Once a Marine...

Once a Marine...
Every year or so, I get together with my Marine Officer buddies. We're not as lean, not as mean, but we're still Marines. That's me, with the long hair.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Decisions must be made...

Within the political arena, there is any number of incredibly complex issues. Some of them boggle the mind. I mean, really—how is America supposed to respond to North Korea sinking a South Korean ship? It’s North Korea, for crying out loud. Once you eliminate the only feasible answer (nuke them) as not-so feasible, it gets really messy really quick. The North Korean army subsists on a diet of water and pain, and you do not want to brawl those kinds of people when they live halfway across the world.

Health care is no easy fix, either. Health care is broken because the government, Medicare, Medicaid, and lots of really expensive (lifesaving) technology and research broke it—but what do we do with all those people whose very lives depend on subsidized American health care? People who’ve been told their entire lives to expect it? It’s not like we can get an LBJ-do-over. It’s here, and we can’t afford it. We can’t afford it more each day. That’s complex.

I for one think we should at least fix the things we can fix, until someone really smart figures out the complex stuff. Unfortunately, that really smart person is apparently not yet alive, but in the meantime we can just keep selling T-bills to the Chinese. I don’t know what they do with all that paper, but they sure seem to love it. Uh-oh. I just stumbled into another complex issue.

But, let’s say we were interested in solving some of the less complex issues. It would still take a razor sharp mind and keen understanding of the issues. In thinking this idea through, I decided to enlist the aid of my four-year-old nephews, Ben and Henry. We gathered for an afternoon think-tank, and spent dozens of minutes arriving at the solutions.

First, the very complex issue of “immigration reform.” Henry, what would you do if you were trying to keep Ben from coming into your room and playing with your toys? Did you say, “Close the door?”

The mile-deep oil spill. Ben, if there was a shiny quarter lying on the ground across an eight-lane highway, and one right there in your yard, which one would your Dad encourage you to pick up?

The current federal deficit of $13 trillion dollars. Henry, if you were to eat so many cookies you thought you might puke, what could you do stop the problem? What’s that? Stop eating cookies? Smart boy.

Job creation. Ben, if your Mom wants you to clean up your room, does she a) make you pay her for the privilege of doing so? b) encourage you to clean up by offering a popsicle when you’re done?

Air travel security. You’re parents tell you a red-haired boy has been seen breaking into neighborhood homes. Do you a) Alert your parents if you see a boy with red hair in the yard? b) Alert your parents every time a man, woman, or child so much as drives by the house?

Education. If you got to choose between a school with really great teachers and one with really awesome playgrounds, which would you choose? Really? Okay, well, I’m just going to have to be the adult here and decide for you.

The Bill of Rights. Okay, listen carefully: You both know the rules of Simon Says. The big questions is, “Do the rules apply to you, even if you don’t want them to?” That’s correct—they do, unless you want to quit and move somewhere with different rules. Good answer.

Bailouts and Stimulus Packages. Ben, if you whack Henry in the head with your Nerf bat and make him cry, what happens? What would you think if, instead of a timeout, your parents rewarded you with a cupcake and a trip to Chucky Cheese?

Lobbyists. Do you lads sometimes disagree about what your Mom should cook for dinner? Do you think the one who proposes the healthiest meal should get their way? Or the one who’s saved up the most money to give to Mom, even if the menu he wants is Cheez-Whiz and beer?

Iraq and Afghanistan. What’s the rule about cleaning up a mess you make, even if you were trying to do something nice like make your Mom a birthday card?

The thing I find most amazing about my think-tank exercise with my nephews is that apparently no one in Washington has access to such bright young fellows. George Bush failed—and Barack Obama is failing—to come within a thousand miles of these self-evident solutions. Worse yet, the House and then Senate are blind as well. How can this be?

I pressed Ben and Henry for their ideas on why this governmental degenerative disorder exists, and they recommended we put the entire lot of them in a corner and let them think about it. Brilliant.

I hereby propose the President and Congress be put in a corner for the next Congressional term: No free dinners, no free booze, no flirtatious interns, no “fact finding” junkets, no free golf, no free air travel, no public speaking endorphins, no congressional healthcare, no federal exemptions from federal regulations, no pension deposits, no special parking, and no TV interviews. For the next two years, they get to be working Americans like the rest of us. After two years, we’ll see what they’ve learned—and if enough problems are solved, we’ll allow them back to the trough.

I bet they balance the budget in six weeks.

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