This interview was recorded at a meeting of the Society of Dour Armchair Economists (SDAE). The meeting (which was held in an undisclosed location) included a couple of journalism interns who interviewed founding member and SDAE
dictator for life chairman A. Curmudgeon. One of the two interns is now a Buddhist monk and the other has moved to a bunker in Idaho.
Q: Mr. Curmudgeon we’d like to thank you for agreeing to this interview.
A: Actually you’re figments of my imagination. Do continue.
Q: Is the government going to shut down this weekend?
A: Not unless I’m a Chinese jet pilot. Can you imagine the press’ whining if it happened?
A: Think about it. Airhead newscasters will compete to find and interview the most pitiful possible Government employee…
A: They’d unearth some poor schmuck who would have every possible level of victim. Not an EPA regulator or IRA auditor. People hate them and want to use them as piñatas. They’d interview a sad, poor, octogenarian, gay, vegan, janitor with post-traumatic stress disorder who’s laid off from working at a the Pentagon’s American flag warehouse.
A: It would be excellent theater. Five minutes after Social Security checks stopped flowing they’d interview him. Actually it would be a her. A black her. The interview would be on Christmas Eve. In the snow. They’d make this poor bastard stand in the snow without a coat and explain how miserable they are. It would have to be someone with who mentors orphans and has a one legged dog named “Hope”. It would be a weepy story. Maybe they’d cry. Yeah…then they’d cut to a picture of Newt Gingrich and say something like “The shutdown means Sara Sobstory here is going to have to live in a cardboard box, cook her cat for dinner, and sell her thirty six children for medical experiments to pay for the family’s iPod data plan. We at the unbiased media think this is all because those racist bastard republicans are lying on piles of gold. Now back to the studio for a story about how kittens love Socialized medical care.”
Q: Kittens love socialized medicine?
A: MY DOCTOR WORKS FOR ME NOT THE DAMN GOVERMENT!
Q: Are you ok?
A: I probably should switch to decaf.
Q: Back to the interview. When was the last budget passed?
A: Don’t you have Google? The last full actual complete real non-bullshit Federal budget was for Fiscal year 2010.
Q: That long ago?
A: That budget was over on September 30th 2010, fourteen months ago.
Q: So they’ve made no progress in fourteen months?
A: Actually it cleared the Senate in April of ’09. So it’s been two and a half years ago since the last “normal” budgeting…whatever “normal” means.
Q: But their job is…
A: …spending other peoples money. Beyond that politicians don’t do much. Of course some are more active than others. Several have been energetically hiking the Appalachian trail or starting money making enterprises. I think Nancy Pelosi was vacationing in her castle in Transylvania. And of course the President has been… well…Obamaing.
Q: Obamaing is a verb?
A: Of course. Politicians are like Muad’Dib. Their names have a clear meaning. For example when a used car salesman tries to sell me a piece of junk I’ll say; “Quit BARNEY FRANKING me.”
A: See? You knew what I meant.
Q: (Cringing) Weren’t they, you know, passing legislation?
A: Well most of the really obnoxious stuff is done through regulation now. Meddling in oil pipelines, shutting down off shore drilling, dinking around with raw milk, bitching about driver’s with cell phones, wiretapping, performing unnatural acts with the Fed, throwing cash at Solyandra, running Government Motors. THE CHEVY VOLT PISSES ME OFF!
A: They’re probably coming for ‘Vera’ next.
Q: I’m concerned about that rifle you’re cleaning…
A: That’s Vera.
A: Didn’t they tell you I was a paranoid lunatic?
A: It’s a gun. I’m clinging to it. I should really get to church more often.
Q: I just dropped my MacBook. Can we start again?
A: Sure. Mind if I sharpen this knife while we talk?
Q: Uhhh…so when was the last real budget signed?
A: July 22, 2009. Dude, you really don’t have Google?
Q: Google is too much work. So how has the budget process gone since the last “normalcy”?
A: It’s my understanding that Congressweasels and the Executive agreed on six consecutive stopgap spending bills.
Q: Wow that’s a lot…
A: And when the sixth one ran out they tried to duke it out in April of this year when the Debt Ceiling was reached.
Q: Government almost shut down then. It was terrible!
A: Damn straight. My tractor broke down that week. Sigh… my poor tractor.
Q: And the near shutdown…that could have been tragic.
A: Yeah…whatever. Stupid carburetor…
Q: About the government?
A: Oh yeah, the stupid party and the evil party stood toe to toe on principle. Then they jointly decided to keep spending because why the hell not? It was like watching Stalin and Hitler decide who’s more moral before joining Pol Pot in a three way.
Q: It was a compromise.
A: They punted by claiming a special committee would solve things in the near future.
Q: Makes sense.
A: No it doesn’t! Ever see a committee accomplish anything?
Q: Well I suppose they meant well.
A: No they didn’t. Anyway the ‘committee’ gambit only lasted a while.
Q: ‘Till when?
A: ‘Till now. Shutdown in t-minus a couple hours.
Q: Oh no!
A: Calm down. ‘Aint gonna happen.
A: Because Congressweasels really represent the people. Or at least some of them.
Q: And what do the people want?
A: Fucking everything! They want free stuff, no payoff student loans, subsidized mortgages, golden retirement plans for community organizers, war with everyone who pisses us off, light bulb regulations, electric cars, polar bear self esteem, taxes lower than spending, and a handsome president with good hair. Everything all the time forever and free.
Q: That doesn’t sound realistic.
A: It’s not.
Q: Now I’m depressed.
A: Join the club.
Q: But won’t they compromise and come up with a budget solution?
A: Maybe for a while but there ‘aint no such thing as a free lunch so they’ll have to do it again shortly.
A: Wait ’till I explain what ‘fiat currency’ means.
(Five minutes later both interns were terrified. One was banging his head on a wall and the other was trying to sell a kidney to buy gold.)
A: Relax, it’s not so bad. The shit isn’t about to hit the fan…it already has.
Q: That’s the good news?
A: Sure…if you’re going to be stampeded by fail it’s nice to see it coming.
A: It’s not permanent. Congress and the executive can get back on track. They just need better incentives. Given the proper incentives even debased immoral scum like the ones we continually vote for can rise to the occasion.
A: Sure. I had the same problem on my homestead. My chickens went apeshit. Faltering production. Fighting amongst themselves. Shitting on everything. Costing more than they were worth.
Q: Hmmm…that does sound like Congress.
A: I applied better incentives and now they’re at top notch efficiency. Improvement is always possible.
A: Sure. Let’s discuss it over dinner. My treat!
Q: Thanks. What’s on the menu?
A: BBQ Chicken.