A view into the abyss from outside and inside...
While we’re on the subject of absurdity...
The always-clever, but unfortunately insightful, Gail Collins on how stupid US politicians are.
This is not a rant, rather merely an observation...
Many discussions, arguments, and riots have been in progress in various countries, states, and towns because of attempts to reduce government size and spending. Have you noticed that most, if not all, cuts seem to be to programs that deal with providing basices services or helping folks at the bottom of pile? No talk ever crosses anyone’s lips about reducing numbers, salaries, and benefits of politicians and bureaucrats (best example: those of British royalty). Or wasteful spending on unnecessary projects, bribing foreign countries, or inflated military budgets. In the age of growing wealth disparity, fairness is something that has disappeared from the language as well as practice. For some reason, the gene driving greed is far greater than the one which promotes generosity.
(Once again for the record, I am not a communist or a socialist: terms most cannot properly define, but are able to use slurs.)
Governments continue to complain about lack of funds for hospitals, schools, or police. But...
Have you noticed that money is always available after a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, flood, or tornado?
Something does not add up...or does it?
Budgeting is always a game, whether for a family or a corporation. When politics enter the equation, budgeting becomes like trying to run a marathon on rubber stilts.
Many years ago, I joined a troubled company and became responsible for a large budget, which played a role in the fortunes of a global brand. My first task was to cut expenses...and that’s where the battles began. People live very well in the past, thus cannot understand what the future might bring...even with no money. Fiefdoms are fiercely defended, because people can see only their backyard and not the good of the company/organization or--in the case of politicians--the country. Foolish cuts are often made to important expenses, because they are easy, as opposed to effective cuts. Rational thought is rare when defending a budget consisting of money which belongs to the company, not the person responsible for the budget.
If anyone saw the movie, Dave, you might recall the small-town accountant brought to the White House to “fix” the budget. Without constraints of politics, common sense found easy solutions. Unfortunately, real life seldom--if the case of politics, never--runs on common sense...
I recall learning that the Soviet Union collapsed from over-spending on military hardware, as opposed to building society and infrastructure. The USSR was destroyed from the top by foolish and misguided decisions by ignorant, arrogant, and paranoid men. Some of this is understandable, if you study history (especially the Stalin years). By the way, they never cut back on education!
A recent program on Russia Today, the foreign language news channel, contrasted the declining infrastructure, rising unemployment, and ballooning government deficits with the ever-increasing defense spending in the United States. I detected no note of schadenfreude, merely presenting of facts. I realize that RT likes to point out weaknesses in the United States. State television did the same thing during the communist reign. RT reports what is permitted about Russia and never criticizes the Russian government. (Still, they are usually more objective than Fox News).
Back to my point: Can the same fate await the United States? Will incorrect budget decisions about military spending lead to the further demise of a once-great nation? Signs point in that direction. But, the military industrial complex, which Eisenhower warned about, is doing nicely and earning some people a whole bunch of money.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.