Friday, April 18, 2003

Queen gives Dubya ideas on saving Social Security

Since Britain is the only overseas country we can imagine Dubya visiting anytime soon, he might be interested in adopting one of those wacky British customs that could help save Social Security at the same time. Yesterday was Holy Thursday in the Christian calendar, but the British call it Maundy Thursday and have preserved (or revived) some ancient customs associated with the day. For the monarch that means a tradition in which an amount of money, in pence, equal to the monarch's age is distributed to a selected group of older people. For 2003, that means a gigantic 77p was given to the pensioners. Now the actual value of the hoard may exceed the face value because the coins are all specially minted silver coins in strange denominations (three and four pence pieces), so we're sure they can be sold for a tidy sum. But think of the potential application in the US: we replace Social Security by a photo-op in which the President gives his age in cents (or let's be crazy and say dollars) to a small group of retirees. Fox News will do the live coverage, and all the yellers on the cable talk shows can shout down anyone who dares discuss whether it's feasible for the nation's retirees to actually live on the money disbursed by this brilliant new program.

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