Maybe you heard the US didn’t default on its debt obligations last week. Isn't that nice? What a responsible and ordinary thing to do. Although I am glad my ridiculous country didn’t tank large swaths of the global economic system, it hardly seems like something worth celebrating. The only good thing I can say about the deal is the complete suspension of the limit until 2025. At least we have a year and a half reprieve before we will need to re-experience this particular madness again.
The rest of the deal gives me heartburn. The spending priorities contained within its pages are completely absurd. For starters, theres a freeze on all non-defense spending. Why the hell are we spending so much on defense? We’re not actively at war. We’re not really participating in anybody else’s war. We have peaceful geographic neighbors. Apparently we are preparing for some potential future battle.
Meanwhile, in the here and now we have people without housing or who live in places where the going wage is not enough to survive on. We have people with good-paying jobs who can’t enjoy a commensurate quality of life because they are buried under high-interest student debt. And we have people dying needlessly because they can’t afford life-saving medication while medical debt remains the most common reason people file for bankruptcy.
Clearly our national leaders have their priorities out of order. Which is not a total surprise since the vast majority of congressional members are way out of touch with what it’s like to actually live in this country as a regular, non-wealthy, wage-earning person. There are a frightening number of people in congress who don’t think every human being deserves access to medical care, education, housing, and food. At this rate we’re going to have the world’s most massive military ready to defend a country full of unemployed, uneducated, sick and dying citizens.
Anytime budget priorities and allocation are discussed it’s quite clear conservatives in Congress want to eliminate social programs altogether. Despite the constituents in conservative states using those programs at high rates. Conservative lawmakers advocate for less funding allocated to those programs and more stringent requirements to access assistance. My question is always: to what end? What are they hoping to accomplish? All those restrictions do is make life even more difficult for people who are already suffering. It’s asinine to punish people for accessing the assistance specifically designed to mitigate the circumstances they are experiencing.
What we should be doing is making the social safetynet more plentiful and easier to access. If we did that, people would experience fewer crises and overall need the system less. Look what happened during the pandemic - millions of people received extra unemployment each week (more than they made from their regular minimum wage jobs) and you know what happened? People started businesses. People hired contractors to make repairs and improvements to their homes. People took classes and learned new skills. People did what people do when they have access to resources. They used those resources to make something.
The tight-fisted stewards of federal funding are willing to cut off our collective financial nose to spite our financial face. Republicans didn’t want to fund the IRS (the organization who brings in the money). They also recalled the unspent Covid funds, even though it would probably do more good to allocate them toward covering the next vaccine. It’s all part of this misconception that numbers are more important than people. That productivity can somehow save us from total collapse or unwind all the problems we’ve been causing ourselves for centuries. But just as quantitative metrics are not the best way to measure productivity in the workplace, GDP and other numerical measures are far from the best way to measure how we’re doing as a nation. It’s the human condition that matters.
What’s the point of financial security if it’s derived from the suffering and exploitation of others? That's not stability. That's a facade. And it's not sustainable. This is the same problematic territorialism in some advocacy organizations who actively oppose rights for other marginalized groups. Like the feminist organizations who excluded black women from their ranks. Or the gay organizations who threw trans folks under the bus of public opinion.
It’s perfectly fine to want a space for a subset of humans who share a particular life experience with you where you can just exist or find community and camaraderie. And it’s perfectly fine to create that space to the exclusion of other people who don’t share that similar life experience. It’s not okay to pretend those spaces are more broadly inclusionary than they are. Ignoring or invalidating the experience of others doesn’t further the cause of liberty for anybody.
Just like all the “women’s organizations" excluding trans women because they are not "real" women. There are almost as many ways to be a woman as there are women. No one subset of women has the right to define womanhood for everybody else or set some arbitrary standard by which all other women are measured. The patriarchy shouldn’t get to decide what womanhood is, which is what women everywhere have been fighting against for centuries. So why should we police what it means for each other? What does that accomplish? Only more discrimination and bigotry. I want more liberty instead.
Information and Inspiration
Jaydra is a human in-process, working to make the world a better place. Sharing thoughts, feelings, and observations about the human experience.