Congressman for a Day

Spending money is fun - especially someone else's!

As all too many Americans have discovered in recent years, one job just isn't enough to support a family in the style to which it would like to become accustomed.  Your humble correspondent holds two paying positions, does consulting on the side, and also participates in a small real-estate investment business.

Which is actually a good business to be in these days with prices as depressed as Americans are, if you can get your hands on the necessary capital - but that's a topic for another article.  Instead, a recent aspect of this business venture sheds light on why Congressmen are they way they are - that is, venal, self-centered wasters of the public funds, if not out-and-out thieves.

Spending Money Is Fun

Not being to the manor born, I've never had the pleasure of "just going shopping."  Of course I do go shopping, and I enjoy it; but always with a purpose and at least a vague budget.  I cannot afford to "just go" and spend whatever I please on whatever strikes my fancy.

The very rich can; anyone who watched the famous documentary Living with Michael Jackson will recall Mr. Jackson burning through astronomical amounts of money on Las Vegas shopping sprees, ordering many items that that he may never have even seen again.  Or perhaps he did; he certainly enjoyed the delights of his Neverland ranch, and "got his money's worth" out of his purchases in a way.

Must be nice!

Anyway, my investment company had need of furnishing and equipping an investment house, so I got to go shopping.  The Christmas season is a perfect time to do this, since everything's on sale somewhere.  I had a long, long list, a company credit card, and a budget - though, of course, the mantra was "as inexpensive as reasonably possible" which merely added to the intellectual challenge.

Every way to buy, I did.  Online, from vendors large and small; in department stores, big-box stores, and little corner stores; on the phone haggling with manufacturers.  I enjoyed every minute of it, and the card is now as worn as Paris Hilton's.

In fact, I probably spent more on consumer goods in a week or two, than I do personally in several years.  Cram several years' buying pleasure into a short time and the feeling is intense.

Spending Other People's Money Is Even More Fun

Do I enjoy doing my own shopping?  Of course I do.  At the same time, there is that gnawing fear of the pending credit-card bill, or the challenge of replacing the bills I'm taking from my wallet.

Logically, the company spending was my money - after all, I'm also an investor and thus a part owner.  Psychologically, though, the difference is massive, and the relief palpable.  The money is available, allocated and budgeted for the purpose, and the projections indicate a more than adequate ROI - and even if not, the investment is already spent money from the point of view of my personal finances.  That fretting is long since over.

So consider the intoxicating glee of being a Congressman!  Our politicians spend sums that Michael Jackson could only dream of - and ordinarily, they need not concern themselves at all with where to find more.  A million here, a billion there, now we're in the trillions, and who cares?

Well, We the People care - but except for once every two years, we don't count.  For most of our elites, the spending is on someone else's limitless credit card, but the pleasure is all theirs.

Do I spend my own money wisely?  I certainly try to.  Did I spend the company's money efficiently?  I can honestly say I did my best.

Can Congress say the same?  Hah!

I bet, though, they have even more fun doing it than I did.  Maybe I should run for office?

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Economics.
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