Monday, August 15, 2016

The Head-on-a-Pole Solution for Problems Aplenty

Note: The first version of this piece was written several years ago, well before a certain billionaire -- much-in-the-news -- started running for president. But that hardly makes the following proposal any less attractive. 

If I could show you, in a couple of minutes, exactly how to solve a good many of the most daunting problems we face today -- without costing the taxpayers a cent! -- wouldn't you be interested in hearing about it?

Of course you would. Read on.

My plan calls for just one public execution a year. Its purpose would be to fund cures for diseases, to fund free educations for everyone, to prevent wars, all the while also erasing America's red ink problem. To accomplish all that just one person would be put to death by the federal government each year.

Although I'm ordinarily opposed to capital punishment, there are exceptions to every rule. Here's how it would work: 

First we would make a list of all the American billionaires. Each of their names would be put on a ballot. Each American citizen, 18-or-older, would get to vote -- free of charge -- for the person they see as the absolute worst citizen billionaire in the USA. The ballots and ballot boxes would be put in convenience stores all over the country. The same ballots would be available online, as would virtual ballot boxes. Maybe we should make it 16-or-older.

All year long, we the people would all be eligible to vote once a month -- 12 votes per year. The billionaire who gets the most votes for being the most hated billionaire of the lot would be arrested wherever he or she is hiding by a SWAT team. Upon the last second of December 31st, America's most hated billionaire of that year would be executed by guillotine, somewhat as pictured above.

Naturally, America's cities would bid to stage the execution, like the Olympics. The mammoth Payback Party that would surround the event would mean big budget commercials would run in the live telecasts of the whole shebang -- cha-ching! Most of that money would go directly into the Social Security trust fund, so the monthly payments to retirees could be increased.

The rest of the money generated by the event would go into a special fund to buy a six-pack of beer -- via downloadable coupon -- for everyone who voted for the particular billionaire to be beheaded in at least two months. That six-pack incentive to pick billionaires wisely should help keep the voting more realistic, if not honest.

As the blade falls, at midnight, millions of those cans of beer could be opened simultaneously to buff America's exceptionalism credentials for all to see. It would be bigger than the Super Bowl. 

Afterward, the deserving billionaire's head will be put on top of a tall brass pole -- the Peoples' Payback Pole -- for all to see, where it would stay for one year. Then, for the next new year the new head would go up in a different city.

Out of respect for the head, it would be turned over to the billionaire's family, once its required year on the pole is done. Meanwhile, the rest of the billionaires, everywhere, would feel more than a little inspired to solve their own dilemma. Accordingly, they would have a couple of easy-to-understand choices to prevent their own head from being selected to be the next.
  • Turn enough money over to the federal government or legit non-profits, to simply escape the list of eligible billionaires. The money given to the government could go toward building a fast train national railway system.
  • If they choose to remain a billionaire, then they need to use their money to do selected good works to curry favor with voters -- perhaps reaching out especially to those who hang around convenience stores or tend to stay online all day. 
So, if you are a billionaire, let’s say you’ve got a cool $50 billion. Then you could choose to give away $49.1 billion to get off the hook. Or, you could take a chance on targeting a few billion to curing cancer. Or, you could throw money at feeding orphans, or on bringing peace to the Mideast. Maybe you’d pick all the musicians in a state and pay their rent for one whole year.

Smart billionaires would naturally buy lots of ads in magazines and newspapers, to tout what good deeds they’re doing, in order to increase their chances of keeping their own heads attached to their respective shoulders. So, this deal could save our favorite inky wretches from extinction, too.

Accordingly, crime rates would plunge. The research for new green-friendly technologies would be fully funded. Better recreational drugs with no hangovers ought to be developed. Every kid who wants a new puppy would get one. And, last but not least, publishers would have plenty of money to pay freelance writers and artists decent fees for their work.

To sum up: Each old year would end with the execution of just one richly deserving person. Each new year would start out with a visible symbol atop that People' Payback Pole, showing everyone -- including billionaires, for a change -- why we should all be good to one another. 

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