By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun
Well, for better or for worse, the sorry 113th Congress of the United States managed to cut a bipartisan budget deal that seems to guarantee that our government will not face another shutdown for a couple years. After the bloodletting was over, some of the budget items scheduled for sequester by the right were retained and some of the entitlement programs championed by the left were cut back or whacked altogether.
The most notable entitlement program to experience serious cuts was the “The Twelve Days of Christmas” subsidiary. This is a program that occurs annually from Dec. 25 until Jan. 5. First of all, because of all the sensitivity hoopla about “separation of church and state,” this subsidiary will henceforth be know as “The Twelve Days of the Winter Solstice.” The following is a partial list of the line-item cuts:
“Twelve Drummers Drumming:” This is simply a case, like many government programs, where the band has just gotten too big! The musical ensemble will be cut back to a smaller, more manageable grouping — perhaps a string quartet or dueling pianos.
“Eleven Pipers Piping:” See “Twelve Drummers Drumming.”
“Ten Lords-a-Leaping:” Lords are expensive and their international travel expenses are unreasonable. They will be replaced by out-of-work congresspersons (the lame-ducks and the lame-schmucks) after the next election. What is lost in leaping ability will be made up by their sheer numbers.
“Nine Ladies Dancing:” This function will be phased out entirely as the gals grow older and can no longer hit the high kicks. We’ll miss them but we’ll still have the “Radio City Rockettes.”
“Eight Maids-a-Milking:” This function has been severely criticized by the EEOC for its lack of male/female balance and upward mobility. The process will be automated so those maids will be able to diversify into fields like a-teaching, a-selling, or a-housekeeping.
“Seven Swans-a-Swimming:” This is primarily a decorative item, easily replaced by mechanical swans or lawn flamingos.
“Six Geese-a-Laying:” One egg, per goose, per day, is a classic example of our decline in productivity in the world market. Three geese will be let go immediately and studies will commence on increasing productivity of the remaining three.
“Five Golden Rings:” Elimination of this line item has been put on hold while the Federal Reserve studies the possibility of diversification into other precious metals, T-Bills, and high technology stocks.
“Four Calling Birds:” To be replaced immediately by automated voice mail systems with call-waiting options. Also congressional hearings will be held to determine who they were calling and if they were they the source of government leaks.
“Three French Hens:” This one will be kept because no one wants to get the French mad at us.
“Two Turtle Doves:” Positions terminated. Clearly a redundancy that is not cost effective and their public displays of affection can not be tolerated.
“And a Partridge in a Pear Tree:” The partridge will be retained — however due to ever-growing pressure from the citrus and apple industry lobbyists, the pear tree will be eliminated and replaced by a plastic hanging plant.
Lest you think the foregoing was the height of inanity, I now present “A Cat’s 12 Days of Christmas” as written by our beloved Annie the Cat:
“On the twelfth day of Christmas, Grouch and Gayla (The Little Woman) gave to me: 12 cans of Fancy Feast Beef in Gravy; 11 Pounce Seafood Medley Treats; 10 ornaments hanging; 9 bags of catnip; 8 used Q-tips; 7 wads of Kleenex; 6 Whiskas Hairball Treats; Five Aluminum foil balls; 4 fuzzy mouses; a 3-pack of tuna; 2 laps to nap on, and a prescription for Phenobarbital!”
May your “12 Days of Christmas” be full of joy, happiness, and good will and TLW and I wish you and yours the very best of new years.
Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: email@example.com