Dancing around some ways to pay national debtPublished 10:39am Wednesday, March 9, 2011
The current national debt is $14.1 trillion.
To put this in perspective, that’s more money than they pay the Austin city administrator or Oprah Winfrey.
That’s more money than the crazy people at Publishers Clearing House promise to give away.
That’s more money than a lactose intolerant dairy farmer can expect to get when he sells his milk cows and the farmland he inherited from dear old dad.
That’s more money than a Lutheran minister receives from a church council, when he compares his calling to a rural church with only 40 members and a boom box instead of an organ.
$14.1 trillion has more zeros than holes in a hermit’s undershorts.
I get a headache trying to imagine just how much $14.1 trillion really is.
All I know is when it’s the national debt, that means everyone is in debt: The federal government, states, counties, cities and school districts.
Everyone except township boards, who can stretch a tax dollar further than a cheating husband can stretch the truth.
Let’s take a deep breath before going further. Maybe, $14.1 trillion isn’t really as much as we think? After all, they say a dollar today doesn’t buy what it used to.
When I was a boy, my Mom would send me down to a grocery store with $1, and I’d come back with five pounds of potatoes, two loaves of bread, three jugs of milk, a dozen eggs, four pork chops and 10 packs of baseball bubble gum trading cards.
You can’t do that now: Too many stores have installed security cameras.
I say it’s essential to find ways to save money by cutting spending, while generating new revenues. I don’t want America to file for bankruptcy protection.
We can chip away at that $14.1 trillion national debt one simple idea at a time.
Ask yourself: Why does Hawaii need Interstate highways? They’re a long way from the next state out there in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
I know some lonely people who would pay for pat-downs at airports.
We’ve got to think outside the box.
What’s wrong with a few more bake sales?
I’d buy a dozen lemon bars from the First Lady. Maybe some fresh vegetables grown in her garden outside the White House, too.
Cutting spending remains the key to getting out of this debt mess.
On the local level, how about Dancing with the Mower County Stars? People would pay to see county commissioners line dancing with the planning commission.
The Austin City Council is missing a real opportunity to make money by not allowing commercials on their public access television broadcasts.
Think about this for a moment: Right after the second reading of a proposed ordinance, banning right turns, they cut to a commercial for Lefty’s Bar: “Tired of street assessments? Had your fill of annexation? Lefty’s Bar has the answer. Come and stay after every Austin City Council meeting. We’ll help you forget. There’s always a quorum here even if it’s just you and the bartender.”
“Sacred cows” will be an obstacle.
Obviously, we can’t lay off elected officials, department heads and other essential public employees, but we can shrink government in other ways. For instance, a part-time paid police department.
Let officers stay at home and only go to work and collect pay when they respond to an emergency.
They could do this by using something like the “Bat Signal,” that helps Gotham City fight crime-summoning Batman with a huge light in the sky.
I’m thinking of the silhouette of a police officer, pointing a Tazer at a cat in a tree.
The school district presents quite a different challenge.
Obviously, the Austin district needs all of its administrators. Somebody once told me education as we know it would collapse without them — I think it was a former school superintendent, who hired many of them.
Force the administrators to share one office and one secretary. Turn the other offices into classrooms.
There. My work is done. I’ve solved all debt problems.