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Save A Tree, Save A Child


Surviving as a Republican in West Hollywood requires a thick skin and a sense of humor. This is, after all, a town which has dedicated a monument to Veterans – from the Soviet Union! Over the holidays, I was reminded of just how hard it can be when I had two conversations – about global warming and Social Security – that opened up my mind to the contrasts that occur when either political party look to the future.

When I go out on the town, those who know I am a Republican invariably decide they want to start political conversations. So it was that I got into a discussion about what to about global warming as we sipped champagne over dinner poolside on a balmy Christmas day.

We had been discussing that fact that I rarely drive my car anymore, filling up the tank but once a month, “so we can bring the troops home.” After all, the war in Iraq was all about the oil, right?

My liberal neighbor Brandon said that he doesn’t have such a luxury and has put 5,000 miles on his new car since he bought it three months ago. “What kind of Prius did you get,” I asked, suggesting that if he cared about the environment, he would be buying an ecologically-friendly car.

“What about the children?!?” my neighbor cried in mock horror when backed into a rhetorical corner too narrow for the turning radius of his new Ford Explorer.

Later that night, I found myself making the same argument – “what about the children?!?” – when another partygoer was complaining about how his California state employee’s pension has gotten so large that the federal government is reducing his Social Security payments.

Ironically, both Democrats and Republicans claim to justify their positions on these two very different issues with the same argument. So what if we mixed things up and applied each party’s solution to one problem to fix the other, and see what happened? Of course, that exercise will only take us so far. But it’s entertaining.

Since Democrats’ answer to Social Security is the exact same as Republicans’ response to global warming – stick with the status quo – I think the issues should be tied together.

Republicans believe that to save Social Security, we need to establish individual savings accounts, so that future generations can invest their own money and keep the system solvent. So what if we had Greenhouse Gas accounts, which funded individual retirement savings accounts under Social Security?

Let’s say we ask each American to take accountability for the Greenhouse gasses they emit. Buy a Ford Explorer and pay for it. Get a gas-sipping Prius and the Government will set aside funds for your old age. Eat beef or drink milk? Because cows emit as much polluting gasses as two cars, you’ll have to pay. Drink rice Silk instead, and you’ll get money set aside from the cow-taxes to pay for your golden years.

In theory, if you lived an environmentally-friendly life and helped save the planet – you could have enough savings to retire comfortably. Kill the planet and you’ll be eating cat food to pay for prescription drugs. Now, that’s what I call personal responsibility!

This may sound silly but if either party sincerely cared about future generations, they’d start thinking outside of the box or, in this case, maybe trying to see if they can get the boxes to work together for everyone’s advantage. If this Congress wants to accomplish anything, Democratic leaders will have to work with Republican Senators and a Republican President, so maybe we can make some horse-trading happen. Just be sure who gets credited for its methane emissions first!

Share  Posted by Scott Olin Schmidt at 6:02 PM | Permalink

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