Will Government Bail Out Chili Mac?

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Tomorrow,
After Lunch
– The epic nationalization of mortgage giants
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is expected to cost taxpayers "between
$50 billion and $500 billion" or more, say economists abandoning
pocket calculators for a dartboard.

Next, Lehman
Brothers sold the cow for a handful of magic beans and were allowed
to collapse. But it is an election year, government’s heels are
rounder than usual, so it may not be the end of the bailouts.

Both presidential
candidates have responded dynamically by adopting a concerned, mature,
"I’ve got gas" expression as though they are auditioning
for Alka Seltzer ads, then saying that somebody needs to do, um,
something.

Republican
John McCain – standing for smaller government, paying debts and
rugged individualism – won’t admit that the supposed remedy for
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is pure socialism, as found in those
goofy little Third World countries whose legislatures vote to repeal
the law of gravity, and earn most of their Gross National Product
by selling postage stamps to collectors.

For Democrat
Barack Obama, who has never seen a problem that cannot be solved
by borrowing your Visa card, blowing a few hundred billion is probably,
well, necessary. Change we need – ? because all the folding money
is going to Washington.

Meanwhile,
none of the candidates has dared to speak out on another crisis:
Chili Mac.

Tens of millions
of Americans are dependent upon Chili Mac, federally-subsidized
sustenance provided through ground beef, tomato sauce, chili powder
and macaroni. Kidney beans are optional. As its advocates explain,
Chili Mac is the staff of life for America’s school children and
prisoners, each a captive audience given little choice of menu.

Chili Mac is
also essential to the lives of many unemployed and elderly who,
thanks to national economic decline spurred by Washington, can no
longer afford Alpo or the cheaper but crunchier, dried pet foods
that are difficult to chew with dentures.

"We had
to save the mortgage giants, and we are now bailing out banks that
made foolish decisions if they are large enough," says an anonymous
Treasury Department spokesman speaking from a disposable cell-phone.
"Next," he adds, "we may need to rescue the dumb
little investment companies that bought into the dumb big investment
companies, then Chili Mac, the closely-related Tuna Mac, then other
foodstuffs, florists, footwear, fancy ladies and other essential
sectors.

"Despite
Lehman, we have a precedent for bailouts," the Treasury expert
continued. "Senator Obama promised a thousand-dollar check
to every living American organism of Class Mammalia or higher. But
President Bush started it with so-called tax rebates, where government
took your money, deducted a big whack for administrative costs,
went out for a few $300 lunches, and then gave some back."

There is talk
on Capitol Hill of an additional federal bailout for Sallie Mae,
shorthand for Sally Mae Hergesheimer of Scranton, PA: a postal worker
who maxed out her credit cards buying a second-hand, double-wide
mobile home and a holiday in Cancun with her boyfriend, Luke, who
subsequently dumped her. There are said to be dozens of Americans
in similar economic kimchi, possibly 200 million of them.

"It is
very simple," the expert explains. "Government, business
and individuals risk being paralyzed by debt. So we need to keep
borrowing until the debt goes away."

This begs the
question of why stop there? Why not just write enough government
checks to make everyone as rich as Paris Hilton?

"We have
not ruled it out," the Treasury expert concluded. Miss Hilton
was unavailable for comment.

Reprinted from The DC
Examiner
with permission.

September
20, 2008

S.J. Masty
[send him mail], a former
Washington speechwriter, is an international communication consultant
based in London. He is a contributor to the Examiner newspaper group.

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