Working Families Fight Back!

Some budget tips from on high


I repeat, this is not a partisan issue. It's a matter of making government exercise the same kind of financial responsibility that every American family does.
— President Ronald Reagan in 1982, discussing a proposed balanced budget amendment

Spouse, sons and daughters, distant relatives, assorted hangers on, mooching brothers in law:

Our family is called to great responsibilities. And we are rising to meet them.

As we gather tonight, bills for food, education, and home entertainment are piling up. Our credit cards are being rejected all over town in a one-household war on poverty. Third, fourth, and fifth mortgages are being actively ignored, and even our once-patient creditors from Ross Dress for Less have informed us that we are no longer welcome in the halls of that august institution. By compounding these gargantuan debts with yet more debt, we are securing prosperity for our future, and planting the seeds from which mighty oaks of familial contentment may someday grow.

Tonight, we may all reflect with swelling pride and humble vigor on the great works of compassion and reform that skeptics had thought needed to be paid for. You are raising the standards of our hearth and home and the reputation of our sons, daughters, nieces and nephews. Our cigarette boat furrows the waters of our local marina, while my Hummer, painted a tasteful taxicab yellow and parked discreetly at my brother's place two towns over, has escaped our enemies' repeated efforts at repossession. Meanwhile, our in-ground swimming pool, while unfinished again this year, excites in our neighbors naked envy and a determination to do better in their own lives.

I know that some people, even in this very chamber, question whether piling up such luxury items on heaps of balances due is the wisest course for our family. They note that I have never actually flown in my private jet, and that having a professional-grade kitchen remodeling was a piece of needless frippery, since we eat out every evening. To them I say that Wolfgang Puck himself would be awed by our new sun-dried tomato storage facility. A few years ago we were making do with a George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine; today, our obese and elderly family members can choose from a full menu of deftly prepared, Atkins-approved dishes.

We have faced serious challenges together—and now we face a choice. We can go on spending like drunken sailors and fudging our accounts—or we can turn back to the dangerous delusion that balanced checkbooks and fiscal responsibility will earn us the easy living to which we are accustomed. We can recognize that bill collectors and repo men are motivated only by jealousy and hatred of our way of life— or we can turn back to the divisive policies of belt-tightening and penny-wisdom.

There are others who object that my latest family budget is dangerously incomplete, that it defers hard decisions and does not include the most expensive items we pay for each month. To these nattering nincompoops of naysaying, I reply with pride: Says me! You shall not crucify our elderly relatives, our knock-kneed great-uncles and diapered grandfolks, upon a cross of mortgage payments. Our expenses for housing, medical coverage, property taxes, education, credit cards, insurance, even food and clothing, are indeed off the budget—I have placed them securely in a lockbox beyond the prying eyes and sticky fingers of financial planners.

Yet our budget is sound and savory, including as it does not only our entire budget for toiletries but several of the high-ticket newspapers my idiot nephew reads to me, in stentorian tones, each morning on our tastefully appointed veranda. By the year 2007, our fiscal austerity package will have transitioned nearly 50 percent of our multivitamin purchases to generic labels.

Some carping complainers of caterwauling would have it that this was not the appropriate year to purchase costly time shares in a swanky mud spa outside Carson City. Fie on't, I say! For these very spas were a favorite getaway spot for President William McKinley himself—and the sight of our 25th chief executive luxuriating Adam-naked among the healthful minerals of the Silver State was considered impressive and delightful by all Americans, man and woman alike. Moreover, our purchases come with a generous package of in-network vacation trading credits, ensuring hours of salubrious recreation for the wrinkly parasites who people our family's more advanced generations.

Finally, there are the dithering dickheads of defeatism, who object that our budget is based on unrealistic estimates of future revenues. To them I say, if Powerball is so unrealistic, why are millions of Americans playing?

In laying out this budget, I have followed the example of our ancestor of sainted memory, who proved that deficits don't matter. But we face new challenges, and we must rise to them. Even as our younger male children have excelled in sporting performance and muscular density, they have fallen behind in deportment and testicular development. Tonight I call on each of you to contribute whatever disposable income you have to a fund that will keep my sons off steroids for all time. In the linen closet you'll find a Danish cookie tin with a masking tape label reading "Say No Fund." Please give generously.

I know that some of you fear I am merely running up tabs that I and my aging cohorts will enjoy, while sticking my children's children with the bill. I can only point to a note I recently received from my eight-year-old daughter Ashley, who asks, "Other kids all got new clothes for school this year. What can I do to at least get two square meals a day?" Well, Ashley, you're already doing it. You've made us all so proud; and when you get off that nasty little keester of yours and bring in some first-prize money from the Junior Miss Pageant, you'll be helping out the family too. Godspeed!

Good night, and may the Almighty shed his grace on ourselves and our posterity.