Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

August 2, 2013

In need of jobs? Royal family in U.S. could jumpstart economy


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — A reader who knows me too well has asked that I not say anything snarky about Prince William and Kate and their newly arrived royal baby, George.

Madam, rest easy. Babies are secure from my sarcasm, no matter what their lineage, and that amnesty extends to their parents, too, at least until their kids become irritating.

Besides, it occurs to me that America may be missing out by not having a royal family of its own. We need jobs, and these days we can’t rule anything out.

Consider that President Barack Obama has been talking up his economic vision, the Republicans have been busy pouring cold water on it and between them they couldn’t organize a booze-up in a brewery. So it’s up to the rest of us, in an age when the Internet has knocked pretty much every institution off its economic foundations.

Of course, I am sensitive because I work in the newspaper industry, where years ago the only tweets were from carrier pigeons. But how about librarians, fellow toilers for the printed word? They used to be able to shush people without sending a text message. Everything has gone to the dogs.

Talking about dogs, I wonder what will be the consequences to man and beast if a bankrupt Postal Service ever ceases door-to-door delivery and the last mail carrier hangs up the bag.

While neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night could stop their appointed rounds, the demise of envelopes and paper just might. And what then of dogs? They will have nothing to bark at — although I suppose an app could keep them interested in life.

Where will the jobs come from? That is the question of the hour. According to conservative orthodoxy, the magic of the free enterprise system once again will descend like the Tooth Fairy to provide jobs as yet unimagined.

Maybe, but my fear is that the invisible hand of the market, in league with the forces of recession, globalization and technology, has made many jobs invisible and lost forever. Displaced people with no prospects for employment could become career criminals but, of course, not everybody can become a politician.

That brings us back to my royal idea. If social inequality is indeed doomed to grow larger, perhaps we should bow a knee to the inevitable and formalize our social divisions by establishing an aristocracy with a king or queen at the top.

Scoff as you may, it is entirely logical. As judged by the saturation media coverage given to the birth of George, Americans are fascinated by all things royal.

Oddly, the more conservative people are, the more they seem to admire royalty. You might think that they would object to a glorious system of welfare for people who never did anything to earn it, but I suppose they like the fact that it serves to keeps the common herd deferential.

I say that if we are going to get excited about foreign princes and potentates, we should get our own. Yes, we might have to shed a bit of historical baggage — such as the unkind words Thomas Jefferson wrote about King George in the Declaration of Independence. But that was before we realized the job-creation potential.

In establishing an American monarchy, we have to do it right. Some would say that we already have an aristocracy of Hollywood celebrities and corporate princelings, but they won’t do. American serfs deserve better, so no Lady Gaga or the Duke of Earl, no King Trump and definitely no Kardashians.

In the quest to be first class, I am thinking the Disney corporation can build a fairy-tale palace putting old Buckingham Palace to shame. It could have a gilded barge tour with a changing-of-the-cheerleaders ceremony every morning.

Oh, the jobs it will generate: Lords of the chamber, ladies in waiting, personal secretaries, footmen, leg men, grooms, gardeners, maids, butlers, scullery workers, guards in funny fur hats, court composers and some distinctly American jobs — such as ladies in shopping. What a boost to tourism!

As I thought of it, I am prepared to put aside my usual principles and be your reigning monarch. I stand ready to make vacuous speeches, wave to the public and cut ceremonial ribbons. As an added benefit, I have an accent and the desire to serve the public by living a life of luxury on the public dole.

Look no further for your royalty needs.

Reg Henry is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.