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It’s Election Season across the USA,  which means there’s a lot of terrific television programs on to distract you from voting. Complicating matters, the howling ads interrupting those terrific television programs often distract from the real issues at stake: how exactly is the government wasting your hard-earned money this time around?

This handy guide attempts to clarify the tangible benefits of government programs to you, the humble internet-faring, presumably young/hipsterish taxpayer, via three basic categories: government programs that help, government programs that are probably screwing you over, and government programs that nobody understands.

GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS THAT HELP

Emergency Services

I’ve always romanticized being a cop, so when a life of office work snared me I turned to 911 to vicariously live my dream job. In the past three years, I’ve used 911 to call in a Mexican teen receiving a blowjob in the children’s park across the street from my house (in broad daylight on the Fourth of July), a Mexican covered in blood leaning against a elementary school wall, and another Mexican writhing on the sidewalk with cuts on his arm and a hospital band on his wrist. Not to make unfair generalizations, but the nation of Mexico owes me a few tacos on the house.

Department of Defense

You can’t ignore the DoD’s perfect record of preventing foreign invasion of American territory, Pearl Harbor notwithstanding. Also, we could be drafted at any time—Iran lobs one nuke at Tel Aviv, and the laws will change overnight—so I’ll use the remainder of this space to underscore my nearsightedness, flat feet, lengthy track record of conscientious objection, extreme allergy to gunpowder, and heartfelt affection for United States military personnel.

Health Care

Seven years ago, Blue Shield rejected me because I’d had a wart on my thumb two years prior. I had to go without formal health care for a year, instead procuring medical advice from night-shift pharmacists, hippie free clinics, and the internet. It was a thrilling experience, in the same way climbing up a sheer rock face in a thunderstorm while juggling chainsaws is thrilling. Pretty much anything would be an improvement.

Roads

Until you get that jetpack up and running, you’ll likely take roads to get around. Personally, I find that while my local Northern California roads are ranked among the worst in the nation in terms of quality, they should be ranked first in the nation in terms of breathtaking scenery. Moreover, my regional snow-removal teams are second-to-none, making premium powder skiing accessible even in a blizzard. Here’s to roads for making it happen.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Did you see that picture Arnold posted making fun of Sarah Palin looking for Russia from Alaska? I totally retweeted it.


GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS THAT ARE PROBABLY SCREWING YOU OVER

Social Security

It’s an open national secret that Social Security won’t exist in forty years, right about the time we’ll need it. However, my generation is getting accustomed to living shittier, and we aren’t putting up much of a fight on this one. Thus, I toss Social Security in the same pile as pensions, reasonably priced health insurance, three-martini lunches, regular churchgoing, four-week vacations, affordable concert tickets, and marriage for life—myths invented by our ancestors and passed down over the generations to pacify the masses.

Subsidies

On the one hand, Doritos and gas are cheap, fostering a nation dominated by lazy flab-asses. On the other hand, organic vegetables and solar panels are expensive, fostering a snooty elitist minority that isn’t much fun at a Super Bowl party. I won’t rest until everyone in American can enjoy a lively Super Bowl party dip of organic guacamole at a fair price.

Bank Bailout

Let’s say you’re at a casino. One distinguished gentleman—let’s call him Charles Barkley—steps to the high-roller table and proceeds to lose a fortune on Pai Gow Poker. As a result, the casino asks all the other patrons to float Charles a loan to cover his bartab, hotel suite, steak dinners, and escort services. Just another reason why I consider the NBA unwatchable.

Iraq

All that fighting, the lives lost, the nations in turmoil, the enormous expense—and we didn’t even get the oil. Plus, Avatar totally should’ve beat The Hurt Locker at the Oscars.

Investment in Innovation

Think of all the terrific advances of recent times, everything from the iPod Nano to the iPhone and even the iPad or—could it be true?—the Verizon iPhone. Not a single one was invented by the government.


GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS NOBODY UNDERSTANDS

Taxes

An unimaginably boring topic, especially for a nation lagging in math and science as badly as this one. Thus, we primitively revert to the Law of the Limbo Stick: lower is always better, unless you’re really rich and about to die.

Medicare and Medicaid

Always remind me of Tweedledum and Tweedledee.


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Matt Stewart Matt Stewart's debut novel, The French Revolution, has been called "wildly imaginative," "brilliant," and "an excellent achievement" by people he's not related to. He's mildly infamous for posting the book on Twitter first. You can grab his free French Rev iPhone app via his website, Twitter up, Facebook in, or simply share pleasant thoughts.

4 responses to “Government Breakdown”

  1. Lorna says:

    Ha! That about sums it up. 🙂

  2. Gloria says:

    I agree about Arnold. I don’t think he and I have much in common ideologically, but I admire his tendency to call out inefficiencies and cowardice across party lines. Last night, I saw an interview he did with Diane Sawyer and I was like – yeah, okay. He’s not one of the bad guys, even if he’s kind of a turd in some obvious ways.

    I love everything you said in the GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS THAT HELP section. To roads!

    I was also nodding my head, laughing, and sobbing under Social Security.

    This whole thing is fucking brilliant and I’m sharing with everyone.

  3. Jeffrey Pillow says:

    In the Chuckster’s defense, he has lost 25 lbs. since June, so there’d be a few less steak dinners on the tab.

  4. Now the Iraq one really gets to me. I mean like if a coupla thousand of our sons, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, and nieces and nephews got killed and they got liberated from the fangs of Mr. Rape-room, why do we pay for it? They’re supposed to have more oil than Saudi Arabia so why can’t we get reimbursed? I mean they can’t reimburse us for the dead and returning amputees, but at least I should be paying 37 cents a gallon for gas again because of all our sacrificed blood. We even had to buy gasoline from them at jacked up prices for our military vehicles as we were fighting to liberate them . Is it me or does this seem peculiar to anyone out there? Then they keep talking about the Iraqi people. There aren’t any. The country is a hodge-podge of ethnics and religious divisions that hate each other. Iraq was created after WW I as the Brits and French broke up the Ottoman Empire and drew lines all over the place for “spheres of influence.” (Colonialism. Ain’t so spheres there either.) So calling them the Iraqi people is like saying the American people here in Miami. There are no American people here in Miami except me and about 27 other people. The rest are from Cuba, Haiti, Bahamas, Dominican Republic and other places that rhyme with La Ciudad de Juan Carlos de la Asuncion Jesus Maria de tequila mucho no driver’s licenses necessary or insurance de Ponce de Leon. The ballots are printed in 64 different to accommodate people but not in English anymore.

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