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The Ultimate Stimulus: Death Star Petition Requires White House Response

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Image via Neftali / Shutterstock.com

A petition asking the Obama administration to secure funding for construction of a Death Star—the planet-destroying super space weapon that was blown up not once, but twice, during the original Star Wars trilogy (that’ll teach you to cover your exhaust ports…)—has secured enough signatures to require a response from the White House.

The request was started Nov. 14 on the White House’s We the People website. Any petition that earns more than 25,000 signatures in 30 days requires an official response from an administration official. The platform, launched Sept. 22, 2011, allows citizens to petition the government on a wide range of topics, many of which are more, let’s say, realistic.

Speaking of realistic, should the White House actually entertain the petition, how much funding would be required to build an actual planet-sized Death Star? Lucky for all of us, the mathematics Jedis over at Centives, an economics blog run by students of Lehigh University, figured it out earlier this year:

“The cost of the steel alone?” they asked. “At 2012 prices, about $852,000,000,000,000,000. Or roughly 13,000 times the world's GDP.”

That is one hell of a stimulus plan. How big?

Yesterday the students published a follow up set of calculations that showed simply mopping the floors of the Death Star in the course of a year would require the hiring of 48 million workers—or 33 percent of the American labor force.

Given its far, far out chance of becoming reality, will the White House actually respond to this petition? It wouldn’t be the first time they’ve had to issue responses to We the People initiatives that are a little…out there. Just last year Phil Larson, a White House official who works on space policy, issued a very professional response to petitions demanding the White House disclose its knowledge of extraterrestrial life.   

Next to all this, those secession petitions look a little more realistic. Regardless of the White House’s response, they should watch out--it’s probably a trap.

(Image via Neftali / Shutterstock.com)

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

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