Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The 2009 Pony Omnibus Bill

Princess has been extremely curious about how government works, so I sat down a few weeks ago to explain to her how a bill gets passed through Congress. I made up a bill to have President Obama propose, and the first thing that popped into my head was the Pony Omnibus Bill of 2009, which would provide each child with a pony.

"Who's going to pay for all the ponies?" objected Princess immediately upon hearing the nature of the bill. "And where are they going to stay?"

"That's a very good question," I replied, "one that the Congress would do well to think about." I could see that this example was going to have to get much more detailed than I had intended if it were to satisfy Princess' intellectual curiosity.

Then we talked about amending, and how the bill would be passed from one chamber to the other. The Pony Omnibus Bill was amended in the House to give kids a choice of a pony or a fluffy bunny or kitty. A bipartisan group of Western representatives supported the bill because it would benefit their pony-producing states. A senator added a provision for stabling the ponies of kids who lived in certain cities, especially cities in his state. Some brave Republican senators attempted a filibuster, but failed. Eventually the bill was brought back to President Obama to sign.

Once the Pony Omnibus Act of 2009 became law, there was a sudden shortage of ponies, because there never were as many ponies as children to begin with. Many of the ponies that were given to children became ill or died of starvation; children could not afford their maintenance costs. The bill had failed to provide for saddles, so even those who kept their ponies could not ride them, unless they already had a saddle (which meant they already had a pony too). Taxpayer money was not available for roads because it had been diverted to ponies.

Princess giggles whenever she mentions the Pony Omnibus Bill of 2009, but I can see that she also shudders when she thinks of what laws might be passed if our leaders do not exercise due caution and look out for the welfare of our nation.

Today is Election Day. May we make good choices and elect wise leaders who consider the unintended consequences of their actions.