The government has drowned in the bathtub

It was on the news and all over cable a while ago. BREAKING NEWS, the government has drowned in the bathtub. CPR did not revive her and we are on our own. There were cheers from some people and stunned silence from others.  The people who were cheering were quite giddy. The 13,794 (2009) lobbyists were in a state of shock. The 58 million people on social security were crying, as were the 20 million who work for various parts of the government.  The 1.3 Million in armed forces and the 674K support people did not hear the news right away.

My life has been interesting since then. The good news is that I don’t pay any taxes.  As someone once said, “It’s your money and you can spend it more wisely than the government.”  I’d really like to have a word with that man. The other small piece of good news is that there are NO more irritating ads on TV for people running for elected office.

Let me tell you what life has been like…

The first few days were a little chaotic while all of us coped with more change than we could ever have imagined.  The electricity stayed on, but being that they were no longer a regulated utility my rates tripled.

Some corporation with one of those names that looks vaguely Greek took over the formerly city water and those rates also skyrocketed. In addition to paying more for my water, I no longer know if it’s safe to drink. One of my neighbors is a scientist and he’s been testing it for us, as there were reports in the next suburb over than contaminants have been found in their water and people were seriously ill.  Because it’s gone, we can’t call city hall.  

Oh and now that spring is here, it’s flood and tornado season. We live close to but not in the flood plain. I am trying to order sand and sandbags with my neighbors.  A couple of blocks over one person ordered his own dump truck full of sand and it takes up most of his front yard. The neighborhood kids think it’s great fun. Apparently some other people are stealing his sand at night.  It’s obviously not a big deal, but as an early sign of lawlessness and with no police, it really bothers me.

I am a hunter and I shoot skeet so I have a few guns and ammo, which are of course in a locked gun cabinet. The idea that I may have to use them to defend my family is new and scary for me.  So far people have been mostly trying to help each other but it does seem like civility is unraveling a bit more every day. We feel less and less safe. Many former police officers are now armed guards at Walmart and other corporations.

When the government drowned, NOAA and the National Weather service also went down the drain. We have no way of knowing how high the river is and I really miss the weather watches and warnings.  There was an early tornado about a hundred miles away and too many people died that wouldn’t have had to. The weather report now is mostly to be had by looking out the window.  I hear that once the government satellite system is auctioned off that weather reporting will be available for a fee.

I never really thought much about the fire department.  I just thought about calling 911 and knew they would appear if my house were on fire.  Well 911 is gone. The police are gone along with all the firefighters. I hear that they are trying to provide private fee for service protection soon but the price tag on that will be beyond my means. At the end of my street one house burned down and we neighbors all brought our garden hoses to try and prevent the fire from spreading.  I just got my homeowners insurance update and premiums are four times last year’s cost because of the lack of public services.  I can increase my deductible but still…

Did I mention that all the public schools closed? Well they did and my two youngest are in middle school and high school. Neither my wife nor I feel up to homeschooling but we’ve ordered some materials and I suppose we’ll just have to rise to the occasion. The private schools, sensing an opportunity to charge whatever they want are way too expensive for us.

My oldest is attending a private college on a combination of scholarships and student loans.  The student loans were guaranteed by the federal government so they just disappeared into thin air.  We’re not sure what she’ll do as the private loans without regulation or government backing are at 35% plus interest rates. The public universities are trying to reopen as private institutions but who knows how that will turn out.

My daughter can’t just come home and get a job. Unemployment is pushing 40% with all the former government employees looking for work. Wages reach new lows every week.  Without a minimum wage law, employers are offering less and less. They’ve also quit offering benefits. Corporations justify all their changes citing things like the invisible hand of the market and competitive pressures. When I was a kid, my mom used to ask me, “if everyone jumped off a cliff, would you?”  Well I’m glad my mom isn’t around to see what people are capable of.

Actually, there isn’t such a thing as thin air anymore.  The companies that were once heavy polluters have resumed polluting.  There aren’t air pollution alerts either. I have no idea who issued those but apparently it was one of those agencies that drowned. We are all wearing face masks and soon will be wearing goggles as well as my eyes burn if I’m outside too long.  

Oh I haven’t yet mentioned the trip to the grocery store. I had no idea how much the agricultural subsidies were keeping the cost of food down and how much the inspection processes kept our food safe. Food prices have doubled.  We’ll for sure be planting a garden and fortunately bought our seeds before the shortages. The big seed companies are trying to sell seeds that don’t reproduce so they’ll have a captive market forever.  People are dying from salmonella and ecoli. It’s not just bad peanut butter and tainted hamburger either.  With the F.D.A. and the C.D.C. gone no one knows which foods are the troublemakers.  It’s just another one of those things we used to take for granted.

My father and my mother-in-law have moved in with us. It really helps to pool our resources and my mother-in-law is a good gardener. My dad will build a fence around our little plot and we may take turns sleeping outside to guard our crops.  Both have contributed their small savings to our efforts to survive.

We’ve been lucky so far with our health as we haven’t needed many services. Because so many doctors (83%) used government backed student loans for medical school they aren’t being allowed to practice if they still have a loan balance. Apparently, anyone who benefitted from government is being punished.  We found a free clinic for my son’s broken ankle but we waited 26 hours to be seen.  It was a mess before, but it’s a meta-mess now.  Canada is building a border fence to keep U.S. citizens out.

Not that we could get to Canada anyway. The roads are a mess. It would have been nice if the drowning had occurred after the potholes had been fixed and the bridges repaired. I can only imagine what will happen if we get one more big dump of snow.  Since we’re on our own now, I’m hoping that a slogan like “let a 1,000 shovels dig” will take hold and some sort of community organization will emerge to deal with maintenance and repairs of our local streets.

The interstates were sold to a private corporation and I have to swipe my credit card at each entrance and exit ramp.  It’s so expensive that I rarely see just one person in a car these days but without speed limits it’s more like dodgem cars than any sort of organized human behavior. People are letting their car insurance lapse and if they are lucky, they just walk away from accidents and leave their wreck for others to avoid.

Of course, the courts were part of government so they are also gone. They aren’t really needed with no laws to enforce. I don’t feel so bad for the kind of person that filed frivolous lawsuits, but I do feel bad for other people who probably had a real legitimate lawsuit. How about the people whose baby died because the crib was defective? How about all those Toyota owners with defective cars?  

I forgot to mention what happened to the internet. You know it was originally developed by the Department of Defense, right?  Well those people that wanted government so small it could be drowned in a bathtub are claiming that the internet  is really a government program and should therefore be flushed. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to log on. It’s become my news source and my community center and if it went away, I’d be lost.  The Post Office is gone and I do so rely on my email.  

We were all frustrated with our government before the drowning.  I can remember friends and neighbors saying things like “Throw the bums out.”  We focused on the cost of government and the things that it didn’t do well. We forgot about the many things it did better or cheaper than we can do them as individuals.  Some people were ranting about socialism like it was a really bad word. They are certainly rethinking things now.

Well let me tell you that those same people are wishing for the bums to come back only now they are hoping for bums that will put people before profits.