WASHINGTON—According to an extremely wary congressional report issued Monday, the nation does not need and is not at all ready for this right now, though it might possibly be worth considering at some point in the future.
The report goes on to state that 10 or 12 years from now would be the earliest anything could be done about this, but even that is probably a stretch.
"Now is simply not the time," said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), who heads the joint subcommittee that commissioned the report. "Setting aside the countless practical obstacles and prohibitive expense, we just don't know enough about this to justify moving forward at the present time."
Many policy experts have maintained that between slow economic recovery, the climate crisis, childhood obesity levels, and two ongoing wars, this—no matter how beneficial it might be in the long-term—should be entirely out of the question for now. It is also widely agreed that this will likely have to take a backseat to more pressing issues that we can actually wrap our heads around and try to do something about.
"Even if we could afford it right now—which we can't, by the way—it's totally untenable in a nation as polarized as ours," said Dr. Travis Shapiro, a professor at Georgetown University. "Suppose, hypothetically, that we could convince half the American people that this is something worth at least taking a look at. Then maybe— maybe—we could get the ball rolling on this in the next five years. But realistically, that's just not going to happen."
"Not with the banking and auto industries in the states they're in," he added.
Leaders in nearly every field, including economics, entertainment, pharmacology, philosophy, macrobiotic nutrition, Jungian psychology, finance, robotics, oncology, and animal husbandry concurred with the report, saying that the worst course of action would be to enter into this too hastily without being fully prepared.
A Rasmussen poll conducted last week found that 53 percent of Americans are not optimistic about this being an option in the foreseeable future, 13 percent believe it's likely the nation will never be ready for it, and 27 percent are still trying to figure out what led up to this, never mind talking about a time frame for it.
The remaining 7 percent of respondents refused to answer any questions about it altogether.
"To be totally honest, I want this as much as any other reasonable person," Cleveland-area contractor Henry Dickson said. "But you have to face facts: No one's really ready for this yet—not the military, not African-Americans, not big business, and certainly not teen mothers."
However, a small but vocal minority has come out in favor of getting this under way as soon as possible.
"As the wealthiest, most powerful nation on the planet, we should be taking the lead on this," said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). "Our projections show the Chinese may be ready for it in as few as three years. If we, as Americans, don't take responsibility and change our attitude, we're going to get caught with our pants down."
"We can't afford to get left behind on this," Durbin added. "The stakes are too damn high."
But Eric Riordan, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, believes that policy makers have gotten way ahead of themselves by even talking about it.
"I can't believe people are already considering the cost and logistics, as if we're anywhere close to that stage yet," Riordan said. "Frankly, it's irresponsible to be discussing this when you consider the fact that our real problem is already here, staring us in the face, as we speak, and it's not going away anytime soon."
At press time, the White House released a statement indicating the president would approach this with extreme caution, knowing full well the historical examples of the Persians, the Romans, and the British, all of whom got into this carelessly and paid dearly for it.