In a move that shocked citizens from coast to coast, the US government has announced that, henceforth, it will act in the best interests of the country.
Three years after a financial crisis almost crippled the global economy, for example, the government has pledged that it will finally act to prevent future crises instead of just pretending that nothing bad will ever happen again.
Specifically, the government will raise capital requirements for the major banks and end “too big to fail.”
(This action, the government has learned, will result in the banks taking less risk and making less money. This, in turn, will reduce the likelihood that banks will bet the farm and force taxpayers to bail them out. It will also reduce Wall Street bonuses and cut the ratio of Wall Street to Main Street compensation from an eye-popping 10-to-1 to a less-incendiary 5-to-1).
In a related move, having decided that it is neither wise nor fair to punish renters in favour of “homeowners” and thus encourage Americans to take on way too much debt, the government will also finally stop subsidizing the “American Dream business.” Specifically, the government will eliminate the mortgage-interest tax deduction and do away with the gigantic money holes known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (These moves, the government has learned, will make houses cheaper–and, thereby, more affordable).
The government also announced that, instead of wasting its time fighting about meaningless budget line items like defunding NPR, it will finally work to fix the government programs that are actually bankrupting the country: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and defence (offence) Spending. The government acknowledged that, without radical change to our campaign and election system, it is unlikely the country will ever have a balanced budget again. But from now, the government pledged, it will at least try to address our real fiscal problems.
Separately, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke announced that he will continue to do everything he can to encourage very high inflation to destroy the value of the dollar and thereby reduce the real debt burden the country faces. Bernanke acknowledged that these policies are hosing responsible Americans who have saved money, but the Fed Chairman says he has no choice. Congress simply lacks the backbone to make the spending cuts and tax increases necessary to eventually balance our budget, Bernanke says, and if we continue down our current path, we’re screwed.
Separately, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner finally acknowledged that his only goal during the financial crisis was to save Wall Street. This admission quickly earned him a Presidential Medal Of honour as the most honest and effective government official in history.
In another surprising turnabout, Congress has invited consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren to make recommendations about how, in the future, banks might be encouraged to design products that are actually good for consumers. Congress did not go so far as to promise to actually listen to Warren, but it will at least give her a few minutes on CSPAN.
Separately, the SEC has pledged to revisit and possibly streamline the emergency IPO laws that were enacted a decade ago to make it nearly impossible for companies to go public and thus reduce the odds that mum-and-pop investors would speculate on their stocks and lose their shirts. Henceforth, the SEC has declared, the government will merely remind citizens that speculative investments are, well, speculative, and that the vast majority of investors should never even consider buying them. These streamlined laws, the SEC hopes, will make it easier for emerging companies to raise capital and thereby encourage the growth of new industries that can help revitalize our economy and put America back to work.
President Barack Obama announced that, as part of a long-term United States energy plan (!), he will implement a phased-in gas tax. This tax, which will begin in 2015 to give consumers and business time to adjust and not threaten the fragile economic recovery, will add about $1 per year to the cost of a gallon of gas for five years — until gas costs about as much in America as it does in the rest of the civilized world ($7-$8 a gallon). Half of the revenue of the tax will be used to close the country’s massive budget deficit. The other half will be used to encourage the development of more sustainable domestic energy sources, which will have the side benefit of reducing America’s dependence on crazy people. The President stressed that Americans who still want to drive Hummers and Denalis will be able to. They’ll just have to pay more for the gas.
Observing that we have both too many houses and too few skilled engineers, the President also announced that he will change immigration laws to encourage smart, hard-working students to stay in America instead of going home to India, China, and elsewhere after getting educated here. This change, the President observed, will create demand for housing, thus boosting house prices, and lead to the creation of more skilled, high-paying jobs at new technology and manufacturing companies. The change will also help the US, whose economy has been the envy of the world for the past hundred years in large part because it has welcomed new citizens who want more freedom and better lives, stay competitive in the global economy.
Separately, the government promised that, henceforth, for one day a year, elected officials will stop devoting 98.6% of their time to campaigning and bickering and trying to “win news cycles” and actually tell the truth about where we are and where we’re headed. The government stressed that this will only happen one day a year.
This day, April 1st formerly called “April Fools Day,” will be rechristened, “I Have A Dream Day.” On this day, all Americans will be invited to visit an online publication called Business Insider to make suggestions about what our government can do to make this country better. And for this one day–just one day–the government will actually listen.
So, have it, America. Place your suggestions in the comments below!
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