By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
With the US economy mired in high unemployment and soaring government deficits, President Barack Obama admitted “I might have misunderestimated the impact of the recession,” but insisted “no one else had any better ideas for how to proceed to a recovery.”
Hailing the reconstituted General Motors as an example, Obama suggested that “we could’ve been more aggressive in inserting government direction into more sectors of the economy. Fortunately, it’s not too late to pick up the pace of government oversight of business investments and operations.”
The president then blamed himself for “excessive deference to Congress. I was hoping everyone would pull together for the good of the country. Boy, was I naïve. Rather than follow my lead, too many of those guys were intent on making their own interpretations of what was legal or necessary.”
Obama said he is giving Congress “one last chance to cooperate, to play as a team. But I’m not going to wait forever. I have been advised that under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution I can unilaterally bypass Congress on this debt ceiling issue. According to this advice, Congressional refusal to allow increases in the debt constitutes an ‘insurrection or rebellion’ against my authority to deal with the economic crisis, which as Commander-in-Chief, I am empowered to suppress using whatever means I deem appropriate.”
Hard Times Don’t Impact White House Staff
With the federal debt bumping up against the legal maximum, the federal deficit exceeding a trillion dollars each year, official unemployment at 9% and unofficial unemployment twice as high, one might expect some belt-tightening among the governing class. Such expectations have not borne out when it comes to Obama’s minions. More than 75% of the White House staff got raises this year. The average salary increase was 8%. These statistics would seem to contradict Administration claims that salaries have been “frozen.”
Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney contended that “in the context of the nearly four trillion dollars being spent by the federal government this year, the salaries paid to the White House staff can be said to be relatively ‘frozen’ by comparison. I mean, federal spending went up by 10% versus only an 8% boost for salaries.”
“Then too, there is the issue of merit,” Carney added. “The White House staff is comprised of the nation’s best and brightest. They are already making a great sacrifice working for the public good. Whatever we pay them, it’s got to be far below their worth as human beings.”
By way of reference, salary hikes among profit-making private sector firms this year have averaged 3%.
California Test Results “Not a Model” Says Top Education Bureaucrat
US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan advised against drawing the wrong conclusion from recent academic test results in California. From 2008 to 2010, California students’ math proficiency rose from 57% to 62%, while reading proficiency rose from 53% to 59%. At the same time, school funding declined by 6%.
“A lot of people are going to look at these figures and think we can get by with spending less,” Duncan observed. “This would be the wrong conclusion. Improving test scores isn’t the only or even the most important measure of school success.”
As Duncan sees it, “building self esteem is the number one goal of the public school system. The effort to fill a child’s head with knowledge or teach him how to solve problems shouldn’t be allowed to divert us from this higher purpose. In our modern world we have computers that can do the math. Visual and oral modes of communication have largely replaced the written word. But there is no substitute for a good self image.”
In related news, the teachers’ union—the National Education Association—endorsed the reelection of President Obama. “The president shares our vision for a re-educated America,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “We are confident that he will ensure that we are given the resources to implement this vision.”
Council of Economic Advisors Hails Success of Stimulus Program
The president’s Council of Economic Advisors announced that President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus program saved up to 3.6 million jobs at a cost of “only $278,000” apiece.
“It’s really a remarkable accomplishment given the dire state of the economy when he took office,” Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors concluded. “A great catastrophe was surely averted by the president’s heroic action.”
A little math might lead to a different appraisal of the President’s program. The average household income in America is less than $50,000 per year. Mailing a check for that amount to each of the 3.6 million who got the saved jobs would’ve cost only $180 billion. Where did the other $620 billion of the President’s stimulus spending go?
According to Goolsbee, “the situation is more complicated than the typical American can comprehend. We couldn’t just write a check to every unemployed person. There had to be planning and oversight. That costs money. On top of this there are commissions, finders’ fees and overhead. That doesn’t come cheap. Finally, there’s also a certain amount of ‘shrinkage’ involved in any business transaction—money that just disappears and can’t be accounted for. In my opinion, a net of one $50,000 job for each $278,000 in federal outlays is not a bad rate of return for a government project of this magnitude.”
Meanwhile, the Canadian economy, which mirrored our recession until early 2009, is doing considerably better today. Canadian unemployment is down to 7.4%–all without a “stimulus” program of its own.
In related news, President Obama’s senior political adviser David Plouffe says he doubts that high unemployment will hurt the President’s reelection prospects. “Unemployment is just a statistic,” Plouffe contended. “Most voters can barely do the math to figure out how much change they ought to get back when they buy a ‘Happy Meal.’ The contention that they can understand anything about how the economy works in sufficient detail to hold it against the president is a fantasy.”
ATF’s Melson Defies Obama, Testifies on Own
Acting Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Director Ken Melson defied orders from the Obama Administration and testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chaired by Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif) over the July 4th weekend. The testimony concerned details on the growing “Fast and Furious” (also called “Gunwalker”) scandal in which the Administration facilitated the sale of weapons to Mexican gangs—weapons that have been linked with over 150 murders.
Attorney General Eric Holder denounced Melson’s testimony as “completely unauthorized. It is not his responsibility to decide what information will be disclosed to Congress.” Holder warned that this “breach of confidentiality” may require Mr. Melson’s “termination.”
Unofficial sources report that the US Navy’s “Seal Team Six” has declined the assignment to terminate Melson citing the “Posse Comitatus Act.” This Act limits the use of military forces within the United States borders. Only if Melson were to leave the country could he be legally terminated using such means.
The scandal is also having international repercussions. Mexican Senator Rene Arce Islas has demanded that US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and US Attorney General Eric Holder be extradited for trial in Mexico for their roles in arming Mexican gangs. “At best, the sale of automatic weapons to these violent criminals is a demonstration of gross stupidity,” Arce asserted. “It has undermined both the law and safety of the people of my country. Those behind these sales belong behind bars. They are not fit to govern.”
In related news, the Obama Administration has announced a series of executive orders will be issued in order to ensure a measure of federal control over how guns are bought and sold within the US. “With Congress dragging its feet on gun safety issues, the President is acting on his authority as Commander-in-Chief to restrict access to firearms in this country,” said Press Secretary Jay Carney. “Events have shown that the notion people can be trusted to determine whether they need weapons is incorrect. Too many of the wrong people are obtaining unneeded guns. It’s time for government to take the lead in deciding who should have the right to bear arms.”
Homeowner Faces Jail for Front Yard Garden
Oak Park, Michigan resident Julie Bass faces a possible 90-day jail sentence for planting an “unsuitable” vegetable garden in the front yard of her home.
“We came up with the idea as both a way to cut back on our food bill and to teach our kids some useful skills,” Bass said. “Now, every kid in the neighborhood is over here playing ‘farmer.’ They’re also a lot more eager to eat their vegetables after growing them themselves.”
Oak Park City Planner Kevin Rulkowski has ruled that the garden violates city code. “Ms. Bass’s household budget, nutritional and educational objectives are not my concern,” Rulkowski declared. “A vegetable garden is not suitable for a front yard. It conflicts with our vision for how we want the community to look.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News