Tuesday, October 15, 2013

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

Dear Federal Government,

If you need someone to screw up the government and the national economy and the world economy, which is what Congress appears to be bent on doing, I wish to offer my services. I believe I can screw up the government, the country, and the world just as well as Congress does, but a lot cheaper.

Congressional pay averages $174,000 per person per year, and the House and Senate collectively cost the American taxpayers about $258,000 per day, which is over $94 million per year. And all they are capable of doing is to create artificial crises, without addressing any long-term problems. For example, the long-term debt needs to be addressed, but instead their entire attention is focused on making the debt problem into a short-term crisis. As I write, the budget standoff has not been resolved, but it probably will be, say members of Congress. They will, I hear, agree to suspend the debt ceiling crisis until a few months from now. That is, they will fight this battle over and over again into the foreseeable future, thus getting no other work done.

Heck, I can do that. And a lot cheaper. Instead of spending $94 million a year, you could pay me a one-time fee of just a quarter million dollars (plus expenses) and I promise you that I can come in and make a mess of the government, the country, and the world. Maybe not as much of a mess, since the House and Senate have 535 members working full time to create new crises, but I can create enough of a mess to make our government and economy collapse, and if it collapses, does it matter how much of a mess is made? That is, I can do their job for one-376th the cost.

You can even close the Congressional gym. I wouldn’t use it. I just put pillows on the floor and do pushups and situps; I don’t need any fancy equipment or a heated pool. As a matter of fact, you could close down all the other Congressional perks. I have heard, but cannot confirm, that there is a congressional movie theatre, massage parlor, casino, and gentleman’s club. Well, maybe leave them open for a week or so, so I can use them, then shut them down.

I would require the health care plan that members of Congress enjoy but which many of them passionately desire to deny to the rest of America. But you could suspend Congressional health care while the members are locked out of their offices and chambers. Oh, you might need to keep the staff proctologist on call for them.

I would require health care only for the duration of the contract, at which time I would return to my day job. I don’t want to spend too much time away from my day job, since I am actually doing useful work and wish to continue it.

We have the best Congress that money can buy, both at public expense and (even more) as a result of payments by large corporate donors. While normally this is an expense we can barely support, there is a bright side to it: look how much money you could save by hiring me to screw up the world.

I believe that Congress creates these artificial crises in order to avoid dealing with issues. Last year, in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, there was the very real possibility that, backed by massive public opinion, Congress might pass at least some slight gun regulation. Some Congressional leaders sweat bullets over that, but they won’t have to ever again, because the topic of gun regulation will never come up. As of the beginning of June, the date of an article that addresses this point, the House and Senate had passed 13 laws, none of which addressed any major long-term questions. See that article for the complete list. My personal favorites are H.R.1071 (“To specify the size of the precious-metal blanks that will be used in the production of the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins”) and S.982: Lamar Alexander’s Freedom to Fish Act. This is not worth $94 million, is it?

In the event that the artificial crisis is resolved, we all know it is a temporary resolution. But my offer remains good for the next time Congress wants to engineer a world crisis.

This blog is about evolution. One of the things that have resulted from evolution in many species of animals is a social structure. In most cases, there are alpha males (and/or females) that coerce the rest of the animals into serving them. Of course, they need the altruistic support of co-conspirators. Humans fit right into that pattern, with our leaders serving only their own interests at the expense of the general population. But in no other case do these leaders deliberately cause the collapse of their societies.