At last! The veil parts. The beam falls from my eye. The fog clears.
How could I have been so blind? Man-oh-man-oh-man, I have wasted my life, plugging along, trying to make money and eke out a modest living by offering my meager services to various employers. All those years toiling in menial jobs. All that aggravation in dealing with surly students. All that frustration in attempting to interest uncaring publishers in my books and short stories.
What a waste of valuable time and energy when I could have been pulling in the dough so much more easily.
The wonderful lads in Washington, D. C., have shown the way, illuminating the path for slow-to-catch-on types such as I. Here and all, I thought the best way to earn dollars was to exchange a desired service or product produced by yours truly for the voluntarily surrendered money of those desirous of my talents and effort.
A recent story from The Wall Street Journal, however, has provided me the key to unlimited wealth. In between all their dedicated and wondrous efforts to oust Saddam Hussein and to free the long-suffering Iraqi people from their dirty ol' homes and lives, the ingenious worker-bees in the current presidential administration have creatively devised a method to increase their budgets.
(Oooo! I tingle all over pondering the titillating possibilities inherent in the principle these lads and lasses have uncovered.)
The fun folks at such what-would-we-do-without-them organizations as the Department of Agriculture (the clever people who bring us all higher food prices to subsidize the lifestyles of a small group of the richest farmers), the Federal Communication Commission (the farsighted dreamers who want to outlaw analog television reception in a few years and whose policies have slowed broadband and retarded the tech sector), and the Food and Drug Administration (the compassionate souls who have helped end prematurely the lives of millions of Americans by delaying approval of drugs and medical devices, and who contributed to the skyrocketing costs of the drugs they do approve by endless paperwork and delays), these chuckle-chums and others have been informed by the prez's people to charge the people they regulate for the privilege of being regulated.
Brilliant! Delightful! Bodacious!
More precisely, these modern magicians are supposed to increase the "user fees" they already collect from various businesses. Those evil corporations paid only $170 billion in such "fees" last year. By golly, the prez has our best interests at heart and wants these rich SOB's to fork over another two billion or so this year.
Consider the genius of this plan:
Wow. I take off my hat to the pushers of this cunning and masterful scam.
Maybe I can force college-age students to go to college because it would be good for them to learn more. Then I'll make them take my classes. Next, I'll charge them for the privilege of using my services. Plus, I'll make it illegal for any of the students not to take my classes and forbid anyone from dropping the classes. Then, when I decide I need more money, I'll raise their "user fees" so I can finally buy that plasma-screen television I've coveted.
Better yet, they don't actually have to benefit from my teaching. Indeed, if they get more educationally confused and end up worse off than they were before, I'll use their failure as an excuse to demand even more money from them!
What a wonderful spiral: miss a lot of classes; grade only cursorily; ignore the outcomes; get paid by the students for forcing them to do what I tell them to do. Do it all again.
And guess what! No more idiotic student evaluations. If they don't like what I force them to do, who cares? I'll fine them even more or maybe just throw them in jail.
'Course, now that I think on this a mite, I'm beginning to wonder how original this scheme truly is.
After all, I am forced to pay for the "privilege" of adhering to "gun control" laws -- such as purchase permits -- I don't want but that are supposed to keep me "safe."
I am forced to pay -- for my own good -- for a State-mandated education system I don't want but that is supposed to produce knowledgeable students but doesn't.
I am forced to pay -- for my own good -- for building new jails to lock up all those drug users who are in jail because of laws I don't want that make it illegal to recreate with drugs not approved of by those who create and enforce the drug laws.
I am forced to pay -- for my own good -- for random vehicle checkpoints that I don't want so cops can be employed to enforce drug laws and seat belt laws that I don't want but that are passed so the cops can enforce them.
I am forced to pay -- for my own good -- for wars that I don't want so the war-ophiles can increase their budgets and buy more of those military goodies so they can use them in another war that I don't want.
I am forced to pay -- for my own good -- for random and degrading searches that I don't want at airports and national parks and monuments so more federal workers can be hired to perform the searches I don't want.
I am forced to pay -- for my own good -- for business and individual welfare that I don't want so those companies can charge me more for goods I don't want and so individuals can have a higher lifestyle and I can have a lower one.
I am forced to pay -- for my own good -- for health coverage mandates that I don't want so I can pay more for my health care and help keep employed those who create and enforce the mandates.
I am forced to pay -- for my own good -- for swimming pools and sports stadiums and urban renewal and parks that I don't want and don't use so a handful of people can have fun or make money.
I am forced to pay -- for my own good -- for a national "security" system that I don't want so I can be less free and more insecure.
Gosh. This plan doesn't sound like so much fun, after all. I may have to rethink my strategy. How do I opt out of this mess?
I hear that some of the businesses that will have to begin paying or pay more in "user fees" are protesting. Too bad so many of those same large corporations were all for the State imposing mandates when it meant keeping out new entrants or bankrupting current competitors; when such mandates meant State-enforced monopolies that hiked their bottom lines; when such mandates allowed them to slow their innovation and rest upon their laurels.
To such peddlers-of-pull, such parasites, all I can say is:
You asked for it.
Too bad that the State is so "generous" that even those of us who didn't "ask for it" are getting it, too.
Yochi J. Dreazen and Deborah Solomon, "Paying for Regulation," Wall Street Journal, February 4, 2003.