My parents tell me not to expect much this year.
My Dad used to sell cars but his dealership closed, so he couldn't get cash for clunkers. And my Mom is a real estate agent in Baltimore City. She says the tiny fraction of people who can get mortgages only want to buy homes in surrounding counties where property taxes are at least two times lower, people don't break into their cars on the street at night and kids who set fires and beat teachers can be expelled from school.
So it's looking pretty bare under the Christmas tree this year. That's why I am writing to ask you for a personal stimulus plan for my family.
My brother and I would really like a Nintendo Wii ($279 for the "Family Fun" package at Wal-Mart). I know my Mom would like a Kindle ($259) and monthly wrinkle-reducing and lip-plumping treatments ($300) she says are necessary to sell houses.
And my Dad would like a personal trainer ($50 a pop) to work off the beer he's been drinking since he stopped working. We would also like to take our annual trip to Barbados in February and get a new flat-screen TV since ours is only 42 inches wide.
Do you think you can help?
You always seem to be so generous with elected officials, government employees and those who are well connected to those people. I just read about how the mayor of Baltimore, Sheila Dixon, scored lots of things she didn't pay for, like Jimmy Choo shoes (my Mom says they are FABULOUS) and a stack of gift cards she used to buy an Xbox, PlayStation 2 and a video camera.
As noted, my brother and I only want a Wii.
And then I read that state legislators are probably going to get a raise and better pensions, whatever those are. My Dad says no one in the private sector has them. It seems like a pretty sweet deal for people who work three months of the year.
State employees also have a pretty kickin' job. I wish I had an average 11 weeks of paid sick time and vacation like employees in the Department of Natural Resources! My mom won't let me fake sick to stay home from school for even one day, and they pay for me to go there.
And what about the $10.5 million in earmarks that Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., recently directed to Northrop Grumman, Thales Communications and L-3 Communications, all of whom were generous campaign contributors? I don't know if they were naughty or nice, but you know that I regularly walk our dogs, Ayn and Rand, and pick up their poop even when no one is looking.
In short, it seems only fair to give my family our wish list because of all the goodies you give to people who make us live by their rules and pay for them. As a bonus, if the Botox and personal training work for my parents, they may even have to pay "millionaire" taxes, helping to close Maryland's $2 billion structural deficit. I'm counting on you, Santa!
Tommy, age 9
Examiner Columnist Marta Mossburg is a senior fellow with the Maryland Public Policy Institute and lives in Baltimore.