Our nation is broke. Evidently, if it took a dollar to go around the world, Congress couldn’t get out of bed. There was a story last week stating that Apple Computers had a cash reserve larger than the US Treasury. That seemed alarming for a while, then I realized you could say the same thing about my cat. While my cat is exactly broke, the US Treasury is $14 trillion in the red. I’d run my cat for Congress, but he’s overqualified.
Congress seems to be addicted to spending. It is amazing to think that if you raised every tax bracket by 50%, and somehow did not crash the economy, we would still have a trillion dollar deficit for this year alone. By comparison, the simple needs of crack whores seem relatively mild and normal. And as a whole, the American people don’t seem to be overly concerned. Now that television news comes in assorted flavors, each of us can find a presstitute who will reassure us that it is someone else’s fault.
Since Congress couldn’t agree on budget cuts, a special committee of twelve highly partisan politicians, (most of whom are infamous for accepting large donations from various interest groups) have been selected to do the job that Congress as a whole could not. Naturally, this will never work. The committee will not agree on any budget cuts, and even if it did, Congress as whole will not accept its recommendations. This is probably just as well--Congress would probably end up voting to spend more money.
I have a small suggestion. When my brother and I were growing up, my father got tired of our constant bickering and fighting over absolutely nothing. Like all fathers, ours didn’t want justice, he wanted quiet. Eventually, he invented a game for us to play that would settle our differences without anyone actually losing body parts or breaking furniture. While not exactly quiet, the spectacle was entertaining.
The game was called “Are You There, McCarthy?” in honor (more or less) of the late Senator McCarthy. It is a relatively simple game to set up. Each boy, blindfolded, is seated on the floor with his legs straight in front of him, with his left ankle tied to the left ankle of the boy facing him. Each boy is armed with a rolled up newspaper. If there is an age difference between the boys (as was the case with my brother and me) the size and thickness of the rolled up newspapers could be adjusted to level the playing field.
I say “boy” instead of “player,” not out of any overt sexism, but just because I think your reasoning needs to be somewhat influenced by testosterone to play this game effectively.
The playing rules are equally simple. When it is your turn, you may ask a single question, “Are you there, McCarthy?” If your opponent answers, you know, more or less, where he is by the sound of his voice, and you get one swing of the newspaper to clobber him. If your opponent remains silent, you get two swings: one to find him and the next to brain him. Then it is the other players turn. Repeat as necessary.
This is a game that needs a referee, as it is relatively easy to cheat--blindfolds slip, and it is very tempting to take more swings than the rules allow. The persistent family story that I once rolled up my newspaper around a short section of broom handle is a vicious lie perpetually perpetrated by my brother. (It was a broken hoe handle.)
Congress needs to play this game. The benefits would be enormous. It would relieve an amazing amount of tension between the politicians; it is also even possible that it might beat a little common sense into a few of them, hoe handles not withstanding. Most of our politicians could use a little cardiovascular workout, and quite a few need to have some spectacularly bad hairpieces removed. If Congress televised the event, it would definitely raise the ratings for C-SPAN. Better yet, make it Pay-Per-View and use the income to balance the budget. I’d pay $25 to watch a match between Charlie Rangel and Michele Bachmann. (And before you email me, yes, I know Michele Bachmann is not a boy. I figure if she gives Rangel a testicle, they will each have two and the game will be fair.)Even the newspapers would benefit. It’s not like anyone is actually reading them anymore.