Saturday, December 11, 2010

White House, Republicans Offer Bloggers $100K Each in Compromise Deal

A little-known program to aid the economy by distributing money to bloggers is gathering support in the White House and Congress.


In the bruising fight to see which party can give away more borrowed money, Republicans and the Obama administration hammered out a compromise on the White House plan to pay "qualified" bloggers $100 per post, up to $100,000 each.


The Obama administration had originally included income limits in its "Web Entrepreneur Program" (WEP) legislation, but Republicans forced the White House to drop the stipulations which would have limited payments to bloggers who earned more than $250,000 annually.


"It's precisely the millionaire bloggers who are most likely to give unemployed workers jobs," said a Republican Caucus spokesman. When informed that only pornography stars and politicians qualified as "millionaire bloggers," the spokesman noted that "pornography and politics are two growth industries, and we don't think the nation can be too picky about where the jobs are coming from."


The Web Entrepreneur Program defines "qualified bloggers" as those writers who have posted a minimum of 250 "substantive" posts, described as "any blog post with a minimum of 400 words of original content." Excerpts from other previously published media and blogosphere sources will not be counted as "original content." Each qualified post will earn a Federal payment of $100, with an upper limit of $100,000 per blogger. Bloggers with multiple avatars will only be able to claim $100,000, regardless of the number of their online personalities.


The Administration has budgeted $50 million to establish a new Executive Branch agency to monitor the Web Entrepreneur Program; the new agency is tentatively titled "Office for the Promotion of Web Entrepreneurism" (OPWE). The new agency is currently seeking Class A office space in Northwest Washington D.C.


Sources indicate that the giveaway to bloggers was a coup for the Democrats, who had temporarily run out of giveaway ideas. "Since the vast majority of bloggers are more or less unemployed, and probably not qualified for the 13-month unemployment extension, then we figured this was a way to build support within the online media community," a Democratic spokeswoman said.


Disturbed that the current frenzy of new Federal largesse had not yet reached $900 billlion, the Democratic leadership was reportedly desperate to find more groups which it could shower with borrowed Federal funds. A source who spoke off the record said that "the power players were frantic to find new giveaways, because the Republicans seemed to be catching up and were poised to give away more than we were. We wanted to give away at least $1 trillion for starters, with a target of $3 trillion."


Republicans, stung by their failure to match Democratic plans to distribute more borrowed money, sought to exploit the blogger program's income limitation issue.A Republican media release claimed that "The country needs more millionaire bloggers, especially those earning $10 million a year" and that the more money which can be borrowed from our children and grandchildren to give to the superwealthy now, the better off the nation's economy will be.


Bloggers who found themselves a few posts short of the magic 250 qualification number were busily posting entries, many apparently typed verbatim from old phone books and dictionaries. Many former bloggers who had given up the largely thankless project of posting hundreds of rarely-read entries were bemoaning their lack of discipline in online forums. "I knew there would be a payoff, eventually," one wrote. "Why didn't somebody force me to keep my blog current?"


The total number of bloggers who qualify for the full $100,000 payment is unknown, but blogosphere sector analysts expect the number will be smaller than many expect, as an estimated 99% of blogs have either been abandoned or are rarely updated. Of those few, many will be disqualified as few of the posts will meet the "original content" standards.


At least one analyst remarked that "the budget for the new agency is $50 million, but I would be surprised if more than $10 million is distributed to bloggers."


At least one blogger is delighted with the prospect of a $100,000 windfall. Melvin Batguano has methodically posted six days a week for the past five years, racking up 1,561 posts to date. Mr. Batguano has detailed his daily dietary intake on his blog, listing the ingredients of each meal and the calories of each ingredient as well as its state or nation of origin, and a brief review of each meal's highlights and deficiencies. Relieved that he didn't seek to limit the length of his daily logs, Batguano noted that his average post easily exceeds the 400-word limit. "Imagine if I'd decided to keep each post to 395 words. Boy howdy, now that would have have really given me a set-to."


A blogger known online as MartyrsHaveMoreFun, who has posted over 1,000 entries as part of his project to document obscure martyrs of the world's main religions, feels that the $100,000 limit is unfair and arbitrary. "Mediocre ballplayers and Wall Street crooks rake in millions a year, and the Government wants to scrimp on those of us trying to educate the masses? It's wrong. That's why this country is going to the dogs--no respect for education."


Worried Republicans are mulling an offer to give away borrowed Federal dollars to Facebook users. A source who spoke off-record observed that "the potential audience is huge, and that would top the Democrats' giveaway to bloggers."


An operative who has worked both sides of the aisle opined that the party which borrowed and distributed the most money would win the White House in 2012. "The battle is on," he said, "and each party is desperate not to get caught short in the giveaway race. Deficits, who cares? That's just for show. The leadership of both parties is confident we can borrow another $10 trillion, $20 trillion, no problem. The main thing is getting elected in 2012."


Though I sincerely wish the above was true and that I was about to receive a check for $100,000, sadly it is only a parody.


New recipes on What's for Dinner at Your House?--Elsewhere Cafe Muffins, and Louisa's Vegetarian Baked Beans


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