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What Al Gore Really Said

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My fellow Americans-well not all of you. Especially not the powerful interests out there. You know who you are. I’m talking just to working families. My party used to call you folks “workingmen.” But then feminism came along, so we don’t do that anymore. Then we said “workingmen and working women.” But the polls told us that we were losing elections because we seemed to be anti-family. So we New Democrats decided to change that perception. Hey, we want to win elections. So I’ll talk about working families tonight.

I’m not talking to you rich folks either-you who have all you need-all you people in the top 20 percent, like you couples with kids, making $80,000 a year. Don’t expect any consideration from me. You’re the enemy, hear?

At any rate, I accept your nomination for president of the United States.

This election is about competing visions of the future. Let me tell you mine.

My vision is based on my deep understanding of America’s working families. I’ve traveled this land from coast to coast and border to border, and I know the kind of people you are. You’re helpless schlemiels (thanks, Joe) who won’t get anywhere unless I become president. This is a time of great prosperity, thanks to my eight years as your vice president. But despite these unprecedented times, you pathetic people can’t even make ends meet. You can’t manage your children’s education or afford to send them to college or get health insurance or save enough to supplement the meager retirement benefits you might get from Social Security.

I realize that your pitiful position is not totally the result of your own incompetence. Arrayed against you is a legion of dark, powerful forces, including Big Oil (Occidental Petroleum excepted), Big Tobacco, Big Pharmaceuticals, Big Gun Makers, and Big HMOs. (I’ll think of a few more before this campaign is over.) Consider how these profiteers and price-gougers make your lives miserable. I know I wrote in Earth in the Balance that government should raise taxes on gasoline so you will use less, but I didn’t mean for the money to go to the oil companies! Besides, the companies will use it to expand supply, which will lower prices. I promise you that if I am entrusted with the presidency, I will never do that! (I wouldn’t even know how to do it.)

And those big drug companies-how dare they victimize our senior citizens with high prices and unconscionable profits! Only selfish, greedy businessmen (but not businesswomen) would risk millions of dollars to develop lifesaving drugs and to comply with tons of unnecessary red tape and then attempt to recoup that money from sick people so that they may develop more drugs in the future. Have they no shame? Make no mistake about it, a Gore administration will end that corruption forthwith.

And did I mention that if elected president, I will find a cure for every disease from diabetes to cancer to AIDS?

And speaking of health, let me assure you that in a Gore administration, you will not have to humble yourself before HMO bureaucrats to get the medical care you need. No, in a Gore administration you’ll have to humble yourself before government bureaucrats to get the medical care you need. And don’t let my opponents tell you otherwise.

I know there are those (my Republican opponent isn’t one of them) who say that if the government would just “get off your backs,” repeal taxes, and let free markets work, you’d be able to realize your dreams. This is so wrong, my fellow Americans. As our current president (whose name escapes me) says, we can’t trust you to spend your own money right. So I will accept no reduction in taxes that is not conditioned on your doing exactly what I believe is best for you.

I alone have the courage to reject the counsel of those who would say that you, my fellow Americans, have it within yourselves to realize your irations without my help.

That’s why I am running for president. I ask for your support. Gore bless you, and Gore bless America!

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    Sheldon Richman is vice president of The Future of Freedom Foundation and editor of FFF's monthly journal, Future of Freedom. For 15 years he was editor of The Freeman, published by the Foundation for Economic Education in Irvington, New York. He is the author of FFF's award-winning book Separating School & State: How to Liberate America's Families; Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax; and Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State. Calling for the abolition, not the reform, of public schooling. Separating School & State has become a landmark book in both libertarian and educational circles. In his column in the Financial Times, Michael Prowse wrote: "I recommend a subversive tract, Separating School & State by Sheldon Richman of the Cato Institute, a Washington think tank... . I also think that Mr. Richman is right to fear that state education undermines personal responsibility..." Sheldon's articles on economic policy, education, civil liberties, American history, foreign policy, and the Middle East have appeared in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, American Scholar, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Washington Times, The American Conservative, Insight, Cato Policy Report, Journal of Economic Development, The Freeman, The World & I, Reason, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Middle East Policy, Liberty magazine, and other publications. He is a contributor to the The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. A former newspaper reporter and senior editor at the Cato Institute and the Institute for Humane Studies, Sheldon is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia. He blogs at Free Association. Send him e-mail.