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The Patriot Card™
March 26, 2004
Satire by Dave Firmage

Dear Mr. Bush,

I need a favor. It seems that in my patriotic enthusiasm to support our failing economy in the days following Saddam's attack on the World Trade Center I, well, I overspent a little. I was just doing my part for the war effort. At the time it seemed I could handle all the expenses. There was plenty of work to be had and the construction field was still strong.

Then came the job loss. It wasn't a direct "hey, your fired" thing. It came slowly, winding it's way through all the economic levels supporting my paycheck. I guess you could say that it trickled down.

During the following year I remained optimistic that things would change. After all I knew that this was just a delayed cyclical reaction to the unrealistic two percent unemployment during the Clinton regime. I could take one for the greater economic good. I thought about joining the military but alas I have sensitive sinuses and the whole middle east thing would have been one bloody nose after the next.

Anyway, I kept my hopes up and found piece work here and there to get by. My wife was working full time and together we felt things were going to turn a corner, things had to get better.

Well, I'm still optimistic that our finances are turning that corner, however some of our creditors are losing their usual zen-like patience. It seems that they've lost some big investments in the energy and telecom industries over the past few years so in an effort to bail out sinking balance sheets they are redoubling efforts in consumer debt departments. So it seems anyway.

So with all this in mind I wonder if you could put in a call to some of my creditors and just let them know that the economy looks bright, unemployment should be dropping any day now and you personally are working on a comprehensive plan to address some of the complicated underlying issues that drive economic swings like this.

I've got a great idea that could meet everyone's needs if I may share it.

The Federal Reserve could issue a United States of America national credit card to every U.S. citizen, 18 and over. Any card member would be able to consolidate all their debts onto the new card and then the total amount would just be rolled into the National Debt.

This of course would come with a higher interest rate but we could structure it as a multi-generational payment program so we wouldn't get stuck with unmanageable monthly payments. This in turn would allow continued if not expanded consumer support for our economy and the overall war on terrorism. We could call it the Patriot Card.

Now I realize that two immediate problems jump right up. First, how to get this through Congress. Being an election year, representatives are eager to gain favor in their respective states. If we allowed individual states to issue their own private-label cards, like the commemorative quarters, and then shave off a point or two for their own needs, I think we could get some support. At least in the lower house. It could be called "The National Taxed And Spent Consolidation Act Of 2004."

The second problem we might face is overspending on the part of consumers. I think this one is easily managed. The Patriot Card program would be a function of the Treasury and as such it could utilize all of the existing mechanisms of government to safeguard against irresponsible spending.

I know realistically this may require a few months to take shape, but don't worry about me. There is still work out there and if this mad-cow thing doesn't get any worse then manufacturing should stay strong. I'll be ok.

Anyway, I appreciate your attention to these matters and Iím sure we'll talk soon and thanks again.


Dave Firmage
Salt Lake City,

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