Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Interview with some Extreme Visionaries

This month I sit down with two diametrically opposed people to pick their minds, or what's left of them anyway. The two this time are "Bill" and "Bob".  Bill is a self-described Tea Party proponent.  Bob is a self-described liberal Democrat.  Sharp objects were hidden away and suitable protective staff members were present to suppress any potential emotional outbreaks.  Let's get started!debate-pic

Dave: "Welcome.  Thank you both for taking the time to sit down and share your views and have a little discussion with me today."

Both: "Thank you!"

Dave: "To start with, I need to give a shout-out to our sponsor for this event: Peppy's brand Caffeinated Laxative pills.  When you need to go, and you need to go right now!  It's Peppy's or nothing."

Dave: "So Bill.  Let me start with you.  What do you see as your ideal government of the future?"

Bill: "As little as possible.  Maybe even none at all."

Dave: "None?"

Bill: "Yep.  Private business and constituents can do things just fine themselves.  It's all about self-empowerment and getting big government off our backs.  Let small business thrive and get families back to home-schooling and growing their own crops.  Fundamentals."

Dave: "What about essential services like FAA flight control, border control, Customs inspections, safety recalls, food and medical testing, and defense?"

Bill: "We don't see those as 'essential', Dave.  That's over-hyped. We should let the private sector handle those responsibilities. They know them better than government ever will."

Dave: "Home schooling?  For everyone?"

Bill: "Everyone.  Cut taxes and get kids back in their homes learning in their own family environment."

Dave: "Everyone?"

Bill: "Everyone."

Dave: "Single-parent families too?  Who will bring home the income?"

Bill: "Everyone.  We can work on single-parent families.  We need to provide additional tax breaks to heterosexual married couples to provide incentive to stay married."

Dave: "They'll stay married longer if they get a tax break?"

Bill: "Absolutely."

Dave: "Have you ever been to"

Bill: "What are you trying to say?"

Dave: "Have you?"

Bill: "Yes.  Disgusting filth."

Dave: "You believe those same people are qualified to teach their own children to become productive citizens and compete in the global marketplace of the future?"

Bill: "Why not?"

Dave: (eyebrows raised, stunned)

Dave: "Do you live near a Sam's Club or Costco?"

Bill: "I sure do. Costco."

Dave: "Do you shop there often?"

Bill: "All the time. Either my wife or I shop there every week."

Dave: "Why don't you shop at locally-owned businesses instead?"

Bill: "Are you kidding?!  I save a ton at Costco, and they have a huge selection of things to choose from."

Dave: "And why is that?"

Bill: "They have lower prices."

Dave: "I mean, why do they have lower prices?"

Bill: "Because they buy in bulk."

Dave: "Over the course of a given month, would you say you spend more of your money at Costco than at small locally-owned businesses?"

Bill: "I wouldn't say that."

Dave: "Well, what would you say?"

Bill: "Ok, I probably spend half my money, maybe a little more, at Costco."

Dave: "So, by a 'voting with your dollars' perspective, you put as much support behind 'big business' (air quotes) as you do small business?"

Bill: (blank stare)

Dave: "You are aware that over ninety percent of the items sold at Costco are made overseas?"

Bill: "Says who?"

Dave: "Says their own inventory reports.  You can stroll down the aisles and verify this yourself."

Bill: "I have staff that takes care of that sort of thing for me."

Dave: "But I thought you were in favor of small government.  Why not do that yourself?"

Bill: "I don't think I like your tone."

Dave: "So, big or small business?"

Bill: "We need to protect small business while also protecting big business.  It's all about jobs and employment after all."

Dave: "So, when big business threatens to overtake small business, such as when a Sam's Club or Walmart moves into a rural area and the local businesses cannot compete, what then?  Who do you support?"

Bill: "We need to protect small business while also protecting big business.  It's all about jobs and employment after all."

Dave: "Didn't you just say that?"

Bill: "Pardon?"

Dave: "Are there any government services you see as being necessary? Any that you would keep?"

Bill: "Maybe the CDC.  Everything else would be eliminated or cut to less than half what they are now."

Dave: "How would you propose we provide support to our trading partners around the world?"

Bill: "We need to focus on America first.  The rest of the world will have to wait.  If that means we pull out our military forces from all foreign places, then so be it."

Dave: "Even if that results in layoffs and cutbacks at American factories due to reduced sales and shipments?"

Bill: "Yep. We must feel some pain to truly heal."

Dave: (shaking head with raised eyebrows)

Bill: "See, Dave, there's also no credible evidence to support that government has really improved safety or security over what private business could do.  Whether that's food safety, product safety, environment and ecology, research or military defense, it can all be outsourced to private businesses and done better."

Dave: "What small businesses can provide military security around the world?"

Bill: "We put it up for bid and allow the markets to compete.  We could have twenty or thirty thriving small businesses providing ground, sea and air defenses, and the taxpayer would win."

Dave: (blank stare)

Dave: "How would you fund the CDC without taxes?"

Bill: "They would be required to sell services or products to fund themselves."

Dave: (inhales deep, exhales slowly, while staring wide-eyed at the floor)

Dave: "Gay marriage?"

Bill: "Against it.  They should be jailed and rehabilitated for their illness."

Dave: "Gun control?"

Bill: "None.  Allow anyone to buy any gun they so choose."

Dave: "Safety inspections and recalls?"

Bill: "Let businesses take care of that themselves.  We trust them."

Dave: "Defense?"

Bill: "Pull our forces out and bring them home.  No need to stick our noses in other people's business."

Dave: "Oil?"

Bill: "Drill at home.  Stop buying from OPEC.  Even if it costs way more to drill and produce domestically, it's the right thing to do.  Drill off of every shore, in every National and State Park.  Everywhere.  Oil comes first."

Dave: "Alternative energy?"

Bill: "Solar and wind are bogus.  Nuclear is messy.  Oil is best."

Dave: "I'm going to list some agencies and ask you to respond with either 'keep' or 'eliminate'..."

Dave: "CIA and FBI"

Bill: "Eliminate"

Dave: "FDA"

Bill: "Eliminate!"

Dave: "FAA"

Bill: "Ditto!"

Dave: "DOJ"

Bill: "Like we need more lawyers?  Eliminate."

Dave: "DoD?"

Bill: "Cut waaaaaaaay back."

Dave: "NASA"

Bill: "Eliminate"

Dave: "HUD"

Bill: "Eliminate"

Dave: "How should we compete against China in the future, especially with respect to their signifcant ownership in U.S. T-bills and their tightly-integrated relationships with U.S.-based corporate operations?"

Bill: "Cut off trade with China immediately!"

Dave: "What if that causes U.S. businesses to fold and lay off workers?"

Bill: "It won't.  We have faith."

Dave: "How do you see the effectiveness of the recent Health Care Reform legislation?"

Bill: "It's totally unnecessary.  We don't need to fix anything.  It's working fine. Prescriptions are affordable.  Co-pays are affordable.  Services are the best in the world.  Paper forms have worked fine for decades. There's nothing whatsoever wrong with our current health care system.  Leave it alone.  Let the market determine what needs to be done."

Dave: "Finally, what do you believe the responsibility of the GOP or Tea Party movement is now?"

Bill: "To remind Americans that we are right and they (points to Bob) are wrong!  They are destroying our country while we are doing our best to save it."

Dave: "Ok then.  On to you, Bob.  How would you propose we shape the government of the future?"

Bob: "Government should be the ultimate service provider.  It should provide all that we need or want.  Private business can still thrive in a supporting role, but the actual decision making and execution should be government."

Dave: "How do you address the growing concerns about over-spending, waste and increased taxes?"

Bob: "We have to pay for this stuff somehow."

Dave: "And the over-spending part?"

Bob: "How would I address over-spending?  That's a good question.  I'm glad you asked that Dave.  You see, some people think we spend too much in this country, and that's a valid concern."

Dave: "You're not going to answer my question, are you."

Bob: "Could you repeat the question again?"

Dave: "Never mind. Gay marriage?"

Bob: "It should be protected and supported by the government.  We should teach kids in school that two daddies or two mommies is ok as well."

Dave:  "Gun control?"

Bob: "Guns are violent.  People don't kill people.  Guns kill people.  We should ban them."

Dave: (eye brows hurting from being in the "up" position for so long now…) "Safety inspections and recalls?"

Bob: "Increase them both.  Make it more difficult to get things through the inspection process so we slow down and do the right thing up front, not later on."

Dave: "Defense?"

Bob: "Do more with less.  More work, less people."

Dave: "Oil?"

Bob: "Stop buying from Canada, Mexico and OPEC."

Dave: "Alternative energy?"

Bob: "Electric from solar, wind and geo-thermal.  Build them in every state.  Wind turbine farms off of every coast, on every mountain top.  Solar panels on all buildings, across every open space we can find."

Dave: "Methane?"

Bob: "Sure."

Dave: "How do you see the effectiveness of the Health Care Reform legislation?  What does it really do for Americans?"

Bob: "It fixes everything.  It restores quality health care and our faith in the health care system."

Dave: "Some argue that it punishes insurance providers but doesn't put enough pressure on hospitals to control spending and cost increases - that the dramatic increase in the construction of new hospitals, new wings and facilities and renovations to existing facilities is coming at a cost to increased material and services charges to insurance companies and patient deductibles and co-pays. What do you say to that?"

Bob: "It fixes all that too."

Dave: "How should we compete against China in the future, especially with respect to their significant ownership in U.S. T-bills and their tightly-integrated relationships with U.S.-based corporate operations?"

Bob: "Learn Chinese."

Dave: "What do you believe the responsibility of the Democratic party is now?"

Bob: "To remind Americans that we are right and they (points at Bill) are wrong!  Dead wrong!  They are destroying our country.  We are doing our best to save it."


I think we are doomed.

[disclaimer: this is satire.  don't take me too serious, ok?]

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