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Booth or Consequences

The mid-term elections are upon us, and as anyone who’s ever crammed for mid-terms knows, those drugs can make you pretty crazy. But the myriad of borderline-insane candidates clamoring for your attention with less dignity than a diaper-soiled baby chimp can at least agree on one issue: it’s all about MONEY. Spending it. Having it. Making it. And most important, keeping it out of the hands of those who really need it.

But HOW these anti-government/pro-insanity candidates feel seems to depend on WHO is doing the Spending, Having, Making: in Nevada, ads for the Tea Party candidate who can’t tell her Latinos from her Asians, Sharron Angle, condemn incumbent sleepyhead Harry Reid for HAVING too much money while you’re just trying to make ends meet! Which might resonate more if those same home-spun rich-haters didn’t also want you to vote for mega-millionaire sisters in soullessness Meg and Carly—because having made all that money in corporate America means they know how to make great fiscal decisions, like spending more than $140 million of your own money for a job that pays $212,000 a year.

And who’s done more reckless SPENDING of our grandchildren’s money than our current profligate president, burning through cash quicker than a drunken sailor on shore leave during Buy One Get One Free night at a whore house? Well, for one, our last president, who spent over a trillion dollars on two full-priced wars, another $700 billion to bail out a financial system born without an embarrassment gene, left office with a $1.4 trillion dollar deficit, and took all the towels.

But the blustery electioneering against spendthrift President Obama ignores the fact that his nearly $800 billion economic stimulus—40% of it hard-fought Republican tax cuts to help guard against a sudden influx of revenue—was made necessary not by his personal agenda to build grandma-killing factories in every state (that proposal was “revenue neutral”), but by the cratering of our national economy before he took office. Instead of rational anger at the previous administration for the giant hole it threw us all into, these loony baggers of tea have directed their outrage against the guy who apparently spent too much on rope to get us out.

Yet those same irate candidates, and the patriotic sign-wavers made so crazy by government splurging that it impairs their ability to spell, somehow think it’s vital to our nation’s survival to extend the Bush tax cuts to those MAKING the most money, America’s top 2% (basic math: 98% of Americans unaffected). The cost: $700 billion, within dunking distance of the $800 billion that got their tea bags in a bunch in the first place.

But wait! They have a solution to pay for it: cut back on “entitlements,” like health care for children, benefits for veterans, Social Security for the elderly and Medicare for the infirm. Oh, and reduce or eliminate the minimum wage for our poorest deadbeats, unskilled labor. And somehow, these frugal freedom fighters see themselves as champions of the beleaguered taxpayer just struggling to stay alive and keep his family together long enough to attend church and someday expire peacefully without government interference, like shelter and medicine.

Most of the loose cannon candidates no one had ever heard of a year ago can thank the goddess of the Tea Party movementSarah Palin, for anointing them with the slick oil of her folksiness and her snappy speechifyin' about "freedom" and "liberty" and the "liberty of freedom." If hypocrisy had a grinning, bespectacled face it would belong to everywoman Palin, who quit her job in public service to enrich herself to the tune of millions of dollars. Because that’s what our Founding Fathers would have wanted. 

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A Modest Proposal for a film by Kurt Engfehr and Ken Pisani.
2006 Ken Pisani and Kurt Engfehr.  All rights reserved.
All "Blogging Poorly" posts  Ken Pisani.