No other way to say it

From the Onion:

WASHINGTON—A day after signing legislation that raised the government debt ceiling and authorized steep budget cuts, President Obama thanked Democrats as well as Democrats for their willingness to make tough, but necessary, concessions during negotiations. “I’m truly grateful that both Democrats and their Democratic counterparts were able to reach this consensus, accepting an agreement that is far from perfect not just for Democrats, but also for Democrats,” Obama said Wednesday of the deal that cut federal spending $2.1 trillion over 10 years but included no revenue increases of any kind. “Lawmakers from across the political spectrum—from moderate Democrats to the more liberal members of the party to dyed-in-the-wool progressives—reached within the aisle and showed the nation that compromise requires real sacrifice from everyone.” Obama added that while it may look ugly at times, politics is about Democrats giving up what they want, as well as Democrats giving up what they want, until an agreement can ultimately be reached.

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  • Daniel

    LOL. Good thing we have Democrats on the job!

  • Yeah, Daniel. I’m still laughing on this one.

  • I love the Onion. This is the best alternative view I’ve seen so far (it’s been 2 days now?) on how Obama actually out maneuvered Boehner and the Tea Party…

  • T

    That’s hilarious.

    But guys, in fairness, the Tea party Repubs did give up requiring a contstitutional amendment as part of the package. 😀

  • Hey, in Canada we’ve already figured out that balancing the budget is important: in an election it’s the issue that matters above all the others, whether you’re a Liberal or Conservative. We’ve also figured out that tax breaks attract business. If you have any trouble figuring out your priorities down south, we can loan you our finance minister.

  • TJJ

    Another parody that is so close to reality it is funny and sad at the same time.

  • Susan N.

    Speaking of cynical… I alternate between outrage and depression. I know that if I keep working through the stages of grief, I’ll reach a state of acceptance. “Compromise” and “shared sacrifice” — not in the world of politics, I’m afraid. Death-dealing powers and principalities: test the spirits. Yup!

  • RobS

    Funny article… and yeah, maybe a Canadian finance minister or two to teach a class would be good! 🙂

  • JST

    I would cut off a finger if I could get my family to agree to move to Canada. There is not an ounce of patriotism left in my soul. I have a fundamental moral conflict; being a US citizen, paying taxes and being part of this economy means that I am supporting the incarnate and growing evil that is our nation.

    Slow clap for Congress:

  • Steve Billingsley

    It was certainly a huge sacrifice not to raise taxes and to agree to flimsy cosmetic cuts. What a moronic article! Keep whistling past the graveyard and assuring yourselves of your reasonableness.

    We don’t have a revenue problem…we have a spending problem.

  • albion

    Steve: It’s a parody. Hope that helps.

    And we don’t have a spending problem, we have a character problem and an ideological rift as deep as the grand canyon. There is no longer any sense that politicians might work for the common good because no one can agree on what the common good might be.

    It’s ironic that my evangelical Republican friends seem to have embraced an Ayn Rand view of reality that, to my mind, seems antithetical lto the kingdom of God. But there it is. Every man for himself.

  • Kenny Johnson


    When you want to provide a nice home, good schools, a college education, clothes, healthy food etc to your family and you can’t — is that a spending problem or a revenue problem?

  • DRT

    It reminds me how the Repubs and Tea Partiers gloat when reports are that Dems are not happy with Obama. They assume that means they are coming toward their way of thinking and they could not be more wrong.

  • Napman

    #12 Not sure what you mean, Kenny. If the federal government is responsible for providing all this to each of its citizens, no amount of spending will be enough. If you are referring to citizens providing these things to their own families there often is a disconnect. The disconnect is not always on the revenue side, however; not every family holds these priorities equally, or at all.

  • Robin

    The president did get the primary thing that he wanted… A guarantee that he won’t have to deal with this again until after his campaign. He was willing to do almost anything for that.

  • albion

    Robin: Interestingly, the President didn’t want this fight to begin with. When US Senators decide that it is acceptable to risk the full faith and credit of the United States as a negotiating strategy to get what they want, you have a moral failing (we will not pay the bills we’ve already incurred in order to get what we want) which leads to a political crisis which leads to a financial crisis. And the stock market is now reacting to the whole ugly thing.

    When the President capitulated by agreeing to negotiate on these terms, he got nothing but an agreement not to deal with the debt limit til after the election. But he will most assuredly have to “deal with this again” because “this” turns out to be a kind of negotiating strategy which is not burdened by the idea that the greatest nation on earth should keep its financial promises. Think about that. The “statesmen” in Washington who would take this approach to negotiation are shameless. But the shameless will continue to take whatever the weak will give them. And that says something about the Democratic leadership in this country.

  • Robin


    I agree that the idea of a debt ceiling is ridiculous. I also believe that allowing any entity to operate perpetually in deficit spending is more ludicrous. There simply needs to be a balanced budget ammendment that requires revenues to equal outlays.

    This wouldn’t just ratchet spending down, it would also say “you want all those pretty new buildings and tax expenditures for your buddies…find the revenue to pay for them.” No more of “we’ll find the revenue to pay for it next decade.”

    For those of you who are Keynesians, James Buchanan (Nobel in Economics) has proposed a novel idea to the balanced budget amendment…an unbalanced budget amendment.

    Since Keynesians believe that when the economy is shrinking it needs to be stimulated with government spending (instead of having government contract due to a recession in revenues) he proposes an unbalanced budget amendment which would require that whenever GDP growth is positive, the government is required to spend less than its current revenues, and whenever GDP growth is negative, it is required to spend more than baseline revenues.

    The sizes of the spending gaps could be linked with the growth itself. 5% GDP growth could mean spending 5% less than revenues, with the rest going into a rainy day fund. A 4% drop in GDP could correspond with 4% deficit spending.

    It also has the virtue of a BBA in that it keeps spending and revenues closely linked. No more taking in $1 in revenues and spending $1.50.

  • albion

    Robin: BBA might have been a nice idea 10 years ago when we had a surplus. But we’re on the precipice of another recession. The last thing we need to be doing is adopting policies that contract the economy. That’s what this congress just did.

    We’ve lost 500k public sector jobs in two years. An anemic stimulus saved private sector jobs but did not create new ones. The idea that cutting government spending produces jobs has no basis in reality. At least Keynesian economic theory has the virtue of actually working in practice.
    When the Democrats capitulated to the notion that the deficit is the most important problem facing the country, the future was lost, to coin a phrase.

    The republicans, or at least the tea party wing that now controls the terms of the debate, seem to believe that by reducing government spending on the brink of a recession, something magically wonderful happens. Jobs appear out of nowhere. Businesses sitting on billions of dollars begin spending it again. But it looks like the rest of the world agrees, judging from the stock market sell off.

    The BBA is a chimera. The real issue is jobs and the confidence jobs bring. With the debt ceiling fiasco, it’s almost certain that the economy will contract, unemployment will rise and their will be many more people to share the misery. In tying their hands with this debt ceiling bill, Congress has explicitly given up on Keynesian theory.

    So we’re getting smaller government and hat should satisfy the folks who think government is a positive evil in the world. But the cost of ideological purity is catastrophic.

  • Robin


    Apparently you didn’t read my post because I specifically talked about a unbalanced budget amendment that would provide extra revenues during downturns.

    Also, my main preference isn’t for smaller government, but for a government that lives within its means. If we want $3 trillion in spending we should raise $3 trillion in revenue, and if the Democratic House and Senate in 2008 didn’t have the stones to raise $3 trillion in revenue, they shouldn’t have made $3 trillion in outlays.

    It is different with divided government. There is never concensus on raising revenue, there is almost always concensus on spending more. It is because of that dynamic that we need a mechanism to tie legislators hands.

  • Susan N.

    JST (#9), I used to think that about Canada too. Last summer, we diverted briefly from a family visit in MI to see Niagara Falls. Drove up through Ontario Province. My romanticized vision of Canada wasn’t anything like what we actually saw. Miles and miles of interstate surrounded by farm/woodland, then cold, industrial/retail centers, and finally, Niagara Falls — a beautiful natural wonder which has been so commercialized (spoiled in my opinion). Maybe I need to get more off the interstate? See some other provinces…big cities — Toronto? Quebec? Vancouver? After that disappointing encounter with Canada, I figured I’d stay here. Never so glad to cross the bridge back to the USA side. I love so much about this country — the diversity of people and geographical/cultural regions. The politics is so depressing right now. On a positive note, the powers-that-be apparently got the FAA workers back on the job. (Glimmer of hope.)

  • Susan N.

    But, Canada has doughnuts galore, and fries poutine. If the surroundings (view from the Interstate and tourist traps) seem bleak, one can comfort him or herself with doughnuts and fries+cheese curds+brown gravy!! I had to try it just once, to say I had eaten fries the Canadian way 🙂

  • albion

    Robin: Guess we’re talking past each other. I read your post but the unbalanced BBA is dead on arrival. It gets back to the point I made earlier. When one major political party has become ideologically opposed to taxation, which is about where they are now (Obama offered 3 dollars of spending cuts v. one dollar of revenue and that didn’t satisfy the tea party), no balanced budget amendment has any chance of passing.

    In any event, I don’t think that in the near term the deficit is the biggest problem facing the country. It is (and has been since 2008) jobs. And now there is precious little any one can do to create them, thanks to this dysfunctional congress.

  • Grupetti

    Comment by albion — August 5, 2011 @ 9:33 am:
    “In any event, I don’t think that in the near term the deficit is the biggest problem facing the country.”

    One thing that has devastated our economy is the loss of manufacturing jobs. There is one manufacturing segment that is safe – for now. Regarding the so-called deficit problem, if we could just figure out how to tax manufactured crises, we could solve our economic problems.