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Hot-Dog Time - Will Durst

OK, so we're broke.

Not "have to stretch to next payday" broke. Really broke. Our accounts are overdrawn, the credit cards are maxed out; and if that's China on the phone, tell them we just stepped out. Yes, again.

We're in an economic hole so deep we're bumping elbows with blind moles. Can feel the heat from the core of the earth on the soles of our feet. Need a co-signer to play pinball.

We're so broke, Greece won't play backgammon with us anymore.

And it's no use pretending we're not broker than a television set in Elvis' bedroom either. That'll just make it worse. First thing, we have to stop acting like we're still rolling in the green.

Can't keep ordering the prix fixe menu anymore. Got to learn to lay off the foie gras. It’s hot-dog time in America again.

What this country needs right now is tough love to get through these rough times. Common-sense solutions. I'm not talking about the futile recommendations Super Congress is busy formulating. Those won't be remedies. Those will be more mere, election-year platitudes. As inevitable as gratuitous gore in a Danny Trejo movie. Like cookies in day care. Erasers on golf pencils.

When this sort of thing happens to families, they find ways to tighten their belts. Come up with plans to cut back on expenses and bring in extra money. Exactly what we should be doing now.

So allow me to offer up a few modest proposals to help get this country back on its feet.

• Do we really need nine Supreme Court Justices? Couldn't we slide by with seven? Considering recent decisions, I'd hazard to say a junior grade Justice Department law clerk could flip a coin and handle the job as well.

• There's no reason why the feds should continue to fund expensive Congressional elections in the Bible Belt. What we do is give the candidates an IQ test and the one with the lowest science score wins. A cheap alternative for the same result.

• Pretty apparent we can't afford to indulge in high-priced fossil fuels anymore. Time to shift into bio-fuels. Ethanol, sure, but a better bet would be methane, especially with the incredibly abundant supply being regularly emitted out of our representatives in D.C.

• As far as revenue is concerned, what about renting out our armed forces to the highest bidder? We could use them to thwart or promote revolutions. Oh wait, we already do that. Well, we should charge more.

• Check out at all the wasted white space on the side of the Washington Monument. Perfect spot for a skinny vertical billboard wouldn't you say? Don't worry; we'll just advertise one tall latte at a time. Or two. The exclusivity makes it worth more.

• Institute a $25 cover at all borders. If we can't stop the people from streaming over, let's at least make a couple of bucks off of them. Once that's established, we add on a two-drink minimum.

• Instead of working surreptitiously to influence foreign elections, we could offer up our official endorsement for a hefty charge. Or, if it would better assist our client's needs, we'd announce our uncompromising support for their opponent. I'm thinking that option would be the more popular. And command a premium fee.

The New York Times says Emmy-nominated comedian and writer Will Durst "is quite possibly the best political satirist working in the country today." Durst is a political comedian, who has performed around the world, and is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at durst@caglecartoons.com.