With the War on Women now apparently behind us, politicians here have turned their attention to the next front: The War on Math.
After months of agonizing over the draconian “sequester” cuts to the military and other government programs that absolutely nobody outside of Washington ever actually noticed, the House decided to scrap them.
But don’t you worry, all you Chicken Littles out there who think $17 trillion in debt is some kind of cause for alarm. The easing of these sequester cuts has been done in the same wise fiduciary manner that we have come to expect from our mathematician-statesmen here in Washington.
While nobody seems to be able to explain how the new cuts are just as severe as the old cuts yet equally unfelt, the whole deal came about after a bunch of big-spending Republicans joined all the big-spending Democrats to demand new cuts that would not hurt as much as the cuts that nobody felt.
The cuts that nobody felt are being replaced, we are told, by equally arduous cuts elsewhere that everybody won’t feel even more! And, thank heavens, it’s all been done in a bipartisan way so that everybody is happy. At least everybody here in Washington is happy. It’s like Christmas around here, everybody is so happy.
All this scheming and conniving and mathematical jujitsu was necessary because there is simply nothing left anywhere in the federal government that can afford to be cut.
So everybody is standing around the punch bowl munching on sugar cookies in their reindeer sweaters congratulating one another on another job well done and in walks Sen. Tom Coburn, waving around yet another one of his reports on government spending.
Such a punch-kill, he is. Senator Scrooge!
Turns out, the Oklahoma Republican found $325,000 of your money given to the National Institutes of Health for research that led to the discovery that “wives should calm down.”
“Wives would find marriage more satisfying if they could calm down faster during arguments with their husbands,” the study revealed.
Or, how about $3.5 million of your money spent on solar panels for a New Hampshire airport parking garage? The panels had to be promptly covered with tarps to keep the glare from blinding pilots during landings.
How about $64 million in Hurricane Sandy “emergency” funds spent on tourism-related television advertising? Because just what you need when your house is flooded and your children have been swept away are tourism ads on your television that no longer works because it is floating in the front yard.
And perhaps the most fruitless waste of money of all: NASA spent $3 million of your money searching for signs of intelligent life. Where? Here on earth. Where specifically? No kidding, they were searching for signs of intelligent life inside the U.S. Congress.
Good luck with that. And can we have our money back please?
• Charles Hurt can be reached at email@example.com, and on Twitter at @charleshurt.