The Parable and the Fairy Tale

I found myself yelling at the TV today while watching Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner telling interviewers what "we" (meaning the President's administration) are willing to give up to avoid plunging over the Fiscal Cliff. He talked about needing a tax rate increase (nevermind the ultimate goal of revenue enhancement).

He spoke to Chris Wallace of Fox New Sunday about the trillion dollars to be saved by not fighting two wars (that President Bush had already started ending), and how they want to increase beneficial spending on extended unemployment benefits (to help relieve the mortgage crisis {he actually said that}), $150B in infrastructure, and another year of payroll tax holiday and more.

Is this guy kidding? I have never seen as cocky and condescending an individual in politics as Geithner. No wonder Sen. Mitchell laughed at his proposals and Speaker Boehner called it a "silly" proposal that left him "flabbergasted".

It all reminded me of my favorite parable that I have created.
There once was a man and his wife. Both worked and made $50,000 each per year. Somehow, they had gotten hold of an American Express Black card and were using it to its utmost capabilities. They were spending $500,000 per year on luxuries such as home furnishings, personal services, new cars, flat screen TVs in every room, optional medical procedures and more. They were even giving some of the money to charity.
Every year, they were increasing their spending by 20%. They even had plans to purchase a new $1 Million home.
They were able to make the minimum monthly payment on their Black card by panhandling money from their unsuspecting friends and running up their other credit cards. They justified their profligate spending by bragging that the gardeners, doctors, restaurants, installers, merchants and everyone else were benefiting from their consumption. Hell, they were a veritable economy-stimulating duo.
Well, things started getting tight. They found it increasingly difficult to make payments. The wife was heard to complain that everything they were buying was necessary, so how could she cut anything out?
In order to make ends meet, she claimed that they had actually cutting their spending by 10% when in reality, they were just going to spend $50,000 more next year instead of $100,000. She claimed that she had also cut spending by $1 Million by not purchasing the house that they couldn't afford and didn't even need. PLUS, the promise they made last year not to refurnish their entire current home. (Oh, the sacrifice.)
Both of them had had difficult negotiations with their employers who had reluctantly agreed to increase their salaries by 4.8%, bringing their annual income up by $4,800 to $104,800 and they tried to explain that this pay raise was really a victory over "the man".
Meanwhile, they had developed plans to spend $150,000 per year over the next 10 years to shore up the bulkhead behind their house and upgrade their boatlift (and the boat) because that infrastructure improvement couldn't wait (and besides, it will stimulate the 'marine' sector of the economy.) 
And finally, they decided to halve the amount of city taxes they pay, since they didn't need as much fire and police protection as they had, since they were not having a crime and fire problem in their exclusive neighborhood.
You know, it looks like things are going to work out well for them, after all...
Can anyone tell me how we can expect the Republicans to enter into meaningful negotiations with Obama and the Democrats, when they would look at the story above and say, "So, what's your point?"



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