Thursday, August 6, 2009


From: Citizen Jack Deeney

In which the proposer, mindful of the generosity of spirit and brilliance of enterprise demonstrated by our nation’s Central Planning Committee, all the while adhering to the general concepts that people are the riches of the nation and that the wealth of a country derives from the poverty of the majority, does hereby offer:

a proposed combining of two governmental programs into one, preventing the aged in America from becoming a burden to their children or to their country and for making them beneficial to the Public.

As I travel through the metropolitan areas and lesser towns and villages of this great land, I am struck by the growing numbers of people my age (76) and older who are making demands upon their children, grandchildren and, indeed, upon the state itself. I think it is generally agreed by all parties that this prodigious number of old clunkers is, given the present deplorable state of the country, not only a melancholy object but also a very great additional grievance and burden.

Therefore, whoever would find a fair, cheap and easy method of making these superannuated citizens to be more useful to the commonwealth, would deserve so well of the public as to have his statue set up as a preserver of the nation. Our leaders in the Great White Mansion, in the halls of the Congress and in the Palace of the Czars have begun to set their enormous talents and public-spirited selves upon this and diverse other matters affecting our economic malaise and, amongst their displays of genius, are two separate plans, each of which contains a piece that would prove integral to the purpose of A MODEST POPOSAL, offered by this humble servant of the state.

My proposal is to extract the appropriate sections and philosophies from each of these two specific brilliantly conceived and well-crafted plans, fusing them together to arrive at the final solution. As for my single self, having been wearied by many years of fruitless effort in attempting to deal with the ills of this increasingly vainglorious society, I have finally stumbled upon something which lies easily within our power to affect and which will exact no measure of condemnation from our neighbors. I shall now, therefore, be brief in humbly proposing my own thoughts, which I trust will not be liable to the least objection.


The two separate and existing plans to which I reference above and which have been authored by our benefactors are briefly described:

The first is the newly introduced CARS program (Car Allowance Rebate System), similarly known as Cash For Clunkers, designed to get older machines off the road and out of existence. Our political leaders deem it a boon for both our ecology and our industry; in the first instance by displacing old, inefficient machines and their noxious emissions and, in the second, by making room for newer, more efficient models with more pep and stamina and fewer dents and wrinkles. This program is overseen by an apparatchik called the CAR CZAR and bears an official manual of 317 pages, instructing the populace on the prescribed manner in which to turn in machines for immediate destruction, receiving cash payments in return which are the principal prerequisites for generating widespread happiness.

The second is the older PHARTS program (Public Health and Retrograde Treatment System), otherwise known as The Healthcare Reform Bill. This reform promises, at least in part, to carefully guard the public treasury from squander in the provision of any costly procedures and treatments whose only purpose would be to improve or extend life beyond certain reasonable and socially acceptable limits. Such limitations are enumerated in the 1328 pages of the simplified proposal currently undergoing agonizing scrutiny by members of our Legislative bodies. The final version of this effort is to be presented to the Supreme Executive for approval prior to being handed to the PHARTS TSAR for implementation.

I have been assured by very knowing members of our Medical Profession and of Industry that the combination of the salient features from these two programs would provide immediate and effective remedy to the decline in our fortunes.


For purpose of discussing the proposed combined system, I shall continue the basic reference as Cash For Clunkers, appending only the suffix ‘II' to provide differentiation. As such, no disrespect is intended for those who would most directly bear the impact of the program’s benevolence, desirous only of establishing a readily identifiable frame of reference for all further consideration.

In its most simple manifestation, Cash For Clunkers II, under the supervision of the PHARTS TSAR, will mandate that children or grandchildren (or other duly credentialed blood relatives, neighbors or casual acquaintances) must deliver the elderly forebears (anyone aged 75 or greater) to an officially sanctioned governmental entity for immediate destruction and recycling. The specifics of the manner in which such activities are to be accomplished will be determined by the PHARTS TSAR, in consultation with The Central Planning Committee.

Such procedures would be initiated at any of the thousands of former Chrysler and GM dealership locations that will have been refurbished as Relic Recycling Centers. It is the considered opinion of this proposer that such facilities would indeed be suitable to the task at hand, possessing pleasant public areas (former sales rooms) for use in the humane processing of the incoming relic in a non-threatening environment so as to disturb neither the recycler nor the recyclee, as well as more restricted, out-of-sight areas (former service bays and oil pits) for achieving the final disposition.

The ultimate goals of the program are few and eminently attainable. Whilst the removal of millions of non-productive members from the body politic would remain the principal objective and on its own, constitute an economic virtue to be admired, it must be emphasized that this is a recycling effort, with little waste anticipated.

Upon presentation of properly executed and notarized forms, the Recycling Mini-Tsars in charge of each Center would then take possession of said Relics and assort them into differentiated groups by virtue of the primary occupation to which each had devoted his or her productive years. These discrete categories would then move through separate, distinctive paths towards their final disposition. I have taken the liberty of suggesting to our Central Planning Committee the following categorization for initial consideration:

1. Clergy of any denomination (excluding, of course the self-ordained who would be included with Politicians, see #2 below)
2. Politicians, Bureaucrats, Telemarketers and Used Car Salesmen
3. Journalists, Television reporters and other Fiction Writers
4. Attorneys and Magistrates
5. Physical Laborers, Shopkeepers and Office Workers
6. Police and Military
7. Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents
8. Professional Athletes (Not to be used for compost due to possible steroidal contamination of the food supply.)
9. Prostitutes (male, female and otherwise)
10. Tango Instructors, Personal Trainers and College Professors
11. Actors, Dancers, Singers, Writers, Stand-Up Comics and anyone else who pretended for a living
12. Prisoners currently residing in Penal institutions (Subject to further examination, this latter group may be set aside as many consider that these have already been ill-used by society, by parents, by any race of which they are not a member and by the unwarranted hostility of their victims.)

The reader may take note of the fact that I have excluded several professions in the foregoing itemization. This was purposeful on my part, for those not mentioned above will be utilized otherwise, viz:

A. Management Consultants, Tarot Card Readers and other Fabulists - to assure the Relics that the plan has their better interests at heart.
B. Butchers, Surgeons and Anesthesiologists - to perform the required activities (including dissection) in the most perspicacious and humane manner.
C. Astronauts - to prepare the unused portions of the relics’ remains for transport to NASA to be paced in large cylinders for eventual launch into fixed earth orbit. (While the proposer is not technically inclined and possesses no knowledge of such matters, it is anticipated that a sufficient number of such orbiting cylinders would deflect the sun’s rays and delay the destruction of the earth contemplated by the global warming cabal).


Social Security – a not insignificant portion of the wealth sequestered in the Social Security Trust Fund (consisting wholly of Promissory Notes from Congress who, in their overarching wisdom, have utilized the actual funds for unrelated sundry purposes) could be otherwise employed at the discretion of said same Congress. These IOU’s might be distributed amongst the larger states (California, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York) for their uses in keeping their creditors at bay and other shovel-ready projects, as well as in the larger cities (Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago and New York) as vacation vouchers for their Privy Council members and their paramours.

Nursing Homes - economies will be gained not only through elimination of the physical premises, along with the associated costs of food, medications, cable television and bingo paraphernalia, but staff could be reassigned, with little additional training, as prison guards or toll booth attendees.

Meals on Wheels – This beneficial program could be converted to insure the provision of sustenance for the offspring of those otherwise unable (or unwilling) to do so, such as addicted mothers, priests and profligate sperm donors.

Organ Transplants – Most of the organs harvested in the recycling process may prove to be of limited value, due to mileage, overuse and/or abuse during the life of the donor. However, there may be some organs from specific donors that could demand a premium in the marketplace. Examples might be the genitals of some clergy (those that have not been exposed to excessive use), brains of those politicians who have only felt and never thought, and hearts from those politicians who have only thought and never felt. However, it is the opinion of this humble proposer that maximum financial benefit will derive from the sale of politicians’ olfactory organs, which have rarely been used to discern the odors of their own malfeasance.


Ancillary benefits accrue, not the least of which would be the ability to free up millions of HANDICAP PARKING SPACES for use by the general public. Although, to an extended degree, restrictions on the use of such spaces by the non-handicapped are largely ignored, savings would be derived from not having to issue the permits, create and install the signage, paint the lines and pass out the summonses, all of which are generally disregarded in any case.

In the further interests of economy, the duties of the PHARTS TSAR might be assumed at no additional cost by one already on the public payroll, a functionary whose duties are mostly ceremonial, whose mutterings are always of interest to the media, whose intelligence is not beyond suspicion and who is occasionally welcomed in the White Mansion. I refer of course to the Vice President but, should he be deemed unavailable or incapable, one of the White Mansion’s groundskeepers could surely be pressed into service.

I have also been assured by several learned psychologists, who have been made privy to my deliberations, that the enforced removal of multitudes of our more elderly citizens might exert a salutary effect upon the pro-choice constituency, slaking their thirst and thereby lessening the extent of their support for abortion-on-demand. I recall one of the psychologists referring to a phenomenon she called ‘fulfillment substitution’ (or some such) but, beyond that, I can offer no further clarification.

While I have not yet assembled the statistics, another salutary result might be the reduction in membership in the American Association of Retired People. AARP is basically a marketing organization whose primary function is to sell stuff to older citizens and turn over part of their profits to the support of liberal/progressive causes. My proposed program would, upon implementation, remove a large and impressionable portion of AARP’s buying public and, thereby, adversely affect its profitability. However, there is a remedy that has proven so successful in other instances. That would be the nationalization of AARP, cutting out the middleman and having the funds flow directly into the ruling party’s coffers.

Additionally, a lesser but not insignificant benefit would derive from reducing the demands on doctors’ offices and hospitals. Such slack could be put to more efficacious uses such as plastic surgery, body piercing, tattoo removal and other societal boons.

Being a Christian myself, and not unmindful of the possibility that some may view my suggestions with some degree of distaste, I take comfort in reflecting upon the words of E. B. White. “In a man's middle years there is scarcely a part of the body he would hesitate to turn over to the proper authorities.”

Should our leaders overcome their antipathy to the proposition that any citizen who does not contribute in an economic or political way makes the country poorer, I pray that they should quickly adopt my MODEST PROPOSAL.

* * * * * *

Author’s Note: In 1729, Jonathon Swift proposed a similar plan to the Irish, A MODEST PROPOSAL, suggesting that they eat their children as a remedy for the problems of the day. His approach was… ”based on the testimony provided by …a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked or boiled….”

In 2009, 280 years later, I have made this pitiful attempt to emulate him. Both you and he are deserving of my profound apologies.

Jack Deeney
Danbury, CT
August 6, 2009