Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Simple Solution

The rising national debt is on everyone’s mind and lips these days. The recent fight over the debt ceiling, the downgrading of the United States Government’s credit ratings, and political rhetoric from both Democrats and Republicans all point to an impending crisis that looms in the months and years to come. It’s not time to point fingers or attempt to lay blame on any individual or political party. The truth is that every one of the 545 government leaders is to blame (1 President, 435 Congressmen, 9 Supreme Court Justices). They make the laws, they do the spending, they should be able to fix the problems they create. It has become painfully obvious that such a fix, left to the politicians, will never come. It’s time for the people of this great country to take matters into their own hands and remedy this potentially disastrous situation.

First, however, let’s look at a few numbers. The current National Debt stands at about $14.5 trillion dollars or about $47,000 for each man, woman and child in this country. It increases by an average of $3.95 billion each day. Insurmountable, one may say; it can never be fixed; it’s too overwhelming. But, now is not the time for despair. There’s a very simple solution. Just think about it. When you were in school, elementary, middle school or high school and you needed to raise funds for a trip or new uniforms, your group would hold a fund raiser. A bake sale or car wash; candy or cookies sold to coworkers, gift wrap or such sold to willing family members all generated adequate revenue to send Little Johnny to New York to perform with the orchestra, or Suzy to the National Junior Tennis Championship. Why can’t our elected officials apply this tried and true method to raise the capital needed to balance the budget?

But, the deficits too high, they may whine; or we don’t have the time, they say. Nonsense. It’s time our elected officials took responsibility for the fiasco they’ve created. Donating a few hours on a Saturday afternoon isn’t too much to ask of Mr. Boehner when the fate of the nation is at stake. Let’s look at the numbers. There are an estimated 247 million vehicles in this country. Mandatory federal carwashes, held monthly and asking a donation of $6 per car would generate almost $1.5 billion per month or $18 billion/year. Just scratching the surface? Perhaps, but consider this. Every minute that Al Franken is buffing a 1967 Mustang is one less minute that he is in the Senate chambers, dreaming up ways to spend our hard earned money. And, at least we would be getting something more than hot air from those individuals that are supposed to be representing us. Of course, the hot air that they generate would go a long way towards drying off some of those vehicles.

Then there are paper drives. The amount of useless paper generated in Washington DC must measure hundreds of tons. Just the healthcare reform bill alone could pay down our debt significantly. Take all that useless paper and recycle it; entire forests would be saved and billions more dollars could be earmarked for debt reduction.

What else? There’s always the ubiquitous bake sale. Let’s send Nancy Pelosi into the kitchen to bake some strawberry tarts; I hear that Chief Justice Roberts makes a mean chocolate chip cookie. Who could resist buying apple pie from President Obama? I suspect that a national bake sales, held bimonthly could generate another $10 billion annually. What about selling government memorabilia or renting out space in the White House or House of Representatives. Bill Clinton had the right idea when he allowed supporters sleep in the Lincoln bedroom. I say, make it a weekly event.

“Sleep at the White House, have breakfast with the First Lady, only $10,000/night”. I think the calendar would be full months, if not years in advance. Want to go jogging with the President? For the sum of only $5,000 you can have his ear for two or three miles. Breakfast with Harry Reid? Yours for $2000.

Too little, too late? Perhaps, but it would be a start. And, it would instill a work ethic and a sense of camaraderie in our politicians that is badly needed. I say, let’s give it a try. And, if our elected officials resist; if they say it’s beneath them and not dignified; then I say it’s time to send them home and elect men and women that are willing to roll up their sleeves and be serious about fixing the problems that our past and present politicians have created.