Ode To the Informed Public: The ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Negotiations As a House Fire…

Imagine that you’re standing outside on the street, in the bitter cold of the night, dressed in your pajamas. In horror, you’re watching your home engulfed in flames. Imagine that the fire fighters have arrived, and with them are all the trucks, hoses, and other equipment required to start attacking the fire.

You know a lot of damage has already been done to your house, but the foundation is solid, many of your belongings can still be saved, and you’re certain you can rebuild if the fire is put out in time. The problem is that there are two lead firemen standing in your front yard, arguing over how best to extinguish the flames. While the fire spreads and your house continues to burn, they keep arguing with neither of them giving in an inch. You’re forced to watch helplessly as everything you’ve built up over the years is being destroyed.

This is essentially what’s happening right now with the ‘fiscal cliff’ discussions in Washington, and really with every time-sensitive, partisan battle (including the debt ceiling, annual budgets, etc) that has taken place over the U.S. economy in the past few years. You are the ‘informed public’ because you see the overall problem, recognize how it effects you, and are expecting the people whose salaries you pay to actually fix the problem. The house on fire is the collapsing state of the economy. The two firemen are our elected leaders from the Democratic and Republican parties. The ‘uninformed public’ is your next-door neighbor who calmly steps outside of his house to watch the light display.

With a big smile on his face, your neighbor records the fire on his iPhone, and wonders how long it will take to upload the video to YouTube later. He doesn’t really seem to understand the situation, and is oblivious to the very real threat of the large, swirling flames soon jumping from your house to his house.

Your frustration turns to anger over the inability of the firemen to act professional, formulate a plan, and save your house. You run up to them to try and figure out what their problem is, and are shocked to hear the source of the stalemate. The fireman with the “R” printed on his helmet is proposing to hook up the hoses to fire-hydrants, and douse the flames with large quantities of water. The fireman with the “D” printed on his helmet is proposing to hook up the hoses to gasoline-tankers, and douse the flames with as much gasoline as possible.

You quickly realize that Fireman D is either dangerously ignorant or completely insane, but Fireman R’s lower rank won’t let him take control away from Fireman D to resolve the situation. You beg Fireman D to put out the fire with water, but he completely ignores you. Furthermore, your neighbor has now joined the argument and is backing the gasoline idea, purely because he finds Fireman D to be more personable and charming than Fireman R.

Reporters from the media show up and begin covering the fire with their lights and cameras. You run up to them and explain what’s going on, and beg them to get the message out that you’re going to lose your house because the guy in charge isn’t taking the situation seriously. You hope that the media exposure will pressure Fireman D into doing the right thing. To your shock, however, you find that the media is on Fireman D’s side. They broadcast live on the evening news that Fireman R is “obstructing” Fireman D from doing his job, and a house is going to be completely destroyed because of it.

You shout at the reporters in frustration, but they tell you you’re “just angry”, and suggest that your anger is “racially motivated”.

“What???” you scream out in utter disbelief.

The reporters point out that Fireman D is an African American – a fact that is completely irrelevant to you. While you insist that you’re not a racist, and just want someone to save your house, the reporters skeptically roll their eyes, snicker, and whisper something among themselves about “dog whistles”.

Your neighbor asks you why you don’t want Fireman D to put out the fire, and you explain to him that a fire can’t be put out with gasoline.

“Have you ever tried to put out a fire with gasoline?” he asks.

“Of course not!” you scream.

“Well then how do you know it won’t work?”

You grab onto your hair and shout, “Because it’s gasoline! It’s flammable!”

“Flammable?” asks one of the reporters with a snide expression on his face. “Where did you hear such a stupid thing? FOX News?” All of the reporters laugh.

“It’s common knowledge! It’s common sense!” you wail.

At that point, you notice that your neighbor’s house is now on fire as well, and you yell at him to turn around and see it. But he won’t. He just looks at you like you’re talking in a foreign language.

“There’s nothing to be worried about, man,” he says. “Fireman D says that he’s ‘looking out for me’. It’s all good!” He then turns his attention back to his iPhone, and starts playing video games on it.

“Listen…” begins Fireman D as he puts his arm around your shoulder. “I’ve been trying to compromise with the other fireman. I told him that while we’re pumping gasoline through the hoses, he can use a squirt gun to try and fight the fire with water. It’s a balanced approach.”

“That sounds fair,” quickly says a reporter.

“Yes, more than fair,” says another one.

“I’m all about compromise,” says Fireman D before he smiles and poses next to you for a quick picture from the press. “But the other guy is being completely unreasonable. He must want the fire to destroy this house. What’s with this guy’s obsession with water, anyway? He’s probably in bed with Big H2O!”

The reporters laugh. Some even applaud. Your eyes are glazed over in disbelief.

Fireman D continues, “You see…In the past, we’ve tried it Fireman R’s way and it didn’t work! We’ve been using water to put fires out for a long time, and yet buildings still burn down! So his plan doesn’t work!”

At your whits end, you say, “Sir… I know that burning buildings can’t always be saved with water, but it’s the best chance we have. Gasoline won’t work! Gasoline will only make the problem worse! Please help me! I built that house with my own two hands!”

This seems to offend Fireman D, who raises his voice and condescendingly states, “You didn’t build that! Somebody else made that happen!”

Minutes later, your house has been completely burnt to the ground and your neighbor’s house with it. Your neighbor’s still playing video games, unaware of anything happening around him. The media is circled around Fireman R, angrily blaming him for the destruction, and citing his hardline, unreasonable demands as the cause. Fireman D is on his cellphone, coordinating plans for an upcoming Hawaiian vacation. You are sitting on the sidewalk, alone, with your face in your hands, wondering if the whole world has gone completely nuts.


Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration (Computer Information Systems), and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. He is the author of the Sean Coleman Thriller series, which is available through all major retailers. John lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
  • Catholicvoter

    Very creative comparison! It really captures what is going on with this whole fiscal cliff business. Best of luck with the novel!

    • John Daly

      Thank you!

  • Mario__P


    That’s an interesting analogy. Here are my comments to make it even more realistic.

    – The fireman with the “R” should be arrested for arson. He started the fire and now wants to come across as the savior.

    – Unlike the fireman with the “R”, the fireman with the “D” knows the water pressure in the public water system is too low, and in the past the fire department was not able to fight any fires with the trickles coming from the fire hydrant. Hence, a fire truck with a cistern full of water was brought to the scene. The fireman with the “R” still falsely believes there is enough water pressure in the hydrants and is willing to waste time connecting to the hydrants, again.

    – The fireman with the “R” isn’t familiar with the fire apparatus, and although there is a label stating “Gasoline” on the fire truck, it’s plastered on the fuel tank. The fireman with the “D” will pump the water from the cistern onto the fire, unlike what the confused fireman with the “R” thinks.

    – The reason why the two firemen can not agree on how to fight the fire is because the cistern only has enough water to put out the fire in the house, the while fireman with the “R” wants to first put out the burning dog house in the back yard, which is the size of about 2% of the house.

    The firemen with the “R” always cause unnecessary problems.

    • John Daly

      You’re just sore because you realized you were the neighbor.

      • Mario__P

        Don’t worry, I’m not sore at all. I’m nearly perfectly happy. I’m just waiting for what the firemen with the “R” will do before this year is over. But regardless what those firemen decide on, they’ll get blamed for any bad that comes of it since their policies are nothing but failures. You go ahead an live in your fantasy of how right the GOP is. However, even the GOP is now admitting they were wrong on so many issues, as they’re fighting among each other to determine which route to take on every issue, even on raising taxes. A month ago the GOP thought they were right, and today they think otherwise. Boy, how confused you must feel now.

        • John Daly

          Luigi always did have the common sense in the family, didn’t he? Mario, I fully intended on offering another substantive reply to counter your nonsensical, Obama-lovin’ nonsense… but then I happened to come across a comment you made under Bernie’s latest column and realized that you didn’t even understand the simple concept of lower tax-rates increasing productivity to garnish higher higher tax revenue. That’s Economics 101. The fact that you weren’t even aware of such a thing is absolutely staggering. So attempting to have any serious debate over the economy with you is an enormous waste of time. You should probably stick to the gay marriage and abortion stuff. The good news is that there’s hope that you might actually learn something since you come to his site so often. Maybe the writers here can even set up a little workshop for you… you know, teach about what assets and liabilities are – that sort of thing. I think you’ll really benefit from this, so please stick around. Maybe after a few months, we can have this conversation again. I’m pulling for ya!

          • Mario__P

            John, you stated:

            “…you didn’t even understand the simple concept of lower tax-rates increasing productivity to garnish higher tax revenue.”

            Uhm… are you even aware of the Laffer curve? Another poster brought up the curve. You, however, do not understand the concept of the curve. I asked the other poster to identify the tax rate where the tax revenue is the most efficient. Can you? From your response, you make it sound like the lower the tax rate, the higher the tax revenue, which would be a linear relationship, and that is obviously wrong. So please explain yourself by identifying the peak tax revenue, or are you even capable of doing that, since you apparently do not understand the Laffer curve? I wonder what Econ 101 you took, the home-schooled version?

          • John Daly

            I’m talking about basic supply-side economics as a whole, and it’s not exactly a secret concept. It’s a proven method used by presidents from both parties (most notably JFK and Ronald Reagan) to grow a stalled economy. Most recently, it gave us three decades of unprecedented economic growth, even though your savior insists that “it didn’t work”. VERY simple stuff, and very effective. You incentive businesses to invest, expand, and hire… and miraculously, they do! Thriving businesses pay more in tax revenue even at a lower rate, because they’re bringing in more money…. A LOT MORE than just being able to cover a week’s worth of government spending that Captain Charisma is selling and you’re buying wholeheartedly.

            The alternative to letting the private sector achieve economic growth, of course, is to over-regulate, increase the tax burden, expand the government, discourage hiring, spend us into oblivion, and blame the negative results on the previous president. That apparently works politically, but I’d rather people have jobs and be able to support their families. Call me crazy.

            I hope this was helpful.

          • Mario__P

            John, do yourself a favor and educate yourself a bit about the Laffer curve concept; you completely disregarded the curve why writing your last reply. Depending on what side of the curve’s peak you are, lowering taxation will either increase or decrease the tax revenue. You, like many hard-right believers of the supply-side economics, blindly believe that no matter what the current tax rate is, the more the taxes are reduced, there will always be enough tax revenue collected to pay for the government’s bills. But in reality, if the taxes are already to the left of the Laffer curve’s peak, lowering of taxes will further reduce tax revenue. The big question is, at what tax rate does the Laffer curve peak? Various economic studies have been performed, and the answers span somewhere between 30% and 70%. True, that less taxation will promote business, but at what point will low taxation start eroding the tax revenue? why don’t we just tax everyone at 1%? That surely will drive the economy into a boom, and the government should be able to collect plenty of taxes, right? Wrong! But that is what you believe, since you said:

            “…you didn’t even understand the simple concept of lower tax-rates increasing productivity to garnish higher tax revenue.”

            Both Kennedy and Reagan advocated lower taxes, but the taxation during the two presidencies were at different ranges. In the early 1960’s, the top income tax bracket was at 90%, way to the right of any Laffer curve studies; hence it made sense for Kennedy to lower the tax rate. When Reagan took office, the top income tax rate margin was 70%, and he dropped it to 50%, which was still within the various Laffer curve studies’ results. But after realizing his tax policies did not collect enough tax revenue even during strong economic times, in 1986 Reagan tried to address the massive deficits his budgets experienced since he took office, and he lowered the top income and corporate taxes while raising the capital gains. Regardless, Reagan still could not achieve a balanced budget even during strong economic times.


            What does this all prove? That during high taxation, lowering of taxes does stimulate the economy while tax revenue will at least remain unchanged due to the increased economic activity. However, trying to lower taxes while the taxation is already to the left of the Laffer curve will not stimulate the economy enough to make up the lost tax revenue. Our current taxes are already to the left of the Laffer curve, and any additional tax cuts will only increase the national deficit, as was proven by Bush2’s policies.

            So, John, one can’t just blindly claim that lower taxes = more business = higher tax revenue. You can’t be simplifying the true theories in a way so many of the conservatives are doing when it comes to economics or pretty much any other issue. You really need to stop and think, do you really know what’s best for our nation, or do the majority of the professionals know better? That is why the Tea Party is such a joke. That herd of nonprofessionals think they have the answer for everything, but those simpletons do not understand the complexity of reality, and their basic solutions will never work. Regardless, this was yet another good chat. Thank you for the enjoyment.

          • John Daly

            The Laffler curve is a component of supply-side economics, but it only relates to tax rates. I’m not saying that continually lowering tax rates will always result in more revenue. That was an assumption on your part. I understand that there’s a point where that becomes counterproductive. At this point in our history, I’m not even suggesting that we necessarily lower the current tax rates. I’m just saying: Don’t raise them! Our problem isn’t with the amount of tax revenue we’re bringing in. Our problem is with our insane spending. Thus, instead of raising tax rates in a bad economy, which will only make things more difficult for wealth/job creators, and will only fund the government for a week… the goal should be to relieve burdens from the private sector. This can include tax reform which closes the loopholes, lifting unneeded regulations, and most importantly shrinking a bloated government so we can some day hope to live within our means. What completely boggles my mind is how people like you can support the idea, in this economy, of adding burdens to the private sector, increasing spending, adding regulations, refusing to reform the leading drivers of our debt (entitlement programs), and proposing the completely removal of the debt ceiling. Forget Bush and the Republicans all together for a second (if you can). How can you defend any of the things I just listed?

          • http://www.facebook.com/walter.mattson.39 Walter Mattson

            John Daly, you are right and Mario has a problem. He is trying to use the Laffer curve as a concrete mechanism to prove his point. The Laffer curve isn’t designed to be used as a true curve since it is only accurate at both extremes. Those being a no taxes and 100% taxes. Everything in between is up for grabs. For example, in is very difficult to compare tax rates from say after WWII with tax rates today. After WWII, the US was essentially a monopoly. The world depended on us to provide goods and services that most countries couldn’t offer. Thus when unions struck only GM or another auto manufacturer, the strike didn’t last long and basically the unions got their demands since staying on strike would mean loss of sales. The same story played out if taxes were raised by the government. The auto makers complained but paid the higher taxes since all auto makers paid and the result was an increase in the price of cars.

          • Mario__P

            Seriously Walter, stop joking around. I believe the Laffer curve is a “concrete mechanism to prove [my] point”, although I wrote that the curve’s peak is somewhere between 30% and 70%? That is so very concrete. My point was that John made a false claim, which was lower taxes = higher tax revenue, and the use of the Laffer curve proves my point.

            And the Laffer curve only applies at 0% and 100% taxation, while “everything in between is up for grabs”? So, you think the curve’s peak can occur at 1% or 99% tax rates? How about at 10% or 90%? No, not there either? How about we accept the past economic studies and their results, place the curve’s peak within the range of those studies, and anything outside that range will be rejected as the possibility of the peak’s location until a new study shows otherwise? Shall we? My use of the Laffer curve is not concrete; I just narrowed down the peak’s range from your 0-100% to 30-70%, and for a very valid reason. My range is the more realistic one, and therefore you are the one with the problem.

          • John Daly

            Come on, Mario. Did you honestly think I was making the case that a tax rate of essentially zero would maximize our tax revenue? Of course not.

          • Mario__P

            Seriously John, if you don’t remember what you wrote, then you should reread your prior posts.

            In your last post you stated:

            “I’m not saying that continually lowering tax rates will always result in more revenue. That was an assumption on your part.I understand that there’s a point where that becomes counterproductive.”

            Really? I assumed you believed the constant lowering of taxes will result in increased tax revenue? Then why did you say this a few days ago?

            “…lower tax-rates [increase] productivity to garnish higher tax revenue.”

            In the post where you wrote the above line, there was no mention of any counterproductive taxation. So I did not assume anything. You presented your theory, which you claimed was a “simple concept” and it was “Economics 101”, but now you’ve added a “but” to it, after you learned of the Laffer curve. (Here I’m making an assumption that you just now learned of the Laffer curve, since your earlier theory about lower taxes = higher tax revenue showed lack of knowledge of the Laffer curve concept.)

            And why is the Laffer curve a component of only the supply-side economics? Why can’t it be a component of Keynesian economics? Obviously the Laffer curve can be studied by any economic theory, since the curve deals with taxation and tax revenue, which are the necessary components of ANY free-market economic model. (Here is yet more evidence why you are a victim of the Right’s propaganda. Laffer himself actually credited Keynes as one of the curve’s creators. The uninformed Right adopted the curve as their own, to brainwash their following with one-sided arguments. The Right claims that the peak is near the low 30%, while the vague peak falls somewhere between 30% and 70%, depending on which study you believe.)

            Finally, regarding the current tax rates and keeping them unchanged, well, it all comes down to whether the current rates are where they need to be. You presented Kennedy and Reagan as examples how those presidents stimulated the economy by lowering tax rates. But that is an unfair comparison, because the taxation in the 60’s and 80’s were not where they are today; the taxes were way higher back then. But today, with the taxes already significantly lower than during the two past presidents’ times, something else needs to be done to stimulate the economy. The government needs to replace the stagnation of the wealth at the top and inject it at the bottom. As we all know, our economy is driven by the consumer, and therefore today the supply-side economics does not work. The demand-side needs to be stimulated instead. The only way the supply-side will get stimulated is with the stimulation of the demand side, and not by injecting more money into the supply-side. Why would a company hire a single worker or increase their output if there is no increased demand for the service or product?

          • John Daly

            Good lord. Yes, “lower” as in the overall philosophy of supply-side economics, not lowering the current rate. We can make this about semantics, if you like, but I don’t think the point I’m making is that hard to understand. I’m fine with the current tax rate. If reforming the tax code lets us lower the rates even further, I’m fine with that as well. What I’m not fine with is increasing the rate.

  • Wheels55

    If conservative Congressmen avoid labels such as “fiscal cliff” and instead refer to in real words, such as “Mr. President, you created this situation by ignoring what was before us months ago, so what do you plan to do that satisfies us fiscally conservative elected officials?” – then maybe the discussion changes from an emergency to isn’t this what we all knew would happen?.

  • BrianFruman

    The more I think going over the cliff is the best thing for the country. If it is bad for republicans than so be it. I am interested in what happens to the country in 10 yrs not the next election cycle. Yes it may even cost me some money but if the economy can’t survive without government spending then, interest manipulation than at least we will have a transparent view of our reality as a country. For those that think I am crazy one person said it best. The real fiscal cliff is when you can’t pay the money back to bond holders.

  • Caren

    Bernie – Great analogy. Not sure what the home owner is worried about. He can just go on public assistance like the other 40+M Americans, and enjoy the ride as long as possible, while you and I pay for it.

  • deny916

    Mr. Daly this has got to be one of THE BEST articles I have EVER read. It is totally brilliant and if you can’t get it from reading this there is just NO hope for you!

    • John Daly

      Thanks deny!

  • begbie

    John, you really put a lot of thought into this and you had a few surprises for me. I didn’t consider the role the neighbor would play representing the uninformed masses! Great job, thanks for the scare so early this morning.

    I picture a scene out of a movie co-directed by Mel Brooks (ridiculous reactions to a situation) and Alfred Hitchcock (a helpless scenario). What a way to run a country.

    • John Daly

      Brooks meets Hitchcock! I love it!

  • bearmountain

    Ok, I admit it, I did not take math in school…our beloved President wants to raise taxes on millionaires right? But the millionaires start at $250k… is that a million?
    Oh I get it President Stumble bum, with his plethora of very advanced degrees and author of two books (both about himself), didn’t take math either and he thinks $250k is one million..now I know how he got reelected…thanks for the help. WISDOM folks..WISDOM

  • Venter

    You did a good job explaining what is going on in Washington. No one in Washington has common sense or love of country. Our President really doesn’t know what is happening out here. People are suffering! People can’t and won’t spend money! No one will hire! Many will lose their jobs! Families are saving money as the future looks bleek The middle class is going to be hit hard and we don’t believe we will be free from new taxes. Lets put the chicken outfits on and let the sky fall and get it over with. The GOP should just announce ” Obama gets everything he wants”.

  • kcinco

    You captured the frustration, disbelief and horror that I feel. It’s a nightmare!

    • begbie

      Ditto…..I really like reading your stuff, John.

      • John Daly

        Thank you. I appreciate you saying that!

  • surlyrevenant

    Mr. de Haviland, the Europeans were not immigrants. They were invaders. And THEY created America. Now, after all the heavy lifting is done, 3rd world peasants who have NEVER created ANYTHING, are sneaking in and BREEDING their way to ownership.

  • Ronwald027

    You guys just don’t get how right D was. Look at all the jobs created. Lumber must be cut and brought to market; nails and screws; roofs and carpeting. D was absolutely right. Look at the greater number of jobs we’d create if we burnt down the whole nation. Gosh, I think that’s what they’re doing.

    • begbie

      Good point.

  • mcweijun

    The only emergency is that the House needs to stop the White House from spending money we don’t have and force them to pay back the money they have borrowed. It will not be easier if we wait. If we don’t bit the bullet now, our country will not survive. End of story.

  • Glorstuart

    Excellent analogy…….maybe Fireman D could play a fiddle too while the flames roar and spread. The smartest thing the neighborhood could do is start over again with a whole new fire department. The firemen we have now are incompetent boobs beholden to special interest groups who keep buying them new helmets and returning them to their jobs.

    • Ken08534

      And all the jobs created rebuilding the burned-down houses!
      It’s a win-win!

  • Roadmaster

    Good job, John. Big fan here, and you’ll be glad to know I always check who wrote what before responding. unlike some who don’t read things all that closely and assume since its Bernie’s site, it must be his work. Did that once – embarrassing…

    • John Daly

      lol. Thanks! It only really bothers me when the person commenting is being snide in the first place. Then, it’s fun to tease them that they can’t read. Otherwise, it’s no biggie.

  • surlyrevenant

    I believe that America is more than a place on a map, and that an American is more than someone who crossed an imaginary line, to get there. It’s the HOME of those who, over CENTURIES, created it. If someone who just doesn’t FEEL like fixing their own home just moves in, that’s wrong. If the OWNERS of America allow them to do so, that’s STUPID. Your home; people move in, bring their kids, their relatives. Start complaining about the way you RUN your home. Complain about your rules, your traditions, your opinions, and DEMAND more “sensitivity” from you. They start popping out babies every 10 months, & DEMAND that you put those kids name on the deed to YOUR house (citizenship) because, hey they were BORN here.
    You take money from YOUR KIDS to give THEM cradle to grave care, and STILL they aren’t satisfied. Soon you are out-numbered in your OWN HOUSE, and they tell YOU what to do.
    And the people you elected to PROTECT your way of life, call you a xenophobe, a racist, and educate your own children to despise you.
    Wow. Good thing that could never happen to AMERICA, right ???

  • Switchlight13

    Obama wants sequestration so the Defense budget gets the axe but the parasites of society keep their Govt handouts. Requiring a high school diploma and raising the voting age back to 21 would go along way to restoring sanity to our decomposing nation.

  • neil rouse

    imagine that in that house there were piles of fecal material to the ceiling. you could not get to the kitchen, you had to borrow all your food from the neighbors. maybe you should be content, even happy to let it burn. and rebuild it with a toilet.

  • surlyrevenant

    Politicians DO NOT LEAD. They go where they are PUSHED. It’s way past time that WE make some demands . We do not need THEM to tell us what the “right thing to do” is. This is still (barely) OUR country, and we need to remind the whole world how we GOT to the top of the food chain.

    • kcinco

      My congressman and senator don’t answer my letters anymore. None of these people listen and it is obvious why. They want their cushy jobs. We all keep talking about getting these jerks to do what we want, but they don’t listen. What other recourse do we have other than sitting around listening to the conservative talking heads talk about how they’re destroying our country?

      • begbie

        When they don’t listen, they should be voted out. The blame lies squarely on the uninformed, distracted American voter. They reelected a President who didn’t do his job. And on the other side, 3 million plus conservative voters stayed home. Same goes for the congress.

        Shame on us all for allowing this to happen. All that right minded folks can do is keep voting and do the best you can to protect your family and property.

  • Frank P

    No fire without smoke – and mirrors! No insurance cover for this disaster either, Bernie, just scorched earth for others to cultivate when the heat dies down. Mosque, after mosque after mosque! Sit back and smell the Dhimmitude.

  • surlyrevenant

    I’ve used the same basic analogy. Only in mine, it’s termites (immigrants, legal AND illegal) destroying the foundation of our country. And my frustration at the boneheads who feel sorry for the offspring of those termites, because THEY weren’t the ones who invaded our home. What about OUR offspring ?

    • http://samizdata.net/blog Perry de Havilland

      “It’s termites (immigrants, legal AND illegal) destroying the foundation of our country.”

      Damn immigrants. They should all go back to Europe where they came from I guess. Oh, not what you mean?

    • Patrick

      I share your frustration about illegal immigrants especially since the politicians (many of them at least) seem to respond a lot by rewarding them and giving them more benefits out of hopes that the illegals will vote for them. But I can’t share your frustration with legal immigrants.

      • surlyrevenant

        Immigrants who have skills needed by America, who respect OUR laws and traditions, are ALWAYS welcome, in moderation. I was referring to those “legal” immigrants with no skills, no respect, and no desire to EVER be Americans.

  • Frank P


  • Bill

    Very nice allegory. I like to compare what’s going on to a “less fortunate” relative who you have been financially helping for years. You now ask him/her for some list of how he’s spending his money and instead he says he wants to spend more money, refuses to give you a budget, and states that you have to pay more since you have more. You decide to either cut back or cut him off.

  • r-factor

    Here is the compromise.

    ONLY those with $1 million and up income will get a 2% tax rate increase … but ALL those who file SUB-CHAPTER “S” tax forms (the BUSINESS CREATORS) are exempt and will keep the current rates. Everything else stays the same. For the Democrats, the GOP must DEMAND specific and immediate reform of the crazy out-of-control MediCaid increases …. along with specific (put it on paper) reforms to SocSec …. plus immediate cancellation of Solyndra-type giveaways to Obama donors … plus immediate 5% across-the-board cuts to all discretionary spending … for the next four years.

    • Charlie

      B…b…b…but, this might actually work!? That means it’ll never happen!

      I think this is a great idea and very, very fair.

    • Ken08534

      But this won’t generate any significant revenue increases. I think if everyone’s income stayed the same, at the $200/250K level the President favors (for all, including S Corps.) it could raise $90BN/yr, not even one-tenth of our annual budget deficit. The Bush Tax Cuts in total “cost” about $400BN/yr, with the Bush Tax Cuts for those earning less than $200/250K “costing” about $300BN/yr.
      If we can’t afford $90BN/yr, how can we afford the other $300BN/yr?

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    Good one.

  • angelsinca

    I normally like your stuff, Bernie. This is no exception.

    • John Daly

      Thanks. But Bernie didn’t write this. 😉

      • angelsinca

        Slow to reply but thanks for correcting me, John. Keep up the good work.

  • SeattleSam

    What you don’t get is that both firemen know the house is going to burn down eventually. Fireman R is simply going to make it take longer for that to happen and get all sooty in the process. Fireman D likes to put on a good show while it’s burning. Everybody likes a good show.

  • artlouis

    Now you have me wishing that Obama had been elected local fire chief instead of president. (Not that I needed any encouragement to feel that way.) At least the destruction would be limited. Nice post.

  • Michael F. Shaughnessy

    This is probably the most excellent description of what is currently happening in Washington today that I have ever read. Excellent Job Bernie… we just need to get you in there between Pelosi and Boehner or somewhere in the middle aisle of the Senate,

    • John Daly

      I’ll except your praise on behalf of Bernie. 😉

      • Ken08534

        Better yet, accept it on behalf of Bernie. 😉

        • John Daly

          Oops. Good catch 😉

      • artlouis

        It must be the great similarity between your name and Bernie’s.

      • carroll

        what amuses me is that conservatives have all the answers now that democrats are in charge but they were in charge from 2000 to 2006 how come some of these problems(healthcare Etc) weren’t fixed

        • John Daly

          Caroll, Prior to the passage of Obamacare, national polls showed that 80% of the country was satisfied with the U.S. healthcare system and their insurance providers. In a post 9/11 world, healthcare was far from the country’s highest priority. Even in 2008, when Obama won, it ranked very low on people’s concerns. They wanted the economy fixed, but Obama decided to overhaul the health system instead… which is why the Republicans took the house in 2010. Bush tried to fix Social Security in his second term, but the Democrats shut him down. Most conservatives feel that Bush spent too much, but Obama eclipsed his spending in no time. But let’s stop talking about Bush for once. Obama’s been in office for 4 years. He’s destroying the country’s future prospects and offers nothing but useless gimmicks to fix a very serious problem. That should concern ALL Americans, but as my column points out, it doesn’t. That’s horrifying.