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Posted by on Mar 18, 2009 in Arts & Entertainment, Economy | 2 comments

Sex & Sin As Economic Stimuli

Colonel Pickering: “Have you no morals, man? “
Alfred P. Doolittle: “Nah, can’t afford ’em. Neither could you, if you were as poor as me.”

These were some of the many great lines from “My Fair Lady” a Broadway Musicale by Lerner & Lowe, that was based upon the play “Pygmalion” by George Bernard Shaw. These 2 lines are most appropriate for our current national economic situation.

As our once-great nation is pushing towards systemic financial insolvency of most of our banks, corporations, households and governmental entities, we really can’t afford our silly 19th century Victorian morality. We need to encourage new businesses and viable sources of income to tax – and fast.

We may still think that historically, morally or socially, legalizing same sex marriage is somehow “not right.” Let’s get real – who cares what less than 5% of the population wants to call itself when in a committed relationship? Tax cuts and government spending won’t solve all our problems. (The only limit on gay marriage should be an exemption for religious institutions that may choose not to perform these rites in their houses of worship.) If gays and lesbians want to get married, they just have to show us the money.

Over the past 50 years we have made heterosexual marriage such a mess, does it matter that anyone else now wants to join in our cultural debacle? They certainly can’t make it any worse. The only thing good about marriage is the large spending that occurs around each new marriage and the end of each marriage.

Weddings are complex and expensive series of occasions, each demanding we spend a lot of money for essentially nothing of consequence. When we decide to end a marriage, again there is plenty of wealth-spreading to attorneys and other professionals working for both sides. Gay and lesbian weddings and divorces, if fully legalized, would provide much-needed financial shots in the arm for our worsening economy.

Why even limit marriage to just one-to-one relationships? Why not fully embrace polygamy and polyandry? Or even group marriages of say 4 women and 4 men (some straight, some bi-, some gay) all sharing one marriage? We are very good at creating our own hells on earth, but now we need the economic stimulus from such stupidity. Perhaps the lives of our children might be slightly improved. Instead of putting up with parents going through multiple “serial marriages” they just get to add more parents over time. And the benefit to the depressed housing industry would be impressive. Who’s going to buy all those 5,000 sq/ft McMansions that are now in foreclosure?

Do we really have the time or energy to care what our neighbors are doing in their homes? So long they do not physically hurt anyone and it does not involve the sexual exploitation of minors, we have better things to worry about. Just as long as they are spending more money in creating, maintaining and ending complex relationships, the better for our overall economy. That’s a policy the trial lawyers of American can embrace.

While we’re at it, why not legalize most of our silly sins or prohibitions, such as prostitution and marijuana? At least we can then regulate and tax them for the benefit of everyone. The gobs of money we waste on Police Vice squads chasing johns and whores, and pursuing the growers, distributors and users of hemp, which has many perfectly legal uses as well, is money that could be better spent elsewhere. Besides if we could levy excise and sales taxes on those activities, we could support many needed public services.

Why should we limit our gambling to Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Indian Reservations, State Lotteries, and what passes for our stock exchanges? All these forums are hopelessly tilted to those who run them so the participants cannot win much of anything. Instead we need a broadening and a democratization of gambling options across our nation. Again, simply regulate and tax the activities so the money will start flowing in quickly and by the billions.

For decades we did not want to pay taxes for the public services we wanted, so now we have to get creative. Since we also do not want to pay for goods and services, including our homes, cars and materials items that we cannot afford, we have borrowed to finance our businesses and personal lifestyles. We let our greed, laziness, avarice and stupidity rule us for several decades. However, the alternatives are prudence and moderation, something we cannot possible fathom or adopt. Instead we need to fully embrace our faults and sins, and make them legal parts of our overall economy.

In these economically hard times, we are being stubbornly sanctimonious hypocrites over pointless issues. Those who argue that this will lead us down the path to moral bankruptcy, well “hello” – we’re already there, and we’re economically bankrupt as well. Let’s be honest with ourselves and admit that we’re all too poor to say no to our vices anymore.

A number of legislators in California, Minnesota and a few other states are thinking rationally about all these various options. Unless we’re willing to raise income and property taxes on everyone (not just the wealthy) to pay for the many governmental programs we want, we better look for other revenues sources that are currently billion-dollar criminal activities that would not change our moral fabric if they were legalized and taxed.

Two of the most destructive drugs, nicotine in cigarettes and alcohol in many beverages, are legal. We learned that making one of them illegal ended up costing far more in criminal and social upheaval than just keeping it legal and taxing it. Now states and localities depend upon the taxes on these substances. We also discovered that drinking some alcohol (including a glass or two or red wine) every day may have some long-term health benefits.

Sometimes the best cure for a massive hangover from the crash of one huge party is simply to start another one to forget reality. We’re all in denial of the end of the American Empire. (That’s a subject for another blog.) So “let the good times roll” as they say in New Orleans – that shining example of how our dysfunctional governmental and private sectors now function in our all-too real world.

3/18/09 by Marc Pascal in Phoenix, AZ.

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