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Creative Loafing Exclusive: 

US President must be smoking crack

The President of the United States of America can kiss my rear end. I've had quite enough of him lately, trotting around the country telling people to donate 4,000 hours of their time -- the equivalent of two years of their lives -- to volunteer work in their communities.

What will they ask for next -- the blood right out of our veins?

I don't know what reality this man lives in, but it's not the same one as the rest of us. By my calculations of the taxes I've paid, since I began working, I've worked full time for 2.3 years for the federal, state and local governments and 5.6 years for myself. As a reporter covering the same, I'm well aware that so much of the money I've turned over to the federal and state government over the years held no direct benefit for you, me, anyone we know, or anyone they know.

But I want you to know, George, that I've given more than my share. I've always had a second job, a job I worked to increase my income by around a third, the third of my income the government collected from me. That's right. I'm one of the ambitious ones you got to tax twice -- once on their primary employment, and a second time while you were taxing the third of my income I was trying to replace.

So George, let me list for you some of the things my years of "volunteer" labor have already bought and paid for. Let's start with the federal budget. Over the past two years, my money allowed members of Congress of both parties to ensure their re-election by bringing pork back to their districts. I helped pay for a farmer's market in Ohio and a soul music museum in Tennessee. My money restored a carousel in Cleveland, Ohio, and paid for a Stellar sea lion recovery program. Some $3 million of it was spent for research on the Charleston Bump, an odd growth on the bottom of the ocean off the South Carolina coast that attracts a lot of fish. Another million went to the National Flag Foundation in Pittsburgh to teach children to have a greater respect for the flag, ostensibly as part of our national defense budget. And hundreds of million of dollars were recently appropriated, with your approval, to lease jets for government use from a struggling national airline when buying them outright would have cost half to a quarter as much.

On the local level, my federal dollars helped pay for programs to teach people how to maintain a job, including daily supervision by a counselor and special seminars on the importance of showing up at work on time. My money went out the door of the Charlotte Housing Authority in the form of supplies that were supposed to be used to repair public housing units but instead were "misplaced" by employees and never recovered. My money has paid to house able-bodied people in public housing, including one housing authority board member who has lived in public housing for over 20 years, yet still finds time in her busy work schedule to serve on the board.

Just the other day, George, on the radio, I heard you say you planned to send more of my money overseas to Third World countries to buy children textbooks and help pay for their education, to fund job training programs, to jumpstart their businesses, to help pay for their healthcare. You said we should do this until these countries were self-sufficient and no longer needed the money.

When I heard you say these things, all soft-hearted and twinkle-toed, stuttering three times over the pronunciation of the word "produce," I slammed my palm against the volume button so hard I broke it off. But it was too late. You ruined my lunch hour and you broke my radio.

So you see George, I already have volunteered. Like the rest of us, I've given way, way beyond what I've taken.

Still need someone to volunteer? Do it yourself, George. *

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