I know, we need LESS money!

The principles behind Paul Ryan’s recent budget proposal should be mandatory for personal finance too—at least for Republicans. Here’s the Cleaver family:

Ward: June, you know that cough I’ve been having?

June: You means the one that’s been leaving those nasty blood stains on the sheets? You ought to get that checked out, Ward.

Ward: I did. Doc Hibbert says I need x-rays and a CT scan!

June: So just do it, honey. Find out what it is.

Ward: Well there’s a little problem. We don’t have health insurance anymore. Mr. Burns decided our company’s profits weren’t high enough so he canceled health coverage. Now the hospital wont do anything unless I pay cash up front! And between our Middle-Eastern vacation cruise and buying that big pack of guard dogs, we’re in debt to our eyeballs. We can’t borrow another cent.

June: Come on, Ward, that cruise was fun (well except for the part when the Beaver fell off the mast and got a concussion) and we have to keep our home safe—the dogs are great at keeping the Mexican kids next door out of the yard. Wont your mom give us some money?

Ward: Now June, you know it takes everything she has to pay for her own rent and all her doctor visits.

June: So what are we going to do?

Ward: Well, I was looking at Paul Ryan’s budget proposal last night, and I realized we just have to do the same thing our Republican leaders suggest when the country doesn’t have enough money to pay its bills.

June: Invade someone? Well, I suppose we could use the dogs…

Ward: No! You know how the only answer to Obama’s deficit is to cut taxes?

June: Of course, dear.

Ward: Well, obviously then the answer to our family deficit is for us to cut our income! I’m going to ask Mr. Burns to immediately decrease my salary by 50%!

June: Oh, ok! So then we’ll qualify for the government Medicaid program! That’s my Ward, always one step ahead.

Ward: No, no! Newt says Medicaid is evil…besides, we’d still make too much to qualify.

June: So wait a minute. How does us taking in less money help the problem that we can’t afford to pay our bills?

Ward: It’s easy. Now, see, the way Paul Ryan explained it is my salary comes from Mr. Burns… So if I take less money from Mr. Burns, then he’ll have more!

June: Well, duh. And then we’ll have less and be in an even worse hole! How exactly does it help us to let Mr. Burns have more? He’s already the richest man in town.

Ward: Umm, let me think…It made sense when Paul explained it. Ah, it’s like this. Mr. Burns will have more money and then he’ll make a bigger factory and make even more money!

June: Ok…I’m waiting for the part where this helps the Cleaver household.

Ward: Well, if Mr. Burns makes enough money, then maybe someday he’ll give me back some of the pay cut I took! There, see!

June: So if Mr. Burns is feeling generous, someday years from now our income might just end up back where it started but minus the extra debt we need in the meantime to cover your salary cut (if we can borrow anything)? Hmm…Wouldn’t it be better just to ask Mr. Burns right now for a raise? Instead of a salary cut? I mean, you’re worth it, and we need the money to see about your chest problem now, not later. And don’t forget we have to take care of your mom.

Ward: Oh no, I wouldn’t dare ask for a raise. I couldn’t expect Mr. Burns to raise salaries. Then he wouldn’t have as much money. That wouldn’t be fair.

June: No, you’re right, that would make Mr. Burns very unhappy.  All right, go ahead with your salary cut. Mom probably doesn’t need all those doctor visits.  And since the Beaver hit his head, I’m sure he wont need college—maybe he can get a job mowing Mr. Burns’ lawn once the dogs finish chasing the Mexicans away. Plus, Rick Santorum does say that college is overrated, which he should know, since he went for so long. And let me take a look in the garage, there’re probably still a few things left to sell. Oh Ward, I’m so proud of you and Paul Ryan!


Goodness knows I, like the OWSers, protest enough about the current “system.” Outside of the 1%, is there anyone who is happy with the way things are? Not too many. So what to do? Well, the Tea partiers want to take us back to 19th century robber baron capitalism on the idea that…well it’s hard to say what the idea of that is. How about us progressives? Given that we are dealing with the well known cat-herding paradigm, almost by definition, there’s no progressive platform. But I bet that a good three quarters of us support something along the lines of the following. They’re in no particular order except that for any of them to happen, the first bullet of the first point must be done—elimination of private funding of politicians. Then, anything can happen.

I’ve left out the rationales for all the platform points, as it would take thousands of words and more patience than our readers possess. Feel free to add points and rationales.


  • Public financing of elections—no direct personal, or corporate (incl. lobbyist) contributions
  • Instant-runoff elections or other alternative voting methods which will encourage 3rd and 4th party candidates
  • Direct presidential election (eg, National Popular Vote movement)


  • Reinstate Glass-Steagall to re-separate investment banking and commercial banking
  • Increase regulation of derivatives (eg, credit default swaps), including requiring transparent pricing and increased capital reserve requirements
  • Increase regulation of rating agencies (eg, Moody’s, Standard and Poor)
  • Eliminate speculators from commodity trading
  • Regulate or eliminate computerized, high-frequency trading
  • Investigate and prosecute those who helped cause financial collapse
  • Break up financial institutions that are too big to fail


  • Remove all Bush tax cuts
  • Implement simpler tax code (including taxing hedge fund managers’ fees as regular income)
  • End tax breaks for moving jobs overseas


  • Medicare for all


  • Shift from fossil fuel (eg, coal, oil, methane) to renewable energy (eg, wind, water, solar, geothermal) within 18 yrs (“clean and green in 18”) by instituting a carbon tax and switching subsidies from oil companies and ethanol to renewable, non-carbon energy
  • Strengthen the EPA


  • No more foreign wars and entanglements
  • Cut military and spying spending by half


  • Stop domestic spying
  • Habeas corpus for all citizens
  • No more rendition and torture
  • End the drug war and repeal laws against other victimless crimes