President Obama recently gave his second State of the Union address and announced a number of measures he proposes to take to help bring the federal deficit under control. However, given the structure of entitlements and the growing cost of servicing the national debt, it will be a daunting task to reign in spending to a level where a balanced budget can be envisioned for the future. To help achieve this objective, the President called on both parties to work together for the purpose of stabilizing our country’s finances and returning the nation to prosperity.
The deficit has been accelerating for some years, and although leaders from both parties have repeatedly called for spending cuts, government expenditures have continued unchecked and the national debt now stands at more than 14 trillion dollars and is rapidly approaching 100% of Gross Domestic Product. Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf recently cautioned that unless federal spending is cut soon, the country could tumble into a serious fiscal crisis. Heeding the Budget Director’s admonition and realizing that a tax increase in the middle of a recession would not play well with their constituents, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) and fellow committee member Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) both called for a bipartisan plan to trim federal spending without delay.
Recognizing the extreme urgency of moving to stop the financial hemorrhage, the two legislators concurred that nothing short of a radical solution would suffice. They had both read a recent BBC news story regarding the considerable political influence wielded by the Romanian Witch Guild in its successful attempt to persuade that country’s legislators to abandon a controversial income tax that had been proposed for the purpose of boosting revenues by taxing several new categories of independent contractors, including witches, magicians, fortune-tellers and tarot readers.
The senators were cognizant of the fact that some years back there had been rumors that Nancy Reagan’s trusted psychic Joan Quigly had cautioned the first lady that spendthrift malevolent spirits were slowly possessing key government office buildings in Washington, including the halls of Congress. Although their presence was characterized primarily by harmless pranks, it eventually became evident that they were using supernatural suggestion techniques to render legislators powerless to vote against new spending bills and unfunded mandates to the states.
Acting upon the two senators’ recommendations and exhibiting extraordinary bipartisan agreement and collaboration, both houses of Congress overwhelmingly voted to provide supplementary funding to the United States Agency for International Development’s Regional Contracting Office in Budapest to travel to Bucharest to recruit the Romanian witches and issue them each a Personal Services Contract to come to Washington for the purposes of exorcising the Deficit Demons from the halls of Congress.
As soon as they arrived in the nation’s Capitol, the Romanian witches immediately went to work. Dressed in their purple ceremonial garbs that shield them from evil, the three set up their cauldron in the middle of the Capitol rotunda and proceeded to boil up a powerful brew consisting of swamp water from Foggy Bottom, dried Russian moles, soiled congressional laundry and old bones from long-forgotten skeletons secreted away in legislators’closets. They pronounced the requisite incantations as they circled the cauldron stoking the fire and stirring the thick toxic gruel. In a final gesture to seal the spell and command the spirits to depart the Capitol, the witches cast a mandrake root into the Potomac River. Within very few minutes, the effect of the witches’ spell was evident to all of Washington’s residents. In a scene reminiscent of the movies Poltergeist or Ghostbusters, the spirits were seen to depart en masse in all directions of the compass. The President and his Cabinet were in awe, and members of the normally restrained judiciary broke out into applause as the last spirits disappeared over the horizon. Within minutes, liberal and conservative legislators alike immediately saw the virtue inherent in fiscal restraint and responsible spending. Thanks to the Romanian witches, the United States was set on a course back to solvency and budgetary bliss.
Validating the long held principle that once government consultants are hired, they never go away, prominent members of Congress suggested since the Romanian witches had been so successful in bringing about a balanced budget, they will immediately consider Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s request that their contracts be extended indefinitely so that they can continue to produce spells that will keep inflation in check for the foreseeable future.