Saturday, November 06, 2004

Getting Rid of the Good Life

When you’re up against it, you sell up. That’s where we are today. Our government is selling everything. Nothing is too special to get rid of. They’ve tacked the flyers up all over the neighborhood, they’ve dragged the stuff out onto the yard and marked everything cheap so it will sell, because we need the money. They’ve told us we can’t afford the life we’re accustomed to, so they’re selling it. Republicans are very practical people. We paid for this good life, but that doesn’t mean we get to keep it.

Public Libraries are a burden on the public purse. Some people need public transit, but not me. Public Health professionals cost money we don’t have. If you don’t have Special Needs why should you pay for those who do? When did the city parks ever make anyone a profit? Maybe we could sell our boulevard trees to a timber company. It’ll save raking in the fall. Isn’t it wiser to sell these things?

Two potential buyers have their eyes on Yosemite. One of them owns amusement parks. The other just wants it so he can put his name on it and charge admission. A gas company wants to buy most of Utah (but if he’s nice to the cashier he might be able to tap it for free instead). Lots of people want to buy the National Forests. Nobody wants to pay very much, but who can afford to let trees just stand around? Not us.

I’ve heard somebody’s offering a lot of money for the Great Lakes. Should we sell? Maybe we better.

The public schools are for sale. Cheap. There are lots of entrepreneurs who know better than us how to turn out better, more obedient workers. More students per class means higher productivity, doesn’t it? Of course, like anyone looking for a bargain, they’re turning up their noses at the goods, saying the schools are lousy. They still want the franchise. Everybody has to go to school. Why should we own when we can rent? The schools will look a lot better when they belong to somebody else. We’ll pay top prices then.

We can’t afford Medicare, so the Republicans are selling that too. There are two or three humongous health care companies looking to buy it, then they’ll sell it back to us. Buy low, sell high—that’s why they’re rich and we’re not. When it’s a matter of life and death, some shrewd operator ought to be able to make a killing. Got medicine? How much are you willing to pay? How much do you hurt? Our tax dollars paid for the research for many of the new drugs, so actually we’ll get to buy them twice.

Congress is for sale. Did it ever really belong to us? We chose them, we sent them there, we paid them, we thought they were ours. But other people, big companies, people who own big companies, the heirs of people who own big companies, the lobbyists representing all these moneyed interests, all have more money to spend, and money talks. We can’t afford Congress; these other people can. Did we really need it? If we can’t pay more do we deserve it?

The Republicans tell us government is a wasteful luxury. They should know wasteful luxuries better than anyone. How many of these governmental agencies did we ever really use? Do you remember what they’re for? Do we really need a Small Business Administration? It’s more efficient to hand out help to fewer larger companies. Take FDA, EPA, FEMA, the SEC, the FERC. (Please.) Do you have the time to take advantage of them? I know people who do. When’s the last time a broadcaster acted like the airwaves belonged to us? Sell them. What about the FCC? Did I ever tell you the one about the Fox who saved up his money and bought a henhouse? The egg supply went down very quickly.

Yard sales are such fun. Such bargains.

Social Security is for sale. Cheap. The demand will be very high in a few years; somebody should be able to make serious money. Only super unlucky people really need Social Security, and we’re really lucky so we won’t need it. Hope the buyers don’t look inside. Before that sharp-eyed Republican put the price on it, he took a lot of the parts out. Selling the insides helped buy a lot of other things we never wanted or needed, and never asked for. Boondoggles: fancy office parks in special Republican districts, fancy ray-guns that can’t hit anything, a lot of real estate in Iraq. That’s for sale, too. It looks broken to me. I wouldn’t buy it.

The C.I.A. is for sale. No surprise there. It’s very used. I understand the current owner installed all of the conclusions for you, so no thinking is necessary. Once it’s run like a real business they’ll do a much better job of telling the President what he likes to hear.

National Defense is for sale. A lot of it was sold to a Mr. and Mrs. Halliburton a few years ago, and they do very nicely with it. Protecting America abroad by paying lavish executive compensation into offshore bank accounts. There is profit in defense. Profit is the whole point, isn’t it? The soldiers wish they got fed better and on time, but soldiers always complain. Sometimes they run out of bullets and body armor, but business is business. Does a for-profit military win more wars more quickly? Will for-profit cops catch more crooks?

Smart entrepreneurs could convert fire departments into profit centers: you’d be glad to pay them anything to save your house and belongings once they’re on fire. Maybe they’ll install a coin slot on the sides of fire engines. "Pay as you go" was a stupid idea when John Kerry said it, but now that the old regime has won the election it is definitely the idea of the moment, especially if ordinary people like us are the ones paying. Why should we keep our hand in?

The Republicans are selling our good life, bit by bit. Outsourcing it. Privatizing it. Profitizing it. Or shutting it. What doesn’t sell will be folded up and given away. We’re already giving a lot of things away almost for free. Which is good for the people who are buying, and most of them are Republicans. These things weren’t free when we bought them. How did we ever afford it all in the first place? We managed, I guess. Some of the fees we will pay instead are just as high or higher. When everybody paid their taxes, didn’t it cover the good things we decided we needed? And weren’t most of these things smart things to have? Were they really luxuries? Where is all the money going now? Will the selling price pay our debts? Who is really profiting from this yard sale? Is it too late to think about that now? If we change our minds we can always buy these things back. I’m sure they’ll cost a lot more then.


Blogger Mr. Natural said...

Hey pasquino. I came over from freeway blogger...mind if I blog this post? Thanks, I think it worth sharing...of COURSE it all is...anyway, thank you.

12:55 PM  

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