John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
So-called negotiations to avert going over the “fiscal cliff” got off to an unpromising start when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s presentation of President Obama’s “plan” generated audible laughter from GOP leaders. The plan calls for a tax increase of $1.6 trillion and elimination of the limits on federal government debt. In exchange for these concessions the President offers to consider whether some sort of entitlement reform might be undertaken at an unspecified future date if he deems it warranted.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) quickly labeled the plan “ludicrous” and “irresponsible,” likening it to “a demand from a drug addict for an increase in his allowance and access to a no-limit credit card.” “This is not a serious offer for dealing with the nation’s economic problems,” McConnell complained. “It’s a recipe for disaster.”
White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest characterized the Senator’s reaction as “sour grapes.” “The GOP had their opportunity to make the case for lower taxes and spending restraint during the campaign,” Earnest pointed out. “If their guy had won they’d have a case for insisting on a fiscally responsible budget. But he didn’t. Rather than rehashing a rejected message they ought to be cooperating with the President’s efforts to implement the will of the people.”
Huge Powerball Payout Inspires “Ingenious” Fiscal Idea
The nearly $600 million payout to the two winners of this week’s latest Powerball lottery drawing has inspired what Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called “an ingenious and painless way out of the government’s chronic debt crisis.”
Geithner’s “ingenious and painless” plan calls for the Federal Reserve to buy a minimum of $30 billion in Powerball tickets every week. “Over the course of a year this would generate a minimum of $1.5 trillion in lottery winnings,” Geithner calculated. “As the holder of more than 99% of each week’s outstanding tickets, the federal government would almost certainly win each week’s jackpot. The cumulative weekly winnings would totally cover the annual budget deficits.”
The Secretary congratulated himself for “pioneering a truly innovative solution to government finance. It would completely bypass any need for higher taxes or more borrowing. The whole ‘fiscal cliff’ thing would be blown away. In fact, if we wanted to provide even more government services than currently contemplated we could boost Fed lottery purchases to $40 billion, $50 billion, or whatever amount we wanted each week. A true ‘golden age’ of unlimited leisure for nearly every American would be within our grasp.”
President Obama is said to be “peeved” by Geithner’s proposal. “While I appreciate Secretary Geithner’s enthusiasm I am disappointed that he has lost sight of my number one fiscal priority: raising taxes on the top 2% of earners,” Obama said. “Using lottery winnings to cover deficits ignores our obligation to impose fairness in our nation’s income distribution system. Those who’s greed has driven them to take more than their fair share of the country’s wealth have to be made to give back the excess. I won’t settle for anything less.”
AutoZone Fires Employee Who Prevented Robbery
A clerk working in a Virginia AutoZone store thwarted an armed robber who is believed to have committed more than 30 hold-ups in retail establishments throughout the state. Bringing the thief to justice, however, has cost that clerk, Devin McClean, his job. Though the store manager credits McClean with saving his life, the clerk ran afoul of AutoZone’s “zero tolerance” policy on guns in its stores.
AutoZone spokesman Curt Chretin explained that “It’s a matter of corporate policy that the company feels very strongly about. Zero tolerance is simple and efficient. Rather than having corporate time and energy tied up trying to weigh the specifics of each incident on a case-by-case basis it is easier just to terminate anyone who violates the policy.”
“Consider that an attempt to evaluate a situation like this would entail numerous hours of effort gathering evidence, interviewing participants, and discussing options by high-ranking officers of the company. I think you can see that it would be uneconomical,” Chretin explained. “Why should the firm make such an investment to save the job of one minimum wage clerk when hiring a replacement is so cheap and easy?”
Chretin defended the zero tolerance policy as fair “because it applies equally to all employees and customers. I mean, it’s not like we’re saying it is okay for a robber to carry a gun into one of our stores. In fact, if he should somehow be apprehended it is also our company policy to permit any of our employees to take vacation leave to testify at any legal proceedings that may occur as a result of a robbery.”
Administration Opposes STEM Act
Republican efforts to pave the way for talented immigrants to enter America are being opposed by the Obama Administration. Specifically, President Obama is opposing the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Act. This bill would expedite the issuance of visas to foreign-born graduates with technical degrees from US universities.
The President characterized the legislation as “misguided. It would extend the benefits of residency and employment to highly skilled foreigners. This is contrary to my wishes and contradicts America’s promise. The beneficiaries would tend to be the most capable people from foreign countries. We should be encouraging them to return home to share their abilities with their fellow countrymen, not stealing them for our own benefit.”
“The people we ought to be bringing in are the tired, poor huddled masses that we promised to rescue,” the President countered. “We are a rich country. We have the wealth and resources to take care of those who are ill-fed, ill-housed, and ill-clothed in foreign lands. A comprehensive immigration reform that expedites the admission of these unfortunates will help us realize the dream of a more equitable redistribution of our riches.”
To further bolster the case for his comprehensive immigration reform package, Obama cited the plummeting birthrates among illegal immigrants. “The difficult economy has reduced the opportunity for those without the necessary documents to earn an income adequate to support their families,” Obama asserted. “This reemphasizes the need to establish a means for them to legally qualify for the many programs our society has to offer those in distress so they may more fully enjoy their human right to reproduce without fear of deprivation.”
Congressman Calls for Limiting Freedom of Speech
Representative Hank Johnson (D-Ga) demanded that the US Constitution be amended to strip businesses of their right to oppose government actions they deem detrimental to their interests. Johnson says that under his proposed amendment “the government would be authorized to block the airing of opinions that would tend to undermine the government’s efforts to achieve a more socially just society.”
“I’m not saying that freedom of speech is a totally bad idea,” Johnson said. “Individuals shouldn’t be prohibited from expressing their preference for, say, chocolate over vanilla or football over baseball. However, when it comes to issues that affect how this country is governed the airing of uncooperative views can throw a monkey wrench into our policy making decision apparatus.”
Johnson was particularly incensed by “businesses trying to persuade voters against the enactment of regulations for public benefit and rich people trying to prevent us from accomplishing a fairer distribution of the nation’s wealth. These corporations, these fat cats have the resources to buy ads on TV that could turn voters against progressive policies. We shouldn’t let out-dated attachment to free speech impede the march of history.”
Whether Susan Rice Misled American People Not Important
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says that President Obama is “not particularly concerned about whether UN Ambassador Susan Rice misled the American people on Benghazi.”
“Whether the average American knows what’s going on in foreign policy is not important,” Carney insisted. “I mean, even if John Q. Citizen knew what transpired in Benghazi what could he do with that information? Would he make a treaty? Send troops? Order drone attacks? Or ‘none of the above?’”
“Let’s face it, when it comes to using intel the average American has no basis for understanding anything,” Carney continued. “The President is the person they have elected to handle these kinds of things. Rather than trying to meddle with what he’s doing they should just let him do his job.”
Carney brushed aside charges that Rice deliberately lied in her public statements. “So what if she did,” Carney argued. “First of all, any lying would’ve been at the express direction of the President and Secretary of State. Ambassador Rice ought not be criticized for simply following the orders of her superiors in the government.”
“Second, lying to the people for their own good is something that every great leader must do from time to time,” Carney added. “In the 1940 election FDR promised that no Americans would be sent to foreign wars. He knew it was essential that the United States intervene in the war against Hitler, but if he had said so publicly he might not have been reelected. Securing reelection by whatever means necessary was his sacred obligation. President Obama shouldn’t be criticized for following this illustrious example.”
A Satirical Look at Recent News
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