How To Make America Rich Again

“Sacré Bleu! How could you do that!” says Buddy, my standard French poodle the other day. He speaks French, English and Bark! I only speak English, so I am always at a disadvantage.

“Do what?” I ask, although I have an idea.

“Tell me those things were treats?”

“Those ‘things’ were heart worm pills, which you always refuse to take.”

“You lied.”

“If I hadn’t wrapped them in cookies, you could get heart worm and die. I had to lie.”

He waters a nearly dead bush, nearly dead because he waters it a lot.  

“That’s what’s wrong with humans. You lie”, he says dismissively.

I recall a conversation with a Penn sociologist who said everyone lies multiple times a day, mostly “good” lies, to be sure, but lies just the same.

I hate it when he’s right.

“Dogs don’t lie. Another reason we are superior to humans. It’s a très sad part of nature.” 

I can’t argue. It is sad. We walk along in silence. I think about all the lying, and for what? Then, I get an idea, an unbelievably great idea! 

“I have an idea! “ I say. “An unbelievably great idea!”  

He ignores me, busy leaving a personal souvenir on a neighbor’s lawn.  

“The country is in trillions of dollars in debt, right?” I say, picking up the souvenir with a plastic bag (I am ever the good neighbor).

“Is that your news of the day?”

“Nope. This is. I know where to get the money to pay the debt. And how to make America rich again!”

He stops and looks at me. “I can smell stupid, you know.” 

“A new tax!” I say proudly. “The Liars Tax. Anytime you lie, you have to pay a tax. Simple, huh.”

“Is that a joke? It is. It’s a joke, right?”  

I am undaunted. “So, say you’re a politician and you want to get elected and you promise to, I dunno… be honest”.


“You know that’s a lie, because all politicians lie. It’s part of their DNA. We all know that.”

“Bien sur. Of course.”

“Enter the Liars Tax. The bigger the lie, the bigger the tax! Can you imagine the money that tax will produce just from politicians!”

“One problem,—“

“—It’s not just politicians. It’s everyone.  And I’m not just talking about obvious lies. I’m talking about legal lies, too, you know the ones that lawyers write for companies—”

“A big problem —”

“—like Comcast or Verizon – in fact all advertisers! And think about the Pharmaceutical Industry. The Liars Taxes they will pay boggles the mind! ” I’m on a roll. “Car dealers will have to pay in advance. ”

We’re walking briskly now. “So will the media”, I say. “Can you imagine how much money the government will get from Fox News alone!!”

“Yes…”, he says. “It will be zero!”

“Zero!  Are you—?”

He looks at me with a cross between disdain and pity. If you’ve ever had a French poodle, you know what I mean.

“Who’s going to decide?” he asks.

“Decide what?”

“Which is the lie and which is the truth?”

“OK…Oh!  How about Donald Trump! He told 30,000 lies in just four years. Takes one to know one, right!”

The look becomes a bit sadder. If I didn’t know better, I’d say pity was creeping in.

“OK, OK…”, I say,  “How about the clergy?”

“They believe everyone.”

“OK, OK…Athletes?”

“Deflategate, Houston Astros…”


“You’re kidding, right?”


“Which party, yours or mine?”

“Um… teachers?”

“Of evolution or religion, and whose version of history?”


“So I can be accused of eating homework…”

“Oh…” I’m starting to run out of steam. “OK…Just let me think about this a minute… or three…”  

“Yes, Henry. You do that”, he says in a soothing voice. “And when you have an answer, tell just me, OK? Meanwhile, let’s just keep this between you and me. Don’t even tell your kids, your family…the neighbors…strangers, especially strangers.”

We’re back at our front door. I open it and he lets me go in first. “Meantime, why don’t you relax on the couch, turn on “Leave it to Beaver” or “Superman” or “Disney Channel” and relax? OK?…Good boy!…That’s a good boy!…”

(If you like this, pass it on. If you don't, pass it on anyway. Why should you suffer alone?)