by Ron Clarkson

Christmas Eve 1991
This recession is a mess! But, then again, the only reason I'm standing in front of
you tonight is because of the recession. It is terrible. The poor barely have enough
to eat, the cost of living is outrageous, the government's budget isn't balanced, there
was a promise of "no new taxes." Well, I have news for you, I never believed that
for a moment. And I guess what bothers me the most is the homeless situation. As
a matter of fact, it was a "homeless couple" that really made me stop and think
about my job, my career, my future, my values, yes . . even my life.
I haven't always been sympathetic to the economic or social conditions around me.
As a matter of fact, it was the poor conditions that kept me in a job. You see, I have
a government job. But that one homeless couple - they were so young and she was
so pregnant! They made an impact on my life that I'd like to tell you about.
As I said, i work for the government. Times have been tough lately. Not enough
tax revenues are coming in so the orders came from the top - "WE HAVE TO RAISE
TAXES.' And, in order to raise taxes we have to have an accurate idea of the
population - we need a census. So that's part of my job. I'm a census taker, and
then I assess a tax on the people according to their employment and financial
Oh, by the way. My name is Flavius, Flavius Marcus. I'm a census taker and a tax
assessor for the Roman Government. My orders come from Caesar Augustus
himself. Caesar has had some difficulty in trying to balance the budget in Rome.
Every ti-me he tries-, he gets "bu-slh - whharked}' by the Senate. So now he must raise
taxes and in order to do that there has to be a census. That's where I enter the
picture. Let me tell you about an unforgettable night in my life!
I had been- travehing for days, L had been moving from hotel to hotel, town to town,
dump to dump. My job was to register thousands of people who had to return to
their ...

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