Tis the season to think about money. With the fiscal cliff and the holiday shopping ads competing for attention, I keep asking myself “How much money is enough?” It seems most people wish they had “just a little bit more money” irrespective of wants or needs. Is that the threshold I wonder, being able to buy or do anything you want no matter the cost? Warren Buffett can do that and he eats at McDonalds everyday.

If you are a member of the 1% what do you do with all that money? Buy more houses? Go more places? Give it away through charitable contributions? If you have that tremendous level of wealth, why shelter and protect it from taxes so you can have more? It really doesn’t make sense to me. Much of debate around taxes baffles me but nothing more than Grover Norquist and The Pledge.

Norquist is a lobbyist who, anointed by Newt Gingrich back in the 90’s, has helped orchestrate the GOP march to crazy town with his Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Year after year Republican politicians signed it promising to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and to oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.” No rational discussion, no compromise, just no. Sound like the 111th and 112th Congress to anyone else?

I am heartened to see that fewer GOP lawmakers have signed his pledge this year as we face the fiscal cliff. If they’d found their spines last year the Super Committee might have worked. But still, the stranglehold of conservative “values”, “smaller government” and “bigger military” might be loosen a bit. In return, Norquist will attack republicans who break his pledge as he protects the “special interests” of the individuals and corporations who fund his lobbying. What a system.

I still haven’t figured out the magic number is – how much money would make me feel like I didn’t have worry about money, I could do what I want, that I’m rich. I can only conceptualize it as chunks at the moment. Things like – a new car every 8 years or so, my daughters college education, travel vacations, upgrades to our house (my kitchen is a makeover shows wet dream.) Nothing extravagant but hard to quantify because I suspect that once the kitchen is fixed, I’d want a soaking tub in the attic, then replacement windows, and new landscaping…

So the number would keep changing.

Maybe I should just buy a Powerball ticket. And if I win the $360 million jackpot I wouldn’t begrudge the feds their $90 million, or the state their $21, because there would still be an insane amount of money left. Is $250 million (~Romney’s net worth) my magic number? Lets find out.

I did a bad thing.

I calculated the amount of money my husband and I would owe in additional taxes if the R&R ticket becomes reality. The proposed GOP tax structure that would, among other things, take away the earned income child tax credit, deductible mortgage interest and deductible student loan interest, would increase the check we write to Uncle Sam by roughly $10,000 every year. That is some chunk of change for a family not even in the 4%.

Now I know a lot of people don’t like doin math but at some point folks have got to add up the seriously negative impacts of the GOP agenda and recognize that R&R economic policies would spell disaster for the US.  That may sound alarmist, but I think we need to sound the alarm that this election is going to be really important. Not just ideologically as to how we define ourselves as a country, but serious nuts and bolts policies that could initiate a decline that could take generations to recover from. And I am not even mentioning the M word today.

Trying to sort out the information being disseminated by the media and slogging through the political “messaging” is tough even if you pay attention. Its also disturbing to watch facts distorted until they are fiction and lies spoken as truth. Every day.

As wearing as current events are whenever I consider withdrawal someone invariably remarks that they don’t pay attention to the news “because its too depressing”. That’s so lame it forces me to stay in the deep end with the grown ups.

Its only a few weeks until September 4th. I’m sure I can hang tough through the clown show. More importantly early voting starts in my little swing state on September 1 so we can start to get down to business. I will schedule my rest and relaxation for November 7th. Possible the rest of that week.