Debate Forum Left, 8/9/11

$14 trillion for the Corvette

By Benjamin Tompkins

Benjamin Tomkins

I’m in California right now. My deadline for this article is 9 a.m. EST. It’s currently 3 a.m. PST. Why am I writing this now instead of four days ago when I had plenty of time? Because nobody does anything until they have to. Ever. Except for my dad, who had been planning his retirement since puberty.

Congress is not my dad and thank crap for that. Otherwise, the debt reduction plan would involve killing anyone who comes within 50 miles of him when he’s driving and selling everyone else to China to repay our loans, except for one lonely greens keeper and the guy who helps him troubleshoot his aquarium.

Seriously though, and for the love of God, be honest for two seconds and ask yourself if you actually thought Congress was going to let everything stop. Of course you didn’t.  Not even Greece thought that and they have to buy air on credit. Congress bitched and squealed at each other with their pink little piggy snouts, making unreasonable demands based on non-functionally ludicrous extremes designed to polarize the electorate in preparation for 2012, and at the last possible second they “miraculously” hammered out a quickie fix to get everybody through the election with a reasonable degree of breathing space. They bloody do this every time there’s a deadline-based issue because it’s usually pretty clear what’s going to have to happen at the outset, and therefore they are free to spend the rest of the time puffing out their chests and bellowing shallow partisan nonsense at each other like bunch of drunk, college-aged baboons taking turns vomiting into a toilet bowl. Why? Because that’s how politics works, duh.

So who won and who lost? Well, I’m going to go out on a limb here and forward a political philosophy, which has been sorely lacking since this teabag gargling nonsense finally went DVDA (Google it … I absolutely cannot explain DVDA in print).

Follow me for a second and keep an open mind.

There is a certain brand of person in this country who views our government as an adversarial entity, which desires to steal our money and crush our constitutional rights in order to control us. They view the government as not only bad but inherently dangerous, because they read Jefferson and think that there is still some truth to the fear that an unchecked government will quickly revert back to an 18th century totalitarian English dictatorship, which wants nothing more than to corruptly subjugate its citizens in order to maintain its hold on power and line the pockets of the ruling class. Let’s call them “Tea Party Republicans.”

These people are stupid for the following reasons. This list is by no means comprehensive.

1. Our government is not in danger of becoming a dictatorship. The people who run our government have to live here too. Their kids go to school here, they enjoy the protection of the Bill of Rights, and nobody wants to be North Korea.

2. Members of Congress don’t profit off raising taxes. On the contrary, they use that cash to do nice things for us to buy our votes. It’s not lining their pockets and it doesn’t funnel back to the king’s personal expense account.

3. And this is key. Politicians are ultimately puppets of popular opinion. They have no reason to oppress and harm voters, because then they won’t get elected.

Think about it. A politician will do just about anything we want if they think we’ll vote for them. For instance, asking our politicians to buy things for us we can’t afford is how we got into this debt crisis in the first place. We want the Barbie Corvette, but we’re broke. Rather than accept it, we demand our politicians get it anyway and do so without raising our taxes, or we threaten their political future. Strangely, the Barbie Corvette always shows up despite a conspicuous lack of cash.

I’m sorry, but if the price of your vote is an impossible, infantile demand like “repay our debt but don’t raise taxes,” you’re inviting politicians to lie to you. I mean seriously, what do you expect?  If a politician who said that was rewarded with political failure by a pragmatic, well-educated American public that wanted its problems solved rather than have its soft belly fur stroked with absurd fiscal delusions, they wouldn’t bother.

Look, politicians are a reflection of us, as is our nation’s debt. If Congress racks up debt, it’s because we let them. If they lie to us about how to fix the problem, it’s because we are lying to ourselves about how to fix the problem.  It belongs to us, and it’s about time we as individual citizens accept ownership of our issues. Ultimately, the real winners or losers are us.

Benjamin Tompkins is a violinist, teacher, journalist, and critically acclaimed composer currently living in Denver, Colo. He hates stupidity, and generally believes that the volume of one’s voice is inversely proportional to one’s knowledge of the issue. Reach Ben Tompkins at

Ben Tomkins is a violinist, teacher, journalist and critically acclaimed composer currently living in Denver, Colorado. He hates stupidity and generally believes that the volume of one’s voice is inversely proportional to one’s knowledge of an issue. Reach Ben Tomkins at

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