Sunday, September 16, 2018

Econ 101

Let's talk about money.

I'll start with a question:  Why would anybody pay $52,000 for curtains?

Curtains?  Curtains???  Curtains are a piece of cloth in front of a window, right?  At least, that's what they are on MY planet.  So, unless you're curtaining the entire Taj Mahal, that would have to be some major fucking curtains.

The curtains in reference here are the ones in Nikki Haley's official Ambassador-to-the-United-Nations residence in New York.  To be fair, Ambassador Haley had no choice in either the residence or the curtains, both of which were the brainchildren of the previous administration.  Until recently, American ambassadors to the U.N. lived at the Waldorf Astoria.  (Oh, pardon moi, no tea today, Elizabeth.  I'm off to play the grand piano.)

Apparently, the curtains cost $52,000 because they are mechanized.  (Mechanized?)  

The rationale?

"All she's got is a part-time maid, and the ability to open and close the curtains quickly is important," sez Patrick Kennedy, top management official at the State Department during the Obama administration and acclaimed genius.  


No wonder Scott Pruitt and Ben Carson thought they were entitled to their feeding frenzy.  But, and this is pure conjecture on my part, I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of able-bodied people, rich or poor, can manage to muster the time and effort to open their own curtains.  Without a decline in quality-of-life.

(Or why not just spring for a full-time maid?  That way, the curtains get opened and closed without undue burden to the occupant, and somebody gets a steady and decent paying job.  Just a thought.)

I don't care who bought the curtains.  That's not the point. 

The point is I'm tired of listening to the words "million" and "billion" and "trillion" tossed around by politicians, oligarchs, and other forms of human leeches while the homeless have become a permanent fixture on our streets.  Something politicians, oligarchs, and human leeches might be left unaware of in the course of their $52,000 mechanized lives.

It's a global problem, to be sure.  Not an easy one to solve.  One person's luxury is another person's necessity, and where's the cut-off point?  (Python jackets.)  Does one forever eschew lipstick and venti lattes in order to better be one's brother's keeper?  (For a more in-depth, and thoroughly entertaining, discussion on the subject, read my book, Pass the Vodka, an Underemployed Reader's Companion, chapter 15, "Logical Extremes".)

So who am I to judge?  All I know is that the Washington Post has put the tab for the 2016 elections at 6.5 billion dollars.

And we sure didn't get much bang for the buck.

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