We all know the government needs to be cut. Just do the math: The federal budget is about $3.5 trillion. That’s close to $12,000 for every man, woman and child in the country.
The state collects about $40 billion from taxpayers. That’s another $800 for every Minnesotan.
My family of four’s slice of the federal and state budgets is over $50,000 per year. My wife and I, who are doing fine financially, are not paying our share. That, my friends, is an unsustainable situation.
Fortunately, there is a solution.
I’m not talking about raising taxes. This fall’s elections showed that we are not willing to pay for the current budget, so the only solution is to cut spending. In order to figure out where to start cutting, we have to look at the federal and state budgets.
About 30 percent of the federal budget is Social Security and Medicare — i.e. “old people.”
Next comes the military, which gets more than 18 cents of every tax dollar.
On the state level, the 800-pound gorilla is K-12 education — about a quarter of the budget. Forty percent is “health and human services” — again, mostly old people.
I’m not suggesting that the military declare war on old people and children, or vice versa (although either option would solve our budget mess).
There is a more practical solution that will solve all our problems at once: Bring back the draft.
I’m not talking about the old-fashioned draft, where 18- and 19-year-olds were forced into the service during the prime of their lives.
I’m talking about drafting old people. Hear me out, and you’ll realize that this is our last, best hope.
Social Security and Medicare will not be necessary when everyone over 65 is serving in the military. They’ll get a paycheck and health insurance for actually doing something instead of just watching Oprah and playing pinochle.
Those able-bodied teenagers doing our dirty work overseas can come home and get our economy moving again. Grandma and Grandpa, who have reaped a lifetime of fruits from Old Glory, can spend their twilight years defending her. Congressmen and women will think twice about declaring war when they know the AARP (American Army of Retired Persons) is right around the corner.
Modern warfare does not require young toughs who can do 100 pushups. What we need in our planes, ships and tanks are safe drivers. Think of what those vehicles cost the taxpayers. Should we really put them in the hands of teenage boys?
To fix our budget mess, we’ll have to end the wars and put soldiers to work on the home front. “Senior soldiers” belong at home, and our recent military pursuits haven’t gone that well anyway.
Once the “oldiers” are home, we’ll keep them busy while saving money. This is where we get the real bang-for-the-buck from our national makeover.
This new Army of Oldies will become our road construction crews, our nurses, and our teachers — three overpaid sectors of the workforce whose union wages are hurting us all.
Healthcare, transportation and education costs will plummet. School discipline will no longer be an issue when a minimum-wage granny in desert camo is standing at the chalkboard. And who wouldn’t want Gramps as their nurse?
With those jobs covered, the rest of us can do what Americans do best: make videos, produce junk food, and start a rock and roll band.
Brett Larson is the editor of the Messenger.