Written by Daniel Greenfield
The big scissors of destiny are clicking and clacking their way to our national credit card. If we don't raise the debt limit, so we can borrow more money to pay the interest on the money we borrowed before, the scissors will come down like economic armageddon. And the big shiny credit card that pays for everything gets cut up in two pieces. But never fear. If worst comes to worst, then we still have options.
Our government is big. Really big. So big that the 2.15 million government employees should be their own state. The population of government employees is already larger than the populations of Rhode Island, Wyoming, Delaware, Alaska, Montana, North and South Dakota, New Hampshire, Maine, Hawaii, Idaho, West Virginia, Nebraska and New Mexico. So big that if government employees formed their own state, it would be the 36th largest state in the union. So why not go for it?
Call it Bureaucratia, its state flag will be a stapler on a manilla background, its nickname will be 'The Inaction State', its state bird will be the Ostrich, its state flower made of plastic and its entire population will spend all their time in committee meetings to determine a suitably inoffensive state motto, pending that its motto will be, "I'm On Break".
Under this arrangement, all government employees would be folded into a single state with two senators and the correct number of congressmen, and no more clout than that. And the other 50 states will finally have senators and congressmen working to create jobs for them, instead of jobs for government workers. The citizens of Bureaucratia will enjoy Universal Free Everything with a 10 year waiting list and 100 percent taxation. And the rest of the country will enjoy keeping their paychecks and living in a place that isn't bleeding itself dry to subsidize the 36th unknown state in the union.
Of course that's a long shot. But we still have options. If the debt limit is too stifling for Washington D.C. -let's do what so many schools, churches and libraries do when money is tight. Let's have a government sale.
The federal government may have run up a 15 trillion dollar deficit, but it also has some mighty appealing assets. Like 30 percent of the total territory of the United States. That 85 percent of Nevada, 70 percent of Alaska, 60 percent of Utah and 50 percent of Oregon, Idaho, Arizona and California might be worth something on the open market. And some of that 70 percent of Alaska just might have energy reserves that could lower gas prices, which would do more to raise up the economy than every stimulus package known to man.
And we don't have to stop there. Do we really need two Air Force One's? The Space Shuttle has been scrapped and F-35's are being cut-- but there's a whole new fleet of Air Force One planes being designed with all the amenities including onboard pharmacies, soft serve yogurt machines and gyms. The cost of flying Air Force One, 181,000 dollars an hour. Jet Blue offers a $499 'All You Can Jet' pass. For only 500 bucks, the One can fly anywhere he wants to for a whole month.
What about not just saving money, but raising money? We can do that too. Yes we can.
They say Obama is a great speaker. It's time to put him to the test. Bill Clinton made 10 million dollars delivering speeches in a single year. If Slick Willy got paid an average of 187,000 a night to pack them in, Obama should be able to top him. If the country elected a celebrity, then it's time for it to get a cut of the profits. We can take out an ad in the back pages of the UN Observer offering O speeches at a quarter of a million each. From Berkley to Bangkok, Cairo to Caracas, and Berlin to Brussels, if you've got a board meeting, bar mitzvah, 70's themed disco dance party, memorial wake or revolution -- the man himself will be there to say a few words in style. Have your picture taken with him for only a little extra.
Will it be embarrassing and degrading to the United States to hire out its elected leader for children's birthday parties? Yes it will. But less so than if Obama skips the party to go negotiate a treaty with Russia or start another war with Libya. He's much safer pretending to ride the pony while making scary faces when his teleprompter tells him to. And while his stock isn't what it used to be, we stand a good chance of clearing a 100 million in a year. That won't do much to dent the 10 billion he's already spending a day. But it's a start.
And there's no reason to stop there. Obama loves to golf. Let's enter him in a celebrity golf tournament. What about Biden? He may not have much gravitas, but he could kill in the right comedy club. And let's not rule out the occasional drinking contest. So many other members of the administration are also going around giving it away for free. Sure the crowds won't line up around the block to hear Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speak or juggle pies, but there's got to be somebody out there who'll pay for it. And that's exactly what classified ads in the back of newspapers are for.
Liberals have been complaining that 33 congressmen are sleeping in their offices. And that's a good start. But when all 535 congressmen and senators are sleeping in their offices-- then we'll be getting somewhere. And can someone ask Obama to please turn the thermostat down below Hawaii level temperatures. We're paying for him to sleep there, not sunbathe there. And while we're at it, what about charging them rent?
Liberals say we should squeeze the rich. And the average Senator is a millionaire. The top 10 richest Senators (7 out of 10 Democrats) have a combined net worth of over a billion dollars. Why the hell are we paying them to be in the Senate? They should be paying us. The Romans auctioned off offices. Maybe we should start doing the same thing. Campaigns already cost millions of dollars, but the proceeds to go ad agencies, pollsters and television networks. This way the proceeds would go directly toward paying off the national debt. And to forestall the risk of incompetents in government, every Senator would be forced to buy a 1 trillion dollar malpractice insurance policy that would cover such eventualities as passing bills they haven't read, assaulting other congressmen and bankrupting the government. We would end up with the same government we have now-- but at least the United States would be insured for the damages.
Every dollar begins with a dime and so does a government sale. Under the Federal Property and Service Administration Act of 1949, the Federal Surplus Property Program gives away items that federal employees have through some unnatural event declared surplus to requirements. Items being given away include jet engines, copy machines and backhoes. Has anyone ever heard of an auction? And why stop at auctioning off backhoes, when we can auction off bills.
Right now if a company or lobby wants a law passed, they have to go through a complicated process of exchanging favors. And the government doesn't see a dime of that money. Why not just a direct price tag on laws derived from their cost of enforcement and total expense. Want a government grant for your crony capitalist hot air farm or humanitarian project to educate tribesmen on how to use dishwashers? Just pay 110 percent off the cost of the grant and it's yours. Doesn't sound like such a good deal anymore. How do you think the taxpayers who funded your grants used to feel? Welcome to the new Capitalist America.For a decade we've been paying a billion dollars to 250,000 dead people. And that's fine. As a cost saving measure, from now on you have to be dead to collect subsidies. To pick them up, just show up at any government office in beautiful Bureaucratia with proof of your own death in hand. Please note that lack of a conscience, soul or manners does not equate to being legally dead. This should be good news to cowboy poets everywhere, who can rest easy knowing that they will be able to haunt the living with their poems from beyond the grave. "I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night alive as you or me. Says I, "But Joe you're ten years dead". "I never died," says he, "I've been waiting in a government line."
The government has fifty-six programs across 20 agencies dealing with financial literacy. That's all well and good, but they're woefully misdirected at the general public. There's an urgent need for financial literacy programs aimed at Washington D.C. If we could just teach them how to cut down from 10 billion a day to a piddling 1 billion a day, maybe the great scissors wouldn't have to cut after all. Forget the fifty-six programs. This isn't a problem that can be solved by bureaucrats. It's up to all of us to adopt a senator or representative and mentor him or her in financial literacy. It won't be a rewarding job, but it's important work that needs doing.
In the meantime, there's pork pies to be baked and red tape lemonade to serve. There's no need to raise the debt limit. If we have a really successful government sale, we might even have enough left over for a one way ticket to Harry Reid's choice of cowboy poetry festivals.
From NY to Jerusalem , Daniel Greenfield Covers the Stories Behind the News. Daniel Greenfield is a blogger, author and columnists covering international affairs, the rising threat of terrorism and the growing problems of socialism. His daily blog can be viewed at Sultan Knish.