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Convertible Congress

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Convertible Congress

What’s the point of a convertible?

It does nothing to improve the functionality of a car. If anything, it causes more grief because you have to worry about weather conditions, leaf-shedding trees, and presents from overhead birds. But is it worth it? In the words of Bob Hoskins, abso-floggin-lutely.

The father of my best friend since high school owns a beautiful convertible Porsche Boxster that we got to use occasionally back in the day. It was the most exhilarating driving experience imaginable. As far as I could tell, there were two reasons above all others why we wanted to use the Porsche any time we could: just to say we did, and to be seen by girls.

Convertibles are cool, affluent, and flashy. They’re a symbol of status. They have no function other than to exist.

The purpose of a convertible is to have one and for people to know you have one.

That’s fine if you’ve earned it and that’s how you choose to spend your hard-earned money. But what about those who attempt to maintain public status at the expense of others?

Our country is entering the age of a fully convertible Congress, in more ways than one. Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on Sunday that federal relief funds for Hurricane Harvey victims would be inextricably linked to a raise in the debt ceiling, allowing the federal government even more room for borrowing money to top off a $19 trillion national IOU. Trump appears to be in full support of this policy.

The Federalist Party responded on Wednesday by chiding Congress on Twitter, asking why they don’t just reset the ceiling at ∞.

According to reports, President Trump appears to be in league with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in an effort to do just that. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan allegedly disagrees with politicizing a national crisis, but even he has praised Trump’s bipartisan outreach.

So up, up, up the debt ceiling goes, and a debt ceiling set to infinity is essentially like having no ceiling at all — a convertible Congress.

Now we have a similar question to the one we started with: what’s the point of raising the debt ceiling?

There are no financial benefits, just prolonged devastation. Because, as we know from Mordo, Doctor Strange’s friend who turns evil because he’s too committed to being good (it still doesn’t make sense), the bill comes due. Always.

But the bill doesn’t have to come due to this administration if they just kick the can down the road. Not nearly enough Americans will vote out excessive spenders (only budget slicers), so there are no consequences for making Congress convertible in a financial sense.

So while they’re in power, they’ll do their best to keep it and flaunt it. The purpose of power is to have it and for people to know you have it. And that’s the second meaning of a convertible Congress: one that will do anything to retain its power and status, just to say that it has it and to be seen and admired of the public.

In that sense, Congress has been shedding its top for a long, long time.

And are there any consequences? Hardly ever, because once a congressman has gone convertible, he takes meticulous care not to get caught in the rain — to the tune of a 97% incumbent reelection rate in 2017 despite a dismal 18% approval rating.

My dad once ran for Congress and met a certain convertible congressman who’d been representing his district for 23 years. My dad asked him how he’d survived all those elections, and the man said, “It’s very simple: do nothing. Keep your head down and never take a position on anything.” Unfortunately, he wasn’t kidding, nor was his strategy unique.

If we want Congress to put its top back up, we need to show our representatives that there are consequences for filling their tenure with flashy nothingness. One congressman at a time (preferably your own), start demanding better.

Be the rain that ruins their custom leather seats.

Be the tree that drops those awful sticky red things.

Be the bird.

Or better yet, repossess the car. Congress doesn’t deserve a joy ride in a stolen convertible.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.

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Economy

What the partial government shutdown reveals about American’s finances

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What the partial government shutdown reveals about Americans finances

The partial government shutdown has been going on for nearly a month, with no end in sight. About 800000 government workers, according to politicians, are essentially getting paid not to work, but their paychecks won’t come until after the partial shutdown is over. Politicians are using this plight to tug at the general public’s heartstrings in the direction of their agenda. However, every politician and almost every media outlet is ignoring truth, to avoid offending people.

The truth of the matter is: if a person doesn’t have enough money saved up for such a time as this, they suck with finances. If a family is woefully unprepared for an emergency situation, they suck with money. These are objective facts, even Biblical. However, I do not write this to shame those 800000 government workers. After all, the crocodile tears of politicians would be wholly ineffective, if the average American could not see the horror is a month’s wage deferred. American’s finances are in disarray to put it mildly. NBC News reported how majority of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

Though the parameters of what constitutes a livable wage varies greatly according to where you live, these staggering statistics show just how few of us have the means to make ends meet. Depending on where they live, even people who earn $100k per year say they’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, and 59 percent of people making that kind of money admitted to carrying debt. Of those 59 percent, 56 percent say they’re heavily in debt.

And that emergency stash of six month’s pay that experts keep saying we should put away? For more than half of us, it’s just not feasible. According to this survey, 56 percent of us can barely save $100 per month. All things considered, when you break it all down, most of us are just one misfortune away from financial oblivion.

Yet despite the woeful unpreparedness of most Americans to finance an emergency, Americans spend. We have the latest IPhone, subscribe to Amazon Prime, have $200 doorbells on our homes, dine at fast casual restaurants, and drink Starbucks. And despite mandatory financial literacy classes in many schools, we push young people to pursue a six figure education. A recent survey done by YCharts found that nearly two-thirds of millennials aged 22 to 37 believed that they would have seven-figure wealth by the age of 45 or sooner. While seemingly outlandish, this study presented a more optimistic view of the generation’s finances than one might expect. Though with similar spending habits as Gen Xers, it’s overoptimistic to think this generation doesn’t overspend.

We often joke about Congress not balancing the budget like normal people run their finances. Yet in a country and culture of fiscal irresponsibility, it should be unsurprising, though disappointing, that there’s 21 trillion dollars worth of debt.


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Economy

A reminder to GOP lawmakers from Justin Amash

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A reminder to GOP lawmakers from Justin Amash

When Representative Justin Amash (R-MI) hadn’t been in Washington DC for very long when he said this amazing quote. At the time, many weren’t paying much attention. After all, many Republicans say similar things when they get to DC, but over time they become jaded, corrupted, or start to get used to being in the DC Country Club.

Amash is different. He has remained consistent with his message and views throughout his career. Now, it’s time for other Republicans to remember what they were sent to Washington DC to do in the first place. Defense of the Constitution is their top priority as it’s the best protection against a government that wants desperately to control every aspect of our lives. From healthcare to the internet to how we use our energy, government intervention has become so commonplace, it’s often hard to see the fabric of our nation behind all the layers of bureaucracy that has been placed on top of it.

“I follow a set of principles, I follow the Constitution. And that’s what I base my votes on. Limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty.”

If more Republicans followed the same principles and didn’t just use them in campaign speeches, we may actually be able to return liberties that have been taken and remove layers of government that have been formed unnecessarily.


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Economy

Larry Elder, Sean Hannity discuss the shutdown

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Larry Elder Sean Hannity discuss the shutdown

Radio host Larry Elder joined Sean Hannity on Fox News tonight to break down the government shutdown. Elder pointed out that President Obama was being urged by advisers, including Rahm Emmanuel, to abandon Obamacare, but Nancy Pelosi urged him to go big or go home.

Later, they discussed the Speaker of the House’s refusal to meet with Angel Moms. Elder asked what she would say to them. Hannity said she should have given them condolences for their losses.

My Take

The talking heads on Fox News keep repeating the same narratives, but it’s not working. This is an example of mainstream media playing to the base by repeating the narrative for cheers from the crowd but failing to present better information the Republican base can use to argue for the border wall.

Many on the right, particularly in media, are failing to make a compelling case for the wall. They need to adjust their talking points if they really want their audience to help sell the idea to the rest of America.


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