Tuesday, 24 August 2010

A Modest Proposal for Savings

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I haven't come up with a name for my new political party yet, though I am working on a few possibilities: the Pizza Party, the Beer Party (We promise never to bring back Prohibition), the Pot Party (We promise to repeal Prohibition), the Tailgate Party (See our plank on Prohibition), the Midnight Party, and others. But I am preparing to throw my New Hampshire Fisher Cats baseball cap in the ring and declare my candidacy for President in 2012.

And I have a few modest proposals on how to save the taxpayers' money. Take traffic lights, for example. There are too many of them, using too much energy. Why do we need green lights? We need red and orange, but why green, other than it's a nice color. When you see no light at all, you can keep going. Green lights are a waste of the people's money.

And how about extending the right turn on red law? Go anywhere you want on red as long as there is nothing coming. Think of all the gasoline that is wasted and all the air polluted and time wasted when motorists sit at a red light with no other cars in sight, from anywhere, in any direction. Just treat red lights as rotating yield signs.

And how about those four-way "Walk" lights at intersections where there hasn't been a pedestrian since Eisenhower was President? We could get rid of those.

But who cares, really? Government exists not to protect, but to harass the citizens. (I almost wrote "its citizens," but that would reflect the thinking of those who believe the people belong to the state instead of the other way around.) That's why many states have primary safety belt laws for motor vehicle occupants. So if you are doing nothing else wrong, the police may stop you just for riding in an automobile on a public highway without having your seat belt fastened. Must be a shortage of crime and reckless driving in America for the police to have that much time on their hands that they can harass citizens over seat belts. You would never know it, though, from the number of people we have in our prisons, at enormous cost to the taxpayers.

Surely, no government, be it local, state, or federal, is seriously searching out ways to save the people's money. Oh, I know, the Republicans say they are, but that is so much hot air over a Bermuda Triangle. When the Republicans had control of both houses of Congress for 12 years and the White House for six of those years, they made a lot of noise about reducing spending. So what happened? We had an increase in spending that made ol' Lyndon Johnson look like a tightwad. Why, they couldn't even de-fund the Public Broadcasting Corporation, given the Democratic-inspired outcry that such a move would deprive the little children of Big Bird. How generations of Americans grew up right without Big Bird all those years is just a "by God" miracle, I guess.

And how pathetic is that? If you can't cut funding for the Public Broadcasting System, how are you going to get defense and entitlements under control? Nobody will miss a meal if the Public Broadcasting Corporation is done away with. No one will have to go without heating oil this winter. The PBS stations will likely get by with the support of corporations, foundations, and their members. But that's not good enough for government that is (the burden) of the people, (paid for) by the people and that exists for the friends of Big Bird. No, government must force you to support it. So people can have a "choice," an alternative to the supposedly mindless network fare, the "vast wasteland" described by former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton Minnow.

Well, I am all for irrigating the wasteland, but there is, as often has been said, no accounting for taste. And I fail to see how public television, which stays alive by hawking cd's, videos and other premiums during commercial interruptions of its infomercials, is offering a viable alternative to reruns of I Love Lucy, now known as the "Golden Age of Television."

So far has PBS strayed from its mission that "doo-wop" concerts are now its principal means of staying in business. Compared to the typical PBS pitchman, Rev. Ike was a model of ethical purity and theological sobriety.

Who'dda thunk it? Did the liberal reformers who bestowed the Public Broadcasting Corporation on an unsuspecting public in the mid-1960s anticipate reruns of Lawrence Welk into infinity? What a splendid use of the people's money!

We have elections this year in New Hampshire, for Governor, U.S. Senate, and the House of Representatives, as well of our legislative state offices and Executive Council. Any debates on WENH, our state PBS channel? Not during primary season. Wouldn't want to miss another rerun of Antiques Road Show. And never mind that the "E" in WENH stands for "Educational."

So why shouldn't we "de-fund" public television? Now that's something to think about the next time you are sitting at a red light with no cars in sight at two o' clock in the morning!

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