Arrgh and Hip Pop in Whoopee! (Short Story)
Guest Post by William Poje
“Arrgh” Hip Pop Crissy asked “What are you doing? What’s in the box?”
“Check this out” Arrgh U. Ment said holding up a rectangular shape. “It’s a great toy.”
Hip Pop gave Arrgh a funny look. “Not that kind of toy!” he told her. “This toy is educational.”
Hip Pop looked at the box. She read markings stating 3-D BB on the cardboard packaging material. “Where did you get this?” she asked.
“Out of the closet” uttered Arrgh as he pulled the sides of a rectangular board outwards. The board extended out to a five-by-five frame with a tripod base. “It’s quite a mess in there. All the sporting goods and the globe and other junk fell out while I was getting this. It’s going to take time to clean things up.”
“OK” Hip Pop dryly asked. “What do you want with an erasable white board? Doodling on a sketch pad no longer good enough for you?”
“This is no ordinary white board” Arrgh told her. “This board makes Whoopee come to life.”
“So” Hip Pop sarcastically replied “you are going to draw porn on the board? How nice. Could you waste any more time today?”
“I’m sure that some people will think that what appears on the board is pornographic in nature” Arrgh argued. “I think that maybe what the board has to say is worth hearing. Anyway, it can’t be any worse than what everyone else is opining.”
“You’ve got me curious” Hip Pop said. “Now that you’ve got this thing up how does it work?”
“The board needs a problem to be activated” Arrgh told her. “Let me try this:
In the Board
Give a Three Dimensional Answer
To the US Economic War
The Board glowed and grew in size on its own. A sound of the voice of a kindly old giggly absent minded professor gentleman came out from the board. “Heh heh…well…hello there! I’m the voice of Phineas Storch Whoopee, and I’ll do my best to answer your riddle indeed! That’s quite a poser you have there!”
“Mr. Whoopee” Arrgh get smartly said “we haven’t got time for you to make a pass at Hip Pop! We need your help! The economy is in ruins and the economic world is collapsing all around us. We need to get out of this mess. The political parties are at odds with each other. How can the U.S. get out of this mess?”
“Indeed’ the voice replied. As the voice spoke there were images that flowed upon the board. “A wise man once said that reality is all that you perceive it to be. The first question one has to answer for each self individually is to honestly answer what they consider reality to be.”
Phineas continued. “If one considers a country
a) 14 Trillion dollars in debt
b) 5 times more than that amount in unfunded liabilities
c) No end in sight to the growth in debt
as a sign there are economic difficulties then one has performed a step of Systems Analysis. To solve the problem one must then create a System Design, and bridge the gap between the two Systems to solve the problem.
Mr. Whoopee spoke more. “If one doesn’t see items ”a to c” above as an issue then it doesn’t matter what the 3-D BB displays because of the reality perceived. People who don’t perceive the items as a problem don’t want to solve the unperceived problem.”
The 3-D BB imparted more. “To come up with a real solution that is a provable solution one has to understand what happened to get US to this point. If how this situation occurred is really understood by people then a solution can be created.”
“But Mr. Whoopee” Arrgh argued “Don’t people already get that already? Aren’t politicians and others always telling all of us all went wrong and how to fix?”
“You sound just like this old friend of mine” Phineas said. “I haven’t spoken to him in years. Now what was his name? California? New York? Washington D.C.?”
“Could his name have been Tennessee?” Hip Pop asked.
“Oh, yeah!” the 3-D BB replied. “Tennessee was name; breaking out of the zoo was his game. My you are such a nice young lady for reminding me. Heh heh. Now, where was I?”
“You were going to tell us about the debt of US” Arrgh answered.
“Yeah, oh yeah” the doddering board answered. “The US debt. Well, the way the US Government spends money is seemingly quite simple. Congress passes laws that say the US will spend money and then the President signs the law and then, if necessary, the Supreme Court rules whether the laws are legal or not according to an interpretation of the US Constitution and also prior precedents set down by prior Supreme Court rulings. The problem in today’s world is the system by which Congress passes and the President of the United States signs laws into effect become corrupted, and this corruption has been ruled as Constitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States.”
“That’s a pretty tall charge to levy” Hip Pop stated. “You are accusing the whole history of the court system rulings of the US of being corrupt.”
“Corruption, like the perception of problems, is also a matter of perception” 3-D BB advised. “The same perception also applies to the concepts of legal or illegal just as it also applies to the matter of right and wrong. Take Solyndra for example. One can argue that the loans were legal for the loans fall within the text of the legislation but that doesn’t make the loans either “right” or “wrong.” One can argue that doling out half a billion dollars of tax payer money to a company with a known, flawed business model is “right” because the potential benefit outweighs the financial risk. Or one can look at it and say that the loan was “wrong” because of the cronyism and sheer stupidity of the risk involved is a violation of the purpose of government.”
The board went on. “One could also say that it is “wrong” to build a global economic system based upon growing debt and also major ‘unknown unknowns’ such as annual inflation and interest rates. But this is the system that the ‘Western Governments’ of the world both have constructed and are not taking serious steps to alleviate because it means re-thinking the gravy train that they live off of.”
Arrgh multi tasked while listening to the voice of Phineas. His tuxedo had fallen out of the closet and he busied himself with it re-hanging it. “But Mr. Whoopee how do you change the system in a beneficial manner?”
“Ho Ho Ho” Phineas laughed. “My dear boy you have to present simple Constitutional Amendments to address the root causes of debt. These Amendments are designed to tie the hands of any political parties to keep them from manipulating the system with legal maneuvers to perform budgetary horse trading. The Amendments dictate treating citizens across the nation equally from a Federal perspective. The following proposed Constitutional Amendments would simplify the systems of government to the benefit of all:
1) Federal welfare programs must be designed to treat all people equally regardless of race, age, gender, economic wealth or income. Therefore the current Federal welfare programs must be grandfathered out and replaced with a system of a monthly stipend for all citizens.
2) Equitable health care is a right of all citizens of the United States. The Federal government will pay the health care bills of citizens (grandfathered in over time starting with dental care).
3) It is the right of all citizens to have a defined shelter and physical address. The shelter and physical address be described as “basic living quarters”.
4) The Federal tax system shall be a flat tax system. The flat tax rate charged to the public shall be the sum of all sub tax rates needed to fund the following government activities:
a) A percent to fund paying health care expenses of citizens
b) A percent to pay a stipend to all citizens
c) A percent to pay for living quarters for those who choose the “basic living quarter option.”
d) A specific percent of tax dollars to fund the following Federal departments and activities:
ii) Interest on Debt
iii) Principal on Debt
v) Education Department
vi) Justice Department
vii) Agriculture Department
viii) Transportation Department
ix) State Department
x) Homeland Security Department
xii) Executive Branch
xiv) Interior Department
xv) Treasury Department
xvi) An Amount to balance the prior year for items 4a and 4c.
The sum of all the sub rates is the flat tax to be charged. The need for the balancing rate for item 4xvi is due to the nature of the items in 4a & 4c. Department expenditures are a fixed amount annually. The stipend is a fixed amount annually. Some variance is expected for items 4a & 4c but there should not be significant annual variance as the programs evolve.
5) The Annual Federal Government funding for Departments shall be by Congress voting on the tax sub rate to be used to fund the Department. The Federal Government is not allowed to lump votes on sub rates together in any combined vote. Each tax sub rate is voted upon individually annually.
6) The Federal Government does not have the right to mandate citizens must purchase any product or service.
7) It is the right of the citizen to abuse their own body.
8) The Federal Government does not have the right to pass civil asset forfeitures laws that take assets in excess of the value of the crime proven to be committed.
9) Eminent Domain can only be used by governments for appropriating land for government utility or transportation use. Eminent Domain cannot be used for economic development purposes.
“Gee Mr. Whoopee” Arrgh said. “That’s a lot to think about. But what would these Amendments actually accomplish?”
“Well” The 3-D BB replied. “The first Amendment is designed to bring the Legislative and Court Systems back to a sense of ‘All Citizens are Created Equal.’ You see, my dear boy, the way the Supreme Court has ruled legislation to be Constitutional is to allow the Congress and the 2 major US political parties is to dole out money to buy votes. The legislation passed, written and certified by the courts is not written in a manner to treat citizens equally.”
The Board continued. “Legislation passed by Congress and signed by the president of the USA doesn’t always meet a ‘Blind Baby’ test. What this means is that the legislation looks at a person’s race, age, sex, or ‘economic deals’ in the crafting of the legislation to treat some citizens better than other citizens. Take, for example, any legislation to Federally supply some form of relief to mortgage owners to pay for mortgages that the home owner cannot afford to pay for. Every taxpayer that doesn’t own a home is inherently paying a portion of their Federal taxes to pay for this person’s mortgage. Why should the citizen homeowner be treated so special to the detriment of all other citizens?”
Mr. Whoopee babbled more. “This concept extends to providing select cities programs such as Community Block Grants. Why should the citizens in rural areas pay their Federal tax money to pay for big city citizen’s Community? Indeed, any program that is race based also falls into this category. The same is true for all the various social welfare programs such as food stamps. The doling out of money is based upon a government application and yet the result is a system that has fraudulent applications paid for years. The combination result of all these programs is that citizens find themselves pitted against each other by their own Federal government. Rather than promoting peace among the citizens the Federal Government causes disharmony among the populace by treating citizens in a biased manner.”
The story of Whoopee continued. “Why are there are all sorts of ‘needs based programs’ to help the needy? Really there are only three needs that citizens need to have covered: Cash to exist monthly, a place to have as a physical address, and to have medical expenses covered.”
The Phineas insanity went on. “Why have a Food Stamps and an Unemployment program with time limits…as well as all sorts of other Federal programs? Rather than to design the programs to be tailored to the situation of those that apply or that citizens have to wait until some retirement age where some crazy formulation determines benefits…just pay every citizen an equal amount every month. Such a system is less open to fraud, operates more cost effectively because it is a simple system, and treats all citizens equally.”
The lunacy looned more “If citizens have some money every month and have a shelter from the elements and have medical expenses paid for then why do people need to commit crime? In other words, now no one has an excuse to commit crime unless they want more than is their right.”
The cuckoo cuckooed more. “Of course, this would mean the end of the complex health insurance industry with all of its re-bills and special deals. This would also mean a Grandfathering out of the existing Social Security program. The burden shifts back to the citizen to plan for their future. Unemployment taxes would end. There would be no need to such a program for people already get a monthly stipend.”
The illogic continued. “This means that each citizen takes home more money for some taxes will disappear. This also means that corporate costs decreases for the insurance payments are eliminated over time as well as payroll taxes are eliminated; corporate profitability increases. Not only that the HR departments simplify for time is not needed to process all the insurance payroll tax systems. Also, since all citizens receive the same health care regardless of wealth then the issue of hiring citizens for health issues or family health issues is now eliminated. Why does the company care if the child has a life threatening cancer situation? It won’t affect the corporation or the insurance rate of the corporation.”
“So if I wanted to get an abortion or a boob job or Botox the government would pay for it?” Hip Pop asked. “Is that really fair?”
“Every situation is difficult in determining whether it is a necessary or optional medical procedure” answered the Board. “That is why society should start small by developing the rules and procedures for paying for dental care for all people. Now, is getting a teeth whitening mandatory or optional? Teeth whitening, like abortions or breast reconstruction, may be necessary due to other medical issues like car accident damage. The key is to build a base system…ala dental…and then keep adding features to the system.”
The Board bored more. “As far as the costs of providing health care for all citizens if one looks at the actual amount of medical expenditures annually in the USA as a whole versus the amount spent on the insurance industry the one quickly realizes that the money is actually there to pay for citizens medical expenses. It’s the marketing costs and insurance company profits and expenses associated with a byzantine coverage network combined with little capping of tort payments that make the system very costly.”
“So how would this flat tax work again?” Arrgh asked.
“The problem with the Federal government is the Horse Trading that occurs to pass funding bills” Phineas replied. “Ask any politician why this occurs and they will reply that this is the way the system has always been and this is the best that can be done. Well, just because that is the way things have always been doesn’t mean that is the way things have to continue to be done. A better system is to directly tie revenue to spending so that the politicians can’t manipulate the system for their own choice of largess is the only way to control spending.”
“Are you saying that won’t be able to continue to make an offer that can’t be refused?” Hip Pop queried. “You think that this flat tax system would stop horse head trading?”
“Indeed I believe that the proposed System Design would minimize a lot of this activity of making spending deals that bankrupt the country” Whoopee whooped. “They way it works is this: No matter how the country calculates it…whether with LIFO or FIFO or deduction this or deduction that…there is a Population of Tax Dollars available. Now assume that the amount the USA spends on military is X % of the Population of Tax Dollars. This % is a sub rate that is part of the overall flat tax rate. Next year the military gets the same % of the population of tax dollars collected the prior year.”
“Now” the explanation went on “If the military wants to have new programs something must cut from somewhere else if it cannot be afforded with the current budget. No more trading a military bill with a Pell Grant bill. Each department is separate. So, Education gets the same % of tax dollars collected annually. Justice Department gets the same annual % also. If the rate is to be modified then Congress must vote on changing the rate…and this affects everyone’s tax rate equally.”
“Let’s assume further” the Board briefed “that Congress wants to enact another bailout. First, it would be considered unconstitutional because the benefit is to a select few of society and doesn’t treat all citizens equally. Bailouts are, after all, Trickle Down Socialism. The economic argument is that propping up poor business decisions will eventually help everyone so it is a Socialist Trickle Down Effect. A further aspect is that if Congress tried to accomplish this they must create a new department fund and the amount to fund it is an increase in the overall flat tax rate. Citizens will see who votes upon the tax rate increase.”
“Lastly,” 3-D BB concluded “since government is out of the business of paying for ‘unknown unknowns’ with respect to pension or health bills…since those issues are addressed elsewhere…there is more efficient budgeting. The % of money going to a department doesn’t get eaten up over time by an ever increasing amount of employment entitlements that need satisfying.”
“Why is there a need to provide an Amendment about the citizen’s right to treat one’s body as one chooses?” Arrgh asked. “What is the point of that?”
“Ho ho ho” Phineas laughed. “That ties into the Eminent Domain and Civil Asset Forfeiture and No Government Purchase Mandates. The thing is this: The Federal Government is making it impossible for the citizen to have personal rights. Most activities that citizens consider to be fun are being ruled illegal to do for these activities destroy the body of the citizen. Paradoxically one can turn on the TV or go to sporting events and watch other citizens destroy their own bodies…like as football players do or X-Gamers do…but these activities are considered legal because of the economic benefit of these activities.”
Phineas continued. “At the same time that the Federal Government makes it is illegal to enjoy life as a human being as a citizen sees fit the Federal Government is restricting personal rights by taking the largest assets of property from anyone convicted of even the most minor offenses through abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture laws. The Federal Government has also, through the court system, abused the privilege of Eminent Domain to take property from citizens under the guise of Economic Development rather than for Governmental purposes. In total the Federal Government is subjugating the Rights of The Individual through all these actions. This must be stopped to fix the System of Government.”
The 3-D BB babbled more. “The failure of the current system is that all the laws being passed are generally crafted with the latest Public Opinion Poll in mind. These Public Opinion Polls are biased in their questioning and the skewed results are used to manipulate the media to benefit the few. The laws are not passed (or, for that matter, removed from the books) based upon a Common Sense plan of what it is like to treat citizens equally, or to respect the rights of the citizen to enjoy the Pursuit of Life, Liberty and Happiness as the individual sees fit.”
Phineas illustrated more. “In concert with this Failure is the Failure to use Common Sense when thinking about the Economic Future of the United States and how this relates to Citizens. The population continues to grow yet there will be fewer and fewer jobs because Modernization is all about employing fewer employees to be profitable. There simply won’t be Manufacturing and Food Production jobs on a mass scale created to employ the growing population. Nor will there be enough Service jobs available. It simply is now impossible to happen.”
The Board concluded “The current system of a needs based application to the Federal Government for aid that rewards those who apply at the expense of others will simply not work in the long run. There needs to be a blend of Capitalism and Socialism that lets people live but doesn’t buy them big houses and cars for not working. Some will live poorly and others will live well and some will have jobs and others will not but every month people can have enough to live.”
“Gee Mr. Whoopee” Arrgh said. “You’re the greatest!
Bill Poje is the author of the award winning fiction novel Painless. Poje is currently completing 3 more works of fiction for simultaneous publication: Novels Blindless (sequel), NLM, and the short story collection Senator Smarmy. More information is at www.poje.biz.