By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
Tired of waiting for Congress to pass the “Cap-and-Trade” bill, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it will initiate its own measures to control carbon dioxide emissions. The thrust of the EPA’s approach will be to determine a carbon emissions “budget” for every individual household and assess fines and penalties for those whose emissions exceed an allowable amount.
EPA administrator Lisa Jackson acknowledged that this approach would be more costly than a cap and trade system, but defended it as “leverage to induce Congress to take action. Carbon dioxide is the most dangerous pollutant because there are so many sources of emission. It is imperative that we take action to cut it.”
Jackson said the “budgets” for each individual will be set using the model for how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assesses income taxes. “Everyone who now fills out a tax return will be required to also fill out an annual ‘declaration of estimated emissions’ form,” Jackson explained. “There will be an instruction booklet—like the one the IRS mails to taxpayers—that emissions filers can use to help them complete the form.”
The types of information required on the form will include number of persons in the household and their weights, number and type of motor vehicles owned, miles driven, and frequency of miscellaneous use of combustibles like gasoline-powered lawn mowers and backyard grills.
“Those who try to cheat by underreporting their emissions will be subject to audits,” Jackson reminded. “There will also be neighborhood spot checks, as well as a system to reward those who turn in cheating neighbors. Not incidentally, the surveillance system will open up job opportunities and help fight the recession.”
Senator Says Constitutionality of Legislation “Not My Job”
Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La) rejected the notion that determining the Constitutionality of pending legislation was part of her job. The Senator’s shucking of this responsibility came in response to a questioner asking her where in the US Constitution is there the authority for congress to force people to buy health insurance.
“My job is to get all I can for my constituents,” Landrieu argued. “Unlike most of my peers, I got $300 million in added benefits for my constituents in exchange for my vote in favor of the health care bill. I’m not going to let myself be bothered by some arcane debate about whether what I voted for is Constitutional or not. Let the courts decide that issue.”
Ultimately, the courts may well decide the issue. However, Senators are required to take an oath to “support and defend the Constitution” before they are allowed to assume their seats in congress. Reneging on this oath in exchange for $300 million in “pork barrel” spending would appear to be a dereliction of duty.
Press Secretary Defends Continued Bush Bashing
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs defended the Obama Administration’s continued efforts to blame the previous Bush Administration for current domestic and foreign policy problems.
“If we say it’s Bush’s fault, if the media report it’s Bush’s fault, and if the public believes it’s Bush’s fault, then who’s to say it isn’t Bush’s fault?” Gibbs reasoned. “After all, as Dr. Phil tells us, ‘there is no reality—only perception.’”
Of course, TV’s pop psychologist “Dr. Phil” isn’t the most famous advocate of the idea that perception is the reality. That title would have to go to chief Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, who wrote: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
President Declares “Cash-for-Clunkers” Great Success Story
President Barack Obama judged last summer’s subsidies to new car buyers “one of this nation’s most successful programs, ever. At a cost of only $30 billion, we were able to induce 700,000 people to buy new cars—both stimulating the economy and helping to reduce air pollution. It’s an unprecedented accomplishment, one unmatched by any previous administration.”
Gene Sperling, senior counsel to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, contended that “the decision to go ahead with the program in the face of the relentless opposition from free market fanatics has to rank as the most courageous decision by a US President since Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.”
Critics have pointed out that a subsequent decline in auto sales indicates that the program merely accelerated new vehicle purchase decisions by a few months, while simultaneously destroying many valuable used cars and driving up prices—hurting the lower income Americans who buy used cars because they can’t afford new ones.
Senators Say Forcing Taxpayers to Fund Abortion Morally Correct
California Senator Diane Feinstein (D) rebuffed criticisms that forcing all taxpayers—even those who believe it is murder—to pay for abortions is morally wrong.
“Morality isn’t something we can leave up to the individual,” Feinstein said. “People have all kinds of crazy ideas about what is or isn’t moral. It’s up to the government to settle on a common moral code for society. It is the citizen’s responsibility to support the government’s decision, even if he or she personally disagrees. So, yes, most definitely, if congress passes a law requiring taxpayers to fund abortions it is everyone’s moral obligation to support that law.”
Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md) went even further by insisting that opposition to the health care legislation before it is enacted is immoral. “There are pregnant women out there who are too poor to pay for their own abortions,” Mikulski asserted. “It is the obligation of those fortunate enough to be able to pay taxes to come to the aid of those less well-off. Sadly, personal greed impedes the correct moral action by individuals left to make their own decisions. This is where government must step in to ensure a moral outcome. Those who would attempt to block government action by opposing this bill are clearly on the side of immorality.”
Popularity of Canadian Health Care Explained
Proponents of nationalizing the US health care system assiduously point out how popular Canada’s single-payer, government run system is. Polls show that over 80% of Canadians are happy with the system.
Poll respondent, Emma Linger rhapsodized about her own experience with the National Health Service. “You just go in whenever you want,” she said. “You don’t even have to bring any money. The doctor writes you a prescription for antibiotics, tranquilizers, placebos or whatever you need and you’re off to the pharmacy.”
Linger admitted that the prospect of long waits (an estimated four months—on average) to see specialists might be daunting, but found solace in the fact that “only the very sickest—those with cancer and such—are affected. Luckily, they’re a small minority and mostly older folks who’ve already lived long lives.”
Federal Bureaucrats Pay Rising During Recession
The economic recession gripping the United States seems to have bypassed the federal bureaucracy. At the same time that private sector businesses are shutting down and laying off employees in sufficient quantities to produce a 10% unemployment rate, pay for high ranking federal bureaucrats is booming. Since the recession started, the number of six-figure ($100,000+ per year) federal jobs has risen by almost 50%.
Jessica Klement, government affairs director for the Federal Managers Association—the “union” that represents these high-salaried government employees—said “opportunities and compensation are rising because the country needs these highly skilled people to run an expanding government. Government has had to step up its activities to cover for the private sector’s failure to generate jobs during the recession. If we’re spending billions in stimulus money we can’t afford to have low-level chumps handing out the subsidies.”
Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) characterized the bump in lavish salaries for bureaucrats as “ridiculous and unjustifiable given the poor financial conditions of both the government and the economy.”
US Consul Says Mexico Is Safe for Tourists
Reports of heavy violence in Mexico should not deter tourists, said U.S. Consul Michael Barkin. “Really, Mexico is no worse than the south side of Chicago,” Barkin assured the McAllen (Texas) Chamber of Commerce. “Your odds of coming through without being robbed, kidnapped or murdered are relatively good. There’s probably less than 10% chance you will be a victim.”
The Consul advised that “if you are one of the unfortunate minority who is victimized and are still alive afterwards, please contact the Consulate so we can fill out the proper ‘after-incident’ reports.”
Barkin expressed the hope that immigration reform would move more of this crime north of the border and thereby make Mexico a safer place to visit.