Dear Senator John Cornyn,
Remember how everyone got all bent out of shape because they inferred that Barack Obama said they were bitter?
That is nothing compared to the wrath of me when I received this e-mail from you:
I am struck by the ongoing vitality of Texas, in contrast to deteriorating economic times in other parts of the country—and I’m always impressed by the optimism and pride of Texans everywhere. It’s clear that we’re doing a lot of things right in Texas: That’s why we’re growing, and that’s why people want to move here. These observations remind me that one of my major duties in the Senate is to bring more Texas values to Washington.
In Internet terms, you, Mr. Cornyn, #suckit.
Note: Image of Cornyn at Houston rodeo from the Senator's email, presumably his own personal Flickr album (?).
I like Texas. It's a great state with many great things about it, not the least of which are the people. I do agree with you that Texans are plucky. I'm glad your Texas is a utopia of perfection and exuberance for you.
Unfortunately, my Texas looks a little strapped and wilted to me. I have friends withdrawing children from preschool next year to save tuition money (read: they can't afford it any longer). I have a single mother friend who just took a third job to make ends meet. My family has cut our grocery shopping back from every week to every other week. If we run out of something, such as milk, we have to tough it out until shopping day arrives. My husband has threatened to turn vegetarian because he thinks meat is too pricey these days (and too dangerous). He's threatened to go vegan for the same reason (dairy too pricey).
As thrilled as this makes me---a preferred vegetarian---I dislike strongly the reasons he plans to make these changes.
Food prices have gone up record levels recently. Milk costs 26% more. Eggs cost 40% more. Pasta is up 30%, and produce (fruits and vegetables) increased in cost by 20%. That's pretty much our shopping list, Senator. We've gone from spending about 12% of our income on groceries to spending nearly 20% of our income on groceries.
Unfortunately, our income isn't expanding that fast. In fact, it's barely expanding at all.
Grocery shopping cutbacks are the least of it.
Gas has gone up at least 29-30%. My husband has to commute far and often for his work. That's sucking up a more significant portion of our income, too.
The income that's not increasing, remember?
The bottom line is that our bottom line doesn't go nearly as far as it
did a year ago. (Note: Wicked cool image from Boston.com.)
We are strapped. Stressed. Wilted.
I know we are okay. I know we'll be okay. I know we aren't living some pathetic and uncomfortable life. But I also know that slowly and surely we are cutting back more and more until we are nearly bare bones. The next cuts will be deep and painful.
Our choices are made for our family's good, but I also know that they affect the larger community. For example, we've cut back our charitable donations, canceled planned home improvements, and don't buy things such as the sort you hope we'll spend our tax relief check on. Also, we aren't buying products as much any more, because vendors have had to increase their prices to keep pace with their cost increases. We don't have that disposable income, and we can't justify the expense.
So, I'm glad you're feeling just dandy about the state of Texans in Texas.
And you don't get to tell me I'm just fine.
Bitter? Oh yeah I am, just a little bit.
Your reluctant constituent Julie Pippert
Julie often has that feeling, you know the one, where you're ranting over noise when suddenly the music goes off and everyone stares? Yeah, that happens here, there, everywhere and also at her blog, Using My Words.