The scene: The White House Oval Office. The participants: The president and vice-president of the United States, a select group of senators, members of congress, and various trusted aides.
“Okay folks”, the president began. “There is a looming crisis brewing. Now that we have time for something besides our re-election campaigns, it must be addressed. I’m talking of course about the impending fiscal cliff.”
“What the #!%* is a #&%@#$ fiscal cliff anyway?”, the vice president interjected. “Sounds like a bunch of *&%$#* malarkey to me!”
“Uh, Joe, why don’t you run out and get us all some coffees?”, the president gently replied. “There’s a Krispy Kreme about twenty blocks from here. Take your time.”
“Okay. How about some donuts too, Barocky? I like the ones with the colorful #$%@* sprinkles on top and cream in the …”
“Get going, Joe”, the president interrupted sternly. “And don’t ever call me ‘Barocky’ again!”
“Now, where was I?”, the president continued, while looking at and shuffling some papers that appeared to be blank. “Oh yes; the fiscal cliff. What can we do to prevent this catastrophe?”
“RAISE TAXES!”, the politicians shouted in unison.
“Duh!”, the president responded sarcastically. “The trick is how to do that while maintaining the American people’s trust in us and upholding the integrity of our phony baloney jobs!”
“Sir?”, a congressman asked, “Isn’t that a take on a phrase from an old Mel Brooks movie?”
“Could be, could be”, the president pondered. “The girls and I did watch ‘Blazing Saddles’ recently.” He chuckled softly. “I especially liked the scene where a bunch of cowpokes were sitting around the campfire eating beans and … anyway, let’s get on with this fiscal cliff thing.”
“AGREED!”, was the resounding response.
The president paused thoughtfully. “Why don’t we look at cutting some unnecessary federal programs?”
A huge, collective groan shook the chambers.
“C’mon; there’s gotta be something! Let’s start small. How about this program where we’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to determine if cocaine makes Japanese quail engage in sexually risky behavior?”
“I can personally vouch for the importance of that research, sir”, a senator retorted. “ My wife’s brother heads that project, and he is making significant strides in discerning the habits of this majestic and unusually horny… um, I mean passionate, bird.”
“Right, right.”, the president agreed. “ Well, what’s with this plan by The Department of Health and Human Services to spend $500 million on a program that will, among other things, try to solve the problem of five – year old children who ‘can’t sit still’ in a kindergarten classroom?”
A congresswoman stood up abruptly. “With all due respect, sir, our children are the key to the future of our great country! We must spare no expense in their education and well-being. My sister’s stepdaughter’s fiancé, who is on the board of directors for this important undertaking, has warned me in no uncertain terms that these fidgety kids could grow up to become fidgety adults, which might very well lead to the end of the world as we know it!”
Cupping his face in his hands, the president wearily asked, “ Does anyone have a valid idea to get us out of this mess?”
“Why don’t we just do what we usually do?”, a grizzled old senator chimed in. “We’ll publicly bicker and quarrel amongst our respective parties, making it known that we are trying to solve this crisis without imposing more monetary burdens on the rich, the middle class, the poor, the old, the young, the unborn, and whoever else we need support from. Then we wait to the last possible minute, pass new taxes on everyone, and declare ourselves the saviors of the American way of life for averting financial disaster, while actually just kicking the fiscal can down the road for a couple more years. In doing so we can, as you succinctly put it Mr. President, preserve our phony baloney jobs!”
“Brilliant!”, beamed the president. “Ah, it looks like Joe is back. Help yourself to coffee and donuts everyone; my treat. Or should I say”, the president winked mischievously, “ the American taxpayer’s treat!”
Note: The meeting and conversation described in this article did not really occur. It is just a figment of the writer’s odd imagination. However, the federal programs mentioned here are actually true. You just can’t make that kind of stuff up!