I have been having a nice chat with Gabe, one of the three (and soon to be only two) young Americans who labor diligently to fund my leisurely retirement lifestyle with their payroll taxes, in the comment section of my recent post about the demographic destiny of America. Technically, although I have been eligible for a couple of years, I have not bothered to apply for my SSI “benefit” / “entitlement” / “supplement” – pick an euphemism for Gabe’s hard earned cash. Understanding very well the nature of Ponzi schemes, since I got burned for a bottle of Scotch in a “Christmas Cheer” chain letter back in the ’60s, I honestly didn’t expect SSI to survive this long; so I never factored it into my retirement budget.
I have thus enjoyed a sense of occupying the moral high ground, in my frequent condemnation of America’s slide into socialism, by not being affixed to one of Washington’s teats. With apologies to Gabe, who is undoubtedly quite blameless for my chagrin, that is about to change out of retribution, if not necessity. When prices catch up to the near hyperinflation of our currency, which has the Treasury’s printing presses smoking 24 hours a day now, it will undoubtedly become a necessity; but for now I have cause enough for retribution.
I live the very simple, almost cloistered, lifestyle of a hermit. My needs are few, beyond my access to Google and the virtual world my mind inhabits, and my living expenses are minimal. My only non-digital indulgences are my caffeine and nicotine habits. My pursuit of happiness requires a steady supply of good Columbia Supremo coffee beans, and an occasional smoke. The cost of both has been steadily climbing of late, and I long ago had to adjust my budget for tobacco.
Like the erstwhile connoisseur turned wino, who no longer needs a corkscrew, because his palate has become accustomed to the fresher vintages found in screw capped bottles, my taste in tobacco has of necessity devolved. My first strategy, when ready made cigarettes became too expensive for my frugal sensibilities, was to purchase the making’s and start rolling my own. At first, beyond economy, this offered the benefit of using higher quality tobacco for added smoking pleasure, to offset the labor and hassle involved.
As the price steadily increased, my frugality forced my taste buds to accept lower and lower quality tobacco. Until recently, the cost of a pound of basic quality tobacco had risen to over $15 hereabouts. Outrageous, considering that it will only make about 2.5 cartons, and a ready made carton only cost 70¢ in the PX back in ’63, when the US Army got me hooked on these things. (Yes, they did; only the “real men” who were smokers got to take a smoke break. In my youthful naiveté, I thought I could fake it by not inhaling deeply.)
Now our Federal government has levied a new tax of $25 on a pound of tobacco. $25!! Most of the cost already was taxes, but this new Federal tax is adding an additional $1.00 tax to every pack I roll. That is an additional 5¢ Federal Tax every time I light up! Sorry, Gabe, that is a tax too far, and a retirement budget buster. It is time to sign up for my Federal teat, to recoup all the taxes these do-gooding bastards are extracting from my savings. Of course, inflation is the cruelest tax of all.
I do find it interesting that it is more difficult to establish one’s eligibility for SSI, than it is for the office of President. Even though I have had an account with these people for over 50 years, and they periodically send me pleasant letters telling me all they will do for me when I apply, they are requiring me to send for a copy of my birth certificate and my Army discharge papers. One would think they could just as easy acquire them themselves; but I guess they wouldn’t even do that for the Obamessiah, would they?
It is going to be fun to abandon my frugal nature for a change. I intend to spend Gabe’s cash like the Monopoly money that it is. With a pound of tobacco starting at $40, I might as well spend a few more for the best. Perhaps a daily cigar is in order; it sure looks like it won’t be long before good Cubans will be legal again. Then, I might as well pack an artery with a juicy T-bone occasionally…
The possibilities for indulging myself in life’s little pleasures are endless, while the kids tighten their belts trying to survive this depression. There sure isn’t any point in trying to save or invest any of it; the Progressives would just confiscate most of the earnings while I live, and the rest of it in death taxes when I am gone. I am going to change my will to state, “Being of sound mind, I spent it all.”
Truth be told, it probably isn’t even Gabe’s cash that I will be squandering; but his grandchildren’s. What a country; isn’t “democracy” grand! Now that the Baby Boomers are retiring, we will be such a dominant constituency for pandering, that we should be able to vote ourselves just about any “benefit” our narcissistic hearts desire, and send the bill to unborn generations. Wheeeee… ◄Dave►