Rabbitbrush Rambler: The Year of the Pig

For a lot of peons like me, the best way to keep my expenses in order, especially because I’m not rich, is with a budget. So during the holidays, I worked on mine for 2019, in hopes that I’ll stick to it in the Year of the Pig more successfully than the one for the Year of the Dog, which suffered some from fleas and ticks, but it was better than having none at all.

Each year a zodiac assures Chinese people to trust that they will enjoy good luck, but I’m neither Chinese nor one to put faith in the alignment of stars. So, folks, I’m telling you now, flat out, from experience, that there is no lucky Pig and no Santa Claus, and the North Pole with its elves is melting fast, too, so you had better make a budget and stick to it.

It’s not hard to figure out where the rich Americans put their trust. Wall Street and political power. Without waiting for the Pig to bestow its largesse, the top one percent is already wallowing in the tax cut bestowed by Congress in 2018.

It says a lot, too, about the administration in Washington, except for those who didn’t resign, retire, or get fired. The ones still left in the sty got fatter.

No news at all from the White House was the best news, which indicated that the Twitterer-in-Chief was playing golf at one of his numerous resorts. In fact, silence on Capitol Hill would be golden, too, if congressmen spent more time on golf courses. As it is, they spend so much time braying and trumpeting, wrangling and devising ways to spread the pork, they can’t get a proscribed task like a budget passed.

But some good news is that while they are out playing golf, they can’t be spending the public money that’s printed with red ink. In contrast to their usual modus operandi, my budget admonishes me that if I don’t have enough money to buy something, I can’t buy it. Period.

Our federal government, meaning you and I and our grandchildren, now owes more than 21 trillion dollars and pays billions of interest on the debt annually to creditors. We pay enough interest on the debt to run some nations.

Our largest foreign creditor is China, followed by Japan and a surprising list of other money lenders.     Such facts are worth remembering when our government’s representatives feel tempted to bully others while we are, in fact, hostages.

What’s a budget? Well, it’s just a way to keep income in balance with expenditures so that creditors won’t come knocking on your door. Which probably is in hock too.

Based on what I knew in ordinary homes like mine a few generations ago, the men were the breadwinners, from Rockefellers to steelworkers, and the women controlled the cash for household necessities, often with a strict budget for them. That’s how the mothers I knew did it anyway until they got credit cards and lost their self-control with impulse shopping at the mall, and now on the Internet, too.

Today men, women, and kids, too, have credit cards for expenditures, so they should keep track of charges posted by business places. Now it’s easy for card holders to keep track of details such as who is doing what on which card. It all multiplies until, whammo!, one sad day you find yourself with thousands of dollars of debt and no means to pay it off. 

The itemizations of expenses in my own annual budget (and on my credit card) would seem laughable to more prosperous people, but there is no red ink or creditors at the end of the year, by gum. Although I might fudge a bit sometimes when posting expenditures to the various categories.

The New Year’s Eve celebration? Let’s see now. Does that get charged to 2018 or 2019 in the budget?