Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "The Best Government Money Can Buy"

This poem came out of the August 5, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from ng_moonmoth and my_partner_doug, plus discussions with Dreamwidth user Dialecticdreamer.  It also fills the "possessions" square in my 7-30-14 card for the Genprompt Bingo fest.  This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.  It belongs to Granny Whammy thread of the series Polychrome Heroics.


The Best Government Money Can Buy



Everyone knows that Whammy Lass
served in World War II, bench-pressed tanks,
and saved the world from the Nazis.

Not everyone knows that she came home
and helped put America together again.

Whammy Lass refused to let
superpowers get swept under the rug,
or the frayed economy come apart at the seams.

For all the young men coming home
who wanted their jobs back from
the women who had been working them,
there were others who weren't coming back.

For all the bombs and guns and horrible gizmos,
there were wonderful new inventions and
factories that needed retooling now.

So Whammy Lass talked to people
about how to fix things, and
because she was a superhera
some of them listened.

She encouraged reducing the military
in the peaceful years after the war.
She pushed to expand Social Security
and fund it by removing the wage cap.
She urged higher taxes for both
wealthy individuals and corporations.

Then Whammy Lass pointed out ways
of spending government money
to create jobs and improve the country:
mass-transit systems of buses and trains
throughout the deepening urban areas,
and new engineering programs
to support the burgeoning numbers
of gizmologists and super-gizmologists.

Likewise the expansion of social services
made more and better government jobs:
teachers, counselors, secretaries, police.

Whammy Lass got her foot in the door
by talking to people who used to draw
the propaganda posters, guilt-tripping them
over all the silly illustrations they'd done of her
and commandeering their help for her plans.

With their assistance, she lobbied to expand
the National Endowment for the Arts --
ten times, then a hundred times what it was,
funding college programs and museums
and works of art for the public domain --
murals and paintings, sculptures, music,
dances and plays and novels and more.

Why have starving artists when you could have
public art and artists who can support themselves?

She pointed out that it made no sense,
always buying from the lowest bidder
only to have things fall apart and need redoing;
better to buy smart and build it right the first time.

It took time to make the changes, gather funds
and hand them out again, develop jobs
in the new sectors and find people to do them.

Whammy Lass made the difference in a lot of ways:
a loud, pushy, powerful, intelligent, admired war hera
who sometimes made people damned uncomfortable
but so consistently spoke for America's greater good
that it's hard for anyone to foil her recommendations.

People have begged on bended knee
for her to run for office, but she always refuses;
politics is not her strong suit and she isn't willing
to serve her country in that capacity.
She has her hands full minding the soups.

So now we have cities where you can ride
from one end to the other cheap as can be,
looking out the window at all the art.

There are good jobs for people willing to work
and most of what needs doing, gets done.

Whammy Lass made sure that we got
the best government for our money,
and the best for our government money.

* * *

Notes:

Women in the workforce have shifted numbers and fields over time, particularly around World War II.

Mass transit systems make it possible for the public to move around easily.  The best systems in our world are quite impressive.  Local-America's results are erratic.  Terramagne-America has sophisticated, efficient, and popular public transportation.  You get what you pay for.

Public art offers many benefits.  In our world, expenditures are small.  There are ways to support the growth of public art.

Social Security was established to combat poverty, and has changed over time.

Government finance differs greatly between L-America and T-America.  Whammy Lass/Granny Whammy has driven some of those changes, but so have gizmologists and super-gizmologists, super-intellects, and other people.  See U.S. federal tax receipts for 2013, the shift in corporate taxes by proportion of federal revenue, changes in tax rates over time, and the 2010 U.S. federal budget.  Compare American health and military expenditures with other countries.  T-America can have nice things because they're willing to pay for them, and they've arranged that primarily in ways that move the money around through more workers.  I actually sat down one day and worked out their budget, with some notes on how they paid for things, so I had that material available when the relevant prompts came in.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, economics, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, politics, reading, weblit, writing
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