Welfare Special Prosecutors
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 4 May 98 11:41:38 -0700
Subject: Welfare Special Prosecutors
WELFARE TO WORK? MAKE THEM SPECIAL PROSECUTORS!
by BARRY RABIN
I've got a great idea to get more people off Welfare and into well-paying
jobs with a real future.
Let's make them Special Prosecutors.
This lightning bolt hit me while I was watching Kenneth Starr, America's
best- known Special Prosecutor, announce that he was passing up the job as
dean of Pepperdine University's Law School because his work as
Chief-Chaser-of-the- President had "expanded considerably."
Now the biggest criticism of existing Welfare-to-work programs is that they
put people into low-paying, dead-end jobs with no future. But the Special
Prosecutor gig, as practiced by Starr and Company, could keep former Welfare
recipients fed and clothed well into their golden years, when they'll be
ready to get stiffed by Social Security and live in their cars like the rest
So I say let's take them off the dole, deputize each one as a "Discount
Special Prosecutor" ("DSP" for short), and pay them ten bucks an hour. This
is almost twice the current minimum wage, but still zillions cheaper than
a slew of Washington lawyers.
Let's look at the numbers. If you take $35 million --- the cost of the Starr
investigation to date --- you could fund 3,500,000 DSP hours, or enough to
employ 1,682 men and women 40 hours a week for a year.
But the benefits of this plan could go far beyond simple economics. I firmly
believe that some of the best potential investigators I know are currently
Take Sally, who used to be the barmaid at my local firehouse. When the
firehouse got closed down (for fire code violations), Sally had to go on
Welfare. Yet nobody I know is better at ferreting out embarrassing details
Example: Let's say you're a young, working-class woman who's been hit on by
your boorish supervisor, who briefly dropped his pants and asked you for
sex. Now which one of these questioners would you feel more comfortable
A. (STUFFY, BESPECTACLED IVY-LEAGUE-TYPE ATTORNEY IN EXPENSIVE SUIT):
"Now Ms. Smith, given the previous scenario, and incorporating therein the
previous testimony heretofore gathered by the grand jury and related to you
through your counsel, can you relate to us to what extent the target
individual may have placed you in a hostile environment vis a vis an
B. (WORKING-CLASS FORMER BARMAID IN TIGHT JEANS AND BUDWEISER T-SHIRT):
"Honey, did that old boy try to show you the goods?"
I believe you can see my point.
But let's forget about the president for a moment. So many other Special
Prosecutors have been appointed lately that plenty of other opportunities
for DPS's exist.
Take former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, who is accused of accepting
football tickets from a major corporation for himself and a lady friend.
Under the current, overpriced Washington system, a few million bucks of your
hard-earned tax money could be spent investigating and prosecuting this
But a better, cheaper alternative would be to take a few hundred former
Welfare recipients, swear them in as DSP's, and buy them season tickets to
the NFL football team of their choice. Then, just turn them loose at every
game with a picture book of presidential appointees, a Polaroid camera, and
thirty bucks in beer and food money.
They can stroll around the stadium, watching the game and looking for
Cabinet officers. If they spot one, they would simply snap a photo, find
out which major corporation's luxury box he or she's sitting in, and report
it all in on Monday. As an added incentive, they'd get a free bag of peanuts
every time they spotted a senator or congressman.
Another big advantage of my Welfare-to-Special-Prosecutor program is that
at these low prices, we could afford to be proactive.
How would this work?
Every time you'd see President Clinton out for his daily jog, he'd be
flanked by a specially-trained team of DSP's, equipped with mini-cameras,
note pads, and referee's whistles. They would blow the whistle every time
they saw something that could trigger another expensive investigation.
For added protection, every female volunteer and visitor entering the White
House would be assigned her own personal DSP. And two or three more would
be stationed around the clock in the president's private study, where they'd
make sure that nothing went beyond a firm handshake.
And why limit this program to the president? With so many Americans ripe
to be taken off of Welfare, we could give Newt Gingrich a DSP when he's
meeting with his book publisher, Al Gore one when he does the Buddhist
temple circuit, and Trent Lott a couple when he travels around expounding
the virtues of soft money.
And job security? Given the way Mr. Starr's going, this could be the
ultimate lifetime position.
Barry Rabin welcomes your comments at Barryrabin@aol.com
(c) 1998 by Barry Rabin. All Rights Reserved.
© 1998 Peter Langston