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What if a road trip ran like the US Government?

I wondered what it would be like to take a road trip that ran like the US Government.  Let’s say that a group of friends were making a road trip to get to a concert in another state.  It was a good day-and-a-half trip that would require one night’s stay in a motel along the way.  The friend’s agreed, in principle, to share the costs of the trip equally.  Each member of the group loved the musical group and wanted to arrive at the concert early to ensure they didn’t miss anything. 


Now, if this group of friends were like Congress, here’s how this road trip would run. 


As they start, a discussion ensues as to the best route to take.  One wants to keep to Interstates for greater speed while another wants to take the most direct route to reduce the mileage.  Since a consensus isn’t reached, the route changes back and forth depending on which friend is driving, adding time and distance to the trip.


When the group stops for food, some want to eat in the car to keep making progress while others want to eat in the restaurant to get replenished for the next leg of the trip.  Again, they can’t come to an agreement, so half sit in the car eating in the parking lot while the rest eat in the restaurant.


The trip requires one over-night stay.  No one made reservations, so the group has to decide at which motel to stay.  The group debates what constitutes a motel that is too expensive and what is too cheap.  The debate becomes very heated, so they keep driving until the argument dies down and everyone falls asleep, except the driver, who pulls over in a rest stop and they sleep in the car.


At one gas stop, the car’s owner pops the hood to check on the oil, which is low.  One says that if the owner had properly maintained the car, there’d be no need for oil on this trip; therefore, she refuses to contribute to the cost of the oil.  Some agree with her and also refuse to contribute.  The cost for oil ends up being shared by just a few of the friends.  This leads to a debate about purchasing premium grade gasoline, which is viewed as excessive by about half of the friends in the group.


At each stop, a few of the friends clean the windshield of bugs, check the air pressure in the tires, and clean out the trash.  The rest sit and tell everyone that these are frivolous activities that are slowing down the trip.


Finally, there is one last stop for gas before the group arrives at the concert.  The simmering debate about the grade of gasoline to be used erupts into a full-blown argument. About half the friends have felt like the costs were too expensive for premium and the car only needs regular.  They refuse to give their cash if premium grade is going to be continually used.  The other half believe the strain that’s been put on the car warrants premium.  After fifteen minutes of argument, someone points out that that concert starts in two hours, and all of the arguments and changing of directions throughout the trip have killed their plan to arrive early.  If they don’t just fill the tank with gas, they’ll be late for the opening act.  Another counters that they can miss the opening act and still get to see the main concert as soon as they get “this frivolous spending under control” by agreeing to the regular grade of gas.


A line begins to form behind the car as the argument continues.  The owner takes the keys from the ignition and puts them in his pocket, refusing to put an inferior grade of gas into his car.  The group has spent two days on the road already, when the trip should have been a mere one-and-a-half days.  The group argues and the other patrons at the gas station just go to other pumps and the gas station continues to operate, though it’s inconvenient for everybody else.  As the argument continues over the grade of gas, one of the group realizes that the opening act is on the stage and if they don’t leave right now, they will miss the entire show.


Almost half of the group wants to just pay for the premium as they have been doing and get to the show.  The other half wants to pay for regular grade and get to the show.  Another, who isn’t adamant about the grade of gas, tries frantically to get them to agree to use the medium grade so they can get to the show.  Since they all cannot agree, the gas tank remains empty.


In the end, the group misses the show that they set out to enjoy together.  But, they didn’t pay too much or too little for the gas.  They just couldn’t drive on an empty tank.


And that, my friends, is what a road trip would be like if it ran like the US Government!

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