Friday, February 6, 2009

Pot o' Bold

Once again, it’s time for me to solve all the problems for our state government.

The last time I undertook this project, I suggested that schools close in the winter and stay open in the summer to save on heating expenses.

Since then, heating oil prices plummeted by something like $2 a gallon. Yay me.

Now, then, on to new business. It has come to my attention that Augusta is hard up for cash.

“Maine lawmakers … are pinning their hopes on Washington to help address a looming $800 million-plus shortfall,” writes Francis X. Quinn of the Associated Press.

Okay, first of all, how can you go wrong as a reporter with a name like “Francis X. Quinn”? I picture a svelte, dignified gentleman in a fedora and necktie, oozing integrity.

Or maybe he’s a leprechaun. Either way, I’m ready to believe anything this man says.

“Reflective of State House anxiety and uncertainty,” says Quinn, is “Gov. John Baldacci’s decision to put off a State of the State address until later this month.”

It seems Baldacci can’t summon the gonads to stand up in front of the entire state and say, “We’re broke, so I am about to sell your children to the Church of Scientology.”

He’d rather wait to see if Uncle Sam is willing to be our sugar daddy.

Yeah, get in line.

Our governor has built a reputation for being willing to make the “tough” decisions. By “tough,” of course, I mean “stupidly wrong and destructive.”

Remember all that money we were supposed to save from consolidation? Yeah, it’s a funny story…

Let’s try something more substantive: legalize marijuana, then tax it like crazy.

I can’t figure out why we’re devoting law enforcement resources to control a plant that is less harmful than alcohol, cigars, and most public drinking water.

There are more than 500,000 alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. every year, according to the Washington Post.

I tried to look up statistics for marijuana-related deaths, but I couldn’t find any. That’s because they don’t exist. It would be like scouring the Internet for “toothbrush impalement-related deaths;” sure, it probably happens now and then, but not enough for anyone to bother keeping track.

More compelling is the fact that 42% of Americans have tried pot, according to a survey by the World Health Organization. I’m sorry, but any law that makes almost half the population (including at least two or three presidents and a 14-time gold medalist) criminals is some kind of wicked bogus law.

Let’s face it: the only reason cannabis is still illegal is because hippies like it. Hippies seem to annoy the government.

But with my proposal, we can still stick it to the hippies with outrageous taxes.

If we still haven’t made up the shortfall after that, Baldacci should nominate several of the state’s wealthiest summer residents to positions in his cabinet.

That might be the only way we’ll be able to collect back taxes from them.

You have to admit, this is one bold plan. And, if our stimulus-happy congress has taught us anything, it’s that bold = right.

If only the state government would heed my words. You can do your part: clip this column and send it to your state representative.

Be sure to put “Francis X. Quinn” in your return address.

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