Uncle Lester's Recession Cure
By Peter Van Schaik



       Stopped in to see my Uncle Lester last night. Now ol' Uncle Lester may not be the sharpest arrow in the quiver, but you can't say he doesn't at least try to apply his full mental abilities, scanty though they are, to the most pressing problems of the day- usually defined as the story getting the most airtime on the TV news.


       Like last night. So I stopped in to see him and right away I knew he was onto something big. He was just overflowing with an enthusiasm generally reserved for the very young right before Christmas.


       Hey, nephew! Come on in. You're just in time. I'm just finishing up my letter to the Prez!


       Uh, the president? Of the U.S. of A?


       Yup, the Prez! President Dubya. Ya' heard of him ain't ya'?


       Well, yeah, sure. Of course. I'm just having a hard time processing why you'd be writing him.


       Buddy boy, you still think your ol' uncle's got a few shingles blown of his roof don't ya'? Well, I'll tell you why I'm writin' him and I'm plenty excited about it too. I got the solution to one of the biggest problems we've faced in years and it's my patriotic duty to tell the president all about it. Now what's the biggest problem we got today?


       The Republican in the White House?


       Hell no, you dummy! Sometimes it's hard to believe you're the one with the education. It's the economy, stupid. Here we are, staring a recession right in the face, and you can't even see it. The recession is our biggest problem and I got just the answer. Now, what's our two biggest money makers?


       Uh, why don't you tell me?


       Glad to. Pro sports and medical care: hospitals, doctors and stuff. That's where the big money is. Big league sports and hospitals. Now, my idea takes full advantage of this indisputable fact. What we need to do is expand all the big leagues- baseball, football, basketball, and every other kinda  ball we got- and put a team in every town and city. That'll provide a whole lot of employment for a whole lot of people and everybody knows swatting baseballs and catching footballs pays a whole lot better than flippin'  burgers. Hell, ballplayin' pays damn near better'n any other job you can think of. Those ballplayers make millions.


       Can't argue with that.


       You could, but it won't do ya' no good. Now my plan is a two pronged attack on the recession. Everybody who ain't busy playin' ball on any particular night will be out watchin' a ballgame cause with games so close to everybody's house, it's just gonna be to damn convenient not to. This is where my plan ties it all together. Now what's the best thing about ball games?


       The competition? The thrill of watching the home team emerge victorious after a hard fought battle?


       Boy, you are an idiot. You ever even been to a ball game? It's the junk food! Hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jack. And beer, plenty a beer. Ingestin' all that junk every night's gonna be hard on our health which means we'll need even more medical care than we already do and even you oughta know what that means: a booming economy, the gross domestic product going through the roof, and no damn recession!    


       Playing ballgames and destroying our health with junk food is going to make us all wealthy?


       Are sports salaries in the GDP?


       Well, sure they are, but...


       But nothin'! And medical care- you gonna tell me that's not part of the GDP?


       Of course medical care is included in the GDP, but...     


       Would educated economists include stuff in the GDP if it didn't make us richer? That's what the GDP is, a way to measure how rich we are. And what's a recession?


       Two consecutive quarters with a decline in the real gross domestic product, but...


       Exactly. With all these new ballplayers making just the average ballplayer wages and all the additional medical care we'll need, you know how expensive that is, our GDP's gonna soar and we ain't gonna see no recession. My plan is gonna save this country! And the longer we do it, the better off we'll be.  More and more ballplayers and more and more junk food will keep our economy booming!


       But what are we going to do for all the other goods and services we need? Like cars, food, clothes, and houses?


       Hell, we can import all that stuff. That's the real beauty of my plan- it ties right in with all that globalization stuff. Let the rest of the world build and do the stuff that doesn't pay that good anyways and we can concentrate on the things that pay the big bucks. When most of us are makin' ballplayer and doctor wages, we can afford to import tons of stuff. We'll be rich! Hell, Bush wants to let more Mexicans into our country- they can build our houses and junk like that. We can save the best payin' jobs for the real Americans. We'll be sittin' pretty!      


       You really think you can sell this idea to President Bush?


       Hell, yeah! Bush loves baseball. Used to own a team. He plays ball on the White House lawn. He's just the man to grasp the beauty of this plan and he's just the man to believe in it as much as I do!


       The scary part is Uncle Lester just might be right about that one.


Copyright 2007 - John Paul Jones