Dear governors, welcome to Washington! We are delighted you are visiting us for the National Governors Association Winter Meeting this weekend.
Now go home. Immediately.
How did you get here in the first place? Where did you get the money? Haven't you been reading the news reports? Your states are broke, busted, insolvent. You are out of dough, greenbacks, scratch, cabbage, moolah.
Did you fly here on airplanes? I hope not. And I sure hope you did not pay extra for a pillow. Angry crowds may surround your plane when you land back at home. I suppose some of you took the train, in which case you might arrive by the weekend after next.
And those of you who drove (as if), have you noticed the spike in gas prices this week? You may have driven here in a limo, but you will be thumbing a ride home.
I know why you came. I went to the official National Governors Association (NGA) website and read that Saturday's opening plenary session "will conclude with remarks from Zhou Qiang, the party secretary of the Hunan Provincial Committee. Secretary Zhou is leading a delegation of Chinese officials interested in establishing a subnational dialogue with NGA."
I have obtained an advance copy of Secretary Zhou's speech. It is titled, "We Will Buy You All, You Pathetic Running Dogs of Failed Capitalism."
It starts with a joke: An American governor and a Chinese provincial governor go into a bar.
The American governor says, "I will buy you a beer."
The Chinese provincial governor says, "Where would you get that kind of money?"
I went to the website of the Pew Center on the States and read that there is a gap of $1 trillion between what the states actually have set aside and what they owe their workers' retirement funds.
In the old days, do you know what they called people who ran up $1 trillion in bills and didn't have the money to pay them? Lindsay Lohan.
Do you know what they call them today? Governors.
We are talking real trouble. In Wisconsin, state workers are planning to occupy the state capitol and sell naming rights to the dome.
Which may not be a bad idea. As Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, the NGA vice chair, said, "The NGA Winter Meeting gives governors the opportunity to exchange ideas as well as to discuss our shared policy challenges and effective solutions."
So I have some suggested topics for NGA breakout sessions:
— How Much Can I Get for a State Highway, and Do We Have to Keep Painting the White Lines?
— Can I Sell All the State Office Buildings on "Pawn Stars"?
— State Parks. Who Needs Them?
I cannot figure out why you people became governors in the first place. Why didn't you take on an easy job, like running Libya?
The NGA current motto is, "The Collective Voice of the Nation's Governors."
After this weekend, the motto may be, "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?"
The District of Columbia tourism industry is very happy the governors are coming to Washington to spend their last few dollars on fancy hotel rooms and miniature booze and Snickers from their mini-bars. But there is a new rule this year: cash only. We don't take checks, credit cards or IOUs from governors.
Nothing personal. But considering that President Barack Obama's new federal budget slashes home heating aid for the poor by 50 percent, you people should be back home chopping up the furniture in your state capitols for firewood.
But what the heck. After all, tomorrow is another day. And you didn't become a governor because you thought the job was easy. You became a governor so some day you could run for president.
So kick back. I am not saying there is no hope.
According to a recent report, states are quietly seeking a way to declare bankruptcy so they don't have to pay the pensions of retired public workers. I assume the governors will be employing the law firm of Dewey, Cheatem & Howe.