Dear Aunt Sophie,
I’m the second-term mayor of a huge Eastern city which, unfortunately, has adopted term limits, so I’ve been wondering what to do next. Since I’m a billionaire I don’t need more money (unlike that French-looking loser, I made it all myself), but I can’t see myself twiddling my thumbs all day. I’ve been thinking the Presidency might be just the thing for me.
The problem is since I’m not really a politician I’m not very good at figuring out what appeals to voters. To give you a case in point - the first thing I did when I became mayor was to get the city council to ban smoking in all public places. For me it was a no-brainer - smoking is bad for you and it raises health care costs. But from the way some people reacted you’d have thought I was interfering with their lives in some way. It’ll probably be the same with the ban on trans-fats.
One of the newspapers has taken to calling me the “Nanny Mayor”, but that’s not the real me. I’m more the protector type. (“America’s Guardian” – how’s that for a campaign slogan? I wouldn’t even object to “Guardian Angel”, but I suppose that could give offense.)
Anyway, why shouldn’t a mayor help people make the right health choices? Should taxpayers have to pick up the tab for expensive treatments when the whole thing could have been avoided in the first place? If people aren’t sure what lifestyle decisions to make they should listen to those who do know. And if they don’t listen, we have ways of deciding for them.
Nobody can say I don’t have great ideas. Just recently I figured out how to improve education and health care and reduce poverty in one fell swoop: Government would pay the poor for doing the kinds of things that are good for them but that they don’t want to do, like going to the dentist, for example. Kids would get money for good attendance and grades while adults would get paid for things like taking care of their health - eating right, not smoking, etc. There would be a sliding scale, say $50 for taking the kids for their vaccinations up to $2000 or so for graduating from high school or going into rehab. My plan will make people healthier, wealthier and wiser. And I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work on the national level.
If I do run for president, though, I’ll have to overcome one significant problem – perhaps you haven’t noticed, but presidents have been getting taller since John Adams. I’d have done fine in the 19th century, but nowadays it seems you either have to be tall or you have to run as a woman. Do you have any idea how I might turn a verticality deficit to my advantage?
Much Taller than Napoleon
Don’t you just hate it when headline writers thoughtlessly stick ill-fitting labels on people? “Nanny Mayor” indeed! If you were a real nanny you’d walk those children to school yourself instead of bribing them to go.
The airheads who criticize your proposal obviously lack the ability to think outside the box. Why shouldn’t the government compensate people for eating and sleeping? A ten spot every time you wash your hands? Why not? I can’t think of a better way to prepare young people for real life. How else will they learn to function in an economic system in which Taco Bell gives you a month’s pay if you show up on time for your interview and Wall Street awards mega-bonuses to traders for wearing clean socks.
I hope you’ll ignore the nay-sayers who suggest that your program might not be attractive on a national scale. It’s a well-known fact that Wisconsin dairy farmers have been counting the days until they can start paying Bronx single mothers to visit the OBGYN. Of course this program would need a catchy name to make it palatable to the patsies who’d have to underwrite it, like say, Shekels for Shirkers.
As for your stature being a problem, I doubt it would cost more than a couple of mil to have yourself lengthened. You might even be able to convince Medicaid to pay if you could show it was holding you back professionally.
If you’re going to run, though, you’ll need a slogan that makes you sound both sensitive and in charge. How about “America’s Mom?”
Good luck and God bless.