Stealing Stickies for South Carolina

These days, there doesn't seem to be a single state that isn't suffering from serious budget woes. Many states are trying some novel approaches to budgeting. Take Missouri, for example. To save money on electricity, Governor Bob Holden has recently ordered that every third light bulb in government buildings be unscrewed.

Question: How many government officials does it take to unscrew a light bulb?

Answer: You don't even want to know. Can you imagine how many meetings there probably were about this issue? Chances are, there's already some Light Bulb Removal Implementation Committee that meets each week to plot out light bulb removal strategy. And let's hope there's no light bulb lobbying group, or the whole plan will never get through. I'm just glad I don't work for the Missouri government. With my luck, I'd work in that room with the third light bulb.

Just to be extra friendly, Governor Holden has also asked that all office supply closets in government buildings be locked, just so that workers won't take too many pens. Or light bulbs for that matter. Hey, Gov, way to make your employees feel appreciated!

Meanwhile, some school districts in Colorado have cut back on education costs by reducing the school week to four days. It's a controversial move. Not only does this place a burden on parents who have to find day care for that extra day, it's also terribly unfair. I don't mean to the children, but to me! Seriously, why didn't they have this policy back when I was in school? There were so many times -- in fact, most of junior high -- when I could have really used an extra day off.

And then there's the case of Kentucky, which has actually taken the drastic step of releasing some non-violent prisoners early to save money. Damn, why didn't they have this policy back when I was -- oh, never mind. At any rate, I think the folks in Kentucky might want to lock their supply closets as well.

Budget cuts are especially big in prisons. Do you think it has something to do with the fact that prisoners aren't allowed to vote? In Virginia, prisons are saving money by eliminating lunch on Saturdays and Sundays and serving brunch -- which probably marks the first time ever that the phrase "prison brunch" has been used. (It's not a real brunch, by the way. The 8 a.m. "brunch" is simply breakfast with extra fruit. The 4 p.m. dinner has a second roll and some additional green beans.) Prisons in other states have cut back on coffee refills as well, which is just about asking for a prison riot. Great, that's just what we need -- hungry prisoners suffering from caffeine withdrawal. Why not just give them ammo as well?

Finally, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is asking government workers to save money by following his practice of reusing old Post-it notes. I don't know how one does reuse a Post-it note, though I do plan to look into it. (I've placed a Post-it note on my monitor -- "Look into reusing old Post-it notes," it says -- just to remind myself.) You have to wonder what Governor Sanford's reused Post-it notes look like.

Maybe try raising taxes in order to balance budget.
Try not to make an idiot of yourself with really stupid ideas.
Recycle old Post-it notes.

I'm not sure exactly what strand of supply side economics allows one to balance the budget this way, but I'm hoping to use it to manage my own finances. Somehow, I have this image of Governor Sanford rummaging through the office trash in search of discarded stickies to use. This, in the 21st Century, is apparently leadership.

Still, you have to feel sorry for those poor government workers of South Carolina. Has it really come to this? Reusing old Post-it notes? I say that we should help them. Let's all go to our company's supply closet right now, steal one package of Post-it notes each (Come on, you know you want to!), and then send it to a government worker in South Carolina. Together, we can all make a difference.

Just don't try taking them from Missouri because the supply closets there are locked.


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