Friday, May 9, 2008

Deliverance - By Jimmy Petrol

Oregon has decided to balance its state's budget. Good News? Well, backwoods values intact, the state has decided to honor the Southern tradition of the speed trap, a la Boss Hogg.

Commuter arteries around the state will be targeted with a special contingent of State Troupers whose mission will be to issue lots and lots of tickets to citizens used to the rush to work and home again at speeds somewhat above the posted limit. This wholesale disregard for the speed limit is an indication, perhaps, of a limit that does not meet the needs of the affected population. Everyone is speeding; instead of taking this as a sign that something is amiss with the limit, Oregon has detected the presence of a cash bonanza and intends to effect a commuter toll on its citizens without due process.

Oregon lawmakers will provide a bonus to participating lawmen in the form of one million dollars (U.S.?) in overtime. Lots of boat payments for Officer Otis and his cronies working the speed traps. And much safer than chasing crack dealers over dangerous fences and hedges; the risk of workman's comp. claims in such cases is terrible.

The benefit to the state is projected to be in the neighborhood of eight million dollars clear, after the assisting officers take their one million cut. Nice.

If Oregon is allowed to proceed with this ill-conceived method of impromptu commuter taxation, what sin can be safe?

I thought it would be a good time the canvass the members of the clergy with whom I have a special bond; what would they say to the idea that sin is now taxable?

"We already tax it." said my good buddy, the Reverend Arnold P. Grabbet of the Church of Everyday Saints. "That's how we get the best collection! A red-hot sermon that touches on all the little sins of the flock. Nothing fills the plate like an old time lecture on the dangers of sexual libation!" The Reverend went on to talk at length about the specifics of sexual sin he especially deplored, but I cannot relate his candid views to my sensitive and erudite readers without risk of offense. I did note, however, that his whiskey and water seemed to go rather quicker as he warmed to his subject, obviously one dear to his heart.

With a minimal exposure to the techniques used in churches, our officers can be trained to get confessions of many an otherwise un-taxed sinner.

Imagine Officer Otis, cruising the aisles of Trader Joes. He spies a possible miscreant lingering overlong at the dairy case, choosing carefully between the mayonnaise and the pressurized can of whipped cream. Using his professional knowledge of deviant sexual behavior, Officer Otis can approach and cite with ease.

"Hey, buddy," our conscientious patrolman might begin, "that whipped cream isn't for sexual purposes is it?" Here, a knowing smile and friendly nudge in the ribs may be called for. The experienced officer will know.

Continuing, "Ah, I know, it's all in fun. But what do you think your missus will say if she were to find out you were buying that stuff? Will she take the broad view, that it was just for the strawberries you have in the basket, or will it occur to her that she hasn't had strawberries since last season, and whipped cream! Oh, my, but she may be very suspicious if she sees the citation I am about to write you for deviant sexual behavior!"

Plainly, the average Joe or Janet will simply put down the offending sauce and meander away, thinking perhaps that whipped cream from another market will whip as well. Others, more guilty, may begin to dissemble and quail.

Hereupon, our trained officer can make the pinch; a citation being unnecessary among friends, he can simply collect a small sum, perhaps using a ‘sliding scale'. Pocketing an honorarium, similar to the overtime to be collected by the Oregon State Troupers, the officer can remit the remainder to his desk Sargent. Each officer in the chain of command will have the opportunity to fulfill his overtime pay requirements on his own honor, the remittance offered by our deviant citizen thus making its way toward city coffers. Some small amount may arrive for the use of our governors.

The same technique can be used against truants, skateboarders and women who squeeze the tomatoes at the market with equal success. All that needs be done is to recognize the unimpeachable morality of our lawmakers and their law-enforcement apparatus, allowing them to look after the financial needs of our government.

It worked in Chicago in the 1920's. It can work here.

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