ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
Commentator Andrei Codrescu thinks there's a simple way out of the current economic crisis - make tomorrow a theft-free day.
Mr. ANDREI CODRESCU (Author, "The Posthuman Dada: Tzara and Lenin Play Chess"): Let's all of us citizens take a vow not to steal anything for one whole day. We already have a smoke-free day, a Secretary's Day, a Mother's Day, a Grandmother's Day and Valentine's Day. Let's have one more holiday, a don't-steal-anything day. The benefits will be immediate. There will be bumper stickers, I didn't steal anything today. The Hallmark cards will have their usual holiday bumper crop, and best of all, the huge flow of unfilched cash will send the economy soaring.
This holiday will only work if it is observed by big thieves, not just small fry. Cookers of books, Ponzi-schemers, scrupulous traders, accountants addicted to drugs and gambling will need to observe the day as much as petty cashiers, banking clerks, parking meter attendants, coin laundry collectors, slot-machine operators and traffic court judges. Not everyone will observe, just like not everyone stops smoking on smoke-free day, but if enough people try, the results will be palpable.
Theft-free day will get better every year until we can eventually expand it to a theft-free week. Imagine, a whole week during which no one steals anything. Hard to imagine, I know, but everybody used to smoke, too. I know that I'm a dreamer, but what if we had a whole theft-free month, like poetry month? April is traditionally poetry month, but there is no reason why it shouldn't double in the future as theft-free month. Well, I'm not going as far as to suggest that everyone should observe a whole month without ripping anything off — that's probably a bit visionary.
Certainly, professional thieves will be exempt: That's their job, after all, and they have enough problems with something called the law. Still, even if we left out the people who make a living at it — muggers, bank robbers and the like — it would still be something if all the rest of us so-called law-abiding citizens, just regular folk like Wall Street tycoons, CEOs and just plain professionals, contractors and workaday drudges — would take our hands out of the till for a day, a week or a month.
We would simply quit taking bribes, faking receipts, padding expense accounts and inflating budgets for that short time. I know that a certain amount of thievery is built into the general economy and accounted for, but it's gotten out of hand. If it doesn't work and it wrecks our economy instead, we can just go back to poetry month.
SIEGEL: Andrei Codrescu was author of "The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara and Lenin Play Chess."
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