(Warning: May contain words of violence or nudity.)
It was the very darkest Halloween Eve in humankind history. Switchback circular winds blew in defiance of any definition of its direction.
“The wind is blowing around,” reported Channel NOGOV located in what used to be the West Wing of the White House.
“The rains are riding the wind,” the weather saint droned on, “might as well leave your umbrellas home again tomorrow.” Weather saint signed off his shift and walked home through the swirling rain and grove of naked trees. “It’s the same report everyday unless it’s not raining; then it’s periodic reports of sun sightings through the smoky clouds generated by the fire that won’t stop burning,” he lamented, trying to quiet his mind that wouldn’t stop thinking.
Across the nameless town referred to as the capitol of the United States – America was dropped from the name decades ago – a militia of firefighters made up of men sent from each of the states was fighting the fire that won’t stop burning.
The fire has been burning so long that no one can remember what the town was like before the fire started or for that matter what caused the fire. Legend has it that piles upon piles of files, no longer needed when government bureaucracies were dismantled were tossed into the deserted football stadium.
Digital and paper records filled the former FedEx field. FedEx had long since changed its name to Amazon Drone Delivery (ADD), adding a disclaimer that it never meant to be called federal. The stadium was used because it was no longer needed; the football team left the deserted town and joined the States’ Football League (SFL) along with other teams. The League was whittled down to two divisions.
Instead of regional divisions, SFL created the “Reality” and “Fantasy” Football divisions.
The revolution started in the 21st century when a small but passionate group of politicians elected to Congress promised to dismantle government and get it out of people’s lives.
It was a hard-fought battle but they won in the end by a majority vote of the people who voted, say around 50 percent of registered voters. Registered voters represented about 35 percent of the population. The IRS, seen to be intrusive and demanding in expecting compliance with tax laws, went first. Next went the Environment Protection Agency, seen to be intrusive and professing the crazy notion that there was global warming despite record snowfall in Northeast states.
The Department of Education, seen to be intrusive in parents’ rights to set education standards for their children, came next. So went the agencies and their resources, except their money received from taxes and fees, which were returned to the states proportionate to the seniority and, yes, power of their elected representatives.
Many states like Mississippi had a windfall which was ultimately spent and like other states they came to rely on their own tax revenues to support the government activities of the state. The richer states like New York, California and Washington fared the best, although were somewhat beholden to super PACs who determined the distribution of government services.
The states did have to work out funding for common interests like the defense of the country and protecting their borders, although it took a few scuffles to define just what borders were considered borders.
Finally a defense saint agreed upon by the states was named and took over managing the vast network of information systems, home state security and supplying the military. His exact location is unknown to avoid the inevitable rivalry between brother states. It doesn’t really matter because most of the defense saint’s work is done over the Internet. For example, he just completed an order for the new improved nuclear bomb shield from Amazon.com. And being a Prime member, the U.S. can expect next day delivery.
Halloween Human Services
The simple systems seem to be working smoothly with little fuss. Instead of bickering over rights, states focus on responsibilities. Some states are having a bit of a problem with population growth though, in that they have none. In fact for some, population, therefore tax revenue, is seriously declining.
Women are choosing to leave states that no longer provide reproductive services like birth control or health services for parts of women’s bodies that men don’t have. It isn’t too surprising that able men are packing up and leaving too, especially since the women that stay aren’t participating in mating until they want children.
Although feeling victorious about the return to important values; the morality saints don’t fully understand the unintended consequences.
Dismantling Social Security and the Department of Health and Human Services, seen as the most intrusive in financing retirement income and medical care in old age through payroll deductions, was the most difficult to dismantle.
In recognition of people living longer, the first move was to change the definition of retirement age from 67 to 85 years of age. Strangely enough, hardly anyone is living past 67 now. But gradually generations have moved on and the so called entitlements became a legend of the golden age for the aged.
The states will have to deal with the issue of declining population growth which seems to be resulting in declining revenue for important programs like protecting the border; but it’s less a concern now since it doesn’t seem that anyone wants to come to the United States anymore.
But first the states must deal with the pressing issue of naming rights for the country. Amazon.com is best positioned since it now negotiates with and practically owns all corporations and gets the best prices for just about everything.
Rumor has it that they are thinking of offering health care at reasonable prices to all Prime members.
Just imagine, the United States of Amazon.com, good old USA.
“Indeed, it is the darkest Halloween Eve in humankind history,” muttered the grumpy weather saint trying to quiet his mind. He quickened his pace to avoid being held hostage by the strong circling winds.
Bertha D. Cooper is retired from a 40-plus year career as a health care administrator focusing on the delivery system as a whole. She still does occasional consulting. She is a featured columnist at the Sequim Gazette. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.