It is sadly apparent to those who travel this great country -- when they see along the highways aging bikers with long grey ponytails or on the beaches men who are long past the age when they should be seen in Speedos or at political rallies, where they quake in fear over competing claims about retirement benefits -- that the elderly are not only an eyesore but a growing threat to our society because of their cost, the speed at which they drive, and because, absent real work to do or support from their impoverished government, they could easily turn to crime or worse, turn to us, their relatives, and seek to move into our basements or family rooms.
I think it is agreed by all Americans that this prodigious number of burdensome old folks visible to all as they conduct their morning mall walks or take up valuable bench space in public parks are, given the present deplorable state of the nation, a source of great unease, debate, and public dissension and therefore whoever could find a fair, cheap and easy method of making these chronologically challenged Americans sound and useful members of the commonwealth would earn the gratitude of the public to such a degree that he would have a statue erected in his honor or possibly have his bust added to those on Mount Rushmore.
But my intention is far from being limited to providing for the admittedly not overly long futures of our senior citizens. It is my goal to also address a number of the other urgent issues facing the United States. Among these are the financial crisis that threatens to bring our country to its knees, the divisive political debate that has rendered our government dysfunctional, and the need to find ways to provide for our public defense and national security while living within our means.
The great advantage to my program is that it is instantly apparent to anyone who hears it described, even those with profound intellectual deficits like reality-show contestants and members of Congress, that it solves not only the greatest problem the country faces -- that of ensuring care for the elderly -- but that it does so instantly and in such a sweeping nature that it might once again reknit the rent fabric of our polity and restore unity to a fractured, hurting society. It does so in a way that will also eliminate the need to resort to commonly contemplated alternative approaches to addressing the plight of the aging including placing them on ice floes, sending them to python-infested streets of Florida, or providing them with health-care vouchers that aren't worth the paper they might be printed on. I am also able to rule out the approach suggested in 1729 by Dr. Jonathan Swift in his "A Modest Proposal," which recommended that to deal with a similar over abundance of unwanted people, in that case poor children, that the surplus population of grubby little kids be eaten and, where possible, their skins turned into "admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen."
My program draws on our history and reinstates one of America's most venerated national programs while, at the same time, drawing equally on the ideas, priorities and programs of our political mothers and fathers, the Democratic and Republican parties. The aforementioned program is the draft, a nationwide program of conscription, and my proposal is that we institute mandatory military service for all Americans over 65 years of age.
Can you think of a single proposal that so directly addresses the shared concerns of an aging nation for its oldest citizens while at the same time guaranteeing the public care for those seniors sought by Democrats and providing for the strengthened national defense so important to all Republicans? One that helps trim our fiscal deficit and eliminate the retirement health-care deficit altogether? One that could end the brief and unwelcome outbreak of substantive debate about the nuts and bolts of massive government programs and allow us to return to the character assassination and discussions of hair-care regimes and hunting techniques that we prefer to dwell on during election campaigns?
Because I have digressed from enumerating the merits of my proposal for too long, I will return to the central purpose of this essay. I think the advantages of the proposal which I have made are obvious and many, as well as of the highest importance.
First, as I have already observed, this approach would immediately place our elderly into the care of the government. Not only would it do this but it would do so via an institution, the military, which is accustomed to providing for every need of its members and has a long history of putting into productive use those whom age also renders nearly impossible to deal with: teenagers.
Second, because every older American would be in the military, we would actually have no need at all for Medicare. Not only would this eliminate the threat posed by the unfathomably large deficit associated with it but, as this is also the greatest threat extant to America's wellbeing, it would thereby strengthen the country in ways achievable by no other current or contemplated program of the Department of Defense or the military contractors it serves.