Curious talk of deficit hawks

I am sorry to report that my old pal, Professor Marmot Sinecure of Groundhog University (formerly College) in Punxsutawney, Pa., has gone over to the dark side.

I am sorry to report that my old pal, Professor Marmot Sinecure of Groundhog University (formerly College) in Punxsutawney, Pa., has gone over to the dark side.

Formerly a liberal, he spent his recent sabbatical not doing research but listening to Glenn Beck instead.

He came back to campus a changed man, having decided that right-wing political thought is impervious to reason and therefore unstoppable. He now believes his future is best served by using his own chalkboard to promote the conservative ideology.

Word of his conversion has spread fast, and this week he was asked to address the American Society for Useful Deficits at its annual banquet in New York City.

His lamentable remarks are an insight into the real situation in America, as revealed in a private forum of movers and shakers (motto: "We move, you shake"). Here is the transcript, with audience reaction in brackets:


Mr. society president, distinguished guests, members and other wealthy people: It is my great honor and privilege to address you tonight. As you know, President Obama ("Phooey!") has sent to Congress a $3.73 trillion budget that cuts many domestic programs (cheers) but includes tax hikes for the rich ("For shame!"). Mr. Obama calls his budget one of "tough choices" ("Awww!").

My friends, everything is going entirely to plan (wild cheering and hugging).

Those of you who long ago formed the theory of "starving the beast," by increasing spending while cutting taxes, predicted the glorious day would come when the federal government couldn't afford another dime's worth of the welfare state. Friends, that day is dawning! The beast is about to be starved (general swooning)! I see Grover Norquist out there in the audience. It was this wise conservative activist who famously said, "My goal is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."

Grover, the water is drawn. The bathtub is ready. Bring on the beast (blowing of whistles and horns)! Remember, this is the American Society of Useful Deficits -- you do not support any deficits unless they are useful in changing the political system in our favor ("That's right!"). Your deficits have been so useful that the government will soon have to be so small it can operate on the second floor of a Kinko's building, just as the Founding Fathers envisaged (chant of "American exceptionalism, American exceptionalism").

We have so many to thank tonight. Dear Ronald Reagan, who was able to criticize spending like drunken sailors even as he ran up the government's chit (reverential murmuring and adulation).

While the fiscal responsibility of Bill Clinton derailed the grand plan temporarily ("Boo!"), George W. Bush ("Never heard of him") came back to save the day with buckets of useful red ink. And what a card Vice President Cheney was when he said deficits didn't matter. Of course he knew they promote the starve-the-beast strategy. He is in an undisclosed location tonight, but bless him.

Now we have President Obama ("Phooey!"), who as a Democrat can't help himself in spending our money. He has swollen the deficit in his own socialistic way, and don't let those liberals tell you it was because he inherited a failed economy ("Excuses, excuses").

Obama has tried to lay a political trap by doing only some fine surgery on spending and sending the fat-laden budget on to our faithful butchers in the Congress, in the hopes that they will get the blame. This president just doesn't get it. This is the moment we have long sought ("Yes!").


I see some concerned faces in the audience. You, the gentleman in the tuxedo jacket and overalls -- one of America's great farmers. Let me just say that we are not going to bring depression to every rural Dairy Queen in America by cutting farm subsidies too much. And you, sir, the gentleman wearing the general's stars, there will always be room in our hearts for a military-industrial complex ("Hurray! Hurray!").

But are we going to turn into a nation of pseudo French people whizzing through the countryside in high-speed trains? Are we to coddle poor people with heating in winter? Are we to subsidize kids going to school in summer when they could be goofing off? ("No, no and no!") Finally, I would just like to thank the Tea Party folks for waking up to the deficit problem only when Obama became president, and also the American people for being oblivious to our master plan hidden in plain sight.

(Rapturous applause interrupted only by a strange moaning. Is that a beast or a poor child crying?)

Henry is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. E-mail him at .

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