“A Little Mick-turation”

Note to Mick Mulvaney: it’s the President who has reading issues, not us. Sometimes the hardest part about reading Republican policies is trying to decide if the authors are stupid or if they think *we’re* stupid.

Anyone wanna guess how many friends Mick Mulvaney had as a child? Wait, you can’t ALL answer zero. Ok fine. Put your hands down…

Actually you’re all wrong. The answer was one. Mick Mulvaney had one friend as a child. It was a rat. He didn’t know it was a rat at first, he thought it was an old shoe. He picked it up thinking “great, something that won’t reject me”, and then the shoe turned out to be a rat and bit him. Hard, because that’s the only way Mick Mulvaney deserves to be bitten. Mick bled quite a lot, got sick and had to get shots, but he kept visiting the rat anyway because he liked the attention and the rat in turn taught him everything he knew about federal budgets…

Ok you’re right. Sorry Mick. It was mean-spirited to imply you learned everything you know about budgeting from a rat. That was a low blow. But I don’t know that it’s inaccurate.

First rule of budgeting like a rat: bite everything and everyone possible, including the hands that feed you.

I kinda want to challenge Mick Mulvaney to a fight. I don’t actually want to fight him because that’s stupid and anybody who puts out a budget like that is probably a mean ole’ cuss. I still want to challenge him to a fight anyway. If only to inconvenience him by making him take off his blazer and undo his cufflinks. I will throw down a smoke bomb and disappear as soon as he takes off the cufflinks just to be an ass. It was never really about the fight, Mick. You just shouldn’t be that mean to poor people while wearing cufflinks. Jesus. What kind of tone-deaf karaoke hog do you have to be to wear cufflinks as a federal employee while excitedly announcing insanely aggressive cuts to things people you pledged to serve depend on? I suppose you moonlight shutting down homeless shelters with a cigarette holder in your mouth.

It’s so adorable when people like Mick Mulvaney try to pick and choose which parts of the government matter, and by extension which Americans matter. This entire “taxpayer first” idea for a budget is ludicrous. He was at the podium yesterday bragging about how this type of budget has never been proposed before. This type of budget has never been proposed before because it’s a hella stupid idea.

No one asks individual patrons what items they unilaterally think are good offerings for a buffet. The management of the buffet has the big picture and knows what offerings are needed to please the most people and keep the buffet running financially. The management takes the input of all the patrons, if only passively by keeping an eye on what they do and don’t run out of. Popular demand can shape the buffet offerings, but not individual patrons. It’s problematic when individual people start trying to itemize their buffet experience, slashing stuff they “wouldn’t feel good asking other patrons to pay for”. No one cares if Mick Mulvaney doesn’t get the point of the jello. A lot of people come here just for the jello so the jello’s staying. If you don’t like the jello, then just don’t eat the jello. Or don’t come to the buffet. Go somewhere else. The answer is not to close the buffet or aggressively cut a bunch of stuff based on your individual whim. Similarly, if you go to a buffet, especially if you go in a group, you all pay similarly for access to the whole buffet; you don’t get charged any less because you individually were only interested in the pickle bar. Thanks for your feedback but since you fundamentally don’t understand how buffets work, how about those of us who do understand buffets worry about the buffet and you worry about sitting down and choking back that pickle.

Sorry. I descended into a pretty deep metaphorical rabbit hole there. This dude makes me mad. Did I really challenge Mick Mulvaney to a fight a few paragraphs ago? A fight I know I’d lose? Is this what it’s like to be Alex Jones? God I feel so alive…

That buffet analogy was a historic moment for me by the way. That’s the first time I as a black can remember ever getting to tell someone else if they don’t like this country then *they* can leave. Someone get me a cigarette. Or at least one of those church mints that have been at the bottom of someone’s purse for a really long time. I miss my Grandma.

A “taxpayer first” mindset is silly because. means that the government will now prioritize how the theoretical individual taxpayer feels over the actual real problem-solving needs and agenda of government or the populace at-large. Of course the “theoretical” individual taxpayer is really just Mick Mulvaney. If Mick Mulvaney wouldn’t be excited paying for the arts, my guess is his prototypical taxpayer to whom he’s “trying to show compassion” wouldn’t be excited paying the arts either. Looks like the two minds are unanimous. Look at that, finally a style of governance that makes sense to Mick Mulvaney.

Never mind that the only reason any taxpayers have dollars to pay taxes with is at all is because the government provides us with a relatively safe, stable society, a regulated commercial market so we can both earn a living and be shielded from preventable injury as workers and consumers, courts to settle our disputes, arts to inspire us, schools to educate us, weather systems to warn us, and medical and welfare systems to tend to our sick, our poor and our disabled. Mick Mulvaney thinks it’s unkind to ask the American people to pay for that stuff so I guess it’s got to go. Thanks for showing us the error of our ways Mick, what a pal. While we’re being pals I wanted to alert you to a spelling error; your name actually starts with a ‘D’.

You’re right. In comedy terms, “your name actually starts with a ‘D’” is some pretty low-hanging fruit. But then when have any of us ever asked “hey, exactly how low was this fruit hanging?… I only eat the high stuff.” The fruit may be low-hanging, but then so are the balls of the informed old people who might not be able to eat because of Mick Mulvaney. I’m not done with you Mick. You’re in the title today sir, and not because it’s your birthday. I don’t actually know when your birthday is. But Happy Birthday whenever it is. Consider this flogging part of your Birthday licks.

Our shared contributions and consent make government and society possible, but the government paid for by our taxes makes all of our non-barbaric conveniences and our lives as we know it possible. God forbid people should pay for what makes their lives possible. God forbid the Party of Christianity not only double down on abject cruelty but forget that even Jesus himself said we are to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”

If you prioritize an budget based primarily on theoretically stingy individual taxpayers versus what is actually needed to solve real problems and govern, the budget will head towards a drafting and negotiating zone where people will only feel good about paying taxes for things they personally see a benefit from. Not even necessarily things they benefit from. Things they *notice* themselves benefitting from. Things they *care* about benefitting from. Knock-on-wood, I’ve never needed a fire truck or an emergency helicopter before. Think I’d opt to pay for one if it was left just up to me? I’m scared to death of American cops, because American cops seem to keep getting away with killing people like me over and over again. Think I’d opt to pay for cops if it was left up to me? Such a narrow metric cannot make for sound budgetary philosophy. Most people didn’t even realize how much their lives were helped by Obamacare until they elected people who were actually serious about repealing it. There are a lot of taxpayers who actively enjoy the bliss of ignorance. They work hard to maintain that ignorance. I have nothing but love for them because I love a fun weekend as much as the next person, but I’m not sure we want to live in a society at the mercy of a Freedom Caucuser’s poorly informed tax priorities.

Under a “taxpayer first” mindset, even indisputable public goods like helping others had better show returns fast in the form of statistical progress or the programs will be cut. Like we’re shareholders forcing the board of directors to change leadership after a bad quarter. That’s not how we treat human beings. That’s not how you evaluate after school programs, K-12 programs, meals on wheels, medical research, the arts, or welfare programs. Even if you’re not the charitable type, helping others is a great way to secure domestic tranquility. Those we turn our backs on today may be in our faces with a pistol tomorrow. Or in the morgue. The morgue is extremely likely. As is increased social decay. It may be innocent strangers who have that date with destiny. It may be our own loved ones. What the hell is wrong with people that we’ve lost sight of these causalities, and casualties?

The Office of Management and Budget under Mick Mulvaney says it wants to pass off as much of governing as possible to the states. But most states have balanced budget amendments, meaning they are legally required to balance their budget. Deficit spending is not an option for them. Which means they are going to either have to cut aspects of governing shed from the federal umbrella or raise taxes at the state level. So the American taxpayer wouldn’t really be getting much savings, unless they want to part with aspects of governance that sustain the general welfare as we know it.

One could almost make a “same difference” argument for leaving such governance to the states. Except with decentralized control, each state would then have build up its own personnel and administrative infrastructure to replace a government program that used to be run by the federal government. The states can barely handle issuing drivers licenses and agreeing on what drivers should do in the left lane, we’re supposed to believe they have the fiscal firepower to compete with the federal government? A poor, undereducated state like Alabama is seriously going to do a better job with K-12 programs than Washington where so many of the lifelong professionals and administrative organization are already in place?

Not only would resultant programs and services be unwieldy and unpredictable from state to state, and subject to states discriminatory preferences (religious freedom, anyone?), the added costs of the redundant administrative infrastructure in every state would end up costing taxpayers more. Percentage-wise the increased taxes or loss of services will hit average Americans significantly harder than they are hit right now. Unless of course you’re in the top tax bracket. You’ll be fine. In fact, you’ll be better than ever.

I know that government as-is is in an unsustainable budgetary spiral, that if we don’t pull up we will end up like Greece. We do have to be smarter with our spending and leaner in our governing to avoid becoming Greece. The national debt is not a game, and spending in the Obama era was not a joke. But it wasn’t just out-of-hand spending that made Greece’s financial situation so precarious. It was also ham-handed austerity measures that victimized the populace and growth when they were hurting most. If we want to avoid Greece’s fate, we’re gonna have to play smarter.

Common sense is common for a reason. It’s an intuitive reasoning ability that has had a hand in the survival and success of human beings since we first stood upright and started making tools to survive and better ourselves. Few humans last long much less thrive once they abandon common sense for sweet sounding or contrarian folly. Topped perhaps only by opposable thumbs, common sense and deductive reasoning might be our most treasured evolutionary inheritance. Don’t let Mick Mulvaney use his slick, slightly-annoyed-timeshare-salesman shtick to talk you out of yours. That’s how suckers are made.