Pyramid Scheme

     My timing, as usual, is perfect.
     Last week I wrote about the need for silly jobs to keep us busy because we don’t need everyone to do important stuff. Then the government issued a report saying that the unemployment rate hasn’t much improved – even though the gross domestic product is back to pre-recession levels.
     I was calling for lawyers to come up with pointless activity for the masses – creative and pointless variations on the tax codes, new requirements for cohabitation, Talmudic interpretation of zoning laws – anything to keep us busy.
     Then I spotted a lawsuit last week that made me realize we need something else: distraction.
     Mostly distraction for rich people.
     This occurred to me after reading a complaint against an investment broker who allegedly made off with millions of dollars in client funds while working at an apparently legitimate firm.
     (Aside: Or was it that he Madoff with the funds? Madoff should be a verb.)
     How did he manage this?
     Well, according to the lawsuit, the firm’s compliance officers were supposed to notice, but they were distracted by the guy’s “attractive female clerical staff.”
     You can picture a kind of mass nerd hypnosis. It’s like what happens at Comic-Con when the model wearing the Vampirella outfit walks by.
     The point is that you care less about money when you’re enjoying yourself.
     So instead of giving tax breaks to the wealthy so they can create jobs in other countries or hoard their money, we need to encourage wealthy pleasures.
     Let’s give the rich tax breaks if they spend money on themselves.
     Some possible self-investments for which high-income individual should be rewarded:
     Pyramids. This is both classic and labor-intensive. You can still employ a lot of people even if you let them use trucks and forklifts.
     To make this more enticing, pyramid construction workers should be required to wear only loincloths and sing gospel tunes.
     We needn’t worry about a pyramid glut, either. Further tax incentives should be available for blowing up pyramids, along with fireworks as the climax to a Springsteen or 1812 Overture performance.
     Self-glorification. If you’ve got a lot of money, it stands to reason that you’d have a high opinion of yourself. So why not spend some of that money on the ultimate luxury: worship.
     We need to encourage investment in the creation and construction of churches dedicated to praising wealthy individuals. If you’re a 1-percenter, you might as well be a god.
     Not only could you be serenaded by adoring masses, but you could create your own entertaining rituals.
     I’d make my congregation dress up in colorful Swiss lederhosen and dirndls and harmonize on Queen songs.
     Attractive clerical staffs. This is self-explanatory.
     MONKY BUSINESS. I confess to not understanding religion particularly well. I always thought religious types wanted to share and spread their beliefs.
     But maybe not.
     Check out a fascinating tale contained in a ruling from the 1st U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals called Society of The Holy Transfiguration Monastery v. Archbishop Gregory of Denverin which one group of monks sued another group for putting their work on the Internet.
     It’s our word of God – only we can share it. How dare you try to influence people to believe what we believe?
     Or something like that.
     I’m picturing groups of monks huddled around their lawyers. It has a “New Yorker” cartoon quality to it in my head.
     I had a hard time deciding on my favorite sentence from this ruling. There are a lot of contenders. I now know what an antimension is and it has nothing to do with that alternative universe on “Star Trek.”
     But I guess I’ll go with this (partial) one: “Our pilgrimage through the complexities of copyright law concluded, we keep our words here few …”
     That appears on page 94 of the opinion.

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