Mr. Chatterbox - January 2012

By Robert Plunket Photography by Barbara Banks January 1, 2012

President Bob Plunket: “Bring back free toasters.”I was conceived in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, during World War II, and eight months later my mother made a dangerous journey across war-torn Central America until she finally reached the Texas border. The reason? So I could be born in the United States. My parents wanted me to become President that bad.

Somehow I never pulled it off. I never considered myself good enough or smart enough. Lately, though, watching the Republican debates, I’m starting to wonder. Maybe I do have what it takes. I certainly have the right level of intelligence. I’ve been known to forget what I was going to say. I’ve been accused of sexual harassment. I have a mean-spirited streak. I hate science.

In fact, I have just about every requirement but one—I have no economic plan. Or rather, I had no economic plan. Until the other night when I was sitting around, munching on Twinkies, potato chips, butterscotch topping and a sheet cake from Publix, and I suddenly came up with one. It just came to me, right there on the kitchen floor. I call it the “4-2-0 Plan.”

It consists of four 20-point tenets that will lead us to economic recovery. No, wait—it was 42 one-point tenets. No, it was 20 four-point tenets. Anyway, it had a lot of tenets. Here they are.

#1. Keep taxes the same. It took me a lifetime to figure out how to cheat successfully under the present setup. I don’t want to have to learn a new system.

#2. Rein in the banks. Make them pay at least 5 percent interest. Eliminate ATM fees. Bring back free toasters.

#3. Increase Social Security benefits. I started getting my Social Security check several months ago, and what a godsend. It’s not much, but it sure makes a difference. I’ve been able to get a new flat-screen, switch to Chivas, and start buying real cigarettes instead of “rolling my own.”

#4. Cut government spending by using volunteers. I personally would love to drive a police cruiser several nights a week, stopping people and asking prying questions, patrolling the various lovers’ lanes, eating doughnuts . . . I would also consider anything at the airport, particularly patting people down or operating one of those machines where you get to see people naked. Family court judge or police photographer are other possibilities. I’d do either one for gas money.

#5. Welcome more illegal aliens. They’re a little gold mine. Do you realize they pay Social Security and payroll taxes which they then never collect? It amounts to billions each year. Plus, I love all the ethnic food.

#6. Redistribute wealth. But not among the poor. They’d just lose it. I’m talking about people who have incomes of only $250,000. If that’s what you’re making and your neighbor is making $1 million, it breeds terrible class resentment. I see it in Sarasota all the time. 

#7. Let Greece fail. Let Italy fail. I failed. Why shouldn’t they? I heard that in Europe they pay you to sit in cafes all day. You’re hired to sweep the streets or catch dogs and all you do is sip mocha lattes on the taxpayers’ dime. And then when us hard-working Americans call you on it, you riot in the town square. Enough!

#8. The government should do what I do for extra money—freelance. There are all sorts of ways Washington could pull in additional income if they think “outside the box.” For instance, submarine rides. They could offer people a chance to ride on a submarine for $50 a pop. The line would be around the block. They could also rent out government workers to private firms. They could type, do inventory. . . and best of all, you’d pay them slave wages.

#9. Increase military efficiency. You could “sell” the Army as consultants, particularly when you have a problem with lazy employees. And they could work for foreign countries, like Black Rock and Halliburton do. Why not? Remember the Hessians? Our Founding Fathers obviously had no problem. And the U.S. Army is the best in the world. They’ve been fighting continuously for the last 10 years. Imagine you’re in Peru and involved in some border dispute with Bolivia, and then you find out Bolivia has just hired the U.S. Army. You’d be running off to Paraguay so quick. . .


But an economic plan, no matter how sound, is only part of a political campaign. We need a new way of thinking in the country, a vision of America at its most comfortable. What with wasteful defense spending, unnecessary infrastructure renewal, loopholes and special interests, we have forgotten what has made America so great—my generation, the Baby Boomers. Or as I call us, the Second-Greatest Generation.

Wake up, America. These heroes must be honored. Because now, after a lifetime of service to our country, we are beginning to need help. We’ve reached the age where every moment could be the beginning of the end. That sore throat may be cancer. That indigestion might be a heart attack. And worst of all—that memory lapse may be Alzheimer’s. So here’s my plan: an assault on aging. First of all, we’ll develop a Manhattan Project devoted to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.

And not only that. The major role of government should be to make old age more pleasant in every possible way. And so, if I am fortunate enough to secure the nomination, I herby make this pledge to the American people:

Every soldier will bathe a senior for a year.

Yes, as part of their Army—or Navy—service, each soldier will spend a year of his or her deployment caring for an old person. They will feed them, trim their eyebrows, take them on rides, walk their dogs, clean their sheets. And it won’t cost the senior anything because it comes out of the Army budget. And it won’t cost the country anything because the Army budget is already there. Oh, you might have to end a war or two, but you don’t get to be President by thinking small.

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