What Does Being Broke Mean

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

In this article at the LA Times (which I read in the paper copy of Hartford Courant), the authors quote from Rep. Tim Walberg, placing his quote in an argument frame:

Republicans argued Friday that Americans are willing to accept diminished social programs in return for a firmer fiscal standing.

“They understand in my district: We’re broke. If we don’t deal with this, we lose the social safety net,” said Rep. Tim Walberg, a Republican from a southern Michigan district that voted for Obama. “I think they’re ready.”

The often repeated “we’re broke” assertion is common from the GOP. But, again, the last time I was at Best Buy, numerous people were at the store making purchases. In fact, I saw a fifty inch television being squeezed into a minivan. This casual observation can be used as evidence to make a counter point to Mr. Walberg. Indeed, if a deficit were some measure of “brokenness,” then every country on the planet would be broke.

Broke in my estimation means that Best Buy would close and that every dealership in the country selling Subarus would be eating 100 percent inventory. Indeed, I also read in the Courant that our local gambling houses shared over 30 million dollars of booty with the state in the month of March, which means that people are somehow finding plenty of money for slot play.

One of the ironies of the “we’re broke” meme is the implication by Walberg that the social safety net is something he’s actually concerned with. If this were so, then it would stand to reason that Congresspeople like Walberg would be promoting policies that boost the living wage and augment cultural investment.


2 responses to “What Does Being Broke Mean”

  1. gibb says:

    Not sure how you are connecting a handful of shoppers at Best Buy (who are lucky enough to have jobs and cash or credit to be there) with the government. Millions of Americans cannot go to Best Buy, and a few can afford to buy the company itself. That has little to do with the government, who depends on their own resources and bear a responsibility to cover certain expenses. If all Americans were employed and had enough money to buy big screen TVs, maybe it would affect the government’s position via taxation so they too, could go wild at Big Buy. But they’ve used their credit card (as many individuals have as well) and they’re not getting in the bucks they need to cover their expenses, just as when an individual loses his source of income and can’t go shopping. And there are oodles and oodles of folk in this position right now.

    When you state that it would stand to reason that Congresspeople would promote policies etc. if there truly were a problem, you’re assuming that Congresspeople use reason, when it would seem that political positioning is the much greater influence.

  2. Steve says:

    I wouldn’t characterize it as a handfull. It was a mob. But that’s not really my point.