I wrote in my bio that I chose to write a blog on spending because I’m fascinated by how this community approaches commerce as part of public policy. In the months since beginning $avvy $pender I’ve used that as my touchstone in veering from shopping and customer service over to college football and back.  This week’s post reverts back to my original intent but on a slightly larger scale.

     From my very first job as a television news producer, I heard the axiom: “Weather affects everyone.”  This comment was designed to remind staff of both our public service (keeping people informed) and the business behind the ratings race (more viewers will be interested because more are affected).  
     I’m sure you remember the heat of the summer which was outpaced by the heat in Washington over raising the debt ceiling?  A quick reminder if you repressed it: a faction of the Republican Party demanded its way, agreeing only to cuts to lower the deficit before agreeing to vote to raise the debt ceiling so this mighty nation wouldn’t default.  Well, that affected all of us too, in ways we may not yet even know.  Some voters supporting that faction have called for government to stop helping people with cuts to entitlements that help the most frail among us. 
     What does this have to do with weather?  The answer is Hurricane Irene. 
     If you were unlucky enough to be in her path from parts of this state and northward, you had at least a night or two of worry, possibly some time without power (we even had that here in Chapelboro), maybe a tree down and, sadly, perhaps major damage.  
     Those who suffered major damage are now likely feeling vulnerable.  They may need help.  They may benefit from a federal disaster declaration which “activates various federal programs to assist in the response and recovery effort.”  
     I’m all for getting back to the days of a federal surplus and I respect many of those who’ve made it their mission.  Believing in something and working through our democratic process to achieve it is at the heart of our nation. But what happens when some of those voters/politicians suddenly find themselves among our most frail?  Even if their need of help is temporary only, would any of them turn down FEMA aid because it’s government spending? 
     As I often do in this space, I’m simplifying a complex subject replete with layers of subtle questions.  I apologize but I do not withdraw the larger question:  Do those against federal government aid (i.e. spending) continue to feel that way when he/she is the very one receiving it?
     It isn’t only our too-large underclass that needs aid; occasionally most of us will benefit from a government program of some sort.  For me it was Pell Grants and student loans and I am forever grateful.  I could not have gone to college or grad school without them.  
     My bosses were right: weather affects us all but sometimes, so does need.  Can we be a caring nation for all while still $pending $avvily?