The Million Dollar Question

Early in life I realized there was more to life than how much money I could make.  I didn’t receive a great deal of pleasure from shopping or acquiring stuff, so a minimalist lifestyle was easy to adopt. I am happy where I am and don’t long for more.  Yet, that mindset can lead me to wonder why others need so much or how individuals can accept large expenditures on their behalf.

bracelet

When I was nineteen my uncle openly bragged about the cost of insurance for his and his wife’s jewelry. I struggled with that one. Why would you spend money on jewelry that you then worried about so much that you would insure it?  Me, I loved to express my individuality through jewelry but preferred costume pieces that wouldn’t draw unwanted attention.

Then there are the bigger items.  I want to see money spent on our veterans to care for them when they return from combat. I want to see our seniors needs met, and I want to see everyone have access to doctors regardless of how much they earn.  I want to see homelessness end in my lifetime. We are told these things can’t happen because there isn’t enough money.

What could we do with $365 million dollars a year? In the US I believe we could end homelessness, or ensure every child had food to eat. With that kind of money I think we could start to chip away at those other wishes from my list.

Why did I choose $365 million as my example?  Because that is the cost of providing security for our First Lady who chooses to live in New York City instead of the White House.  That’s not the entire amount spent on security for the First Family. Don’t forget there are four other adult children who are entitled to security plus the President himself.  The total daily costs must be mind-boggling. And it is all provided through your and my tax dollars.

So let’s pretend for just a moment that we had some say in how our tax dollars were spent. It’s your moment to decide this simple question. You have twenty-four hours to spend $1 million dollars in a way that would benefit others, where would you spend it?

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26 comments

  1. Don’t get me started.
    Quite apart from tax $$ in the US and the associated politics, I object to the $$ worldwide spent on sports and other unnecessary things while people in the world starve and have no access to clean water – and then have to suffer world politics on their persons. Grrr.

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    • Swiss Rose, you stumbled on a subject that truly angers me, aside from politics. That is the money spent on collegiate sports. The money on the professional sports is one thing but when tax payer money is spent on paying coaches millions of dollars a year to coach a single sport instead of that money being spent to improve education it just makes me want to scream. One person has sued the college he attended for that very reason. I hope his suit will bring a change in priorities in colleges.

      There has been a lot of news on Flint, Michigan for the toxic water but what hasn’t hit the news is that every state in our country has towns with water as bad or worse than what Flint has experienced. Right here in my own community the water is toxic, there are at least three communities in and around the city I live in that have worse water than Flint. How can the people running our country believe that wars for oil are more important than clean drinking water? I get angry every time I think about the choices made for us.

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  2. I have no idea how far $365 million would go, but my dream would include funding for affordable health card for all Americans, 100% return of monies to social security that we-the-people paid into it, the same pay and care for life for our veterans as our elected politicians receive, and a rent-affordable home for every homeless person who needs one. Am I out of money yet?
    Okay, then how about we take what we spend on wars and weapons and use it to feed the world and clean up the Earth? We could make America so loved in the world that we would only need a minimal military budget. Oh, and how about we take the billions headed to fund The Wall (because Mexicans won’t be hungry anymore and pouring over the border to get jobs) and fight for a living wage for all American workers, especially those doing crap jobs like working in meat processing plants and farm fields, cleaning up after people in hotel rooms, washing dishes in restaurants.
    Peace and Love on Valentine’s Day, all!

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    • Cynthia, like you I have no concept of how far $365 million would go, that number is so far outside of my reality but I think it would cover a lot of those things on your wishlist.

      When I look at health care I think about Medicare for all. To eliminate the insurance companies and have families pay into the Medicare fund it wouldn’t drain the government the way our current situation drains families.

      To feed everyone also wouldn’t be hard. A recent news piece stated that we throw away 40 percent of all food produced. Some of it simply because it’s not shaped to fit the standard expected at the stores. Give that food to food banks or some other way get it to those who need it.

      On the subject of the homeless, there is no reason we should have one person living on the street. There is enough empty housing to go around. Why can’t a landlord see that even a small amount of rent would be better than nothing. Sure many of the homeless need help beyond a home but it can be done.

      As for veterans, I have a son who is a veteran and has suffered both from the effects of his service and the way he has been treated by those who promised to care for him. I could rant all day on how he’s been treated and the toll it’s taken on him, so yes, take care of them and put them at the top of the list.

      I love your vision for the monies we current spend on wars and the so-called Wall being planned. I’ve heard the stories about the meat processing plants and how bad the injuries are, these people are terrified to report their injuries out of fear of deportations and so they are taken advantage of with continued poor working conditions.

      Happy Valentine’s Day, Cynthia.

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  3. I don’t even know how to answer that question, Lois. I know money won’t fix anything. Look at the billions of dollars we’ve poured into M.D,, M.S., and Cancer research and still people are dying or are afflicted by those things. I have a different take on things than many, so I will recuse myself here.

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    • Good point about the money, but I do believe that money spent properly does help those without it. I don’t recall at the moment which state it is but one state wanting to eliminate homelessness has incorporated counseling and social services to helping them in addition to providing them with a place to live while they work themselves back into the work force. Last I heard the state said it was cheaper to provide these services and a home than how they had handled homelessness in the past.

      That said, I do agree that we have problems that money won’t help and would love to hear your thoughts on how we can fix our problems without money, if you want to share.

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      • It was Utah. I read about it and was quite impressed. I’d like to see more of that too. We just need a way to deal with our mentally ill and our veterans that are coming home with severe PTSD. A large number of those homeless, alcoholic men are veterans. I have a friend who is a vet and works for them trying to get benefits to them and finds her hands are being tied by bureaucracy. She can’t even get her own help for it. I agree that money could be better used when so many bureaucrats are lining their own pockets instead of doing what should be done with the money. Our churches here house families that are homeless as they try to get on their feet again. Keeping some kind of handle on rents would help too. I can see a reasonable increase but so many are acting out of greed. Demand is high, supply is limited. My daughter is paying $1000 a month for one bedroom and the stove only has one working burner. It’s basically a place to sleep and her car has been broken into twice by the homeless. She doesn’t even get upset with them about it. Most of the money that should help things get better never gets to where it should really go. You should not have to fight so hard to get your chair fixed. It’s criminal what they do to you. I do get angry that we can’t fix the broken parts. So I make quilts to keep people warm.

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        • I have seen first hand the problems with our Vets. My son has struggled since coming home. His situation is complicated. First he was given an experimental drug that caused health problems. Second he suffers from PTSD but couldn’t get help because the work he did in combat was classified. The VA told him that unless he told them what he did they couldn’t treat him or diagnose him as PTSD. Ten years later he was finally free to talk about what he did and saw but was told it was too late, they couldn’t diagnose him because there would be no proof the problem came from his combat experience. A year and a half ago he went to the VA for help, they sent him to a local, private hospital to be treated in the Psych ward. Would you believe they took his tax return to repay the VA for the hospital bill? I get so angry at seeing what he has to go through.

          Your daughter is amazing to accept the breaking in of her car, I’m not sure I would be willing to tolerate that situation. Your rents are outrageous. We can still get a one or two bedroom apartment in this area for under $600, less if you are willing to live in a less secure area. My current location is even less expensive. Rents for entire houses (3-5 bedrooms) goes for $350-$800 a month.

          The homeless is something that bothers me deeply. I give blankets, scarves etc that I make to them each year. Whether it’s a church providing shelter or you and I making them blankets or warm clothes a bit of money helps us to provide those services. I’d much rather see a program that diverted war funds, like Cynthia suggested, to local people and institutions that could help.

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          • I understand your son’s struggles. My friend that works for the VA gets no help either. She really gets the frustration. I’m sorry he is struggling. It’s not fair we treat our vets that way.

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          • I’m sorry for your friend too. None of our Vets deserve this. When my son told me at 17 he wanted to enlist I was scared this might happen, I’m just glad he came back, we will get through this with or without the help from the government and agencies that were supposed to be there for him.

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          • Doesn’t look like that’s going to get easier either. 😦 They say that the Tapping Method can help and that service dogs do too but I guess that’s for extreme cases. I wish him all the best.

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  4. Well,
    it is a shame that such security is necessary, but….it is likely on par with other ..(ex MO trips to holiday in foreign lands….

    I have heard it said “it is the cost of freedom”…

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    • I’m not sure I would say this is the cost of freedom but I am positive the security of other world leaders is on par with what we are seeing here.

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  5. Oh Lois what a great Question.. and oh if only I had the time to answer.. haha..
    For a start I would build a shelter for the homeless in this town.. We have 30 in total that we know of, and the numbers are growing, Yet the local authorities are in denial, saying we have not got a homeless problem.. They stopped the soup kitchen which residents had set up on the market stalls at night to give hot soup and stews out to them. Saying it was a health and safety hazzard. Blah..

    Oh so much Good could we do if we women got our heads together Lois.. xxx And I will go before I spoil my manners.. LOL. 🙂

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    • Sue, to have 30 homeless individuals is 30 too many yet that number is small enough that a community should be able to deal with it and help those people find proper shelter and the help they need. I hope they do.

      There seems to be a crack down every where on helping the homeless. Recently in Florida people who prepared food and brought it to feed the homeless were arrested! I was shocked and I didn’t think anything could shock me after this past year. Tiny homes for homeless have been destroyed by authorities in some cities and police have been instructed to take blankets from the homeless in an effort to make them leave in other cities. Where is our heart?

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      • That is shameful Lois… If we do not find our hearts soon.. I fear that Humanity is in for a huge lesson it will not recover from.. It saddens me greatly when I see this is the way Authorities are going.
        They can not see it is through the ‘systems’ in place, debt, bankers greed calling in loans. Loan sharks, and the rest who pray on the poorest in societies.. That when they are evicted, or made jobless, homelessness is not far behind.. Somethings through no fault of their own people are made homeless..
        One homeless X soldier who served in the Gulf war who had a problem coping afterwards and his marriage broke up ended up on the streets..
        These veterans often ignored and not given the help and support needed.
        Yes where is our Hearts.. ❤

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        • My best friend used to tell her children when they heard of bad things happening to others, or saw a disabled or ill person “Thou for the grace of God”. Her kids knew this meant it was a fluke that they were safe and healthy and yet at any moment something could befall them. The children were compassionate and loving in a way many aren’t as a result.

          Many of our Vets are now on the streets too and while that is sad, many families, with young children are now living on the streets. After the crash of 2008 any one who lost a job and fell behind on payments it was reflected in their credit rating so they couldn’t get another job nor a place to live. Once on the streets with no address they didn’t have a chance to find employment because without an address and phone number you won’t be hired. It’s a vicious cycle. I was so angry when the banks were bailed out yet the people suffered and had no help.

          When they talk about the bad mortgages I could have been one of them had I not had the education I did. My son and I looked at a house. The monthly payments were $450 a month, easily affordable. But reading the fine print I saw the increases built in that would raise the mortgage to more than double in just a few years. The “saleman” told me not to worry my income would go up as well to offset. I laughed and walked out. He followed me and told me I had nothing to worry about, just sign the paper and worry later. I told my son I was sorry we would keep renting for now because this was a racket. He understood everything we discussed and wasn’t upset. They preyed on people’s dreams. People living in rundown housing or unsafe neighborhoods wanted to believe this was the answer for their families and now they are worse off than they were before.

          Sorry for the rant. I just get so worked up thinking about how a bunch of bankers and developers took advantage of people, and then the people got stuck with the problems while the bankers laughed spending their bonuses.

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