By Elaine Viets
I would like to herald David Otterson for his solution to fix our economy. He’s right up there with John Maynard Keynes and other economic brains, at least in my opinion.
David Otterson of Largo, Florida, proposed the following plan in the St. Petersburg Times:
"There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force . . . pay them $1 million apiece severance with stipulations.
"They leave their jobs. Forty million job openings – unemployment fixed.
"They buy new American cars. Forty million cars ordered – auto industry fixed.
"They either buy a house or pay off their mortgage – housing crisis fixed."
Three major fixes for a relatively modest price tag of 40 trillion dollars.
I am awestruck.
The St. Pete Times ran an article asking readers how they would fix the economy. Answers ranged from slashing taxes to investing in space missions. My second favorite idea was to legalize pot, which would empty overcrowded jails, bring in billions in tax revenue, and mellow out the nation.
Consider these additional benefits from David Otterson’s plan:
Working people would be rewarded. Instead of enriching useless memo writers and pointless pencil pushers, folks who actually had to sweat for their dollars might see some money.
Increased respect for older Americans.
Increased respect for older Americans.
Old crocks would become vessels of wisdom. Older working persons (and future millionaires) would be appreciated for their intelligence and maturity, not to mention their money.
A fifty-something receptionist who spent thankless years answering phones, fetching coffee and dealing with dunderheads, would become an Uncle Sam millionaire. She could devote her days to deserving young persons, particularly unappreciated pool boys and righteously ripped parking valets.
A sixty-plus gentleman trapped in a nowhere job would cease to be another bore at the bar after work. Young people would hang on his every word and hope he opened his arms – and his bank account.
Marriages would become stronger: Tired of your spouse after twenty years? Think how an infusion of cash would renew interest in each another. The glow of a million dollars could soften harsh wrinkles, reduce unsightly fat and blind you to turkey necks. As mature couples grew closer together, the men could afford the Viagra their miserable insurance now limits to six tabs a month.
If you still didn’t like one another, well, half a mill is a nice parting gift.
Other businesses would benefit: With a million bucks, mature Americans could afford to travel, eat out more often, buy new clothes and save the economy by spending their way to prosperity. They might even pay their credit card bills and other debts.
Conservatives and liberals would agree: The million bucks should go only to us hard-working Americans, not jobless freeloaders.
What would become of the 40 million Americans suddenly thrown out of work? They could devote their time to hobbies such as traveling, boating, beer-drinking and meddling in their children’s lives. All of these activities times would stimulate the economy, especially the last one. Rewriting your will every week or so would put unemployed lawyers back to work.
I can promote this plan without any taint of self-interest. As a full-time writer, I don’t have a corporate job. But my husband does. If he got a million bucks to leave work, he’d trample those twenty-somethings running for the door. He’d cheerfully forgo collecting Social Security for another ten or fifteen years, thereby letting the fund rebuild. It would be his way of paying forward.
When I proposed the patriotic retirement idea to him, he said, "But I don’t want an American car. I love my 23-year-old foreign car."
It’s coots like you who have ruined this country by refusing to spend, sweetheart. You don’t have to drive the new car, just buy it. Parking is scarce in our neighborhood, so you’d stimulate the economy by renting a parking space. Besides, when our cars are in the repair shop, we’ll have something to drive.
"But if forty million people are millionaires, will our money be worth anything?" he asked.
That’s a risk I’m willing to take.