God Spoke to Rick
Damndest thing. The other day, I was working at my desk when suddenly, there was a blindingly bright light that filled the room.
God: Rick, I’ve been watching you. Your understanding of what is wrong with your country is 100% right. Even better than Paul Krugman, Sam Harris, Bill Maher, or Bob Dylan. So, for the sake of your country’s future, I am giving you the power to fix it. I will make your plan happen. Not in 10 years, but by next week. Get to it!
Rick: You’re shittin’ me. You have more power than Mitch McConnell, the Koch brothers, and the NRA?
God: Get a grip, Rick. I control everything: when a sparrow falls out of a tree; who wins the Friday night high school football games, and whether you get WW III. So, stop screwing around. What are you going to do to shape the future of the USA?
Rick: OK. Here we go. Strap in.
1) Wealth and income inequality
There will be no more billionaires in this country. We’re going back to the good old days of FDR and the New Deal. The top 1% will now pay 90% tax.
2) A ceiling on personal wealth.
Personal wealth will be capped at $100M. Hmm, many of us could squeak by on that kind of money. Today, the “Forbes 400” richest people are worth more than $3 trillion. The top 1% own as much of our wealth as the bottom 90%. Most of that money will be “clawed back” into the US Treasury.
The Bill Gateses, Larry Ellisons, and Jeff Bezoses of the world will find their billions now transferred to the common good. That money will be used for infrastructure repair, healthcare, and education. Sorry, no more $300,000 cars and $60,000 wrist watches for the uber rich.
2) Abortion and doctor-assisted dying
On demand. No medical or legal approval required.
God: It irritates me that people keep speaking in politically correct language about this. They say it is about “a woman’s right to choose.” Just be direct. It is about murder.
Rick: Yes, we should tell it like it is. Women should be able to kill the growing fetus inside them. The word is “kill,” not “choose.” “Right to life” my ass. And, oh, BTW, what benefit do the super-rich (who control everything) get from having 14-year-old girls have babies they don’t want and can’t support?
God: Cannon fodder for their military and workers for their fast food joints.
Immediately, the whole healthcare insurance industry is gone. Poof! Overnight. No more profit to be made from our illnesses. No more talk about “free market” healthcare insurance. No more elderly people going into poverty due to medical bills. High-powered health insurance executives will be stripped of their power and money. They can be retrained to drive a truck.
Employers no longer have to provide health insurance. What a burden on businesses large and small. From now on, it will be handled through the federal government. Think: the VA and Medicare. No more obscene profits built into medicine. Let’s be clear. Healthcare will not be free. We will pay for it through taxes, NOT via gouging insurance premiums. Good-bye Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Good-bye to Humana. Good-bye to the whole lousy bunch of you.
Bad-hair-day, lyin’ Trump says: “Do you want us to be like Venezuela?” No. We want to be like Canada and Demark.
God: BTW, Rick, stop calling it “Medicare for all.” What weasel words. Call it what it is: S-O-C-I-A-L-I-Z-E-Dmedicine. You know, where we take care of each other. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” as one of my favorite sons, Karl Marx, said.
Speaking of sons, Jesus, said, “Take care of the poor.” And, oh, BTW, he was a socialist. Today he’d be stoned on Wall Street. Doesn’t matter, though. He never existed. Just a story. In fact, I don’t exist either. Remember, you created me in your image, not the other way around. And, boy, did your Iron-Age, illiterate peasants from the Middle East get it screwed up. You gotta be kidding: the virgin birth, the resurrection, Noah’s Ark; Jonah and the whale–ha, ha, ha.
Rick: Please, God, stop making a speech. Let me get back to my plan to save our country.
4) Care for the homeless, drug-addicted, insane, alcoholics on our streets and in tent cities.
We will return to the days of well-run state hospitals. People will get treatment for their addictions and education for employment. Some will stay in these hospitals for the rest of their lives. No more tent cities under freeways, people shooting up on public streets, and defecating and dying in the gutter. They will all be taken care of and rehabilitated (when possible) at tax payers’ expense, because we are a humane country. Well, sometimes.
God: Do you mean your “Every man for himself” capitalism and the philosophy of “If your life is fucked up, it is God’s will, and certainly not my problem” will be gone?
Rick:Yep. Whole new ballgame.
God: BTW, why is it that all the shitty things that happen are ascribed to my “will?” It is so unfair to me. (Also, knock it off with all this “Must be God’s will” crap, and “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” I don’t work in “mysterious ways.” In fact, I don’t work in any way at all because I don’t exist. Sorry, Rick, the universe is random. Babies die of leukemia and bad men get rich. Get over it.
Rick: If you are so all-mighty powerful, why the hell do you let this stuff happen?
God: Don’t be a smart ass.
5) Gone immediately:
- The Senate. Outrageous that the population of, say, Montana, has the same weight as the population of, say, California.
- The Electoral College. It’s the popular vote from here on out, baby.
- State control of elections: There will be a national standard for voting machines, voter registration, etc. Sorry, redneck southern racists, no more stopping blacks and young people from voting.
- Local control of education. Sorry, right-wing Christian fundamentalists, if you hate science and Darwin, tough shit. From now on, centralized education standards determined by your hated east-coast, liberal, well-educated, science-loving elites will be required nation-wide. Yes, even in backward Mississippi. Reason trumps religion starting right now. Also, no more tax breaks for religion. Scientology pays no tax? Really?
- Big money in politics. No more political action committees. All campaigning will be funded by government money. Each qualified candidate will get the same aount. No more expensive TV ads. Now someone with little money can take on the billionaire class.
6) The role of government
Supported by a huge increase in taxes on the rich, we will return to the days of a strong, well-funded, effective government. The word “bureaucrat” will no longer be a focal point of hatred from the libertarians. Instead, we will celebrate those bureaucrats who make sure that restaurants have clean kitchens, potholes get filled, and pharmaceutical companies are well regulated. You know, for the common good.
7) Mandatory national service
Every 18-year-old, whether from the inner city, or the Ivy League, will spend two years in government service. Could be the military, education, working with the poor, repairing infrastructure, whatever. This could also serve as a job skills training program for those not college-bound. This will be very costly – a budget rivalling the Pentagon’s. But since our strong, centralized, effective government will be well funded, the money will be there. Our return on investment (ROI) will be huge.
This will also give our youth a feeling of belonging. Their skills are needed. No more wandering through shopping malls with mouths agape, bowing down to the capitalist god of consumerism.
8) Big money out of entertainment (and into infrastructure repair, education, and healthcare)
Nothing wrong with entertainment. I like music, sports, and movies as much as anyone. However, the fact that LeBron James and Paul McCartney both have net worths over a billion dollars (that is ‘B,’ boy, billion) is a travesty.
The fact that you have the unique skill of throwing a ball through a hoop from thirty feet, or writing love songs for pre-teens does not entitle you to billions of dollars. These unusual skill sets do not move humanity forward in any way, except providing a slight diversion from our existential emptiness.
From now on, musicians, athletes, and actors will be paid like school teachers. And, oh, btw, school teachers’ salaries will be tripled overnight, as will compensation for medical researchers who do, in fact, move us forward. Hmmm? writing songs and shooting baskets vs. a cure for cancer? Very soon, our best and brightest will want careers in teaching, research, and technology – not on Wall Street.
God: Good one, Rick. You are getting your priorities straight. That clear thinking is why I chose you for this job.
Rick: Aw shucks
Before God left, I asked him two questions,
Rick: How come, in my last blog, you let me predict that Kavanaugh would lose and Ford would become a national feminist leader?
God: You were getting too confident. I had to pull you back down to earth.
Rick: Thanks, I needed that. One last question: Who killed Kennedy?
God: Ha. I get that question all the time. If you believe in heaven, (which doesn’t exist) you will find out there. On the other hand, if you end up in hell (also doesn’t exist), you will spend eternity sorting through endless conspiracy theories. For a taste of what hell feels like, go to YouTube and type in “Kennedy Conspiracies.”
As God floated out my door, he turned and said, “Oh, one more thing. The Mormons are right.”*
* Joke stolen from SNL