The Critical Mass

Roy Moore! Help is on the way!

Apparently, I’m told, I’ve earned millions of dollars over the course of my lifetime. I blew it all on booze, women and movies.

I was unaware of this reality until the past weekend, when the crusty Iowa senator, Charles Grassley, was explaining the Republicans’ new tax bill to the Des Moines Register. “I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing,” Grassley said. “As opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”

The estate tax applies only to the very, very rich. Like senators. That could have been me, or you. Maybe we could have been senators if we hadn’t spent every darn penny on booze or women or movies. And, without a worry in our world, we could have helped protect the very rich not only by eliminating the estate tax, but by creating a bill bursting with other benefits for rich people and corporations. A bill recognizing the people who matter, the people who are investing.

Today, half of Americans qualify as poor or low income. A situation that might not exist if they weren’t blowing their $7.25-an-hour, minimum-wage paychecks on food. Or blowing it on child care, which wouldn’t be a problem if women just stayed at home rather than worked. The rich folks’ investments in themselves will trickle down to those poor families, in due time. Like, never.

I’m lucky, I guess I’m middle class, if that means anything anymore. I must be making bad choices. Senator Grassley could rightly point to the $9,000 that I blew this fall on medical bills. Wouldn’t that money have been more-wisely invested in the stock market, rather throwing it away on my health, thanks to workplace medical-insurance coverage that was growing increasingly useless each year?

Yeah, the cost of living is a killer. It’s been more than a decade since my sporadic 1 percent raises kept up with life. Thankfully, I was laid off in September, so I don’t have to worry any more about my wages possibly undercutting the dividends of the company’s stockholders.

The movies, that’s a problem. The house needs painting. It’s probably an $8,000 job. It’ll be much easier on my mind tonight to go out and blow $8 on Three Billboards at The Little theater.

Booze, that’s a problem. I recently blew $500 on the 12-year-old car I drive. It has 230,000 miles on it. I could have bought 10 bottles of excellent scotch if it weren’t for those new brakes. Next time, I’ll make a better decision.

Perhaps help is on the way for those of us who show poor judgment. It looks like next week Roy Moore will be elected to the senate. The guy who was dating high-school girls when he was a 35-year-old man. Women? Especially underage ones? That’s not a problem in Alabama.

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