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AP Literature & Composition

A Modest Proposal

by Bennet Roper

Graced with the presence of tourists almost year-round, McCall, Donnelly, and New Meadows would seem to thrive in an economic downturn. Visitors bring in their thundering and fuel-imbibing machinery, as well as their intimate knowledge of the beauty and sustainability of this beautiful area. Yet even though so many fabulous, intelligent, wealthy people frequent the area, it does not have the cache' and prosperity of even its closest neighbors, like Sun Valley, Idaho. Few careers are available to locals; many residents, who cherish the deep, intrinsic value of this area, are forced to work at least two jobs, just to remain. Also, deep divisions exist between the hiker-skier and fisher-hunter peoples who live here full time.

In order to promote the future well-being and longevity of the Payette Lake region, I propose an elegant, practical, and cost-efficient multi-tiered plan. The capturing and "incarceration" of heavy machinery hobbyists would allow motorboats, snowmobiles, ATVs, jet skis, trucks and all accompanying equipment including stereos and RV campers to be confiscated, then resold to newly-arriving tourists. The profits of this new marketable product could be expended in mass advertising campaigns, focusing on the motor-recreational potential of the area. All "incarcerated" persons would promote and maintain the town and surrounding areas through labor and industrial pursuits. This plan would leave locals free to enjoy the area and to maintain the small, but job-creating private army required to "keep the peace." All of these measures would specifically be to preserve the pristine snow and lush land of the McCall area.

The potential monetary advantage of this plan is extremely promising. The following chart lays out the potential income that could be derived from one family, depending on the season:

Item: (regardless of manufacturer)                Number of Items Per Family                Resale Price:

2008-2012 Pickup Trucks                                                           1                                           $33,305
2012 Model Motorboats                                                              1                                           $44,777
2008-2012 ATVs                                                                         2                                           $6,222
2008-2012 Snowmobiles                                                             2                                           $11,864
2008-2012 Jet Skis                                                                      2                                           $12,975
Stereo Systems                                                                            1                                           $135
Blake Shelton "best of" albums                                                  1                                           $10.42

TOTAL: (potentially per family)                                                                                     $140,359.84*
                                                                                                                                        *Dependent on season

Taking this information and applying the numbers to a sample of twenty units (family and pickup combination) "incarcerated," the McCall area could make anywhere from $2,208,196 per weekend in summer to $1,143,776 per weekend in winter. Assuming that there are forty weekends available during the year in which a minimum of twenty units would be available, this hypothetical income could be made by applying half the total number of units to each season. The equation: twenty multiplied by the funds from summer weekends added to twenty multiplied by the funds from the winter weekends would give McCall and the surrounding area over $67 million dollars each year. This money could be spread out to locals to help them thrive and to sustain their lifestyles. The 5,167 people living in McCall, Donnelly and New Meadows would each receive $11,612 yearly. Seven million of the original total would be used in a massive advertising campaign to promote more tourism. The remaining $39,440 would be used for the upkeep and benefit of the "incarcerated" persons.

There are obvious concerns related to this plan, even if one cannot argue with the numbers. First, there must be a clear definition of what a "unit" is. Each unit will be specifically any person who is visiting from anywhere outside of a fifty-mile radius of Valley and Adams county. This includes part-time homeowners. As for extended family visiting a local family, the resident family is given the discretion whether or not to submit their relatives for incarceration (a potentially attractive alternative for sons and daughters-in-law, who might agree with the plan unconditionally as a cure for more than economic problems). Secondly, and equally troubling, is the issue of legality: potentially, the plan could be considered "kidnapping." Not to worry: The McCall area Police are fully on board; they are excited about gaining experience in guiding investigations. In the words of one officer: "Bring it on! This area could use all the extra funds as well as giving the force a chance to maintain a good reputation." The locals who do own motorboats, snowmobiles, etc., will be allowed to continue to use their toys, to create the appropriate atmosphere in the eyes of potential units. Finally, there is the dilemma of keeping the friends and families of those "incarcerated" from being concerned. That can easily be dealt with, as letters would be sent, along with bus or airline tickets that proclaim a "fantastic real estate deal" and a complete free relocation package to take advantage of the offer. They will, of course, be encouraged to come visit, as soon as possible, multiplying exponentially the number of potential units.

Those who object to the "incarceration" aspect of this proposal should rest assured: all units will remain just that, a unit. Unlike many similar forced-labor techniques in history, "families" will remain together in a communal atmosphere. In fact this plan will accomplish what these units were attempting to do in the beginning: become more cohesive as a unit. The whole plan is quite humane.

The advantages of my economic development plan are clear. "Incarcerated" people will not only get to stay together and live in a pristine mountain community, but this plan will also help the rest of America. Different people, potentially more environmentally-friendly ones, will fill the jobs the units have vacated. On a global level, this proposal also has merit. An average family of four, multiplied by twenty (number of units per weekend), and then multiplied by forty (number of weeks the plan is implemented) equals 3,200 persons a year. There will be an inevitable surplus in labor, which may be shipped to China and to other countries dependent on cheap labor. This labor force would be free, as well as adding an additional sum of money for local residents. A win-win for the entire world. The illegal and immoral implications of this plan are simply negligible. Americans have one true religion that is America itself — a few thousand people do not really matter in the pursuit of betterment for a few more. This is the American way.

If this local and global solution does not satisfy your discerning tastes, first do the numbers, then propose your own, improved, method of gaining so much money with so little harm. Critics have claimed that this proposal is a form of slavery. NO. Not at all. Slavery, especially in America's past, was much more cruel. Families will stay together, children will grow up and not leave home, and parents will remain together. So, from a moral and monetary perspective, my modest proposal has a viable future — unless a better one can be presented.

Though I present an ideal solution, I would like to clarify that I personally do not have anything to gain from this plan. Although I am a local, I do not own any of these types of equipment, and I intend to leave the town for college in 2013.

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Participation = 30%
(purely subjective, based on my perceptions of your initiative, interest, self-motivation, & tenacity)

Assignments (two parts of grade)

1st Semester EFFORT = 20%; CONTENT = 10%
2nd Semester EFFORT = 10%; CONTENT = 20%

Vocab/Multiple Choice tests = 15%

AP Portfolio essay grades = 15%

Exams = 10%

Grammar, key terminology, and vocabulary items that we have discussed in class are on the AP Vocabulary Archive. The sooner you get started, the sooner (comparative degree) you will know all your terms.

An explanation of the assignment grades at right. The grade you see is an average of the CONTENT grades you have received over an average of the EFFORT grades you have received. We will have this on hand in class as a graph, which I expect to see rise over the course of the year. There will, of course, be dips, too...During the first semester, the effort grade will be weighted more; during the Spring semester, I will look at the content average as the more signifiicant part of your grade.

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College Reading List

2nd Semester Unfinished Pieces

                Assignments: 94 [E]/94 [C}
                AP essays = 89%
                Vocab/Mult. Choice practice = 64%
                Exam = 5


                Assignments: 94 [E]/93 [C]
                AP essays = 78%
                Vocab/Mult. Choice practice = 54%
                Exam = 5


                Assignments: 94 [E]/92 [C]
                AP essays = 67%
                Vocab/Mult. Choice practice = 42%
                Exam = 3


Finally! A Solution!

by Gerrit Egnew

It is stunning to me that the most pressing issue of my generation is being ignored so thoroughly by those who can stop it. This issue is the disparity between the amount of money going into the Social Security fund and the amount being paid out. When Social Security was created, there were sixteen people working for every person on the dole. Now, there are only two. Social Security will run out of money by 2036, at which point its surplus will run dry. The reason for this is the aging of the Baby Boomers; as they get older, the system struggles to provide for them.

Our country also faces a problem of production. Countries like China and Indonesia constantly out-compete the United States for manufacturing jobs in clothing, technology, and other labor-intensive industries. China is the fastest-growing economy on the planet, while our own stagnates. What can we do about this?

The solution is the problem: the aging Baby Boomers. American citizens over the age of sixty-five are the perfect solution to the production problem. I'm told that geriatrics are extremely effective at simple jobs. Recently, increasing numbers of elderly are taking to new professions to help cover their lack of benefits. Like Chinese laborers, our geriatrics would be better off to work in American sweatshops making America money. An added bonus of this plan would be to set us apart from the child-labor issues in Asia. American sweatshops can be taxed at eighty-five percent or more to fund Social Security; as we take business from China, we supplement our own economy and eliminate the strain on Social Security.

Putting the elderly to work has the added social benefits of new community and comforting togetherness. This system would prevent decrepit workers from going without supervision, would ameliorate loneliness among the geriatrics, and could serve as an early warning system in case of injury and disease. Instead of forcing senior citizens to wallow in misery, alone in a nursing home, putting them to work will give them a purpose.

But if older people are working, what do we do with Social Security? An eminent sociologist has recently completed a study that reveals young people between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five to be the most likely to actually enjoy life, while geriatrics enjoy their daily activities the least. Why make happy people work to subsidize unhappy people? It seems a not-too-large stretch for Social Security checks to be given to young high-school graduates to finance activities that promote happiness, such as binge-drinking and abortions. This, according to my source, is all young people do anyway, so we might as well not force them to work. The rising costs of college make it hardly an option at all; as these citizens age, college-educated people would be wasted in sweatshops. We can' t in good conscience let the wealthy, college-educated elite do manual labor, so it makes sense to minimize their numbers.

In this most recent presidential campaign, economics has been shoved to the side. All the talk is about unimportant ideology, such as whether women and gays should have rights. It's numbers that are really important; we need an economy that works, that makes money, and that makes a few people very happy. Depression among college students is on the rise, up nearly ten percent in ten years, so clearly college is depressing. As mentioned, citizens in this age group should be recklessly enjoying themselves! The costs of this time to "find" themselves are easily offset for at least twenty years by the Social Security Trust Fund, and indefinitely if we utilize sweatshop labor to make Apple products. One may propose that allowing young people to drink freely and even possibly fornicate before marriage might compromise the Moral Fabric of the United States. This, however, is mere fearmongering. Much like how one weeds a garden -- pulling out useless plants so others may grow -- this "undermined" morality will allow for a new, stronger morality to grow, phoenix-like, from the bacchanal.

Some may say, "Why make money on old people when we could cut, say, defense spending?" To that I must contend that there are billions of scary terrorists in scary countries wearing scary face-masks and carrying Kalashnikovs hunting down Americans and crushing red, white, and blue thumbs with their scary teeth. These terrorists are going to crash a hijacked plane into every single one of you, individually, using plastic knives and pens and guns to hold the plane hostage. Covert tests of TSA security have revealed a failure to detect these harmful weapons at rates approaching seventy percent. If TSA, the front line of terrorist prevention, can't stop bombs getting through their magic machines, then the only solution is to hunt down every single terrorist and put a bullet through the head of him, his mother, his wife, and his firstborn child. And tell me we can do that by decreasing defense spending.

At any rate, my plan solves more problems without creating any logistical, moral, or financial issues. Anyone in opposition to senior sweatshops ought to first consider the problems our country faces. It is not enough to merely say that my ideas are wrong; that is a sign of an inferior moral compass and intellectual capacity. Rather, respondents are obliged to propose, however unlikely this may be, better solutions to the expense of college, to the lack of people attending college, to the Social Security funds disparity, and to the economic situation of our country.

I, of course, have little stake in this system. I am about to graduate from high school, but this system is so radically different from the current system that it will not be implemented for many years. In fact, by supporting this plan, I may condemn myself to a retirement spent in a sweatshop. Since I intend to fill the next three decades with hedonism, debauchery, and little else, I feel this is a worthwhile tradeoff. It is my civic duty, as it is the civic duty of every American patriot.

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