Economy Is Better than Everyone Thinks

By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News

Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney boasted to a skeptical media that “the economy is a lot better than everyone thinks it is. The focus on high unemployment, bankruptcies, and foreclosures misses the big picture.”

Carney declined to get down to specifics on what the so-called “big picture” entails. “It all boils down to the simple question Reagan posed in the 1980 election,” Carney contended. “All the American people need do is ask themselves whether they are better off now than they were before President Obama took office. Once they recall the hopelessness that prevailed under Bush and the Republicans the troubles they face today will fade into insignificance.”

The Press Secretary challenged people to “consult the data. There’s no doubt that today’s conditions irrefutably support the policies that President Obama has initiated. As just one example, there are more Americans on food stamps now than ever before. President Obama is feeding more people than any of his predecessors ever did. Voters need to decide whether they want to risk giving up gains like these in order to restore Republican control of the government in the 2012 election. I think we all know what their answer will be.”

Democrats Assail GOP Case for Balanced Budget

Representative Jim Moran (D-Va) insisted that GOP use of former president Thomas Jefferson’s opposition to government borrowing to bolster the case against raising the debt limit is “unfair” and “inappropriate.”

“First of all, Jefferson was one of the founders of the Democratic Party,” Moran contended. “If anyone is going to interpret what he stood for that right belongs to members of that same Party. The GOP’s attempt to enlist him for their cause is unfair.”

“Second, even if Jefferson may have expressed an aversion to borrowing as a policy position, his behavior was quite the contrary,” Moran continued. “Jefferson loved to buy things. In modern parlance he might be dubbed a ‘shopoholic.’ At the time of his death his debts exceeded his assets. So, if we believe actions speak louder than words, Jefferson was no devotee of thrift. For Republicans to use a few of his errant words to try to paint him so is inappropriate.”

An even stronger objection came from House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D.-Md). “For the Republicans to take one quote out of context is despicable,” Hoyer argued. “We need to look at the whole of Jefferson’s life. He was not a scrimper nor a saver. He loved fine things. He even indulged in interracial sex with one of his slaves. His was not a lifestyle of penny-pinching and budget minding. By deeds he was quite clearly a Democrat. Were he alive today he would surely repudiate his off-the-cuff and outmoded opposition to government debt.”

Hoyer characterized the GOP’s “cut, cap, and balance” legislation as “a crude attempt to limit the amount of taxes that future Congresses could levy. Congress must have a free hand to appropriate the resources it needs to implement its policies. There must be no arbitrary ‘line in the sand’ that says ‘this far and no farther.’ The argument that individuals have rights that Congress cannot modify is undemocratic.”

Debt Crisis Mostly Voters’ Fault President Says

The looming “catastrophic” cut in federal government spending that would occur if the debt ceiling isn’t raised won’t be his fault says President Obama. “I am the only person in the government who was elected to serve all the people,” Obama declared. “All of the others—representatives and senators, alike—serve narrower constituencies. It is their responsibility to accept my leadership. Yet, they persist in pushing views that conflict with the vision I’ve laid out for this country.”

A large part of the blame for what the President labeled “our schizophrenic policies” lies with the American voters. “On the one hand, voters want the government to take care of them,” Obama said. “So, they vote for Democrats. On the other hand, voters don’t want to pay what it costs for the government to take care of them. So, they vote for Republicans who oppose the taxes necessary to pay what it costs. When the result is a divided government like it is now, deadlock ensues.”

If policy deadlock prevents an increase in the debt limit, the President warned that “the long-term compromise of expanding government benefits without raising taxes that has been achieved by continually borrowing more money will be undone. It would be as if we had a balanced budget Amendment—not at some future date years away, but right now. The federal government would be forced to reduce expenditures to fit within its $200 billion per month income from taxes.”

The president acknowledged that the federal government could increase incoming revenues without raising taxes if it were to emulate what some state governments have done and sell off or lease-out government-owned properties. “The federal government owns trillions of dollars worth of land—nearly 30% of this country,” the President admitted. “A lot of this land contains valuable oil, minerals, and timber that could be extracted. Private businesses would pay us billions each year for the rights to exploit these resources. However, opening these lands to such uses would lower costs to consumers and undermine their incentive to conserve.”

“Opening up federal lands in an attempt to ‘grow’ our way out of the current economic slump is not something I can reconcile myself to,” Obama said. “Americans need to learn to live more frugally. These resources may be located in the United States, but can we justify appropriating them solely for the benefit of Americans when there are so many living elsewhere who are poorer and more deserving?”

If Republicans don’t come around to a position he can tolerate the President said he “will be forced to apportion the consequences in a manner that ensures an equitable shared suffering. If I can’t fund everything I will be the one who chooses what expenses will or won’t get paid. The buck really does stop here.”

Federal Election Commission May Be Asked to Bar Candidates from Displaying Flag

A research paper published in Psychological Science has spurred concern among leading Democrats that Republicans may gain an unfair advantage when the American flag is displayed at campaign events. The study—“A Single Exposure to the American Flag Shifts Support Toward Republicanism up to 8 Months Later”—confirmed a recent Harvard professor’s finding that children attending Fourth of July celebrations were more likely to favor Republicans later in life.

Democratic Nation Committee Chairperson, Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla) is reportedly weighing whether to ask the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to step in. “It is important that we have a ‘level playing field’ for all Parties,” she asserted. “Allowing one Party to benefit from voters’ visceral patriotism conveys an unfair advantage to Republican candidates.”

Wasserman-Schultz maintained that “the simplest solution would be to prohibit the display of the American flag at campaign events. I’m not talking about just the candidates’ rallies. The ban should include so-called independent gatherings of groups like the Tea Party or others that would be apt to want to show the flag. I mean, it’s not like using the flag is essential. Candidates can develop their own attractive logos like President Obama did for his 2008 campaign.”

Not wanting to be totally inflexible, the Congresswoman suggested that “other methods for offsetting this bias might also prove satisfactory. Every time a flag is displayed could be considered a ‘donation in-kind.’ This could be balanced by having the FEC mandate a transfer of cash resources from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party.”

Food Company Faces FDA Wrath

Diamond Foods was order to cease and desist marketing walnuts by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The order followed the company’s claim that eating walnuts is good for you. The fact that there is a considerable amount of research verifying the contention that eating walnuts carries substantial health benefits was deemed “irrelevant” by the FDA.

“The relevant fact is that Diamond’s claims were not approved by the agency,” said Malcolm Cheek, FDA Administrator. “The nation’s health is our domain. We are responsible for determining what is and isn’t healthy for a person to consume. Products that hold forth a health benefit must obtain our approval before they can be marketed. Diamond Foods did not comply with this requirement. Hence, their sale of walnuts is forbidden.”

Since the FDA has not previously ruled on the health benefits of walnuts, Diamond was invited to submit its product for testing. “From our perspective, walnuts, as such, constitute a ‘new drug,’” Cheek argued. “Their safety and effectiveness have yet to be determined. Diamond Foods would be well-advised to comply with our established procedure. Failure to comply opens them to the possibility of having their property seized.”

As Cheek put it, “we’re not entirely merciless. If Diamond Foods restructures its message to remove any content alleging any health benefit we will withdraw our order. If they want to say that walnuts are tasty or that a lot of people like them we’d probably be okay with that. They just can’t say that walnuts might improve your health. Even if that’s true, we haven’t authorized them to make such a statement.”

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