Tuesday, 10 June 2014

The Meaning of Dead-Broke

Hillary Clinton is about to come out with a new book, and there's some excerpts that have come out in the last week....to garner attention to the book, and draw folks to it.  The book company advance on this one?  Around fourteen million....so the news media says.  The year 2000 advance for the other book?  Around eight million.

So, we come to this interesting comment that she makes over the weekend....that when she and Bill left the White House....they were "dead-broke".

In the south, dead-broke has several different versions.  Typically, it means you have nothing but enough to cover your basic food expenses.

Some folks would interpret dead-broke to mean that you got money for gas expenses....but not rent.  Or vice-versa....enough for rent but not gas.

Some guys would argue that dead-broke means you can only buy Pabst-Blue-Ribbon beer on sale....or if you eat out....it's strictly at the local deli shop for a $3 cheap-meats sandwich.

Some women would tell you that you can still go out on a fancy date while dead-broke....it just means you go bowling or you lounge at some local city park with a bag of popcorn.

In the Air Force....while living in the barracks....dead-broke usually meant that you went to the base theater for the one-dollar show at 10PM....you watched TV in the dorm TV room and drunk other folk's beer.....and you enjoyed the fine vittles of the chow hall for free.  We usually fell into this category during the final two days prior to each payday.

I worked with a contractor once, who was dead-broke....enjoying the dependability of a $1,200 car for an entire year.  She spent an average of $300 a month on maintenance, and usually called one of us to pick her up somewhere because the car had stopped once again.

In Panama, I knew a second lieutenant who had major financial issues before becoming an officer, and he forced the wife and kids to go car-less and limit food expenses to $400 a month for two years....to clear up massive debt that he owed.  He took the whole meaning of dead-broke to another level.

I kinda look over at Hillary in the year 2000.....with Bill pulling in a retirement pension from the White House of $200,000 a year and wonder what dead-broke really means to her.  Health insurance?  President Bill was all covered via the government's own system.  I imagine that President Bill was on various boards and advisory organizations....probably pulling in another $200,000 easily.  So this dead-broke comment?  It's hard to say what she really meant.

This brings me around to the final topic.  If Hillary examined the economic books of the US....with the current unemployment rate....the negative numbers on college graduate hiring....and companies sitting on top of billions (refusing to grow or do anything)....would she say that America is dead-broke?  That's the statement I'd be curious to hear about.  Would she have the guts to admit that?  And if we were dead-broke?  Well....it might unsettle some folks, and finally get some attention on things that we deserve.

Maybe it's what we need....we all admit we are dead-broke as a nation.....enjoy some baloney sandwiches....cheap movie tickets....drive twenty-year old cars....sip cheap ice tea....and just act dead-broke like we should.