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What I'd Say to POTUS

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Hello, I'm Corey Reynolds. Some of you may recognize me from quality productions such as The Closer, Hairspray (Broadway), and The Terminal, though most of you will not. Although I live in L.A. I'm not a "Hollywood Heavyweight" or part of the "liberal elite." (Although both those titles do sound pretty bad ass, but I digress.)





I was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the confederacy. As a child, that presented its share of peculiar challenges (I'm a black dude). But, as one's life is the sum total of one's experiences, I must assume that those challenges helped shape the man that I've become. And I must admit, I like this guy (that's me I'm talking about); so growing up in Virginia was good for me. I've been blessed, by having a vast pool of cultural environments within which to live, learn and grow. In a lot of ways I feel like I'm a bit of a "Johnny Everyman."



Now, some might say that I have political leanings in one direction or another. To be honest, I simply support what I feel are the best ideas. That's my compass. I point toward the direction of the best idea; it's no more complicated than that. In that sense, I think I'm representative of the majority of people. Though we may disagree on what the "best" ideas are, we undoubtedly tend to group with like-minded individuals politically.



As I've sat at home watching the news about the (insert ominous voice here) "DEBT CEILING," I've often found myself thinking, "Well, this sounds bad. I should pay attention to this. Maybe I should try and fix this, because it just sounds so bad." I imagined myself there in the negotiations. Staring "Armageddon" in the face, but not directly in the eyes though, I wouldn't want to piss it off, at least not yet (you should know, my imagination plays a big role in this from here on out). I can envision the tension in the room as both sides snap back and forth at each other, "Cut taxes, raise revenue, raise taxes, and cut revenue! Tax the rich, cut the poor. Cut the rich, tax the poor! Did someone order a pizza? Who farted? Robble, Robble, ROBBLE!!" It's crazy in there!



I see myself looking around dismayed by what I'm seeing and hearing. Confused and growing more and more frustrated by the minute. I see myself slowing turning green. My clothes start ripping at the seams as my muscles expand. A crack of thunder rumbles in the background. That's when I realize that, in actuality, I was sitting there banging my head repeatedly on the "negotiation" table trying to summon everyone's attention, like tapping your glass to get the bride and groom to kiss. And you know what? It worked. Who knew it could be so simple? (Seriously, it was that easy. Crazy.) 



All eyes are on me. The room falls silent... holy shit. My heart is racing. I've yelled at the television so many times before at home, but could I really say it to their faces? (As I write this, my heart is actually racing.) But there I am, with the powers of American politics staring at me. The leaders of both the House and Senate, their minions in tow, the Vice President and even the POTUS himself, all looking at me. My throat suddenly seems very dry; banging one's head on a table can really take it out of a man. I go to pour myself a glass of water, but of course, the pitcher in front of me is empty (who drank all the water? Geez.). I stand, clear my throat, and take a deep breath and say, "What the fuck, guys?" Probably not the best way to start, but come on, someone had to say it. I would then continue, "I get it. I really do. I understand both sides believe they have the "best" ideas to help America get its groove back, and to a certain degree, you both do. That's the beauty of the American process of governing, that we get to debate and challenge each other's opinions and positions. We get to stand up, defiantly, if we so chose, to things that do not match our own thinking. I get it." 



So far, so good. No one has walked out or left yet, and the Secret Service guys aren't touching one ear. "Let me also say there are some important things that we all seem to agree on. Spending cuts are needed across the board, but not to the bone. We can find places to trim fat, (cough; defense [including war(s)], unnecessary subsidies, earmarks) but in doing so, we should not lose our sense of American compassion to those who are facing some of the most difficult times of their lives. We're AMERICANS and we have a proud tradition of taking care of our own. There are people everywhere, helping each other every day during this time of financial crisis. Families letting their families move in with them because, after they've lost their jobs and sense of pride, they've also lost their homes. People picking up an extra loaf of bread and a couple of extra cans of soup for a neighbor that has been hit a little harder than they have. As a nation, we Americans are all a part of a 'National Community.'" Just then a voice from the back yells, "Get to the point asshole!" He had a point, but how often was I gonna get this opportunity?



I'd say, "I get the thing on taxes. You guys think you gotta let business do its thing; create a climate that motivates the job creators to do their thing. Which is to create jobs! That's the role the business community plays here in America. If you think of it like family, the private sector is very much like the fun Aunt/Uncle at a summer cookout. You just can't help but have a shitload of fun every time they're around. I get it." (Thanks Uncle Joe and Uncle Ronnie).



I'd continue, "And you guys feel like we can't just cut spending, that we should also increase revenue. We need the resources. Better it come from people who (let's face it) can afford it, than from destroying some of the social services that are an important part of our 'National Community'. If the choice is between millionaires paying a little more, and thousandaires and hundredaires paying a little more, then it's clear millionaires, having more zeros at the end of their account balances (plural), would probably feel the pinch a little less." I seem to be winning them over with an understanding of their respective logics and a trusting of their beliefs that they both have cornered the "best ideas" market. "So what's the solution?" someone asks. "You can't just say all that stuff and not have a solution," yells another. "Someone's gotta pay for this fuckin' pizza!" (I still can't get my head around the fact that they let a pizza guy in here).



"Ah, but I do have a solution!" I say confidently (insert record needle scratch here). Things suddenly turn dicey. Someone screams, "He says he has a solution!" "Witch!" (honestly, that might have been me) Another shouts, "Let him speak of this solution, then can we please eat this pizza?" "What's a 'solution'?" Robble, Robble, ROBBLE!!! It begins to feel like things are about to spiral out of control. And then...



"Enough. Let's listen to what he has to say," says the POTUS and the room quiets down. Everyone here respects the Office. "What's your solution?" he asks of me. "Well sir," I say, "I think I have a pretty simple way to pull the merits of both positions together with something we often use in the real world called 'compromise.'" They all repeat this seemingly foreign word back to me in perfect unison. I am impressed that they did something, anything, together and all at once. "My solution is this..." I took my time with this one, because I had a split-second brain fart and didn't want them to know it.



"Incentivized Tax Adjustments! Or I.T.A. as its acronym spells. And I'll betcha ITA work!" I proudly say, "Now, let me tell you how it works. Americans need jobs. Without jobs people can't afford to buy things. If people don't buy things then companies don't make things, and if companies don't make things they don't need as many employees to... not make them (I know it's a double-negative but I think it works, either way you know what I'm saying). Americans need jobs, and companies need incentive to create them."



I can't believe it. I think they're actually listening. "So here's what I propose. Give all employers a tax adjustment for all full-time new hires. The adjustment would only apply to new U.S. hires and can only be claimed by the employer at the end of the tax season. Employers would be able to claim a "new hire" deduction and receive deductions for a large portion of the cost associated with new hire expenses. This will ultimately serve as a tax reduction for the job creators. Not only creating the climate for new hires, but creating the incentive as well."



I think to myself, holy shit did I just say that? I decide to continue for fear of losing them to a moment that can only be described as sane. "That's how things work here in America. We all serve our roles and do our jobs, and earn the rewards from it. The role of the business community is to create jobs, and perhaps ITA would be a great reward for doing it. Who can really argue with an honest day's work, for an honest day's pay? Right now, the 'work' is creating the jobs, and the 'pay' is a tax reward for doing it. After you've done it."



"Think of the children, ladies and gentlemen. Think of it like a child who is staring at his or her dinner plate filled with all the stuff that's good for them, like peas, carrots, corn, potatoes and meat (or meat substitute), and all they want is to jump straight to dessert, because as we all know chocolate cake tastes better. But, as any good parent would say, 'You'll get dessert when you're finished.' You're welcome. Goodnight everybody..." (insert microphone feedback here)



As I turn and walk away someone asks "But what about the debt ceiling? Whatever shall we do?" I stop in my tracks, my jaw tightens and I clench my fist. I turn back to the room. "Who said that?" No one claims the outburst. "Here's what we do, we pay our bills! Like the Lannisters!" (You gotta check out Game of Thrones) I continue, "The greatest nation in the history of mankind can't be known as the cheap bastard who goes to the bathroom when the check arrives. Seriously guys, don't be douche bags." 



I stand there, waiting to be beaten down by stupidity. Waiting to be told all the reasons I'm wrong. But instead something amazing happened; applause. Scattered smatterings at first, but it slowly snowballs into a standing, thunderous explosion of jubilation. UNBELIEVABLE! I had done it! I had bridged the sanity gap between our leaders. It's a proud moment that I will treasure for all times. 



I decide to go for a stage dive, certain that I could people surf my way out of the crowded room. But when I jump they all scatter like people on a trillion dollar scavenger hunt. By the time I realize no one's going to catch me, it's too late. BOOF! I hit the ground like a bag of wet potatoes, knocking the wind out of myself. Things get a little hazy from there.



When I wake, I'm back on my couch, watching the news (the worst reality show on television). Sadly, nothing's changed. It was all just a dream. I sigh, before grabbing the remote control and changing the channel. I guess I'll watch cartoons. At least they're supposed to be unbelievable, right?