Sunday, November 14, 2010

Render unto Caesar

posted 08/25/08

Dear State of Wisconsin (or County of Milwaukee, whoever is in charge of these things),

Thank you for doing so much to improve race relations and to reduce the divorce rate – all in the same process! Perhaps you could start collecting taxes from couples who apply for a wedding license and get yet another function under your roof. Oh – wait. You already are doing that. One hundred dollars for a wedding license. Let’s see – for what other contracts does the state require the participants to buy a license? Hmm. Nope. Can’t think of any, although I’m sure you find a way to take what you consider your fair share from every private transaction between two willing makers of offer and acceptance.

But I really appreciate your keeping track of the races of the couple about to be married. Tracking intra- and inter-racial marriages surely is an important function of government. I look forward to the report every year about which color is marrying which and I can certainly see how this would be valuable information for all the other functions government performs. This is probably how you decide where to build roads and schools and other essential things to promote the common welfare.

And your anti-divorce strategy: Good job! Making us get the license at least eight days before the wedding and still making us come back to the courthouse to pick it up – yep, that should keep people from making those impulsive, Britneyesque decisions to get married right now. It’s not enough that we have to wait eight days for the license to be valid – that certainly wouldn’t prevent people from marrying in haste and repenting in leisure. No, it’s the having to return to the courthouse next week to pick the license up – that’s what will give pause to the prudent – or perhaps imprudent – couple.

Of course, we always have the option of paying an extra ten dollars to have the license mailed to us. Not that that’s just a way to increase revenues because surely the process of mailing the license costs way more than the process of your employed for life with better health and retirement benefits than anyone has in the private sector where revenues actually have to exceed costs dressed in a tacky, old, faded t-shirt and sweatpants clerk pull the license when I return for it. (That is, after I have gone through the metal detector again and had to pull my – wait for it – tweezers from my purse to prove that I am not going to be stopping random, bushy-eyed people to pluck their eyebrows.) And not that my providing you with a stamped, self-addressed envelope would be an option. Or – hey! – generating the license while I wait. Nope. You are going to wipe out divorce.

You save revenue generation for the new parking meters that don’t allow me to use an unexpired meter. After all, the main function of government is not to provide for the common defense and then make forced governmental functions run smoothly and easily for us citizens, it is to make money. That’s why we hired you.

Sincerely,

Someone who wishes she had eloped in another state

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