Written by Ed E. Druckman
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Friday, 16 October 2009

(Washington, D.C.) In a move as surprising as his being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, President Barack Obama announced at a press conference that he would be issuing a tax on the ReCAPTCHA system in order to pay for the projected $900 million healthcare reform cost.

ReCAPTCHA is a system used by highly trafficked web sites to authenticate that site visitors providing information are in fact humans and not automated programs or "bots".

Visitors are prompted to replicate words on the screen that automated programs cannot recognize. These words are actually part of the Book Digitization Project spearheaded by Google that also owns ReCAPTCHA. The project's goal is to convert all books to a digital format. It's estimated that over 200 million words are entered each day. "At merely a one cent tax on each of those 200 million words we could "CAPTCHA" 2 million dollars each day or 520 million dollars yearly," said President Obama.

Sensing that some reporters were skeptical, the President addressed their doubts. "I know what you're thinking. A ReCAPTCHA tax, $520 million dollars, Come one. Let me just say that $520 million dollars is based on a five, not seven, day workweek. After all, this isn't slave labor."

However, it is slave labor or more directly child labor that the Obama administration is using to position Google to participate. In his presentation, the President mentioned that he came upon the idea when his youngest daughter, Sasha, was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome due to "excessive ReCAPTCHA entries."

The President then asked Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis to launch a study on children being "forced to work on the Book Digitization Project. And the results are shocking. Not only are children below the age of 14 working, children as young as 6 are working on this project. That's just plain wrong, and our aim is to change it or at least exploit it."

In lieu of bringing legal action against Google, the President's plan is to issue a one cent tax on each ReCAPTCHA word, with an "age verification system similar to those on adult sites, though on that let me stress I don't speak from direct experience, in order to prevent underage labor."

As of this writing, Google was not commenting, though for some odd reason the Google search query "Obama" is returned "CAPTCHA This!" accompanied by an image of a mule's backside.

When asked if he foresaw any reaction to his new program, the President was direct. "Let me say if they award me the Noble Prize in economics for this, I'm turning it down."

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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