If you're disgusted with Washington, don't bother complaining. Instead, do what they do.
The next time your boss assigns you some work, make a big show of trying really hard, then earnestly explain that despite months of effort and intense deliberations, you just couldn't get it done. Despite your failure, express your sincere belief that the unfinished work cannot be left to the next generation to solve, along with your profound hope that somebody else will find a way to tackle the job. Then congratulate yourself for thinking about blazing a trail that somebody else may actually blaze someday.
Eventually, we'll have an official holiday called National Act Like Congress Day, when everybody in America will show up for work and have a jolly good time doing nothing important. Maybe it will be truly authentic, and last an entire month, or quarter, or year. But getting there will take dozens of committee hearings, a required minimum of 25 Face the Nation panel discussions, and the approval of Grover Norquist. So until then, it will have to be a citizens' movement, kind of like Occupy Wall Street with a water cooler.
Until it catches on, there may be some opposition from the obsessively productive and the miserably accountable. So if your boss complains about the congressional pace of your work, question his patriotism and call him a socialist. Or a fascist, if that seems to fit his personality better. Send off-the-record E-mails to Politico describing how your boss's inflexibility assured from the outset that you'd be unable to complete your assignment. Go on TV in a nice suit so that people know you looked good while you were failing.
If you are the boss, and you run the company, stop worrying so much about meeting revenue and profitability targets. Call your customers. Explain that, in the national spirit, you'll still be showing up for work regularly (except for the January retreat, the January recess, President's Week, the March recess, the Passover/Easter fortnight, the week of Memorial Day, the week of July 4, the whole month of August, the early fall recess, the mid-fall recess, the mid-late fall recess, Thanksgiving week, and most of December) but your output will be limited to official golf outings, commentary on other people's official golf outings, and directing staff to attend meetings. Encourage them to golf with you and have their staff meet with your staff, under careful direction, of course.
Parents, your moment has arrived. When the kids pester you about making dinner or playing with them, make pained expressions while explaining that you understand how important those things are. It's just that, right here, right now, isn't the right time for you to be meeting their needs. Reassure them that you'll establish a study group to explore other ways for their needs to be met, and get back to them in five or 10 years.
Kids, follow in the sizeable footsteps of your parents and your elected leaders. You don't really have to perform well at school and get along with other kids. Those are just empty slogans. All you really need to do is establish a tactical advantage over your adversaries, and everything else will fall into place. So don't worry about math or biology or geography or climatology or economics. That's all bogus science that doesn't matter in real life anyway. But read Ayn Rand and make sure you run for student council, and remember that it's never too early to go negative against your opponent.
If you hear people complaining about how we can't afford to "waste" time by putting off needed action, have the courage to disregard them. The world is full of hysterical people who don't understand how special America is. We have tremendous natural advantages and if anybody can afford to waste time, it's us. In fact, we practically have a moral obligation to the rest of the world to give them a chance to catch up with us. A level playing field is in everybody's interest, so enlarging our debt, handicapping our productivity, and dumbing down our kids is the right thing to do.
But don't let anybody call you lazy. That's an insult! Our descendants worked incredibly hard to build this country, decades ago. We are now resting on their behalf.
The media is always getting lathered up over some crisis, so above all, remember this: It's only a crisis if it affects you. Somebody, somewhere, always has a problem, and it's un-American to go around trying to solve all of them. People need to learn to stand on their own two feet, and until they do, the rest of us should stop working so hard. After all, it's time to prepare for the winter recess.
- Read U.S. News's Debate Club on who, the U.S. or Europe, is handling their debt crisis better.
- See a collection of political cartoons on the budget and deficit
- See a slide show of 10 issues driving Obama's re-election campaign.