Monday, July 28, 2008

Tanking Economy Breeds Fiscal Patriotism

With deficits soaring, the dollar sinking, and the banking and real estate industries collapsing, the future is bright for Bushevik fiscal policy, which has already done so much to make the United States a better place.

Five years ago President Bush's selfless campaign to end the injustice of taxing the rich bore fruit in the can-do inventiveness of the parents and teachers at the Family School in Eugene, Oregon. Parent Lorrie Burns came up with the ingenious idea of having parents and teachers sell their blood plasma to keep the school going. When she presented her proposal at a community meeting, the crowd burst into applause.

Aventis Bio-Services was brought in to assist this breakthrough in school funding. Aventis manager Alf Moebius pronounced the plan a "win-win situation," not to mention another splendid example of public-private partnership. By all accounts the event was a grand success, although one parent was inexplicably short on enthusiasm for the momentous achievement. "It's a bizarre and poignant place we've come to, when we're reduced to donating our bodily fluids to support our schools. It's definitely our last stand."

But there really are no grounds for such pessimism. With a $500 billion budget deficit looming and a gargantuan national security state bleeding the U.S. dry with unwinnable wars as far as the eye can see, it seems safe to predict that the opportunity to "think outside the box" like the parents at the Family School in Eugene will present itself again and again.

So instead of belly-aching about extortionate gas prices, lack of medical care, and mass illiteracy, why not make a virtue of necessity and come up with more tough-love solutions to intractable budget problems? For example, why don't we agree to extract just a little more from our bodies? Americans could offer up spare kidneys to keep Medicare afloat, that extra eye for Social Security. And if enough people gave up some of their bone marrow to insure U.S. military dominance of outer space, we could stimulate our dying economy with another big tax cut for the armaments corporations that work night and day on our behalf.

Though this outcome would be gratifying enough, it's also entirely possible that the era of Red State-Blue State partisan attacks could be left behind, what with American citizens uniting in elective surgery from coast to coast. Barack Obama and John McCain could urge us to "leave no unharvested body behind." Religious leaders could remind us that the body is God's temple, although there might be a little squeamishness at the gooey donations to the collection plate.

As a counterweight to radical Islam's suicide bombers, the U.S. could promote suicide donors, patriots who literally give their all for school supplies. On Memorial Days we could honor them: "Here lies John Doe, fiscal patriot. His brave last words were: I regret that I have but one liver to give to the high school music program."


"These Parents Give From Heart to Help Fund Eugene School," The Oregonian, April 22, 2003

------Michael K. Smith is the author of "The Madness of King George (illustrations by Matt Wuerker)," and "Portraits of Empire," both with Common Courage Press. He can be contacted at

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