Fiscal Lubrication

For those of you lulled into complacency by auspicious
recent events such as Britney’s brief
flirtation
with lucidity, it’s important to note that, not only is the
entertainment industry still pumping out fucking loons
at a heretofore unheard of pace, but our politicians are providing ample
evidence of a world view so profoundly divorced from reality that it’s likely
only a matter of a few short days until Gov. Pawlenty declares "Blame it on the
Rain"
our state song and Speaker of the House Margaret Kelliher declares her
undying love for Michelle Bachmann’s fabulously taut ass. In other words, take
heed, Minnesota denizens, for the Oh Shit meter has gone from a subdued puce to
an alarming ochre.

And what has triggered these dire portents? What could
possibly be serving as the harbinger for yet another pending apocalypse? The
answer is disarmingly, deceptively simple – nothing more, or less, than the
overwhelming demonstration of the profound stupidity endemic to all levels of
our representative democracy.

These portents have appeared at a furious pace as of late. John McCain’s assertion that Purim is
the Jewish Halloween
, thus disappointing a highly influential voting block
as they continue a hallowed tradition of offering a big "Fuck you" to yet
another culture that tried to annihilate them, was only the beginning. And Dick
Cheney’s apparent pleasure at providing a big
"Fuck you"
to the American public as polls indicated two-thirds of
Americans disapprove of the war in Iraq was just a cherry on top of the mountain of asshattery displayed whilst our policy-makers grandstand and
pontificate on how best to take advantage of the economic reaming the average
American feels
they are about to receive
.

To address the assembled citizenry’s fervent desire for
fiscal lubricants to ease the anticipated pain, Obama and Clinton
have released their economic stimulus and oversight plans. McCain, of course,
is standing pat, toeing the GOP line as he has for the last few years and
stating that the check going out to taxpayers in May, not to mention the tax
breaks for businesses that will surely convince them to invest in added
infrastructure while consumers aren’t buying anything, is plenty to arouse the
economy and stimulate a good old-fashioned consumer orgy.

What baffles me, however, is that the plans put forth by
these august candidates are, for the most part, predicated on becoming
president despite all three having plenty of legislative power. And since statistically, recessions are generally over within a year to a
year and a half, meaning any fiscal policy levied after scoring the presidency
won’t take effect until January of 2009. Much like downing the morning after
pill nine months after the condom breaks, that’s long after it could possibly
do any good.

Then you might think to yourself, "At least our local
legislators, staunch realists like Marty Seifert and the Iron Range’s Tom "The
Sex Hog" Saxhaug, are carefully balancing Minnesotan needs against the harsh
reality of the budget deficit threatening our government services and
benefits". If you were harboring such thoughts, you may want to relieve
yourself of them via repeated
blows to the cranium
with a blunt object, since you’d be laughably wrong. To
address the state’s approximately $1 billion deficit, GOP legislators offered a program
of cuts to higher education, dips into the state’s rainy day fund, and
bizarrely, a token tax cut to make Minnesotans feel better about the panty raid
Gov. Pawlenty proposed on the state’s health care access fund and budget reserves. DFLers universally
derided the deficit fix, calling the proposal shortsighted and damaging. House
Majority Leader Tony Sertich went so far as to say, "Everyone knows people from
Eagan are twats. And Tim Pawlenty is a twat among twats. The alpha and the omega of twats, if you will."

One might imagine the DFL, after such an ideological salvo,
would come back with a solution to the state’s budget woes. A solution that
would salvage programs to salve the economic doldrums afflicting our state’s
citizens whilst securing Minnesota’s solvency for the biennium and beyond.
Sadly, it seems we’ll sooner see Michelle Bachmann in an Amsterdam donkey show
than have a budget proposal that actually addresses the real issues facing the
state. The budget that the DFL’s greatest financial minds came back with dips
even further into the rainy day fund. And while the $23 million in extra
education spending is nice, the proposal doesn’t provide any details on the
program cuts necessary to cover that spending. Nor did they make any attempt at ensuring solvency in the next biennium. Much like the Pawlenty
administration and inflation, reality and the DFL have never quite meshed.

Frighteningly enough, the group we must look toward for
fundamental change in our fiscal policy is the Bush administration. They’ve
bailed out Bear Stearns despite outcry from left and right, thus avoiding a
repeat of the market crash that triggered the Great Depression. And we’ve
already seen some small changes – allowing the Federal Reserve and treasury
some additional oversight of investment houses and mortgage originators. But
more meaningful changes, changes that will allow the hand of government to wrap
itself around the balls of America’s financial system and give a great tug when
necessary are not yet forthcoming. Can an administration that has spent the vast
majority of its time in Washington on a ranch in Crawford, TX or up its own ass
aggressively move to create meaningful legislation? Can a man whose sole method of
reassuring the public that the economy is in good hands consists of letting us all know
the government worked over the weekend
actually trigger substantive change?

Yeah, I know. We’re fucked. But I, for one, welcome our new
Chinese overlords, and will enjoy receiving the benevolent treatment afforded
all China’s provinces
.