“Dear Marvin, I’m a single parent on financial aid and read your blog every Monday at the public library (because I have no telephone or internet). I lost my job a few years ago because the government made it cheaper and easier for my old company to employ someone in southeast Asia instead. I now have a few part-time, minimum wage jobs (with no benefits or health care), but still can’t make ends meet. The most important thing in my life is my baby and I can’t afford to buy her a new carseat. I’m stuck using a 10 year old hand-me-down and I have no idea whether it’s safe or not:-( I went to the local police and fire departments, but they didn’t have any free or discounted seats and didn’t know where to send me for one. Not only that, but neither of them do child seat safety inspections any longer because of their budget cuts. What should I do? – Signed, Hopeless Hanna”.
Marvin thinks you should head right away to the offices of your state’s U.S. Senators and your district’s representative to the U.S. House. Didn’t you hear, they’re giving away free money! Around a trillion dollars for the taking! All you have to do is show that your financial situation is a mess and you get free cash! Maybe it’s your own fault? You spend your money gambling on lotteries or at the casino playing high risk games that are not likely to break even, let alone result in a gain? No worries, your own gross financial mismanagement will be forgiven and you get rewarded with cash! Maybe it was your ex-husband who loaned your nestegg to deadbeat relatives or friends and then bailed out on you? Yup! You’re still forgiven and not only do you get rewarded with free money and a lavish, wealthy retirement, but he does, too!
Oh wait, you’re not a bank or a corporate big wig? Marvin’s mistake, sorry! Marvin has bad news for you now. Not only are you out of luck on GETTING the free cash, but you actually have to PAY thousands of dollars in tax money so millionaires can get that free money. Yup! We all thought our government was not only broke, but trillions of dollars in debt to social security and to foreign governments, corporations and investors who buy up our government bonds to keep us afloat. Even after we dropped a cool trillion on a war, in minutes we magically found another trillion sitting around to give away to mismanaged financial entities with almost no strings attached! As parents, you know that rewarding bad behavior is a great idea, right? Yeah, that does sound fishy to Marvin, too! Marvin thinks he could put a trillion to better use. Of course, Marvin always has a plan! Here’s Marvin’s 10-step plan to national child passenger SECURITY. Note the emphasis on SECURITY which is easy to sell to politicians, while no one in power seems to give a fish poop about child safety.
1) Fund for heavily subsidized child restraints offered to families on public aid. Enough to allow more than a few million additional children to ride SECURELY in their vehicles. Seats distributed are only those made in the USA, Canada, Western Europe and Japan to create good jobs for the vast majority of Marvin’s readers, like Hanna! After all, we subsidize vaccinations for low income families, we should be doing the same for this vaccination against the leading cause of fatal injuries among children. $200 million dollars.
2) Grants for local police, fire, healthcare and other non-profit agencies to set up inspection stations and publicize child passenger SECURITY issues. Creates jobs in non-profit industry. $200 million.
3) Set up NHTSA department to crash test child restraint SECURITY and report the results in a comprehensive 5-star system, as they do for automobile crash testing. Also fund studies for things like extended rear-facing and extended harness use. Promotes more SECURE child restraint design. Creates jobs for government contractors. $200 million.
4) Massive media campaign on why it’s important to keep our kids SECURE from their #1 killer, automobile crashes. Yes, that’s right, far more childhood fatalities from this cause than from terrorists, mortgage defaults, avian flu and numerous other political budget buzzwords combined! Creates jobs in media and marketing industry. $150 million.
5) Incentives for automobile manufacturers to actually DO something about LATCH weight limits, instead of just TALK about it year after year. Helps our domestic auto industry layoff fewer people. $100 million (in addition to the $25 billion in taxpayer subsidized loans they just received).
6) Increased spending to states for law enforcement on seat belt and child restraint use, promoting the SECURITY of our highways. Creates government jobs at the state and local level. $100 million.
7) Incentives for child restraint manufacturers and suppliers to develop and incorporate advanced SECURITY features, making child seats easier to use. Private sector jobs created. $40 million.
8 ) A deluxe betta spawning center for Marvin, complete with numerous female plakats, deltas, crowntails, double tails, veil tails, half moons and wild species (Marvin thinks variety is a great idea!). Okay, okay, Marvin knows that you need some pork barrel projects to pass any spending bill. Kecia, Heather and Darren now gainfully employed as fish keepers. $5 million.
9) Yes, Marvin also knows that you need a lobbyist if you want to go anywhere in Washington. They’ll get their share. We’ll have them sell it as a highway terrorist protection act vital to the SECURITY of our citizens from their gravest threat and then slip it into a defense bill or war appropriation! $4 million.
10) Coupons for free child seats and baby gear that Marvin can give away to his loyal readers! After all, Marvin still doesn’t have a sponsor, let alone a promotional partner for giveaways! If you ask Marvin, CarseatBlog readers and Car-Seat.Org members deserve it. After all, our grass roots efforts reach a whole lot of parents and keep a ton of children SECURE every day! This is “goodwill” money. $1 million.
As you know, Marvin is very thrifty. There’s still money left over from the original trillion (to be used for more trivial stuff like paying off government debt, funding education, funding an energy plan that reduces our dependence on foreign oil and cuts greenhouse emissions, implementing major infrastructure for public transportation in urban areas, subsidizing national health care, promoting manufacturing and job creation, etc, etc.). Total remaining: $999,000,000,000.00 dollars.
Marvin isn’t completely unsympathetic to the bungling banking executives who created this mess and now expect to be rewarded for their mismanagement with multi million dollar payouts from all of you. He also isn’t totally unsympathetic to our elected officials and appointees who allowed this mess to happen by relaxing regulations and failing to do the oversight part of their jobs over the last decade or so (thus allowing financial companies and execs to pocket huge profits). Where are those profits now, Marvin wonders? Somewhere in all those zeroes of leftover cash is enough money to subsidize those financial institutions that were NOT mismanaged, so they can pick up the slack from the ones that deserve to disappear forever.
There should also be plenty of money left over to pay for luxury prison lodging for the politicians and executives who are literally robbing the taxpayers and their children to the tune of thousands of dollars a person. Yes, the same politicians who said the economy was sound a few weeks ago are now predicting a massive recession and market collapse if we don’t give a trillion dollars to their friends right away with no discussion! If these crooks don’t go to prison, Marvin knows which politicians those executives will be hiring under multi-million dollar contracts, once they retire from public office…
So, Hanna, please go down to see your elected officials and tell them about Marvin’s plan. Send an email, write a letter, make a phone call. Ask why you can’t find a job to be able to afford a $50 child seat or healthcare for your baby, but the bankers and politicians who bungled their jobs so badly to the tune of $1 trillion dollars will be buying new luxury yachts. Marvin thinks you deserve better, and he KNOWS he will put that spawning center to good use, too! Otherwise, Marvin suspects you may have to move to where the yacht companies are in order to get a job. Probably in southeast Asia :/
Marvin’s “What’s Fishy” Advocates Corner:
Irresponsible politicians and greedy executives broke the big banks and broke the public trust, too. Meanwhile, shipping costs are breaking Marvin’s tiny bank! Plus, Marvin doesn’t have any more good product samples or promotional items to give away this week. Poor Marvin is desperate! Even more than talking in the third person, Marvin loves to give stuff away to his loyal blog subscribers. Marvin again reminds you potential sponsors that these readers are mostly parents of young children and an ideal demographic for baby products of all kinds! Until someone partners with Marvin for a nice promotion, it’s yet another bag for the third week in a row. This one is a lovely Car-Seat.Org tote bag from our Cafe Press store, with absolutely nothing inside!
How do you win it, you ask?
It’s easy. Marvin would like to know, within $1 million dollars, the 2007 incentive award grant given to the president of Fannie Mae in 2008, according to Reuters. You know, the same irresponsible entity we taxpayers have to bail out due to mismanagement? Marvin finds it very fishy that these kinds of awards apparently aren’t tied to any actual performance incentives. Marvin thinks Marvin did just as much for Fannie Mae shareholders as this guy and so Marvin deserves a big bonus, too! Marvin notes this executive is also likely to receive just about as many millions in a severance package, likely funded by taxpayers. That’s tidy reward for a job so well done! Marvin would be interested to know if any of his readers ever got even a dime in incentives or severance for this kind of performance at any job in their entire life! This executive’s name is mud, in Marvin’s opinion.
The first person to comment with the right answer wins the bag and also an education in how our capitalist, free market system really works!