John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
Data from a Congressional Research Service report reveals that the amount the government spends on welfare per family below the poverty line exceeds the median earned income. The median for earned income in the United States is about $50,000 per year. The amount spent per family on welfare exceeds $60,000 per year. Assuming a 40-hour work week, welfare equates to an after-tax wage of over $30 per hour.
Congressional Democrats used these figures to make the case against prospective cuts to the government’s entitlement spending. “The GOP’s notion that we ought to be pushing people to get jobs is completely refuted by these numbers,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) contended. “Any person who can qualify for welfare payments would be harming her family by leaving the shelter of government benefits for the uncertainties of the marketplace.”
Over in the Senate Charles Schumer (D-NY) claimed that “cutting welfare benefits would devastate our economy. As the research shows, families on welfare contribute more spending to stimulate the economy than those who work for a living. Rather than foolishly trying to reduce the number of persons who qualify for welfare as the Republicans want us to do, we ought to be adding to and extending the benefits we bestow on this economically vibrant segment of our society.”
The New York Senator averred that “the President’s bid to raise taxes on the wealthy is a small step in the right direction, but it doesn’t go far enough. The number of these people who will be encouraged to leave the workforce is small. A much bigger impact would be achieved if we could, like former Governor Howard Dean advises, raise everyone’s taxes. That way a lot more could join this crucial economic cohort.”
In related news, disability is now America’s fastest growing career choice among persons aged 18-64. In 1960 less than 1% of these persons were receiving disability payments. Last year more than 5% were. Disability due to “mood disorders” was credited with “making substantial inroads into the workforce over the last 50 years.” “Given the plasticity of this designation we see no reason why the vast majority of the population shouldn’t qualify for benefits for this cause over the next few decades,” boasted Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “We are within sight of creating a society where the majority can be relieved of the burdens of toil.”
Homeless Bill of Rights Pushed in California
Assembly member Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) says he will introduce legislation aimed at establishing what he termed “a homeless bill of rights.”
“As it stands right now, a homeless person can be prosecuted for breaking into and occupying a vacant house,” Ammiano complained. “This places the property rights of an absentee home owner ahead of the human rights of the poor and impoverished. That’s not fair.”
While the details of the bill are still sketchy, the gist of the proposed legislation would exempt the deprived from being punished for helping themselves to any unused and inadequately secured private property. In addition to allowing them to occupy vacant homes they would also be permitted to pretty much walk off with anything that is not locked up.
“It is a blot on our society that some people have so much while others have so little,” Ammiano said. “Just because you are lucky enough to be able to afford to buy something shouldn’t serve as an impediment to someone else in need from making use of this property when it is idle. I’ll bet there are clothes in your closet that you haven’t worn in years. Why shouldn’t a poor person wear them if he can get his hands on them?”
“It’s time that we put need ahead of greed when it comes to how society’s resources are used,” Ammiano insisted. “My bill aims to make a modest stride toward accomplishing this.”
Unemployment Rate for Government Workers Half that of Private Sector
While the national rate of unemployment for private sector workers exceeds 8%, the rate for government workers is under 4%. US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis argued that “this is just one more piece of evidence bolstering the President’s economic plan.”
“The President’s critics are fond of alleging that a tax increase will hurt the economy,” Solis said. “But let’s take President Obama’s advice and ‘look at the numbers.’ The private sector appears to be relatively inefficient when it comes to job creation. Despite being allowed to keep more than half of the money they earn, private sector businesses still can’t get unemployment below 8%. Contrast this with the under 4% unemployment rate in the public sector and I think you’ll see where we ought to be putting the nation’s resources for maximum growth.”
Solis maintained that “as we can see, the private sector is a major drag on the economy. If more people would see that funds are lying sterile in the hands of private sector businesses when they could be more effectively deployed by government the Republican opposition to the President’s proposed tax increases would be regarded as a criminal expropriation of what should be community property.”
The Secretary expressed her hope that “the American public will rise up against the capitalist despoilers of the nation’s wealth and demand that their congressional representatives support the President’s efforts to reclaim the nation’s wealth for the benefit of the people.”
In related news, at the same time that the Great Recession was reducing householder net wealth by 39%, members of congress saw their net wealth increase by 14%–greatly relieving the anxieties of Americans worried that those who govern them might have faced unspeakable hardships during the past few years.
House Speaker Grabs for More Power
House Speaker, Representative John Boehner (R-Ohio) undertook moves meant to consolidate his authority this past week. First he executed a purge of House committee members he deemed “not team players.” Later he blocked all others from participating in the negotiations with President Obama on the so-called “fiscal cliff.”
“My leverage with the President is diluted when Republican members of the House cannot be counted on to back my play,” Boehner complained. “He persistently taunts me with gibes about whether I truly have the authority to speak for the majority. It’s humiliating. The GOP needs to speak with one voice. That voice is mine.”
Not everyone in the GOP is comfortable with Boehner’s stance. In the Senate, Jeff Sessions (R-Ala) has questioned the “secret negotiations” being conducted between Boehner and Obama. “The President should be laying out his plan for us all to see,” Sessions contended. “Maybe Boehner is satisfied to be the only one privy to whatever the President may be proposing, but I don’t think that serves the country well.”
The Speaker belittled Sessions’ concerns as “an outsider’s uninformed babblings. I am standing toe-to-toe with President Obama. I am the one who’s carrying the ball for our side. The sooner everyone comes to terms with that the better off they’ll all be.”
Boehner discounted suggestions that he might be replaced as Speaker as “rumblings of a disorganized and impotent gang of malcontents. Even in the unlikely event that they looked like they might succeed in their quest to remove me they still won’t get what they want. If forced to do so, I and my loyal lieutenants would always have the option of caucusing with the Democrats. Do those who oppose me really want to bring back Pelosi as Speaker?”
In related news, President Obama insisted that “raising taxes on the rich is my number one priority” and vowed to “destroy this country if that’s what it takes to achieve a greater equality among the mass of common people.”
Governor Strongly Backs “Assisted Suicide”
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin (D) says it’s imperative that the state enact an “assisted suicide” bill calling it “a crucial element of a successful implementation of Obamacare.”
“Study after study has shown that a disproportionate share of what this nation spends on health care goes for the treatment of persons who are desperately ill,” Shumlin observed. “One way of overcoming this disparity is to channel more of these persons onto a path toward death with dignity.”
“For the amount it costs to treat one late stage cancer patient we could provide thousands of others with condoms or abortions,” Shumlin pointed out. “The benefits of the many shouldn’t be sacrificed to the selfishness of the few. Those near the end of their lives should be given the added help they need to efficiently end it. This assisted suicide bill would go a long way toward making that happen.”
Obama Administration Pondering How to Overturn Pot Legalization in States
On November 6 voters in Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana. Use of marijuana still remains illegal under federal law. A federal task force composed of representatives from the Justice Department, the DEA, the State Department, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy is considering how to respond.
Attorney General Eric Holder brushed aside all substantive debate over the merits of legalization saying that “it’s not up to us to prove that marijuana is harmful in order for us to enforce the federal ban on its use. The simple fact that federal law trumps state law is sufficient grounds for us to suppress this drug.”
Whether federal law trumps state law on this issue may not be a “simple fact.” Legalization of marijuana would appear to be within the purview of states under the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution. This Amendment reserves powers not expressly delegated to the federal government in the Constitution to the states.
Holder, however, rejected this argument. “Essentially, the 10th Amendment is a dead letter,” Holder said. “As the Civil War demonstrated no power asserted by any state can stand against the might of the federal government. The idea that we would stand aside while states seek to profit from legalizing pot is mistaken. We will arrest anyone caught producing, selling, or using this substance. Any funds earned or taxes collected from the production, distribution, or use of marijuana will be seized. This drug is not legal until we say it is.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News
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