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Home The Feuilleton of MilSan and MikWag How the Chairman Solved the Budget Crisis

How the Chairman Solved the Budget Crisis

In February 2010, President Barack Obama proposed his 2011 budget of $3.82 trillion with a projected deficit of $1.645 trillion. The budget did not pass by the September 30 deadline, and the government has been funded by a series of six continuing resolutions. On April 8, 2011 Congress was still dickering over $70M funding for Planned Parenthood, an amount representing 70/3,820,000 or 0.001832 percent of the total.

God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made the School Board -- Mark Twain

The chairman called the meeting of the Dover Board of Education to order and cordially yielded the floor to the superintendent.

— The projected revenue for 2011 is $9,679,319.41, — recited the superintendent, — and right now our budget is at $17,000,311. We just need to find another $311 to cut. Surely we can squeeze another 0.001832 percent...

— Mr. Chairman, may I be permitted to speak? — croaked a raspy throat and continued — I solved our problem last night. I cut all the line items in the budget into little strips, put them into a hat, and pulled them out one by one until I got to $311.

— What cuts did you pull out of your hat this time, Mr. Boner? — inquired the genial chairman.

The dark school board member’s eyes shone with delight, — We just need to zero out these books that the library wants on sex education, evolution, and climate change. They come to exactly $311. Then we’re done!

— I smell a rat — shrieked a pretty cheerleader representing the student paper, — Are you sure you...

— Scout’s honor — puffed Boner, slapping on another nicotine patch and adjusting his tie.

— Look, — said board member Reid, — I did the same exact thing that you did, but from out of my hat popped three pieces of athletic equipment: a football jersey, a pom-pom, and an athletic supp…

Impossible, — exhaled board member Boner, — I won’t permit any cuts for our brave students in uniform.

Board member Reid fished for three more strips, — Here’s library requests for Palin, Bush, and the complete works of David Brooks.

I'm so sorry, — purred the chairman, — Mr. Boner will only permit us to cut discretionary items.

— Why not raise the school tax by $0.01 per household? — suggested the cheerleader.

— Never! — moved the cyanotic lips.

— I can’t read lips — said Reid, — but if we don’t pass a budget tonight, the schools will shut down.

— So be it! The dark one thundered.

Close the schools over $311? It’s less than 1/10,000 of the total budget!

Coach Ryan says its way more than that.

Is our economics teacher, Dr. Krugman, here? — warbled the chairman.

— Present!

— Dr Krugman, what is $311 divided by $17,000,000?

0.001832 per cent responded the Nobel Laureate.

I mean in ten thousandths…

0.182 ten thousandths.

Thank you. Would you be so kind as to inform Mr. Boner that it is less than one ten-thousandth?

It’s less than one ten-thousandth.

Accounting tricks! Coach Ryan says it’s more than one ten-thousandth so I'm using the more conservative estimate.

Mr. Boner, if I may speak plainly and freely, we all know that you want to remove the books on global warming, sex, and evolution to energize your base.

That’s ridiculous! The people didn’t send me here for business as usual. The people expressed their will in the last school board election. They want cuts. I’m willing to abandon my proposal to defund those books and give the money instead to the Christian Students Association and let them decide which books to buy. I say we get government out of the students’ bedrooms.

You’re attempting to deny that you’re not directly going after these books, but we have to reject your proposal because it has the same outcome.

I object. I am making a good faith effort to come to an agreement over our 2011-spending plan and you are misrepresenting the issue.

Gentlemen, gentlemen.  May I remind you that we still have a deficit of $311 — sang the chairman.

Just a moment, — said Boner pulling another fortune cookie from his hat, — “You do not have a school cafeteria in your future.” Now can we recess for a smoke?

Mr. Boner — said the exasperated Reid, — you, Dr. Newt and Mr. Bushington got us into this mess last time you had control of the board. You lowered school taxes. Then you got us into legal problems over intelligent design. If you will recall, the district had to float a bond issue to cover the tax shortfall, legal fees, and penalties.  Now you're demanding concessions!   You want to eliminate the cafeteria?  What impudence!   We are not going to cross that line. And we’re not going to defund the books on evolution, sex, and global warming.

— Mr. Chairman, that’s nonsense — weeped Boner — They are grasping at straws to distract from the fact that they just won’t get serious about cutting spending.

— Gentlemen, it is 11:58 pm. If we don’t come to agreement in two minutes, it will fall to me to compose 4,231 letters to employees expressing our regrets. Mr. Reid, would you have me do that?

— I am willing to cut anything other than the books on sex, global warming, and evolution, and the cafeteria.

— Mr. Boner?

— OK. Give me another $20,026 in cuts and I’ll give you your damn books.

— Wait a second there, Boner.  In exchange for $311 worth of books you want to deprive the poor children of $20,026 of essential services? That’s extortion!!.. What the devil do you really want?

— They don’t need civics or history,— said Boner, and a smile floated up from his face.

— Mr. Chairman, this is outrageous, to save 0.118% we are going to sacrifice the future of the countr...

— Gentleman, — the chairman smiled, — compromise is the American way, and we only have a minute left to decide.  Perhaps it will be of some help if I were to read, off the record of course, the results of the Gallup poll of likely voters, taken this afternoon.   40% blame Mr. Boner's adherents and 40% blame Mr. Reid's for the crisis.   More than 120% of respondents said, and I quote, "Throw them all out." — The chairman paused for 10 seconds and added, — I guess Lincoln was wrong, you can't fool 120% of the people all of the time. — He paused another 10 seconds and added, Mr. Reid?

— Al’right, no more history and civics.

— We're all greed then?.. Pardon me, I mean, are all agreed?.. Splendid!  Unanimity truly touching!  A comforting example of agreement, based on mutual esteem, similarity of souls and of civic interests. Very well then, the meeting is adjourned. I look forward to next month, when we take up raising the ceiling that has been hanging over us. And may I remind everyone that we are already two months behind on our homework for the 2012 budget, which is due in September.