Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Offsets

Mr. and Mrs. America just suffered some flooding from Hurricane Irene. "I got an estimate," says Ralph the Republican, "that it will cost about $20,000 to fix the damage in our basement. And it's not covered by our homeowners policy."

"That's not too bad," his wife, Debbie the Democrat responds. "I talked to our bankers and our credit is still excellent, even though we recently dropped from a AAA to an AA+ rating, all because of that big fight you and I had over the budget this year. But we can still get a loan to cover that for less than 2% interest. We can take this in stride."

"Sorry honey," says Ralph. "We're already in too much debt. I won't allow you to borrow any money to fix the damage, unless we reduce our spending somewhere else."

"But our debt is nothing compared to some of our neighbors, dear," Debbie replies. "Mr. and Mrs. Japan down the street have three times the debt we do, and their house was practically leveled in an earthquake. They told me they're going to have to do whatever it takes to fix it anyway."

"I don't care. I'm not agreeing to pay for the damage," Ralph says, "unless we find some more spending cuts."

Debbie responds, "How come we didn't need to find offsets when you went off to fight that war in Iraq a few years ago, or when you agreed to all those giveaways to the pharmaceutical companies, or when you decided to reduce our revenues? That's what caused most of our debt."

"That was different," Ralph responds. "When I was handling the family's books, we didn't need to find offsets. But now that it's your turn, I came to the realization that we need to cut our spending and reduce our debt. Just find a few more spending cuts and we won't have any trouble fixing the basement. I'm sure there's plenty of wasteful spending around here. I just saw a bill for new school clothes for the kids that was absolutely outrageous."

"They need new shoes too," says Debbie.

"Well there's something we can cut. Let them wear the same shoes they wore last year."

"But they don't fit."

"Well then just find something else to cut. But don't bother me about it," Ralph yells.

"We could borrow from our retirement account," suggests Debbie.

"No way," her husband responds. "Take it from the kids' college fund instead."

"It's ridiculous that we have to have these same stupid arguments every time we have to deal with a family crisis. We need to fix the basement now, and we don't need to be wasting time arguing about letting the kids go without shoes or taking away their college education money. We already agreed on every item in the family budget, and I'm not re-hashing it for the third time this year."

TO BE CONTINUED

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