Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Penny for Your...Lawn, Or, The Decline and Fall of the Holy US Empire

Here’s my solution for the immigration problem—let’s figure out a way to shore up the Mexican economy to the point where poor Mexicans no longer need to risk death and imprisonment just to raise our children, pick our fruit and mow our lawns. Wouldn’t helping Mexico fix their economy be cheaper than building some stupid and useless wall, deporting janitors and paying even more border guards to drive around in the Texas heat smoking Camels and scratching their balls?

Here’s a thought—let’s dig a trench along the US/Mexican border and fill it full of all our pennies. That would work. A moat of pennies would fix a lot of things, for one thing, it would give us something to do with our pesky surplus of the heinous coins, so notoriously odious for their wallet and pants pocket clogging propensities. A penny means so little to us Americans that we keep trying to have them removed as legal tender. Some of us have closets full of the things (being poor myself, I just have a bowl). Many people are so reluctant carry pennies around that they leave them behind when shopping…they abandon money! Few of us will bother stoop to pick them up off the street—the effort expended is not deemed worth the value gained. If we build a moat of pennies, never ever again would bank tellers have to deal with little paper rolls of the dreaded things, which always come in at 49 cents or 51 cents, and therefore must be counted and rolled again. Or whatever they do back there behind the Plexiglas. Maybe they eat them.

If every American donated just one dollar a day of their pants pocket pennies to the Moat Project, poorer Mexicans would have no reason to come here in the first place. It’s not as if they have a burning desire to leave their families for months or years to come up here and install our roofing. A dollar a day is, what, one third of a single tall latte? But to a poor Mexican, a US dollar is about three hours wages, which would probably be enough extra cash per day to keep them in their own country. It’s not as if they are coming here for their health. With the Moat Project, all they'd need to do is travel to the border, load their own pockets, and go home. Problem solved.

Of course, I jest. We actually need illegal immigrants—our own economy depends on their labor. The restaurant industry alone would screech to a halt without all those hardworking Ecuadorians and Salvadorians to mis our en place. If you don’t think so, just ask Anthony Bourdain. Think eating out is expensive now? Just imagine how much an the average dinner date would cost if restaurant owners had to pay fancy US culinary school graduates to support their swollen egos to the extent they think they deserve? (I’m talking to you, Steven from Top Chef, Season One.) The pastry business would disappear overnight (because apparently culinary school grads think that pastry is for losers). No donuts, no danishes, no midnight runs to IHOP. I think we can all agree that this would be a bad thing.

Honestly, I’m kind of not joking about supporting our neighbors. Wouldn’t it be so much cheaper in the long run to help Mexico build up their economy and drive out corruption? Having more affluent neighbors who aren’t crack addicts raises your own property values, right? I also think it would be a whole lot less expensive to find ways to get the whole Islamic community to like us again. Since 2001, we’ve spent almost a half a trillion dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rub your eyes and read that again. A half a trillion…and counting. Do you know what we could buy with a half a trillion dollars? For one thing, free health insurance and education all the way through graduate school for everyone. Think how much that would change things. In fifty years, instead of jobs as human furniture for the Chinese aristocracy, we could still be ruling the world and making it do our bidding. I think we spend less than a billion dollars per year on education right now, which is less than we spend in a week in Iraq. Kind of makes you think, right? Kinds of makes you want to riot, right? Right? It's not as if that half a tril has bought us anything either; we are vastly less safe as a country than we were on September 11th, 2001.

We might as well admit it, we can’t win over there. Even if we understood the issues over there, (which we don't), it's too late. We botched it from the get go. We botched it back in the day by supporting Israel with no questions asked; we botched it by first supporting Saddam Hussein in the 1980’s (yes, boys and girls, we gave him the whatever WMDs he may have had) and then removing that support in the wrong way; we botched it by not developing some sort of working (and influential) relations with all those crazy ayatollahs when they took Iran away from our state-sponsored party boy and former Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Hell, we botched it in Chili, Venezuela, and El Salvador. Botching it seems to be our biggest export. And now that we are in the “Information Age”, we are botching it by ignoring education, killing our citizens through lack of social services, and trying to privatize the Internet. Basically, we suck, and are doomed to fail, just like the Roman Empire, only faster. If we want to reverse this sad trend, we need to bring everyone back, and to start spending our money on us, not them. Seriously. Go vote. Or riot. Or both.

Tomorrow (yes, it will be tomorrow), I’ll have reviews of both Shortbus (porn!) and Marie Antoinette (boring!) for you. Till then, start counting your pennies.


At 10:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're either boring me trying to be funny... or you're an idiot.
Mexico is rich in natural resources- it's just that it's even richer in corruption.
Coming soon to a town near you:
The Mexican Cultural Values- gangs, theft, dui killings, murder, incurable t.b. and all the other lovely things from Mexico way.

At 10:44 PM , Blogger Mistress Squidia said...

All true, Anonymous Coward, and so much worse these last few years since you posted this. I kind of think you were making my point.


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