Opinion » Bill Cope

Plan B

From outer Idaho

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Dear President Barack Obama,

You have indicated repeatedly you would listen to ideas from all sorts of people. I definitely fall into the "all sorts of people'' category, therefore I feel confident in offering you my idea for fixing the busted economy should your stimulus package not work. I will happily confess I'm no financial genius, but I'm not sure we can afford to listen to many more financial geniuses, are you? It seems to me that had financial geniuses not made the economy so incomprehensible to normal Toms, Dicks and Harrys, someone might have seen what these greedy bastards were up to early enough to keep us out of this fix. After all, it wasn't normal Toms, Dicks and Harrys who figured out how to bundle ridiculously over-leveraged toxic assets and pass them on to bigger and bigger zombie banks, was it? No sir, it takes a financial genius to dream up something like that.

Furthermore, my idea has the benefit of allowing you to fix the economy without having to listen to any more teeth gnashing from the same Republican wads who got us into this. Think about it. Wouldn't it be heaven to just tell Lindsey Graham, John Boehner and that Kantor weenie, "Hey boys, you can kiss my ass!" I can't believe the urge hasn't crossed your mind, anyway. But you're such a nice guy and probably not comfortable with telling A-holes what A-holes they are. And besides, you sort of got yourself trapped with that promise of bipartisanship, even though it has become as clear as Sarah Palin's resume that the people on the other side are incapable of behaving like anything but hillbilly Rottweiler cannibals who have been chained to a tree all their lives. Sad to say, I fear all you'll ever get out of them are endless attempts to chew off your arm.

But Mr. President, we don't need them. Beyond the facts that you won the election by a vigorous margin, that Congressional Republicans are disappearing faster than even polar bears are, and that you already have the only three GOP senators worth talking to on your side, you now have an alternative to fall back on—a Plan B. You probably already have a Plan B in mind, but trust me, my Plan B is better. If I were you, I would take your current Plan B and start calling it Plan C, though once you hear about my Plan B, you will realize right away that you won't need a Plan C. You may even regret that I didn't tell you about this weeks ago, as it probably would have become Plan A because it is so good. In fact, it is so good, my first thought was, "Why hasn't anybody thought of this before?"

But I don't want to keep you waiting any longer as I know you're a busy fella. So without further ado, Mr. President, here is Plan B: Sell a state off. A whole state. Then use the money to get the other 49 healthy again.

The idea came to me while I was watching one of those pawn shop commercials. They were talking about how in hard times, you can always count on their pawn shop to get your family over the hump, and I got to thinking about these customers bringing in Ma's juicer or Pa's Bowie knife or that guitar Junior never got around to learning how to play. I don't know how far back pawn shops go, but I suspect they've been helping folks out of a jam for a long time. I've never been in an empty pawn shop, have you?

Well, think about it. What is America right now if it's not a big, 350-million-member family that doesn't have the cash to keep the electricity on or put SpaghettiOs on the table? And so far, we've been borrowing money like we live next door to one of those payday-loan joints, but that can't go on forever.

Nope, it would be far better if we just sit down and figure out what we can get by without, only since it may be a few trillion dollars short we're looking at, it will obviously take something the size of a state to come up with that much scratch. And I think we both know there are some states out there we'd all be better off without, anyway. Am I right? Huh?

You bet I am. And sir, there are precedents to this. Old Tom Jefferson bought about a third of the country off Napoleon because the little frog needed some traveling money, remember? And Seward's Folly, remember that? I don't recall what Russia needed the dough for, but they pawned Alaska off on us to raise it.

So my idea is nothing new, and it's not very complicated, either. All your people have to do is calculate which state has approximately the right acreage and resources to bring in the cash we need to get revved up again, and then match that figure with a list of states we can get by without just fine.

The first one that comes to my mind is Florida. Don't tell me we couldn't get by without Florida. Hell, I can't even consider it a bona fide land mass. The way I see it, it's just a bigass sand bar loosely attached to Georgia. But it has Disney World and Key West, so I'm sure some sucker country would be interested.

Or Texas. Now that Molly Ivins and Ann Richards are gone, who needs Texas?

Of course, after calculating exactly how much money we need to get America cooking again, it's likely that one of the smaller states will suffice. My guess is it will take something about the size of Oklahoma, which would work out great. Really, is there anything about Oklahoma we couldn't live without? That senator goofus, James Inhofe, for instance. Or Oral Roberts University. Whoa, what a loss they would be, eh?

There is a hitch in my Plan B, and I'm sure you've spotted it: who has the moolah these days to buy a whole state?

OK, I've thought about this, too. Seems to me, if China still has the money to lend us so much money, surely they can afford a dump like Oklahoma.

Or the European Union ... don't tell me France and Spain wouldn't be tickled to have their hands on a piece of the New World again. Even if it's Oklahoma.

Or Dubai. Gad, they have so much money, they're building indoor ski mountains and hotels that look like sailboats. Just tell them Oklahoma is a seaport, and they'll jump on it.

Now, I can imagine there might be some Sooners—whatever the hell that is—who will object to having their state sold out from under them. Just remind them they stand a lot better chance of finding a job with the new owners than in the mess their buddy George Bush left behind. And besides, did old Bonaparte worry about what the Choctaws and Arapahos thought when he sold off their land?

Any other problems, Mr. President, give me a call. Glad to help.

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