Friday, August 7, 2009

"Cash for Crackers" Program

Intrigued by the widespread support and success of the federal “Cash for Clunkers” rebate program, Maine Democrats have decided to take the bull by the tail and create their own exchange based economic stimulus program.

Governor John Baldacci, standing next to a full sized gummy moose, this morning announced that Maine would introduce the “Cash for Crackers” program early next week. The program is designed to seduce children into scouring the family cupboard for stale crackers, and then taking them to their nearest candy seller where each box will qualify for either a 50 cent or 75 cent credit, depending on how stale they are, towards a candy purchase of $2.00.

Baldacci said candy sellers will be reimbursed by DHHS, who’s track record making payments to service providers is widely applauded by state officials. According to officials, DHHS has some unused computer systems sitting around, along with idle operators ready to take on the task. Funds for reimbursing sellers will come from a rebate offset payment levied on sugar based processed foods. A Baldacci spokesman said the levy would be “in the range of 50%, and is designed to discourage consumption of non-nutritious snacks.”

Democrats Senate President Libby Mitchell and Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree, both giddy as school children, spoke on program details at a press availability this morning. They expressed pure delight at the positive response from “a diverse cross section of our population.” Children of every description consider this “a perfect way to unify diverse cultures in Maine,” they said.

Representatives of numerous economic sectors also stand behind the program. “We’ve spoken to convenience store owners, farmers, sugar refiners, corn syrup producers, fair trade cocoa bean growers, health club owners, dentists, toothpaste manufacturers, paper mill owners, and suppliers of dental products, and all seem encouraged by the possibility of increased economic activity in their sectors.” “We expect childrens’ clothing manufacturers and Ritalin producers to get behind the program as well,” they added.

Mitchell and Pingree surprised those in attendance with an unexpected spinoff of the program. They read a prepared statement from Dr. Jack Kevorkian, recently appointed White House Czar for End of Life Programs. It read as follows:

“The President and the Office of End of Life Programs are both excited about the synergy between Maine’s Cash for Crackers program and our plans for Health Care Reform. As you know, we must drastically lower the cost of health care. Meals during the last days of life are an unreasonable burden, and we’ve been looking for a way to lower their cost. Cash for Crackers will help tremendously.

Food processors tell us that the crackers turned in can be easily recycled, and we’re already in discussions with Gerber and Beechnut about just such a program. Both expressed interest in developing a line of End of Life Meals Ready to Eat, specifically targeted at those for whom baby food was formerly the only option. We expect exclusive use of the EOL MREs under careful Government supervision will substantially reduce food costs for our beloved elders.

Recognizing that not every EOL designated elder might find such an option desirable, the President has issued an executive order establishing a transitional program. The order outlaws popular senior discounts offered at many eateries. In its place, restaurants will be permitted to offer 50% EOL discounts during the last week of life to those elders able to make it to the business on their own.

To prevent abuse of the system, the Government is joining with restaurants to implement an EOL verification system. Elders assigned to their final week in the EOL program will be equipped with an RFI ankle bracelet that transmits their location, their SSN, and their pre-programmed EOL date. Food providers will have a device that reads the RFI signal to verify program qualifications are met.”

Senator Stan Gerzofsky, contacted for a comment on the Cash for Crackers Program, said “I think a program that gives you candy for trading in your redneck neighbors is a win-win preposition. Not only will it make our neighborhoods safer, but it should get all those beater pickups and gun-racks off the roads. I support the program unequally, and I applaud the Governor for his continued effort to lower taxes for Maine citizens.”

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