Washington pundits and the major political parties all agree: the greatest threat facing America today is the budget deficit. We’re spending too much on social programs, and there’s simply no way to match income to outgo under the current state of affairs. It is therefore time for a radically moderate proposal: We must sacrifice a generation.

Just as “The Greatest Generation™ ” sacrificed so much in the struggle against Nazism during World War II, so now our generation must sacrifice in our far more terrible battle against Terrorism. Wait, I meant the deficit. That is, the Deficit!!! Yes, that looks properly scary. (Note to self: is a bigger, more evil-looking font available? Look into it. Something vaguely Middle-Eastern would be best.)

So I propose that Congress should act immediately. As soon as possible, all non-military government expenditures should cease. This includes state, county, and city governments as well. All public officials (other than Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court) will be required to wrap up all ongoing business as quickly as possible, place all government property and buildings for sale, and leave office. Public police and fire departments will close; they will doubtless soon be replaced by far more cost-effective and efficient private police and firefighters. Likewise, all public schools will be closed and their assets sold to efficient private corporations.

Pensions supposedly owed to former public officials, police officers, firefights, teachers, etc. will be cancelled as part of the Sacrificial Generation program. Ditto for health insurance, of course. All public health programs will cease, as will every program not directly associated with the military. Military pay will be frozen for all pay grades below one-star General during the next twenty years. Health benefits for veterans must cease, as must retirement pay for all sub-General ranks; our noble returned and wounded heroes will doubtless feel honored to know that they are able to give their all once again in support of their country, this time by literally giving their all.

(If you’re wondering why we will continue to pay our Generals and give them top-quality health care…well, we have to be able to retain talent, after all! It takes a lot more connections skill to be a General than a meatbag noble hero trooper or Marine. Of course, our unpaid men in uniform will still be fed and given shelter whenever possible – as well as all the bullets and explosives necessary!)

But the program doesn’t stop there. All public and private-sector unions will be dissolved for a twenty-year period. Any agreements made with those former entities will be null and void. All employment contracts will be nullified, except for critical clauses such as non-disclosure and non-competition, of course. Employees are welcome to negotiate new pay rates and benefits (if any) under the new Sacrificial regimen – on an individual basis only, of course!

Since it is likely that health insurance enrollment may decline somewhat as a result of the program, some countermeasures will be taken to retain America’s position as the world’s foremost provider of high-cost – that is, high-quality health care. A new fee will be imposed on non-job-creators; this may be arbitrarily defined as anyone making less than $1,000,000.00 per year (or in possession of assets less than, say $5,000,000.00 in current market value). The fee will be transferred directly to the health-insurance industry. For ease of use, the fee will be equal to 200% of the annual income tax rate. Of course, non-job-creators are cautioned that the fee is in no way to be considered a “tax”. Tax increases are, as all agree, unthinkable! Nor is it a “fee” in the sense that those who pay it are entitled to expect any service (medical or other) in exchange. This is the Sacrificial Generation, after all!

Some may wonder how the fee (as well as taxes) will be collected, since all government bureaucracy other than the Presidency, Congress, and the Supreme Court will have been abolished. The answer is, of course, obvious: the military will collect all fees and taxes, and will in addition be responsible for determining the accuracy of the taxes paid by all non-job-creators. In the interests of efficiency the military will be empowered to use data mining and drones to collect necessary information, and to employ any and all means necessary to collect delinquent accounts – including, of course, military force.

As for job-creators, all taxes on these vital citizens (both corporate and other) will be immediately abated as a matter of critical national security – after all “it’s the economy, stupid!”. They too will be making a sacrifice, that of bearing the pressure of responsibility for the care-taking of America’s economic prosperity. We are sure that through the divine providence of the free market, they will turn America into a shining beacon of prosperity within those vital twenty years!

And once the twenty years of sacrifice are up, what a paradise America will be! The world will gasp in wonder at the utopian society which will have been achieved through the selfless, involuntary sacrifice of the Sacrificial Generation.

And if not, our military will make them gasp.