Dear New York state: Why spend $21,000 on a rug during a recession?

Here’s yet another example of stupid governmental decisions that piss me off. Someone in state government made the ill-advised decision to purchase a $21,000 custom-stitched, antique Turkish carpet for the Executive Mansion?

Now, granted, the rug was purchased in July, before all of us fully got that our economy was going down the toilet. But at that point, Gov. David Paterson was already making a round of cuts to the current budget — taking away money that was already promised.

Sure things got worse and worse and worse. (I’d like to hope the purchase wouldn’t be made now, but I can’t say I’m confident of that.)

Also, I’m sure the governor himself knew nothing of the purchase — or at least I hope not. But the thing with being in charge, you get blamed whether it’s your fault or not. (You also get credit for what your underlings do well, so it all evens out.)

Why does this rug thing bug me so much? Because, like the big three automakers swooping in a corporate jets asking for a handout from taxpayers, it belies the message we keep getting from politicians and corporate leaders. Sorry, we can’t fun programs for early education or schools because we don’t have the cash. Hey, we need money to keep our business afloat but we’re not willing to drop our standard of living one bit in the meantime. (Yes, I realize the big three changed their tune eventually but only after being publicly flogged.)

But we can go buy a rug that’s more expensive than me, you or most people we know would ever be able to spend. (And, yes, I get that in the state’s massive budget $21,000 is like a couple hundred bucks in mine.)

Since the economy got bumpy, my husband and I have really cut our spending. (I know that adds to the economic malaise, but we’re worried we might not have secure jobs.) We’ve stopped eating out, except very infrequently. I’ve cut back on buying coffee; I fired the cleaning lady and started dyeing my own hair. These are all small “nickel-and-dime” type of savings.

But the thing is: True savings comes from these nickel-and-dime savings. Sure, I could save lots of money if I stopped paying my biggest bill — my mortgage, but I’d also be out on the street. So the only way most people can really trim their own costs is by doing a lot of little things that add up. Somehow government doesn’t seem to get this, or at least it seems that way. Instead, they try to cut big chunks out of the budget, but that doesn’t work. The state still needs to function even as it trims costs.

Here’s my message for the state (and federal) government: Take a cue from the Kit Kittredge movie, a film based on an American Girl doll character that is set during the Great Depression: Use it up; wear it out; do without. That’s what I’m trying to do.

bitchy mommy


5 Responses to “Dear New York state: Why spend $21,000 on a rug during a recession?”

  1. I’ts because our “leaders” have this big, fat, egotistical American attitude. If you look closely, you will see people going about their daily lives with this attitude and with the thinking of how this recession is not effecting them, just because they still work.

  2. Thanks for sharing this post. Yet another clear example of wasteful governmental spending, especially amid the high-level of unemployment and an economy on life-support systems.


  3. This was a rug burn.

    Numerous news sources cited there were 5 rugs total, amounting to some $39K. 2 of the rugs which came to $21k were Turkish patchwork rugs… A 10×10 and a 10×15. Both can be had online in the neighborhood of $2K a piece shipped to the states. For just these pieces alone, there’s $17k discrepancy for what could have been taxpayer “savings”… Guess favors in campaign funding are good in the long run.

  4. bloggingmom67 Says:


    Thanks for the comments — good to hear what others think.

    Rug Guy — you really are a rug guy. I checked out your site, so I really trust what you’re talking about with rugs.

  5. what a great post. thanks for the info about how are tax dollars are buying. meg whitman loves to spend money too.

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