By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
Many cities in the US’s so-called “rust belt” have been in decline for years—losing both jobs and population. Dan Kildee, treasurer of Genesee County, Michigan has proposed leveling portions of these cities in order to reach a more optimal balance between living accommodations and needs.
“The idea is that rather than continuing to waste society’s resources maintaining unnecessary housing, we demolish the surplus units and move people closer together to gain economies of scale,” Kildee said.
While Kildee’s focus is on cities already in a decaying state, the Obama Administration’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Shaun Donovan, sees a much wider potential application for the idea. “Americans’ consumption of housing far exceeds that of other countries,” Donovan pointed out. “On top of this there are redundancies in the way we configure living space. Too much of the space is only used on a part time basis.”
The Secretary suggested that “a college dormitory style configuration would be the most efficient housing arrangement. Sleeping quarters could certainly be individualized. But dining, bathroom, and recreation facilities could be shared.”
“A side benefit of these more efficient living arrangements would be the boost in community solidarity and camaraderie,” Donovan added. “Instead of the lonely, isolated existences promoted by our current dispersed and atomized lifestyles, we’d have more togetherness.”
Donovan hastened to clarify that individualized accommodations would not be outlawed. Private dwellings would still be available, but at a “premium price.”
The demolition activities are expected to provide employment that will stimulate the economy. The demolished areas will provide much prized “open space” for our urban regions.
Chavez Threatens to Silence Critics
Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez says he is just “inches away from pulling the plug on Globovision.” Globovision is a TV network that has aired programming that the Chavez regime has determined to be excessively critical of the government.
“I am trying to build socialism in my country,” Chavez complained. “It is hard enough without the constant second-guessing spewing forth from an intransigent right wing. Unless they reform their opinions, they won’t be on the air much longer.”
The move was assessed as “understandable under the circumstances” by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. “Things go more smoothly for a country when everyone is on the same page,” he said. “Constant criticism like that exhibited by Fox News in this country runs the risk of undermining the people’s faith in their government. So, yes, sometimes people should just shut up and let the government govern. If they can’t or won’t do this on their own, I don’t think it is unreasonable for the government to take steps to encourage more cooperation.”
In related news, Chavez’s decision to ban “Coke Zero” from being imported into Venezuela was praised as “courageous” by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “This product has no nutritional value,” Sebelius asserted. “No one needs to consume it. It’s good to see that someone in a leadership position has taken action. I hope we can be as bold in the not too distant future.”
Polls Show Voters Want Tax and Spending Cuts
New Polls showing that a majority of voters favor cuts in both government spending and taxes are on a collision course with Obama Administration policy, where massive increases in spending are purportedly needed to “stimulate” the economy, while a huge tax increase styled as a “cap-and-trade” environmental measure is projected to add thousands of dollars of costs to every household’s annual budget.
Presidential Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs attempted to minimize the poll results. “This Administration has a sound plan for change and will not be driven off track by poll responses,” Gibbs said. “Every dollar the government spends becomes someone’s income. So, the more we spend, the more we are boosting people’s incomes. And I am pleased to remind you that the ‘stimulus’ package is just a down payment on what we intend to spend to get the economy moving.”
Gibbs also rejected the contention that the “cap-and-trade” measure is, in fact, a tax increase. “As the owner of all the air in the United States, the government has every right to charge people for its use,” Gibbs argued. “You can minimize the amount you pay by minimizing the amount of air you use and by patronizing businesses that use the least amount of it.”
“I could also point out that simply following what the majority says they want ignores minority rights,” Gibbs interjected. “The less than 50% that say they want higher taxes and spending have a right to have their views heard and implemented if the government deems it would be best.”
General Services Administration Explains Auto Purchases
One might think that with the federal government being the major shareholder in General Motors (GM) that it would buy most of its vehicles from this company. However, figures recently released by the General Services Administration (GSA) show that more were purchased from the Ford Motor Company.
Spokesperson for the GSA, Anne Biguosz, explained that “the agency has a lower level of confidence in GM products under the new management.” “When you get right down to it, government isn’t exactly known for quality workmanship,” Biguosz said. “I mean, government-owned automobile factories in other countries turn out some pretty marginal products. So, it’s only prudent for us to shift more of our buying to the sole American manufacturer not on the federal payroll.”
U.S. Treasury Bond Sales Not Going Well
Fears of insolvency, inflation, or both have scared investors away from U.S. Treasury securities. This has pushed the interest rate that the government must pay to bond buyers higher—adding more to the deficit and threatening the government’s economic “stimulus” program.
An option under consideration is to require financial institutions that have received bailout money to use the funds to buy U.S. Treasury bonds. “We gave these banks that bailout money,” said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. “They ought to use it to help us cover the deficit.”
Geithner said he expects the President to be making a few phone calls this week to make sure this happens. “There is a saying that he who pays the piper calls the tune,” Geithner observed. “As the savior of the banking industry, the President has every right to call the tune on this. And I think that tune will be ‘buy our bonds or the music will stop.’”
In related news, President Obama announced he will be giving the government of Zimbabwe an aid package totaling over $70 million. “Zimbabwe’s innovative experiment with monetary policy cannot be allowed to die due to our indifference,” Obama said. Most economists hold Zimbabwe’s “innovative” monetary policy responsible for that country’s million percent inflation rate.
House Blocks Effort to Bar Illegals from “Stimulus” Jobs
Two Republican-sponsored amendments to a FY 2010 appropriations bill were rejected by the Democratic majority. The amendments would have required firms bidding on federal aid projects to verify whether persons hired for the work were legal residents of the United States.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) characterized the amendments as “partisan and racist.” “We need to get people working as quickly as possible if we are to get the economy back on track,” Pelosi said. “Demanding that prospective jobholders provide proof of legal residency would only add bureaucratic delay to the process and unfairly burden a non-English speaking minority, which, I might add, is a key Democratic constituency.”
President May Release Gitmo Prisoners in the U.S.
Having notable difficulties in persuading foreign governments to take prisoners from Gitmo when it is closed, President Barack Obama is laying the groundwork for releasing some of them within the United States.
“Look, it’s been years since any of these prisoners has killed anyone, how do we know they’re ‘too dangerous’ to go free?” the President asked. “These years of good behavior behind bars shouldn’t go unrewarded. Besides, maybe releasing them in the United States will be the gesture of reconciliation that will change the tenor of our relationship with the Muslim world.”
The President is reported to be considering turning prisoners over to the custody of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) if that organization is willing vouch for them.