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Song Parodies -> "Default (I'm In Favor Of It!) (Non-Partisan Parody)"

Original Song Title:

"Tonight (West Side Story)"

Original Performer:

Bernstein / Sondheim

Parody Song Title:

"Default (I'm In Favor Of It!) (Non-Partisan Parody)"

Parody Written by:

Tommy Turtle

The Lyrics

This OS and parody are more than twice as long, and several times more complex in structure (including multiple characters) than those of "I Put A Spell On You", which seems to be the default (heh!;) standard here these days. Therefore, I don't expect anyone to read it, much less vote or comment, except for perhaps the occasional unabomber.

Still, great care was taken to syllable-match TOS lyrics as much as possible (an art long gone, since even basic pacing apparently doesn't matter any more), so for those among the non-existent readers who DKTOS, reading TOS lyrics may help to understand and appreciate some of the substitutions.

The bottom line is: Both parties, with rare exceptions, have been digging us deeper and deeper into debt for almost a hundred years. There is no pain-free solution, but for some possible outcomes, see the bottom notes.


"Spend and tax: we'll elect and re-elect forever"   [1]
Is it wise? Foolish words! We'll give everything to you
Naught you need to do


Those bucks gushing so free; panacea!
What a blight! Money, bleed? Diarrhea!


Money, money...


Us, you too; it's the only way we know
Buy votes with cash flow, whoopee!


All the world owns us, from spending spree

[grandiose flourish, as in OS, then somber words from the heart]


Default, default
The only way to halt
Us owing what we ne'er can repay

No gold in vault   [2]
Both Left and Right assault   [L1]
Each postpones final 'wreck'-on-ing day   [L2]

Repay? In prayer, must have been kneeling
A miracle would happen
Some magic cure for plight

And here we are
All hosting Chinese flag with Red Star
Not bright!



OBAMA (whispered)

We cannot pay. Deal quickly!

BOEHNY [spoken]

Our grandkids, raid

OBAMA [spoken]

Seize!   [3]

BOEHNY [dissing him]

Good fight!


Boehner, coach us.


I'd love to


Cripes, man, hurry!
Mate, push the deal through!


Tuesday!   [4]


One more suicidal sop to toss Wall Street
Nancy Pelosi's   [5]


All thin air


It's closing in: 2012.




Hand, sleight?   [6]


Won't bite. [7]

OBAMA (calling after him)




Can you drum up a bit more?




What does TT stand for?


Balance   [8]


No more borrow, John-Boehn?


No more borrow, Obama

TOMMY TURTLE [resume singing]

Serves right: bind, tight
Fits well. Pols did not deem:
Foresight!   [9] [L3}

[1] A 1938 New York Times report quoted President Franklin D. Roosevelt's trusted advisor Harry Hopkins as describing Roosevelt's New Deal by saying: 'We will spend and spend, and tax and tax, and elect and elect."

[2] At the end of World War II, the US held about 60% of the world's gold reserves. By 1970, the US was down to 16% of the world's reserves. (See the footnotes in the parody linked in the last line of this parody.) In 2009, it was 6%. By now, I think the coins a few of us have stashed away are about it.

[3] Or to put it in the current euphemism, "increase revenues". Is that somehow different from "raising taxes"? If raising taxes is your policy, *own* it, Dudes!

[4] I. e., August 2, 2011, because the Doomsdate (not! - keep reading) is Wednesday, August 3, 2011, one week from today.

[5] Might as well work in as many of the players as possible, and it was *such* a perfect sub for TOS "Madam Lucia's" (same for the line above it). Or are such things even noticed any more? ... been away for a while.

[6] I. e. the sleight-of-hand juggling of the books that vastly UNDERSTATES both the annual deficit and the total national debt, by not counting what are called "unfunded future liabilities", by pretending that there actually is some sort of Social Security "trust fund" (hah!), etc., etc.

[7] The would-be lenders to the US Gov aren't falling for that any more ("won't bite" at that dangled bait), as evidenced by the predictions of all three financial rating agencies (Moody's, Standard & Poor's, Fitch's) that the US's top-notch AAA credit rating will likely be downgraded soon for the first time ever, *even if a deal is reached*, because of the obvious and repeated inability of the Gov to live within its (our) means.

[8] Not "balance" as in "let's balance spending cuts with tax increases", but as in doing what I, you, and every other individual and family in the world must do if it is to survive and prosper: BALANCE THE BUDGET. And run some surpluses, so that this $14 trillion debt (that's $45,000,00 per person for every man, woman, and child in the US) can at last start to be paid off.

[9[ As explained in the parody linked there, gold is real money, and paper is pretend-money. When that parody was written, on December 8, 2009, it took $1123 of paper money to buy one ounce of gold. As this is written, with Asian markets open, it takes between $1620 and $1625 paper dollars to buy one ounce of gold. That is an increase of about 44% in less than twenty months, or an increase of about 26% per year. That's how fast your paper money is falling in value.

Yes, this is a we-told-you-so. Yes, it's richly deserved.


It is *not* the lying scare tactics being thrown at you. I will speak very slowly, in words of no more than two sylla-bles (ok, "syllables" is three ;)

"Default does *not* mean not being able to pay *any* of your bills. It means not being able to pay *all* of them.

Pause and let that sink in, before we hold up the lies to the light of truth. (sometimes using three syllables)

Consider the many families who have lost their homes to foreclosure. Did they also stop eating? Surely there were a few extreme cases, but in most, those who had borrowed money that they could not repay (cough) , sometimes after borrowing more money one or several times ("raising their debt ceilings"), moved into cheaper rental housing, and kept on buying groceries, electric power, IPhones™, and the other necessities of life.

The POTUS tells you he will stop Social Security, Medicare, and military pay and pensions first. OK, but *that's his choice". He could -- and would, *trust me* -- pay those *first* from whatever money is available, and also pay the interest payments on the current debt. We can pay some of our bills, but we can't pay all of them.

Who gets cut? Well, the seventy-three gazillion Federal bureaucrats whose job it is to micromanage our lives. Don't just "not pay" them; fire them. And the entire IRS, the least cost-effective tax of all (cost of collection vs. amount collected).

This is why default would be great: We would *have* to make the cuts that all pols have been too cowardly to make for too many years.

Interest rates would rise, making it more expensive for the Gov to borrow money? Good. It *should* be expensive for the Gov to borrow money, so that they'll be less likely to do it, or at least, we'll tolerate it less. The Gov has been living in a fantasy land of unrealistically-low interest rates for some years now,. thanks to the Federal Reserve 'Board's "quantitative easing" (In English: Print more money, and lend it to the Treasury at rates that are near *zero* for short-term obligations.)

Nothing else will wake up the American people, and until they wake up, the pols will never change.

Songs linked:

[L1] Both Left and Right assault
[L2} Each postpones final 'wreck'-on-ing day
[L3} T's/FG's Foresight!

For lovers of irony, the author's first parody of TOS was about overzealous down-voting of good parodies, probably by those who couldn't meet the much-tougher standards of five years ago. Today, it's the opposite: Underzealous over-voting of mispaced, careless, sloppy, and generally poor parodies. In economics, Gresham's Law says that in any economy, the bad money (i. e., paper) eventually drives out the good (gold and silver). Could that apply to parodies and parodists as well as to money?

Should this turn out to be TT's last parody ever posted here (who knows?), I'd rather be remembered, not for number of parodies posted, but for having the fortitude to actually say something meaningful sometimes, and even more, for backing it up with facts. Plus giving a few people a few actual clever and punny laughs, sheepishly or otherwise.

© 2011 Tommy Turtle. All rights reserved. E-mail:

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Voting Results

Pacing: 5.0
How Funny: 5.0
Overall Rating: 5.0

Total Votes: 12

Voting Breakdown

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    Pacing How Funny Overall Rating
 1   0
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 5   12

User Comments

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Patrick - July 27, 2011 - Report this comment
The unobomber's evil twin, the 555 no commenter showed up first. As per previous announcement, I no longer vote numerically. No coincidence, I'm sure, "TT" resembles a balance scale. The Chinese are warning the feds to be careful about devaluation. Personally, higher interest rates would yield a better return on my savings than I'm getting now, when the govt can borrow from the federal reserve at -0%. I can picture Boehner and Obama and the rest of the gang running about shouting at each other, each demanding that the other do something to save their collective posteriors. They can't be (or maybe they can) be so stupid as to not know what is the right thing to do, but to admit it would be to repudiate a lifetime of indoctrination. It's going to take the equivalent of the Apostle Paul getting knocked off his ass/on his ass by a lightning bolt from above (Chinese missile test off the West Coast?) to bring about the needed "conversion". Your use of the word "diarrhea" echos John Barry's "Dung Crew" in DC from yesterday. Obama will have to pay the military first (defaulting on the Army has been a quick way to bring about regime change in other dictatorships, though I have a lot more faith in the integrity of the US Armed Forces to do what's right even if it isn't easy). Then you pay the welfare people who are young enough to riot, followed by the Social Security people who are likely to vote, should next year's elections be held on schedule. I could only laugh when I heard Obama tell Congress he wanted the debt limit extension to carry through past the 2012 election. Wow! How brazen! Remember Al Gore's Social Security "Lockbox"? One of the news networks actually found it. It's a file cabinet in a non-descript strip mall in Maryland. The cabinet, which has a lock, was filled with Treasury Bonds. In simple terms, I have to pay off the bonds, plus interest, before I can collect the money I paid in Social Security taxes. Will sign off for now to watch for further comments. Sometimes if I get too long winded I have problems posting the comment.
Patrick - July 27, 2011 - Report this comment
For those who have never heard of such a thing, go to a well-stocked older library and look up the 1928 World Almanac. Among the many statistics is a column for something called a "Federal Budget Surplus". This was said to be a regularly recurring stat. You can find it next to "Annual Hudson River Ice Harvest". We have "outsourced" almost all our jobs to China. Almost. I can think of about 536 more that could probably be done better by workers overseas. Anarcho-Libertarian convert to neo-reverse-Colonialism.
Old Man Ribber - July 27, 2011 - Report this comment
TT - This is a must-read! (If I could link, I'd send it to our elected misrepresentatives.) Also, written in wonderful style. Many people are unaware that the lyricist of West Side Story was a young Sondheim. Perhaps now the contrived comparisons between FDR and BHO will cease...I can't imagine Roosevelt using his Fireside Chats to alarm the nation and spread panic. Give us less BS...and more TT! ;D
Fiddlegirl - July 27, 2011 - Report this comment
555 for you, although I'm afraid you'll have to pay back 554 of it to the government.

Loved the clever matches throughout. Some faves: the "wreck"-on-ing day, your play on the OS "the world is a star" with the Chinese flag, and many lines throughout the dialogue. Too many to mention, but "Boehner, coach us" and "suicidal sop" were truly inspired! :)
Johnny Mercer - July 27, 2011 - Report this comment
Not to worry. As I once observed, the country's in the *very* best of hands!

The Treasury says the deficit is climing to the sky

And government expenditures have never been so high

It makes a feller get a gleam of pride within his eye

To see how our economy expands!
In the Middle - July 27, 2011 - Report this comment
Until the zealots on each side, get real...but then, they don't live in the real world, do they?
Tommy Turtle - July 27, 2011 - Report this comment
Patrick: No problem with anonymous Five-bombs here. although the feedback would be nice -- what they liked about it, etc. But as you say, the numbers are pretty meaningless these days, so it's the thoughts that count. (paraphrase of old saying about gifts.)
          I think comment length limit is about 3000 characters, as I've had to chop mine into two or three parts at times. Nice point about "surpluses", whatever they are. ;) And those 536 jobs are de facto being outsourced to China already: He who pays the piper calls the tune. When the Chinese finally own us sufficiently, they'll dictate to Congress and POTUS. This happened in the 1970s, with the Arab Oil Embargo. Suddenly, we had to play the game their way. The heck with the vote; thanks for the thoughtful comment.

Old Man Ribber: You don't need to know how to make links. Copy and paste the address (URL) of this song page, like this:
Oh, wait, I just copied and pasted it for you. ;) Well, copy *that*, and include it in the e-mails. (Like they really care what we think, anyway.) ... Nice point about FDR/Obama. Both lied, but at least FDR lied to try to reassure the nation, while O lies to try to panic it. Thanks for the comment.

Fiddlegirl: ROFLMAO!!!!! .... Thanks, I needed that! ;-D           OMG, you've just explained the unabomber! S/he is giving us our 555s, minus the Gov's 80% take off the top for withholding, Social Insecurity, Badicare, etc. etc. ... All this time, and who knew? xD
          You picked the author's three fave lines also. Coincidence? Hmm, maybe not. ;) ... and I knew that there would be at least one fan of B'way musicals, and films therefrom, who would "get" the switch on "Buenas Noches" and

I work at the bridal shop across the street
One more suicidal sop . to toss Wall Street ......... xoxoxo MUAH!

Johnny Mercer: "...the country's in the *very* best of hands!" Scary -- except that maybe we'd be better off if we were in the very worst of hands, given how the "very best" have done. William F. Buckley once said that he'd rather be governed by 535 names chosen randomly from the phone book (assuming eligibility). His point was that random choices would be an improvement over what rubbish gets elected, a point I thought very well made and taken. Thanks for reading and commenting.

In the Middle: "... they don't live in the real world, do they?"   Nope. There's some part of Mars called "Washington, D. C.", in which no one pays into Social Security (true), you get a huge pension after two years on the job, and in general, you find ways to exempt you and your colleagues from the laws that apply to the rest of us. .. Real world? They haven't a clue as to the daily life of the majority of Americans. Thanks for the comment.
TJC - July 27, 2011 - Report this comment

'T' writes, 'T's bright
Exposing hands of sleight
With puns these goons
are put in their place

'T' writes, 'T' bites
Incites with new insights
Going Vlad
Fanging cads in true 'pace'

Today, the web was
just an prose pit
Sad sites for me to scoff at
Til better'd he Am-Right

Returned you are
And what was just low
drek's Supra-Par

Good write, T's right
Sleep well and when we dream
Dream rhyme schemes

Tommy Turtle - July 27, 2011 - Report this comment
T-JC's had his say, tonight
And in his awesome witty way, tonight
As POTUS, Congress grumble: "Left, Right"
Financial status tumbles
What bumbling blight!

T-JC does a fine reprise, tonight
We gotta cut the budget's size, and quite
They're gonna raise our taxes, those hicks
But in our hands are axes
The best way to fix
Our plight!

Nice write, delight!
'Cause he is very bright
T-JC's AmIRight's shining star
Rewrite: nice cite
As I trash Gov tonight
What a plus! Spending stops, here, afar!
All day, the POTUS sneers and glowers
Those morons are so lowly
And still, no end in sight
My "moon", go bite!
And no more, Congress' pay: Oversight
Purse, *tight*!

TJC, I do believe you have a parody of your own there, though modesty prohibits me from suggesting that it be posted. (And if you believe that, you probably believe everything coming out of Washington! ;) ... come to think of it, so do I. ... naah, "Once a King, always a King, but one "Tonight" is enough". ;-D [1]

Thanks for the vote and syllable-matched!

[1] Verrry old cartoon-gag of a knight with a *drooping lance*, with the caption, "Once a King, always a King, but once a Knight is enough."
Andy Primus - July 27, 2011 - Report this comment
DKTOS (as is the norm when it comes to musicals) but I looked at a lyric sheet & found this to be very well done indeed, old chap.
How about a loan, from the Japanese, to pay off the debt to China? Then, in a few years time, India will probably be in a position to give you an even bigger loan which you could use to pay off the debt to Japan…etc, etc.
TJC - July 27, 2011 - Report this comment
Thank you and thank *YOU* sir!
And remind me never to get into a pissing contest with a guy who works for Flo-Max!
Tommy Turtle - July 28, 2011 - Report this comment
Andy Primus: Already on that path, Mate. At first, it was mostly US institutions (banks, pension funds, life insurance co's, etc.) who bought the Treasury bonds, causing John Maniac - I mean, Maynard -- Keynes to excuse the deficits and debt with the stupid toss-off, "We owe it to ourselves."
          That was idiotic when he said it, but now, we *don't* owe it to ourselves. As you said, we're playing the Ponzi scheme, also referred to by Higher Authorities as "robbing Peter to pay Paul".

Whereupon one wag quipped, "Any government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul." .... indeed.       As for your re-refinancing scheme itself, see the note about homeowners who did the same thing during the early 2000s rise in housing prices. They kept taking out bigger loans from a new bank to pay off the old one. One day, the house of cards collapses.... Thanks for v/c, and for taking the time to check OS lyrics.

TJC: Contest? What contest? ... I thought we were having fun batting it back and forth, just like in the e-mails and the two pro collabs - seriously!
          Ewe've always had a certain way that sparks inspiration in the reptilian brain (not sure that's a compliment, lol), as, say, the phone call that led to
"Iran's The Very Model Of 'Salaam' Islamic Tolerance."
... like someone else here, with whom any intercourse could inspire TT to string together a StrutOfVarious lines into a parody without fretting. (take a "bow", u-know-who-u-r)

Flo-Max? "Flow" is my middle name! Flow in the middle of the night; flow in between rest stops on the Interstate, flow in the middle of the hallway -- just pi**in' my life away!

intercourse (in·ter·course) –noun
1. dealings or communication between individuals, groups, countries, etc.
2. interchange of thoughts, feelings, etc.
FG @ TT - July 28, 2011 - Report this comment
I just want to point out, for the record, that I performed a mathematical calculation. In public. ;) Who says FG is just a one-trick pony? (...ponders whether that should be rephrased...)

As to the Unobomber, you may be onto something there! :)
Professor Henry Higgins - July 28, 2011 - Report this comment
Eliza DoFiddle:

Subtracting one is fun, out in the sun!
Out loud, I'm very proud of what you've done!

Now, once again, what's Five less Four?
"It leaves One! How's that, Hon?"
Each Congressman, a wh*re?
"Steal a ton! Honest: none!"

BOTH, in ewenison:

We'd love to give the Government a shove!

The budget debt: go stick (you know wherof)!

¡Go 'way!

Ms. DoFiddle, I qvell mit pride at my star student! :) :) ;)
(reflects well on the teacher, too! ;-D )

And I would take a one-trick pony over those horse's a**es in Congress any day! ;)
xoxoxo Muah!
Guy - July 28, 2011 - Report this comment
TT - You need to follow this up with:

"Never a lender nor a borrower be"

except change it up to:

Ever a lender and a borrower be...

I think that one of Mr. O's better ideas was when he coined the phrase"Shovel Ready" I think as good partiotic Americans we should take that advice from our chief and all be "Shovel Ready" because you never know when a federally elected official is going to be in range of that long handled spade that you carry in your hand.

A politician once said "Speak softly but carry a big stick".

I say be "Shovel Ready" and knock 'em outta the park with that long handled spade. That is what "Shovel Ready" means to this patriot. So it's:

Swing swiftly when carrying a long handled spade"

Brilliant write and well appreciated as oppossed to "Aren't" you gonna do another "Screamin' Jay Hawkins" parody soon? I can't get enough of that great SPELLing and pacing. And agreed with the observation made by "Don Tartaruga" seen by this writer earlier today - JAB this scribbler is not. I'm thinking some on getting back out here again.

I looked over the parody author's page today and I see a lot of the great writers have dropped off the grid. But there are enough greats still writing so I'll be in good company if I come back for a bit, just not the copious amount there was in the recent past. I really hope this is not your last parody because that would mean the site would lose another great. Hang in for a bit, I need to write a few and then "I'll be back". As always my shell game friend your work is superb as ever.

Oh, I charged the 5's I gave you on my Visa since I only have to pay the bills that I can afford not like it used to be when I had to pay all of them.
Guy - July 28, 2011 - Report this comment
An afterthought - Lionel Richie is the only one who should be allowed to "Dance on the Ceiling" because as BJ Thomas almost sang, "We're Booked to the Ceiling". Ciao, mi paisano.
Old Man Ribber - July 29, 2011 - Report this comment
TT is back and amiright's got him! ;D
Tommy Turtle - July 29, 2011 - Report this comment
@ Guy: Your wish is my command, even before you wished it. (Psychic powers? ;) For "Neither a borrower, nor a lender be", see:

Which I will go out on a limb and daresay that it will find favor with you also. Great to see you back. Patrick asked me if Gresham's Law (linked in the outro) could work in reverse: Could a massive return of the top echelon writers drive out the hacks, or at least, diminish their visibility and response enough to discourage them a bit? Maybe it could....

No worries about that Visa charge! With the current recession ("recovery" exists only in the delusions of politicians), I think I'm eligible for food stamps. And as Patrick noted, if forced to a choice, the POTUS will pay the welfare crowd first, because there are so many votes to be bought, and because they riot if you don't.

Thanks for the kind words, and I hope that Don Boccatesta is still with us and in good health. My respect to your entire Family, as always.
Guy - July 29, 2011 - Report this comment
Alas, Don Boccotesta went "Uncle Junior" on his consigliere when his trusted counsel failed to beat the rap on, of all things, a simple J-walking charge. "2-Loud" capped his left ear right off his scull. The counselor is somewhat greatful since he now receives sound bytes from "2-Loud" that are diminished by around 50%. Other than that the Don is in good spirits dispite the economic stall out. He's taken a renewed interest in playing bocce since everyone seems to be letting him win. I think the entire clan wants their facial features and appendages left undisturbed. Yeah, he's fine as long as he is humored. Thanks for asking.
Guy - July 29, 2011 - Report this comment
TT - I was telling my much better half about you and she wondered how an amphibious reptile could possibly write parody and do it so well at that. I told her that I shell find out for her from the "AR" himself and then she thought for a second and quipped, "If he lost his shell would he be homeless or naked"?
Apple™ Has More Cash Than The US Gov - July 29, 2011 - Report this comment
Just saw this blurb: As of this past Wednesday, July 27, 2011, the US Gov had about $73 billion cash on hand. Apple had about $76 billion. And as we all know, Apple is making money hand over fist, while the Gov is losing it and giving us the fist, the hand, and the finger.

Obvious solution: Replace the POTUS with the CEO of Apple; replace the Fed Reserve Board chairman with Apple's CFO (chief financial officer), and replace both houses of Congress with Apple's Board of Directors.

Hey, I say ditch the losers and go with the winners!

@ Guy: Glad to hear that Don 2L is well. The answer to your much better half's question is, "Yes". ;) ... and while parodying comes easily enough (turtles have very little else to think about), *typing* with these dang flippers is a beyatch - hence, so many typos! Upsides and downsides to everything...
Indebted - July 30, 2011 - Report this comment
Apple? What about the The Catholic Church? You know what they ought to do with churches? Tax them. If holy people are so interested in politics, government, and public policy, let them pay the price of admission like everybody else. The Catholic Church alone could wipe out the national debt if all you did was tax their real estate!
Guy - July 30, 2011 - Report this comment
Guy @ Indebted - With all due respect you have a good idea but unfortuately most of the RC church's real estate and taxable assets are not on US soil so how can we tax them? Albeit, they are themselves taxing enough if you have ever had to deal with them on their religous side as one of their congregants. Fortunately for me I'm a recovering Catholic. I saw the light as I have proclaimed in about a dozen parodies.
Tommy Turtle - July 30, 2011 - Report this comment
@ Indebted and Guy: The point was not to take Apple's honestly-earned cash. The point was that a successful private corporation (stockholder-owned) thrives by being prudent and wise; Gov has been neither; the results speak for themselves. It's true that no POTUS has ever had an education in economics or business AFAIK, and perhaps it's time one did, along with some of Congress.

And that a company without the power to *tax* people has plenty of cash; the Gov, with unlimited taxing power, spends even more and is deeply in debt, with no real way to repay.

IIRC, the Catholic Church once owned Wrigley Field in Chicago. I guess if they hold a mass Mass (heh!) there once a year, they can make tons of money off it as a baseball stadium and get a "religious exemption" from taxes.

"The power to tax is the power to destroy". So it is probably best not to impose an income tax on any organization that meets the common definitions of a religion. Too much room for bigoted discrimination, since the IRS code is 8 million words, full of loopholes and gray areas, and not fully understood by anybody. ;) But their property should be subject to the same property taxes as anyone else.

So yes on taxing the real estate. But most real estate taxes are by counties and/or cities, not the Feds. But then, the cities could quit begging Uncle Sam for money, so it still helps. And Guy, the holdings of that Church and all others in the US alone would produce a huge amount of revenue, even if we can't tax the Vatican, lol.
John Jenkins - July 30, 2011 - Report this comment
Very well done, particularly the “panacea/diarrhea” couplet (perfect subs for Maria!) and the wreck-on-ing day pun.

Regarding your comment that “no POTUS has ever had an education in economics or business,” President Obama’s predecessor had a Harvard MBA. Although most liberals considered President Bush excessively conservative, his advocacy of the prescription drug bill in 2003 and the TARP bail out of Wall Street in 2008 reveal a very imperfect understanding of economics.
Tommy Turtle - July 31, 2011 - Report this comment
@ John Jenkins: Sheesh! The media's "burning Bush" shouts were so loud and constant that yes, I did forget that Bush has an MBA. And that he is the *only* POTUS in history to have an MBA.

Perhaps his actions overshadowed his degree, as you point out. However, while the entire media and the current POTUS blame Bush for the housing crisis, none of them says, admits, or for that matter, probably even remembers that the Bush administration pushed for significantly increased regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2003, while the toxic loans were in full swing with Fannie and Freddie eagerly buying them up.

After two years, the regulations passed the House, but died in the Senate. In September 2008, the Gov had to take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Perhaps if the legislation had passed when Bush proposed it, the forthcoming crisis would have been nipped much sooner, and with much less pain.

Strange that one never sees that fact mentioned in regard to the housing and mortgage crisis and the resultant recession, nor when BO blames everything on "the mess he inherited", even when his entire campaign consisted of promising to fix it. It's worse now than when BO took office, of course.

One wonders: had this reform been passed in 2003, would the 2008 bailouts even have been "necessary"? Time will tell if historians will note this fact. Somehow, I doubt it. Historians have already been shown to have very selective memories. Thanks for the read/vote/comment, perceptive as always.
John Jenkins - July 31, 2011 - Report this comment
I agree, TT. The Bush administration wanted to improve the regulation of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in 2003 by assigning supervision to an agency of the Treasury Department. Unfortunately Democrats wanted to continue to have loans available to people who could not repay them and blocked the legislation. They also blocked efforts to reform social security, another problem waiting to explode that needs to be addressed sooner than later. So, yes, President Bush understood economics better than the current president and many other presidents, but he was unable to implement these reforms that would have mitigated current and future government-caused financial problems.
Tommy Turtle - July 31, 2011 - Report this comment
John Jenkins: Thank you for your return comment. Now, if only someone in the mainstream media would point out that it was the Democrats who insisted that the toxic loans continued to be made, and who blocked the Social Security reform years ago....

it would cut their feet right out from under them. For some reason, though, I'm not holding my breath waiting. Thanks again.
ShooTT The Messenger, Part 1 of 2 - August 07, 2011 - Report this comment
In the wake of Standard & Poor's downgrade of the US's credit rating from the top-notch AAA it's always had, to AA+, there has been much criticism of this rating change. Some have even threatened "legal action" against S&P. Uh, First Amendment right of free speech -- whatever happened to that?

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the credit rating agency Standard & Poor's showed "terrible judgment" in lowering the U.S. government's credit rating. Geithner said the agency's decision showed a "stunning lack of knowledge" about the basic math used to develop the federal budget."

It's Geithner, the Administration, Congress, etc. who show a stunning lack of basic math. For one thing, the $14 trillion+ figure for the national debt doesn't include the underfunding of Social Security -- the amount that *should* be set aside now to cover expected benefits payments. A recent estimate of this deficit was $50 TRILLION dollars, dwarfing the existing deficit figures.

Clearly, either SS will be cut -- politically impossible, and besides, I've been paying into it all along ;), or taxes raised, or more borrowing. All of which confirms that the US's present budget policies are unsustainable for much longer, adding to the justification for the downgrade, As S&P said, the deal that was reached
//did not address the long-term issue of a Gov continually running huge deficits and borrowing the difference.//

S&P also pointed out that the assumptions used to arrive at even the dismal picture painted by the POTUS and Congress were flawed: The "cuts" included alleged savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When exactly does that happen? Obama's campaign pledge was that all US troops would be out of Iraq "within one year of his inauguration", i. e., by January 20, 2010. It's 19 months later, and there are still 50,000 troops in Iraq. The war in Afghanistan shows no signs of ending or even winding down. Mythical savings.

The pols assumed an annual growth rate of the economy of about 3%, IIRC. It's been much lower than that for the first half of this year; the housing market is dismal and facing another million foreclosures added to the inventory; unemployment is higher than when BO took office; so future growth estimates by disinterested parties are much less optimistic. Going on TV and telling people that "things will get better", as BO recently did, does not actually make it happen. (No Messianic powers? Dang! Another campaign claim busted! ;)
Shoot The Messenger, Part 2 of 2 - August 07, 2011 - Report this comment
The unemployment rate is also vastly understated. For one thing, many people have simply given up looking for work and taken other options: move back in with parents or children, get roommates, etc. The Gov figures on unemployment count *only those actively seeking employment*. So those who give up disappear from the statistics. Very convenient for the pols. It's estimated that this would raise the actual unemployment rate by at least five percentage points, to 14+%.

For another, some workers have been cut back in hours from full-time to part-time. (TT personally knows of one such case.) These people are still counted as "employed", with no differentiation. This may be another 5% or so of the workforce.

The stats also ignore those who can't find work in the field in which they're qualified, and so take an entry-level job in a fast-food store or whatever, just to keep some money coming in. Sure, they may have been a computer programmer making $60k, and now make minimum wage, but the Gov counts them as "employed". No accurate estimates available of what percent this may be.

Add all these up, and we're probably about 25% or more short of "full employment" -- which was also the rate during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

In summary: The debt is understated; the current and future strength of the economy is vastly overstated; and as S&P correctly noted, there needs to be a complete change of direction in Congress and the White House to remedy these, and it isn't going to happen. Their assessment of the longer-term threats to the US's financial standing were spot on.

Some have tried to discredit (heh!) the rating agencies, pointing to the high ratings assigned to mortgage-related securities that later proved to consist of high-risk, poorly-secured loans to unqualified buyers. But the misrepresentation of the quality of these loans was by the original lenders and/or those who bought the loans and repackaged them as securities to be sold to investors. No rating agency can examine every one of the thousands of loans in thousands of such packages. They could rely only on what lies the sellers said about their product. The US Gov budget, spending, deficit, unfunded liabilities. and track record of vastly increasing borrowing are public knowledge, and that's enough to justify the downgrade even without knowing what other shenanigans the pols are pulling to hide the true picture.

It's Mr. Geithner, the POTUS, and about 3/4 of Congress who don't understand basic math. I do. Blaming someone for telling the truth is the ultimate act of cowardice and abdication of responsibility, and yet another step toward a dictatorship in which dissent and criticism of Gov are banned.
The Golden Truth - August 07, 2011 - Report this comment
See comment today re: gold trying to break $1700 now, up $100/oz. in less than three weeks, here: S&P didn't cause this. They've been warning for months, and Washington ignored them, as did the European governments that were also addicted to John Maynard Keynes' ideas of the "benefits" of deficit spending. I hope Keynes's ghost is proud of what he's wrought.
Missing Line Break - August 07, 2011 - Report this comment
Above should have read:

"See comment today re: gold trying to break $1700 now, up $100/oz. in less than three weeks, here:

S&P didn't cause this. They've been warning for months, and Washington ignored them, as did the European governments that were also addicted to John Maynard Keynes' ideas of the "benefits" of deficit spending. I hope Keynes's ghost is proud of what he's wrought. "

(sorry for the lack of clarity. Too much BS around to be able to see the keyboard clearly. Can't wait for "parody preview" capability next month! :)
Patrick - August 08, 2011 - Report this comment
Apple Computer has money because it limits its expenditures to those authorized by its corporate charter. It produces products people want, and sells to them at a price they are willing to pay. The federal government spends the majority of its budget on things that are not authorized by its charter (The Constitution), and produces very little except wars. If there were no fear of the Waffen-IRSS, just how much money would the feds collect, and how much would citizens voluntarily contribute to most federal programs? As for taxing the Vatican or the Rich, or any other more fiscally responsible entity, the feds would simply spend that money into oblivion and begin searching for another vein to suck. The Constitution needs to be amended to remove Congress' power to borrow. They have no authority to lend money, that should be curtailed, too. Under the original pre-1913 Constitution, the States were to support the federal government, not the other way around. That balance needs to be returned. Term limits are appealing but misguided. What we need is a rapid and effective means of recall. When Congress starts writing 2000 page bills under the cover of darkness, the people need to be able to step in and fire the whole bloody lot of them, now. Same for POTUS.
John Jenkins - August 08, 2011 - Report this comment
The one point put forth by Secretary Geithner that made sense was his criticism of past decisions made by credit agencies when they continued to give top ratings to securities backed by subprime mortgages. Apparently Mr. Geithner wishes that S&P had not learned from previous mistakes.
Tommy Turtle - August 08, 2011 - Report this comment
Patrick: Agree absolutely all around.

John Jenkins: Per the long comment,
"Some have tried to discredit (heh!) the rating agencies, pointing to the high ratings assigned to mortgage-related securities that later proved to consist of high-risk, poorly-secured loans to unqualified buyers. But the misrepresentation of the quality of these loans was by the original lenders and/or those who bought the loans and repackaged them as securities to be sold to investors. No rating agency can examine every one of the thousands of loans in thousands of such packages. They could rely only on what lies the sellers said about their product."

But your sharply-pointed spear hit the bull's-eye with "Apparently Mr. Geithner wishes that S&P had not learned from previous mistakes." .... LOL, except that there's nothing funny about this situation.

Thanks to both for comments.
Christie Marie M - August 09, 2011 - Report this comment
I got your message. Wow, it's nice to see another work from you again on this site. I'm also planning on working on parodies soon, but not sure when I'll complete it. It's in the works right now. Also, very interesting lesson about "default". Speaking of which, I had a pile of bills that were still not paid yet and oh, boy, if it weren't for my dad, I'd be deep in debt. Last time I was able to pay my phone and credit card bill. It's a wonder I still had money back then in spite of the fact I was out of work for the summer...oh, well, I return to work next week and boy, I'm going to have to pay back my dad now. Well, anyways, I really enjoyed your parody and I was entertained to have you, Barack, and Boehner "sing" through this ditty. Oh, another thing explaining the poor economy is the fact that I was watching the news on thieves looting department stores, convenience stores, and supermarkets. Very awesome job as always on this satire and here's $555 to cover losses.
Tommy Turtle - August 10, 2011 - Report this comment
Christie Marie M: Nice to see you again, too! ... Sorry to hear of your financial problems, but you're not alone - lots of people, and the US Gov. (Gee, I wonder if there's a connection! ;)

I think that looting was in London, but the "looting" going on in Washington for years is far worse! Thanks for v/c! (c = contribution :-D)
Julia Child - August 15, 2011 - Report this comment
Well done, TT. About as well done as the fine goose Congress and the POTUS have cooked for the American public. Unfortunately, a number of us seem to have lost our appetites.
Tommy Turtle - August 15, 2011 - Report this comment
Julia Child: Well-done comment, too! Quite the recipe you have for clever metaphors,: )

Yes, a lot of us are barfing at what's being shoved down our throats and up our .... uh, "being goosed with... :-D
        "What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander." Perhaps come 2013, we'll be able to take a gander at some new faces, instead of these horse's a**es. Thanks for the read/vote/comment.

p.s. :One pundit said today that there was only about a 20% chance that the "super-committee" would find and agree on the needed cuts by November. And that corporations are already making huge "donations", looking for quid pro quo exemption from their Gov contracts (mostly defense) being cut. Which means the auto-cuts would theoretically kick in. Except that the same pundit noted that Graham-Rudman had similar provisions, but Congress found ways around them Anything they can create, they can un-create or evade. Same ol', same ol'.
Congressman Barney Frank (D - Mass.) - December 01, 2011 - Report this comment
Mr. Turtle and Mr. Jenkins are correct.

In 2003, while the ranking minority member on the Financial Services Committee, I opposed a Bush administration proposal, in response to accounting scandals, for transferring oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from Congress and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to a new agency that would be created within the Treasury Department. The proposal, supported by the head of Fannie Mae, reflected the administration's belief that Congress "neither has the tools, nor the stature" for adequate oversight.

I said at the time, "These two entities ...are not facing any kind of financial crisis ... The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing..."

I also said then what has been called my "famous dice roll": "I do not want the same kind of focus on safety and soundness [in the regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] that we have in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision. I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidised housing."

We all can see how well that worked out. Of course, I was gambling with only the taxpayers' money, not my own. In fact, I continued to get re-elected. You certainly can fool a lot of the people a lot of the time!

Even in 2008, when any moron, or any dispossessed homeowner, knew that we were all in deep doo-doo, I said, "I think this is a case where Fannie and Freddie are fundamentally sound, that they are not in danger of going under. They’re not the best investments these days from the long-term standpoint going back. I think they are in good shape going forward."

Of course, these agencies have cost taxpayers billions of dollars, with no end in sight. Gee, I hope none of you bought stock in them...

In any event, I am very sorry that the current crisis was not nipped in the bud due to my opposition to the 2003 reforms, and to show my repentance, I will retire next year and live on my taxpayer-funded pension for my screw-ups.

In retrospect, I should have consulted Mr. Turtle.and Mr. Jenkins before taking any action, or making any statements, about the mortgage industry. I urge all politicians to do so in the future.
Kristal Balle - February 28, 2013 - Report this comment
Wow, was this parody ever prescient. A year and a half later, we're facing the same situation again, except that the national debt is higher by more than $2 trillion. And the same idiotic arguments are being advanced, with no one willing to cut the waste and bite the bullet to fiscal soundness.

The credit rating agencies have been vindicated, too, in their opinions that "... the US's top-notch AAA credit rating will likely be downgraded soon for the first time ever, *even if a deal is reached*, because of the obvious and repeated inability of the Gov to live within its (our) means..."   Yep.

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