By Augustus Melmotte, who lives and works in Hedgistan.
The administration is examining strategies for encouraging the ownership of fluffy kittens. “I think we can all agree,” the president said, “that in troubled times stroking a fluffy kitten can really help a struggling family to stay on course.” The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has calculated that a tax break of approximately $750 for first-time kitten ownership would cost the government less than $400 per kitten in administrative overhead, for a total cost per kitten (CPK) of $1150. Larry Summers, who (according to some eminent economists who used to run large universities in Massachusetts) should have been named Treasury Secretary instead of that pasty-faced sycophant Geithner, because god damn it Summers has paid his dues and got tenure when he was really, really young, said, “Beneficiaries of this stimulus measure would include not only America’s hard-working families but also veterinarians, pet-food companies, cat-nip farmers, and makers of heart-shaped kitty beds, catnip-scented mouse and gopher-shaped rubber chew toys, scratch pads, scent-free non-comedogenic coat-conditioning kitty shampoos, and teaser rods with dangling lures. And while some of these important products are made overseas, the services of America’s hard-working veterinarians simply cannot be outsourced.”
The administration is also considering a tax break to encourage trichotillomania. Trichotillomania, a mental disorder characterized by an uncontrollable impulse to pull out one’s hair, may affect as many as eleven million Americans, 91% of them women, according to a survey conducted by the Mayo Clinic. Trichophagia, a related disorder, involves the habit of eating hair. “These conditions, as painful and inconvenient as they might seem, play a vital role in maintaining a healthy economy,” said the administration’s new undersecretary of Health and Human Services for grooming and personal hygiene. “Trichotillomanes purchase scarves, ascots, fedoras, cloches, derbies, Neosporin, berets, beanies, false eyelashes, and paste-on eyebrows at a significantly higher rate than the general population. A decline in trichotillomania could have a devastating effect on many important industries.” The administration is considering incentives to encourage trichotillomanes to pluck faster and more thoroughly. Nobel Prize-winning Princeton economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman favors a stimulus package for trichotillomanes. “I am disappointed,” said Krugman in his blog, “that the administration has not acted in a swifter and more decisive manner. In fact, I recommend that the administration mail every citizen a pair of tweezers and a DVD of Oprah’s trichotillomania episode.” “I think there is bipartisan agreement that a trichotillomania subsidy is an urgent national priority,” said former senator and presidential candidate Phil Gramm, who now heads the K Street-based National Association of Manufacturers of False Eyelashes, Clown Noses, and Squeeze Toy Stress Relievers. [Photo: Senator Gramm squeezing a Barky the Dog squeeze toy stress reliever and sucking on the neck of a limp kitten]
In related news, in a sudden and uncharacteristic burst of courage, Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd has proposed a federal subsidy for vampire hunting. “Nothing brings a community together like a vampire hunt,” commented Senator Dodd. “Moreover, a vampire hunt requires serious tools. You don’t want to break into that crypt with a cheap stake that might snap or a hammer with a fragile plastic handle. Before you go after that inhumanly powerful undead creature with glowing red eyes, you are going to head down to the Home Depot or your neighborhood hardware store and load up on heavy-duty, top-of-the-line equipment.”
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, though, has doubts about Dodd’s proposal. “One problem is that it can be difficult to determine which blood-sucking supernatural parasites are in fact vampires and which are duly authorized and well-regulated components of the financial system, such as investment banks. If we allow uninformed middle-class citizens to go after Angelo Mozilo or Phil Gramm, next thing you know someone will be trying to put a stake through the heart of a selfless public servant like Hank Paulson. Also, giving the public visibility into the interiors of systemically important crypts would interfere with our ability to do our job and regulate the flow of blood. Letting the public see which crypts contain vampires could destroy confidence in institutions that play a vital role in the extraction and distribution of taxpayer blood and organs.” When asked for comment, Goldman Sachs CFO Daniel Viniar said that Goldman Sachs had extracted twelve billion pints of blood in accordance with a legally binding contract; the Transylvanian International Group had agreed to deliver the blood in the event of a zombie bank contagion, and the Treasury Department graciously chose to take over the obligation. “Moreover, we would have gotten that blood one way or another,” said Viniar. “We had a contingency plan in place.”
Congressman Barney Frank also indignantly dismissed Senator Dodd’s proposal. “Any attempt to restrain vampires would be disastrous for hard-working American families and their hard-working kittens,” Frank sputtered. “To keep the undead economy growing, we have to encourage vampirism, just as we have to encourage Citibank to shamble down the street looking for more taxpayer brains to eat.”