The best description of the current circumstances was in an AP story datelined Madrid. “Around the world, ever-changing rules and directions tore up the script for daily life.” (Credits to Associated Press writers Aritz Parra and Adam Geller for their prose.)

Nothing is the same. Whatever script each of us had been holding was erased before we could even turn the page.

My stack of idea clippings on the dining table has been so purged that Post-It Notes now suffice. Next up on my agenda was to discuss money and finances, but the bullet points are now moot.

After surviving at least four market crashes so far, not counting the Big One in ’29, plus many blips in the oil field (or name your own area of expertise), I morphed into a twin of Hetty Green, aka The Witch of Wall Street.

Count your pennies folks and save some dollars. You’ll never know when the bad times are a-coming back … sort of thing. The kids just hated it when I got on a rant, but they needed to be warned. Still do.

This time the war is being waged against the coronavirus, but the plunging economy is the same. The saddest thing of all is the lack of leaders who know what to do to avert catastrophes and who know a farthing about economics.

Still, God blesses the lame and the dumb, which covers most of us, and we no longer hide money under the mattress. We just want to BUY a new one! What funds that were saved and/or maybe even invested, if not wasted on the Cruise to Nowhere, have been seriously slammed by the government’s clumsiness. What retirement IRA?

During the 1993 election, Ross Perot ran a fierce third-party campaign after President Bush No. 41 pledged “no new taxes” in 1989. Perot wanted Americans to reduce the national debt.

Trying to put the numbers into perspective, Perot said, “A million dollars in thousand-dollar bills is four inches high. A billion dollars is 300 feet high. A trillion dollars extends 63 miles into space.”

Perot lost, but beginning with his second term in office, President Clinton ran a budget surplus of $419 billion from 1998 to 2001.

That black ink turned Leopard red as Sept. 11 changed our lives and wars followed. Huge bailouts of the automakers in Detroit, then another bailout of the banks in 2008-09. All needed and we’re back at it.

Somehow Americans keep electing people who can’t count, read a balance sheet or know how to put anyone on a fricking budget! Shouldn’t the Treasury Secretary notice when ink begins turning red and takes steps to stop it? Before another $500 million is printed, they could first rub some noses into it! Planning ahead before the bad times hit is even smarter.

But no one can plan on emergencies or pandemics, another reason to keep one’s financial house in order. The world now teeters on economic depression, and swift financial action is needed to save lives, including those of our sorry leaders. That’s the moral thing to do.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned, and POTUS Trump reassured Americans that the Chinese just had colds, not to worry, while five U.S. senators started offloading millions in stocks in late January through February. That’s called insider trading, folks, and that’s illegal. They used privileged information to reduce their investments in companies that would be impacted by the virus.

All claim innocence. May political grackles land on their heads during their next reelection campaign. They have much to prove. But it’s these people who are sitting in judgment of 300 million American lives.

The Treasury now must print mega-billions of dollars in order to help small businesses reopen and give real people their jobs back, and these selfish senators will be voting how those millions are spent.

Congress needs serious surveillance. Repubs want billions to go to corporate entities with no guarantee how much employees will get, and the Dems are fighting for health and financial aid packages, trying to keep Social Security solvent.

Everyone wants their lives back, to return to writing their personal daily script of life.

Representatives at every level who have vision to anticipate and avoid problems are needed in office. Playing the blame game is for children. Diplomats lead and appoint qualified professionals to keep the people’s house running and well-stocked with medical masks and vaccines!

That’s my two cents on running a country. Now excuse me while I dig through the scrap bag and start sewing masks. I just found a pattern on YouTube.

Shelly Kuehn is a resident of Cooke County and a former volunteer on the Gainesville Daily Register’s reader advisory board.

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