A Few Suggestions to Improve the State of the Union
Tonight, Barack Obama issues his State of the Union address. We are tempted to send him some ideas:
“My Fellow Americans,” we would begin. “I’ve got good news. And I’ve got bad news.
“The good news is that we’ve eliminated the paperwork associated with the Food Stamp program.
“The bad news is that we’ve eliminated the program too. Well, that could be good news too, depending on how you look at it. I don’t know how the US federal government got into the business of feeding people, but now it’s getting out.
“And the good news is that the troops are coming home from Iraq, Afghanistan and 100 different other countries. We have so many troops overseas, we’ve lost track of them; for the life of me, I can’t figure out what they were supposed to be doing over there.
“The bad news is that they probably wouldn’t be able to find jobs in America today.
“But the good news is that we’re doing something about that too. I’m eliminating all the labor legislation and all the nonsense regulations that keep people from hiring. You want a job? Get in line behind all those Hispanics waiting on a street corner. You want a job done? Find yourself a good worker.
“Oh…and here’s some more good news. The US isn’t going broke. Not on my watch.
“Why… I’m proposing a balanced federal budget. What was the matter with George W. Bush, anyway? It’s not that hard. You just figure out how much you’ve got to spend and you don’t spend a penny more. Simple arithmetic. The budget deficit for this year? Zero.”
Of course, if we were delivering a State of the Union address, we’d probably be impeached before we got to the end of it. The nation wouldn’t accept a president that didn’t go along with the game.
What’s the game? Well, the US government has a mission. Its mission is survival. And as the years go by, more and more people want the government to survive. Because more and more people have a stake in it.
Like the 43 million people who get food stamps. Or the thousands who get rich on military contracts. Or the millions of retirees who are counting on Social Security.
Not that we begrudge these people their ill-gotten gains. Not at all. They’re just playing the game too.
But over time, the game comes to be more and more expensive. More votes to buy. More people to pay off. More favors to pass out. More and more deficits. More and more debt. More and more interest to pay on the debt. Then, you have to borrow just to cover past borrowings.
And eventually, you can’t continue. Lenders balk. You run out of money. Game over.