The war on tchotchkes 386

If you like to laugh out loud, or even just chortle, read the whole article we quote from here. It is by the best-informed, most clear-sighted, and by far the funniest writer alive – Mark Steyn.

Have you been following this so-called supercommittee? They’re the new superhero group of superfriends from the super-Congress who are going to save America from plummeting over the cliff and into the multitrillion-dollar abyss.

There’s Spender Woman (Patty Murray), Incumbent Boy (Max Baucus), Kept Man (John Kerry) and many other warriors for truth, justice and the American way of debt. The supercommittee is supposed to report back by the day before Thanksgiving on how to carve out $1.2 trillion dollars of deficit reduction and thereby save the republic.

I had cynically assumed that the superfriends would address America’s imminent debt catastrophe with some radical reform — such as, say, slowing the increase in spending by raising the age for lowering the age of Medicare eligibility from 47 to 49 by the year 2137, after which triumph we could all go back to sleep until total societal collapse.

But I underestimated the genius of the superfriends’ supercommittee. It turns out that a committee created to reduce the deficit is instead going to increase it. As the Hill reported:

“Democrats on the supercommittee have proposed that the savings from the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan be used to pay for a new stimulus package.” …

Do you follow that? Let the Congressional Budget Office explain it to you: “The budget savings from ending the wars are estimated to total around $1 trillion over a decade, according to an estimate in July from the Congressional Budget Office.”  …

Why stop there? Why not estimate around $2 trillion in savings by 2031? After all, that would free up even more money for a bigger stimulus package, wouldn’t it? And it wouldn’t cost us anything because it would all be “savings.”

Come to think of it, didn’t the Second World War end in 1945? Could we have the CBO score the estimated two-thirds of a century of “budget savings” we’ve enjoyed since ending that war? … The Spanish-American War ended 103 years ago, so imagine how much cash has already piled up!

The president is asking for your votes for the 2011 SAVE Award. To demonstrate his commitment to fiscal discipline, he set up a competition whereby federal employees can propose ways to cut government waste. A panel of experts (John Kerry, Paula Abdul, etc.) then weigh the merits, and the four finalists go up on the White House website to be voted on by members of the public: It’s like “Dancing With the Czars.” …

This year’s SAVE Award nominees include Faith Stanfield of Toledo, Ohio, a “general technical expert” with the Social Security Administration. As someone who’s technically expert in a very general sense, she sees the big picture. It’s on the front of the SSA’s glossy magazine.

Did you know Social Security has its own glossy magazine? It’s called Oasis and it’s sent out to 88,000 SSA employees plus about a thousand government retirees. …

It’s the magazine that says you’re cool, you’re now, you’re living the SSA bureaucrat lifestyle. But Stanfield thinks they should scrap the glossy pages and only publish it online.

Ooh, I dunno. Sounds a bit extreme to me. Could result in hundreds of Social Security lifestyle editors being laid off and reduced to living on Social Security. …

What with the proposal to use the nearly two centuries of budget savings from the end of the War of 1812 to fund the construction of high-speed monorails and the plan to turn the Social Security Administration’s in-house glossy into an in-house virtual-glossy, it’s no surprise that the president himself has got the deficit-reduction fever.

On Wednesday, he signed an executive order “Promoting Efficient Spending” — and ending government waste. Just like that! According to Section Seven: “Agencies should limit the purchase of promotional items (e.g., plaques, clothing and commemorative items), in particular where they are not cost-effective.”  …

Fresh from launching the war on tchotchkes, the administration then proposed a 15-cent tax on Christmas trees in order to fund a federal promotional campaign to promote the sale of Christmas trees. … He was forced to rescind the proposal, presumably after an ACLU chum pointed out that settling the Bureau of Christmas Tree Promotion lawsuit would wipe out all the budget savings from the French and Indian Wars.

Meanwhile, as these ruthless austerity measures start to bite, the government of the United States continues to spend one fifth of a billion dollars it doesn’t have every hour, every day, every week

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