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January 1992
Volume X, Number 1

Read This to Get Your Peace Dividend
By Dave Barry

Gather round, taxpayers! This is the moment you've been waiting for! Time to calculate your Peace Dividend! Now that our archenemy, the Soviet Union, is disintegrating into throat-lozenge-sized independent republics with names like "Huzzubegonia," whose primary military activity is knocking over statues of Lenin, we don't need a Defense Department anymore. This means that you, the taxpayers, MAY ALREADY HAVE WON BILLIONS OF DOLLARS! SO DON'T THROW AWAY THIS NEWSLETTER, because we are ABOUT TO TELL YOU THE SIZE OF YOUR PEACE DIVIDEND! Get ready! Better lean close to the page so you won't miss it! That's it--just a little closer... here it comes...


Ha ha! We apologize for hitting you in the face with a deceased grouper, but sometimes you taxpayers are such goobers that we can't help ourselves.

Listen: THERE ISN'T GOING TO BE A PEACE DIVIDEND. Your leaders have thought about this long and hard, and they have decided that they will continue to need all of your money that they can possibly get their hands on. In fact they might need MORE of your money, because we're probably going to give some to the Russians, in the generous American spirit of "lending a hand" to our defeated enemies so that someday, with our help and support, they can make better cars than we do.

Also we are NOT getting rid of the Defense Department Au contraire (literally, "you melonhead''). We are plunging ahead on a number of crucial multibillion-dollar defense items, including the B-2 "Stealth" bomber, which is being built by the Northrop Corp. for $865 million per plane (excluding sunroof). The B-2, which is designed to be invisible to radar, has had some minor technical glitches, such as that it is not actually invisible to radar, but it nevertheless appears to be superbly capable of carrying out its vital mission of penetrating deep into Soviet airspace and...

Hold it! We just remembered that there is no longer any NEED to penetrate deep into Soviet airspace, other than to scout locations for Pizza Huts. But never mind. Even as you read this, top Pentagon strategists are thinking up a NEW vital mission for the B-2. Maybe it could penetrate deep into Elizabeth Taylor's next wedding. Or maybe, with extra thrusters, it could even penetrate Sen. Edward Kennedy. As long as it penetrates SOMETHING.

And we are of course continuing to build "Star Wars," which was one of President Reagan's very best ideas and currently scheduled to be fully operational by the year 236,000 A.D., at which time it will perform whatever vital strategic mission it performs. Possibly it will shoot down the "Stealth" bomber.

But even if we canceled BOTH defense programs, you taxpayers STILL couldn't have a Peace Dividend, because your leaders need the money for pressing domestic priorities, such as purchasing breast pumps for the savings-and-loan-industry bailout.

We are not making this domestic priority up. We have here a Knight-Ridder News Service story concerning an audit of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Resolution Trust Corp., two agencies helping to straighten out this pesky S&L situation. Auditors found that, among other things, the agencies had purchased $177,000 worth of wall hangings, $3,227 worth of stained glass, $7,335 worth of Christmas decorations, 3,000 Asian cookbooks, and 27 breast pumps.

A spokesperson said the breast pumps were for employees who bring their babies into the agencies' daycare center. This is of course legitimate. We're sure that all you lactating taxpayers out there have employer-supplied breast pumps. We just hope the pumps weren't purchased through the "Star Wars" program (New York Post headline: "6 HURT IN S&L MOM BREAST BLAST'').

The spokesperson did not have a ready explanation for the Asian cookbooks, but we're sure there's a perfectly legitimate one, and we DON'T WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT IS.

The bottom line is, if there IS a Peace Dividend, it will be distributed according to the following list of priorities, ranked from highest to lowest:

    1. Giant incomprehensible ongoing federal programs that could not be eliminated with hydrogen bombs.
    2. The Russians.
    3. Breast pumps.
    4. Research grants to study questions like how come fish don't watch television.
    5. The Iraqis. (Don't laugh! Just wait!)
    6. Making a big pile of money on the U.S. Capitol lawn and setting fire to it
    7. Giving it back to the taxpayers

But don't be disheartened, taxpayers. This is America! A democracy! If you don't like what your government is doing, YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE IT! Yes! I'll tell you how! Lean close to the page so you won't miss it! That's it... just a little closer...


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