Tuesday, July 11, 2006

U.S. Holds Going-Out-Of-Business Sale

WASHINGTON, DC—In an address broadcast on late-night television Tuesday, President Bush announced that the federal government will liquidate its holdings in a going-out-of-business sale scheduled to begin Friday.

After 200-plus years of service, the U.S. government is closing its doors.
"The U.S. government, America's place for law and order since 1776, has lost its lease, and everything must go, go, go," Bush said. "But our loss is your gain, and make no mistake: You, the people, would be crazy to miss out on these amazing closeout bargains."

The Washington-based government, which hasn't shown a profit in five years and carries the highest debt in its history, was ultimately driven out of business by costly overhead and cheap foreign competitors. As a result, Bush said, everything—from flag stands and Capitol cafeteria flatware to legislation dating from the early days of the republic—will be marked down 30 to 90 percent.

"Get yourself a piece of history, or just stock up on your favorite items—whatever it is, chances are we've got it," said Bush, wearing a 10-gallon hat and standing before a chroma-key background of the National Mall as a list of federal items and their discounted prices scrolled down the screen. "But act fast, because deals like these will not last."

The White House Press Secretary told reporters Tuesday that the millions of "useful and collectible" items on sale will appeal to collectors and office-supply bargain hunters alike.
"Gently used Capitol police vehicles, $899.99," McClellan said. "The American-flag lapel pin, seen on America's hottest legislators—get yours for an incredible $1.99. A beautiful Lincoln Bedroom suite, just $399.00. Multiline desk phones, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Economic Opportunity Act Of 1964—buy one, get one free. And warehouses full of irregular and discontinued U.S. currency, up to an amazing 40 percent off!"
"See this 'The White House—Washington' doodad hanging behind me?" added McClellan, gesturing at the familiar oval symbol that has graced the White House press-briefing room for nearly two decades. "Only $39.99. And if you want the Pentagon symbol, just $70 for the pair, and we'll throw in the blue drapes for free."

Shoppers at a Minneapolis-area Best Buy watch a commercial for the U.S. liquidation sale.
Portions of the nuclear and conventional weapons stockpile will also be for sale to the public. According to McClellan, the weapons are of "much better quality than those of our former Soviet-bloc competitors."

The 50 states will be sold at auction, the date to be announced.
Beltway observers are expressing surprise at the massive liquidation, recalling that Washington hasn't seen a sales event like this one since President Jimmy Carter's "Metric System Blowout" of 1979. Many have faulted Bush for maintaining a line of inventory that holds little use for most Americans.

"The U.S. government has been on shaky ground for some time, but I think all the fast-depreciating goods President Bush bought to keep it responsive and relevant in the 21st century really sealed its fate," Business Week reporter David Broder said. "I don't see Canada, Japan, or Germany investing in thousands of airport X-ray screening machines. [Bush] will be lucky if he recoups even a tenth of what he paid for them."

While many younger Americans said they consider the U.S. government passé, older residents were wistful about the demise of the longtime institution.
"I just don't know what I'll do when the U.S. shuts down," said Vermont resident and loyal U.S. consumer David Wilson. "Who's going to deliver the mail or put out my house if it catches fire? I guess we'll have to switch to Verizon or something."

Some remain skeptical about the government's claims of insolvency, saying that it's just a ploy to generate fast cash. "I distinctly recall a going-out-of-business sale during the Reagan Administration," New Mexico resident Jim Vernon said. "And even if they do close up, I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts they open up again some place like Guatemala or the Dominican Republic under a new name."

While no date has been set for Washington's final day of governance, Bush assured the public that the sale is "definitely it, folks."
"When it's gone, it's gone," Bush said.



Blogger Dave Marlow said...

Haha! I was midway through it and said to myself "This HAS to be the Onion. Good article.

-Comrade Dave

1:56 PM  
Blogger fallenmonk said...

Gotta love The Onion. It is a bit dated though since the Press Secretary is now Tony Snowjob. Thanks for posting it.

I am in the market for some small surface to air missles to help me with traffic so this may just be the ticket.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous JMK said...

Actually it's an instructive article.

Back in January this would've seemed humorous, given all the economic gloom and doom puked out by the economics-challenged reporters and pundits in the MSM at the time, but NOW?

In the wake of record deficit reduction due almost entirely to the Bush tax cuts, well, not so much.

In fact, here's a real good look at the spending and deficit policies of this administration and the previous ones, back through Carter.

"John McIntyre over at RCP makes a rather important point that a lot of the folks so worried about the Bush administrations supposed spending record:

...let’s take a look at the Reagan legacy on federal spending and deficits. In 1980, the last year of Jimmy Carter’s presidency, government outlays were running at 21.7% of GDP and the budget deficit was 2.7% of GDP. (The economy was also a basket case, which is when you would expect budget deficits to be at their worse.) In 1988, Reagan’s last year in office, outlays as a percent of GDP were running at 21.3% with a deficit of 3.1% of GDP. The budget deficit over Reagan’s eight years averaged 4.2% and ran as high as 6.0% in 1983.

Bush entered office with an economy that was booming: in 2000 government outlays ran at 18.4% of GDP with a budget surplus of 2.4%. But the stock market implosion, 9/11 and the war quickly changed the budget dynamics and the surplus switched to a deficit of 3.5% in 2003 and 3.6% in 2004. In 2005, the budget deficit came in at 2.6%, with government outlays running at 20.1% of GDP.

The point here is that there is lot of hyperventilating about the Bush administration’s spending and “out of control” deficits, much of it by folks who praise Reagan yet trash Bush. But the most recent “out of control” Bush deficit at 2.6% of GDP is far below the eight-year Reagan average of 4.2%.

That's certainly a perspective that a lot of the far left and some libertarians are missing; in terms of GDP, which is really the only way to measure such matters, Bush is actually doing better than Reagan did... and Reagan didn't have a major war to deal with.

McIntyre also makes a point I've often enough made:

Notwithstanding all we have heard recently on earmarks, the real spending problem stems from entitlement programs.

Precisely so.

Which is why I've made such a point both here, and elsewhere, of dividing the spending differences between discretionary and non-discretionary spending.

Entitlements , as it stands now, are considered non-discretionary spending. Of these it is Social Security, that is the biggest offender of the bunch right now, which is why Bush has spent the last year or so trying to reform that situation. Part of that reform, I think, comes in the form of the prescription drug coverage bill that the president has been working on.

A lot of conservatives, and certainly a lot of libertarians, consider this a mistake. But as McIntyre points out such a bill was going to come along at some point anyway, so perhaps minimizing the damage was the best way to go.

Could Bush have done better on the financials? Certainly.

But the frantic, hyperbolic nonsense that's been coming out of some quarters lately with regards to the budget being "out of control"...particularly given these numbers, is clearly not true. Some honesty coming from the BDS crowd on most liberal and some libertarian sites on these points would be interesting.

But, I won't hold my breath."


7:05 AM  
Blogger Van said...

That is encouraging news JMK, but the 2005 budget deficit is still the 3rd highest ever, and analysts are predicting that 2006 will be higher than 2004!!

Let's hope that they're wrong.

Tax cuts are a great idea under some circumstances, but during wartime, well that just seems completely irresponsible.

In 1982, the Reagan tax cuts (he cut the high marginal tax rate from 70% to 50%) spurred enormous growth, but according to Paul Craig Roberts he went too far.

In 1988 his cuts hurt our econom, that is according to Paul Craig Roberts Assistant Secretary of Treasury under the Reagan Administration.

So, too much of a good thing can be bad.

Also, there is the perception issue that Bush is pandering to the wealthy special interests who support the Republican Party by giving billions is tax cuts.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous JMK said...

Across the board tax cuts are NOT "targeted" to anyone, in fact, they're good for EVERYONE.

Moreover, in light of the recent projections, the budget deficit dropping by some $296 Billion below original estimates, the effect of the tax cuts seems positive.

Budget Deficit Drops $296B Under Estimate

Associated Press
By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer
July 11, 2006

President Bush touted new deficit figures Tuesday showing considerable improvement upon earlier administration predictions, trumpeting it as validation of his tax cuts.

Bush himself announced the deficit — a task that has in the past been left to lower-ranking administration officials. The figures show that the deficit for the budget year ending Sept. 30 will be $296 billion — much better than the $423 billion that Bush predicted in February and a slight improvement over 2005.

Bush said the improvement is due to tax cuts he pushed in 2001 and 2003 and his clampdown on domestic agencies funded by Congress.

"These tax cuts left nearly $1.1 trillion in the hands of American workers and families and small business owners. And they used this money to help fuel an economic resurgence that's now in its 18th quarter," Bush said. "Economic growth fueled by tax relief has sent our tax revenues soaring."

Impressive profits and big income gains by the wealthy are largely responsible for the surge in revenues and, in turn, the deficit drop.

There IS a huge problem with our tax system and it's that it taxes PRODUCTIVITY (work/earned income), NOT real wealth.

The vast majority of truly wealthy people do not rely on income for their wealth, they rely instead on investments, on dividends, on Trusts & Estates.

That's why Teresa Heinz-Kerry paid something like 6% in taxes the year before Kerry ran for the WH.

The ONLY way to tax real wealth is to tax consumption instead of productivity.

Eradicate the Income Tax and replace it with a NRST or "Fair Tax" http://www.fairtax.org/

High income earners are NOT "the rich," thus the INCOME TAX does not target "the rich."

2:31 PM  
Blogger EAPrez said...


2:54 PM  
Anonymous tarrence green said...

I just wanted bring your attention to this crazieness: What can you The corrupt racists are attacking her big time in order to keep cozy boy Bill Jefferson in power!

We need Democracy and we need
people to be free to speak up against injustice if we are going to rebuild our communities!

9:38 AM  

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