03/07/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

A Modest Proposal, or How to Use Wasted Resources...Like the Elderly!

A Massachusetts sheriff, Thomas Hodgson, is hoping to ease the strain on his prison budget, and on the overtaxed public, by instituting a $5/day fee for prisoners. Now I know your knee-jerk reaction is "hey, those poor prisoners, they're already in jail, do we need to take their money when we already have their sweet, sweet freedom?" May I remind you of the $750,000 in revenue Mr. Hodgson collected before he tried to legalize and systematize his cash cows?

I knew you'd see logic! Just like I know you will when looking at these other potentially resource-rich populations just waiting to be tapped into!

The Elderly!
Just because they're slowly shufflingly on their way out death's door doesn't mean Grandma and Grandpa are worthless - they probably have loads of cash stuffed in a mattress somewhere!

-Tax-by-Age: We already give out Medicare and social security benefits just because you've gotten wrinkly -- why not get something back from the hideous, hideous aging process? Once they pass the age of 70, individuals will be charged $5/month, payable to HSN and QVC networks.

-Public Transit Fees: Not only are their tickets discounted, but everyone has to waste valuable seats, time, and mothball-free air just to ensure the fogeys make it to their Keno conventions! Public Transit fees of $0.25/ride, instituted at the demand of the driver based on the intensity of "old-person smell" emanating off an individual, can sure help America run faster and greener!

-Same Stupid Story Tax: Yes, you know that Uncle Bud got to shake Harry Truman's dog's hand back when he was a marine, and you will never escape the fact that the nurses are stealing tic-tacs out of Grandma's purse when she isn't paying attention. Shouldn't you get something for it? This $0.50/repeated story fee will help make sure that if our ears must be assaulted, it will be for the greater good. Especially effective against those patience-trying seniles!

At the other end of the spectrum, kids are costing us up to a quarter million each by the time they're 18, with as much as a third of those costs going to Dora and Hannah Montana-related expenses -- what a waste of resources! Sure, their lack of specialized skills and those pesky child-labor laws make it hard to put them into truly useful positions, but that's no reason not to try to make them be all that they can be...for the US Treasury!

-Curriculum updates: Your kids are learning how to read and add, but do they know how to dig ditches for winter run-off? Teachers can make it a race to see who gets to the end of highway mile-marker 172 first, or just call it archeology! As an added bonus, physical "education" jobs can be cut, reducing operating costs, and annoying teacher's lounge preening, by as much as 10%!

-Enforced School Lunch: It may save mom and dad a few bucks to pack a PBJ sandwich, but what about society? Students can either choose mystery meat with boiled ruffage, which will increase in cost to $12.87/day in order to reflect economic realities (oooh, I smell a math lesson!), or they can opt out for only $12.99/day!


Pre-natal care costs even all of us non-breeders hundreds of dollars a year in insurance premiums. But post-natally...

-Per-Scream Fee: How much do you have to pay to have a dinner out sans shrieky soundtrack? No answer to that one, but the parents have to pay $3 each time they "just can't help it if a kid's a screamer." Or, alternately, pony up for a damned babysitter once in a while.

The Homeless!

- Instead of dirtying our urban sightlines, these almost-people could clean up our streets! The city gets to cut loads of useless "sanitation" jobs, and the homeless get... all those school lunches ex-gym teachers are missing and kids are opting out of! Together, we can all make a difference for the better!