Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Fix-the-Debt is In

Drawing, for Munro Leaf's The Story of Ferdinand (1938), by Robert Lawson. Via Geocache.
The "Campaign to Fix the Debt", a self-publicizing organ created as a kind of benefit performance by and for the old vaudeville team of Bowles 'n' Simpson, has been sending me the occasional email ever since I attempted to troll them by honestly answering a fake "survey" on my feelings about the prospects of fixing the debt. There was one of those scrolling-response windows where you can watch your own little post appear at the bottom and then rise, magically, in the surging tide, and finally rapture out of the box; and glory hound that I am, I wanted to see mine there. I didn't: Fix-the-Debt had some kind of censor working that department, and negative things never showed, but back in the email department they still saw me as a customer and kept me on the list. So, in today's mail:

As fans prepare for the upcoming rivalry games, let’s all root for a victory over one of our biggest rivals, the national debt.
Take a look at the graphic and then share it with your fellow fans!

Let's see, how does this work? It's Thanksgiving, right, so Congress must be playing football, and it's alleged that they have been punting. Which they shouldn't, because the clock is running. This is no time to punt.

See, the trouble is, the graphic does not suggest that they have been punting. It suggests that we have been pretty much stuck in our own end zone since the end of 2010, when the Democrats lost the House and the Fiscal Commission (Bowles 'n' Simpson, in their original hit movie) failed to have any effect. I guess old John Boehner has been your wide receiver since he took over the Speaker's gavel in the following month, and whenever quarterback Obama throws, that's when they gain zero yards; whereas when Obama runs with the ball they get a little somewhere. But you can see we always have the ball. I don't quite get what our hated opponent, the National Debt, has been up to, but it seems as if even though we don't make any progress from play to play it's always our first down.

Meanwhile, and this is where it gets spooky, the goalposts have been moving towards our guys, year by year, from $4.5 trillion away at the Bowles 'n' Simpson outset of the game to $2.2 trillion today, poised at the 50-yard line. It's right there in the graphic, so it has to be part of the analogy! So how the fuck did that happen?

Well, I may not know much about football, but I do know something about human nature, thanks in part to my reading of Charles Dickens (as I have pointed out, with reference to Bowles 'n' Simpson, in an earlier effusion), and the social sciences too, and it seems pretty clear that the less yardage we gain, the closer those goalposts get. And also that in spite of the admonitory groans of Bowles 'n' Simpson, the National Debt is not playing! It's just lying there on the field, supine, whether critically injured or simply totally uninterested. Like Ferdinand the Bull with his flowers, it could be that the National Debt is refusing to compete, indolently sniffing the Astroturf.

As to the assertion that the clock is running, I'm not feeling it. In fact considering that shrinking distance I believe time is on our side and our best bet is to wait this thing out. Take a knee!

The great Tom Tomorrow, via EatTheState.

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