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Written October 27, 2010


Okay, we’re here.  What did you want to talk to us about?

Well, kids, as you know, the Parental Election is coming up soon.

Yeah, so?

We would like you to vote for us, Jane and Jim, to be your next parents.

‘Stead of Mom and Dad?

That’s right.

Why you two?  You aren’t even from around here.

What?  We're your neighbors.

The kids at school say you were born in Afghanistan!  And you want to boil us and eat us.

Now, that’s simply not so.  We’ve lived in the house next door all our lives.

That’s not what we heard.

Well, it’s the truth.  And we don't want to harm you, either.

Then why do you want to replace Mom and Dad?

We have nothing against them.  We know that your current parents are nice people, and they do seem to treat you well.

You'd better believe it.  They give us everything we want!

However, over the last eight years, your Mom and Dad have made a number of decisions that seem rather short-sighted.  We think it would be best to adopt more prudent policies.  We think it’s time for a change.

Don’t know ‘bout that.  We kinda like the way things are.

We feel they could be better.  And by the way, could you please put down the pizza and the cell phone for a few minutes?

Mom lets us text.

Not in the middle of a serious conversation.

Why not?

You kids need to be taught some manners.  If we’re elected to be your parents, your attitude is going to change.

Now there’s  a campaign promise that’ll win you votes!  Duh.

We’re only trying to help you.  And we’ll make sure you eat healthier food, too.  It’ll be good for you.

Gee, we can’t wait.

What about money?  Your family is deeply in debt, and yet we hear that you kids still receive generous allowances.  Don’t you find that a little worrisome?

We don’t care ‘bout that stuff.  We don’t know ‘bout finance and all that.

Well, we know something about it, and we’ve been looking into your household budget.

And you think Mom and Dad messed it up.

Not all of it, we must admit.  Sometimes your parents actually make wise decisions.  For example, when they hired your gardener, they got a good man to work for very reasonable wages.

You wanna know why the gardener's pay is so low?

How’s that?

'Cause Mom and Dad agreed to keep on paying him a salary for the rest of his life.  Even after he retires.

They promised him a lifetime pension?  At full pay?  Even when he’s no longer taking care of your yard?

Well, he is Dad's cousin, after all.  And he seemed happy ‘bout the deal.

He undoubtedly was!  But how will your family fund his pension?  Where will the money come from?

Who cares?  Anyway, he’s not gonna retire for another 20 years, prob’ly.

Twenty years from now you may not be in a position to fulfill your promise.

You mean, maybe we won’t have the money to pay him?  Then he’ll just live on Social Security.  Don’t need to worry ‘bout that now.

Ah, well.  Another item we’re glad to see in your budget is this rental income your family receives from that property you own down on Elm Street.

Yeah, we’re getting rid of that.

You’re selling the property?  But it has been making you twenty thousand dollars a year, every year.  The family will have to manage on less income.

But when we do sell it, we’ll get a hundred  thousand dollars cash, right now!  Maybe more!

Hopefully the proceeds will go toward reducing some of your family’s outstanding debts.

Naw, we’re gonna spend it all on new cars!  Dad’s gonna get himself a Lamborghini.  Really cool.

That’s not really a wise decision.  And what about your education?  How is your family going to be able to afford it when you go off to college?

That’s years from now.

But you ought to be saving money in your college fund.

Mom and Dad say if we do that, we won’t be able to buy nice things now.  Like these clothes we got at the mall yesterday, or the new video games.

So you prefer to live for today, spending money as fast as you can find it, using up resources as though you’ll always be able to find more.

Right.  Why should we elect parents who worry ‘bout the future?  You guys are real downers.

It appears that we should have read more of Plato’s Republic and less of John Stuart Mill.

What?  John Stuart who?

Mill.  Sad to say, he convinced us that democracy is a good idea, because people are always better off choosing their own decision-makers.



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