February 11, 2010

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if you got stuck with the dead donkey? While I have numerous punch lines floating around in my head related to the current political party in power in our nation, the moral of this story really has to do with a deceased pack animal.

A friend recently forwarded me an e-mail that offered this analogy:

Young Chuck moved to Texas and bought a donkey from a farmer for $100.

The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day.

The next day the farmer drove up and said, “Sorry Chuck, but I have some bad news. The donkey died.’”

Chuck replied, “Well then, just give me my money back.”

The farmer said,” ‘Can’t do that. I went and spent it already.”

Chuck said, “OK, then, just bring me the dead donkey.”

The farmer asked, “What ya gonna do with a dead donkey?”

Chuck said, “I’m going to raffle him off.”

The farmer said, “You can’t raffle off a dead donkey!”

Chuck said, “Sure I can. Watch me. I just won’t tell anybody he’s dead.”

A month later, the farmer met up with Chuck and asked, “What happened with that dead donkey?”

Chuck said, “I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars apiece and made a profit of $898.00.”

The farmer said, “Didn’t anyone complain?”

Chuck said, “Just the guy who won. So I gave him his two dollars back.”

The punch line to this joke was that Chuck now works for AIG. I’d like to alter that a bit and suggest he should run for public office because right now we are all being handed some road kill with no chance for a refund. Our government gobbles up our taxes, promising a chance to win a new steed. They aren’t even as nice as old Chuck was, because they don’t even bother trying to rectify the theft from the would-be winner, instead simply pointing fingers across the aisle saying it was the opposing party’s fault you didn’t get your donkey or your refund, so don’t elect them again.

As the printing presses spit out freshly minted money as fast as their gears will spin, won’t we soon reach the point when all our greenbacks will represent is worthless raffle tickets for the right to own a dead donkey?

Are we really that far away from this scenario? We are already relying on voluntary taxation in the form of the various lottery systems, to help fund our education programs.

How long before we start doing the same thing for our roads? Everyone put in $100 bucks for the MoDOT pool and the lucky winner will get their road bladed.

I’m worried that national healthcare will also resemble this scenario. Except everyone is going to be forced to buy tickets for that mule they pray they will never have to ride.

Then again, I guess the raffle winner was probably lucky that the old donkey had kicked the bucket. Sounds just like the government to sell you a $2 ticket to win a donkey, and then fine you $200 because they fed that donkey poorly and now he is a bit gassy, resulting in some environmental issues.

I guess we that live in glass houses shouldn’t cast stones. I don’t consider myself a “politician” but I do serve on the city council, and utility rates for the City of Memphis, for which I am accountable for, have generated some public outcry.

I don’t follow Facebook, but it looks like there is a grassroots movement afoot to gather in mass at the March City Council meeting to sound grievances about high electric rates.

I don’t blame people for being frustrated, I just hope they bring ideas on how to address the concerns instead of simply venting to their four elected representatives (who by the way pay the same electric rates and do work very hard to try to find ways to make this community a better place to live).

Otherwise we’ll just be flogging a dead horse, and then we’ll all have to get in line to buy our raffle tickets.

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