Recently I had to look up the phone number for traffic court, and while I was on hold for the better part of a day I had time to thumb through the city, county, state and federal government sections of the phone book.
There were listings for everything from A to Z, from alcoholic services to a zoo. (Why is the government serving alcohol?) It dawned on me, with our government’s gushing red ink we simply can’t afford to continue to fund graffiti hotlines and Cantonese translators.
There were phone numbers for street sweeping, adult sports, golf courses and, of course, traffic court. (I’d get rid of that one right now!) There’s also a phone number for a flood control agency, even though it hasn’t flooded in my neck of the woods since 1969. I wonder what those folks have been doing to keep themselves occupied these past 40 years?
Then there’s a phone number for the Adopt-A-Highway program, in which people volunteer to pick up trash along our highways. As bad as our roads are getting I’d say to heck with the bottles and cheeseburger wrappers – it’s time to really adopt a highway by trading in their trash bags for a shovel and a wheelbarrow, and start patching holes and building bridges.
Under listings for our county there were things like food stamps, DUI schools and smoking classes. Now I ask you, do we really need to be teaching people how to smoke? And what does a department called “Affirming Family Empowerment” do?
There were several listings for fire departments and it occurred to me perhaps the time has come to go back to volunteer departments. My grandfather eventually got paid $5 for every fire he fought as chief, and I think maybe we could afford that.
There were also several listings for things like Lead Abatement, Hazmat and Bomb Disposal. Because our prisons are costing way too much, I suggest we take every prisoner convicted of child molestation and send them out to defuse bombs and clean up hazardous spills.
We could replace the Solid Waste department with politicians since it’s something they know a lot about. I’d also look into replacing Parks and Recreation Departments with convicted potheads. If they want to smoke grass, they’d have to mow it, too.
I’d leave the air traffic controllers in place though, because you really don’t want some pot smoker telling airplanes when and where to land.
While on hold I came up with a program I call “Step Up, America,” in which people with special skills will replace government employees by working for free. For instance, we could get rid of immunization programs by asking cowboys to give the shots.
I’d get rid of jury duty and instead, everyone would take a turn being a Judge-For-A-Day. Those lucky enough to draw a spot on the Supreme Court couldn’t do any worse than what we have now, and look at the money we’d save. We could hire fewer teachers by asking professionals to teach at least one day once every school year for free.
We simply cannot afford programs listed in my phone book like the Barbering and Cosmetology Program, the lottery and special translators for people who don’t speak English. Evidently they can call a translator to learn how they can get government services. I say if they can’t speak English, they don’t get food stamps.
I wouldn’t fire the translators, however; instead I’d put them to work translating for the Indians and Chinese at phone centers who are supposedly speaking English when we call for help.
I’d stimulate the Post Office by having our mail sorted and delivered by all the convicted crystal meth users and speed freaks. We’d get our mail in a day.
As for the Immigration Office and Wildlife Services, we can kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. I’d quit turning wolves and mountain lions loose to terrorize, and I’d take their radio collars and place them on illegal alien drug pushers so we’d keep track of them instead.
Let’s face it folks: We’re broke, and the time has come to Step Up, America!
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers may log on to www.LeePittsbooks.com to order any of Lee Pitts’ books. Those with questions or comments for Lee may write to him in care of this publication.