The following is fiction and meant as satire. Any resemblance between what is written and real, live, people is entirely coincidental except, of course, when it isn’t.
ONCE UPON A TIME there was a King named Berrywart. King Berrywart ruled the people of Unis, a relatively small kingdom located somewhere near France. Where exactly the French won’t say having been defeated in battle many times by the King’s small, but vicious army of armored marmosets and pike carrying ostriches. Many a battlefield had been well fertilized with the contents gleaned from French pantaloons left behind in retreat after retreat by the Grand ArmÃ©e.
But French bashing is not really part of our fable. I just threw it in there because it’s fun.
King Berrywart had enormous problems. Some clever lad had constructed a vehicle that used turnip juice as fuel. The turnipmobile changed everyone’s way of life in Unis. No longer did people walk to the market. Now they drove their vehicles. This presented difficulties because parking became a bitch downtown plus have you ever smelled burning turnips?
Needless to say, with the immense popularity of the turnipmobile, the production of turnips became a top priority in the Kingdom. Several very clever peasants banded together in a loose alliance and essentially took over the entire production of turnips. They forced other peasants who were growing turnips out of business by charging a pittance for turnip juice, thus making it impossible for the smaller turnip growers to make a profit. They were absolutely ruthless.
These clever peasants also controlled the process which turned turnips into turnip juice. And while they competed amongst each other for customers, they were able to keep the price of turnip juice stable by refining just enough juice to satisfy the ever growing demand of the people for fuel.
The peasants became very rich. They wore rags imported from France. They lived in the finest of mud huts with floors made from the softest straw. The results were predictable. Other peasants who did not produce turnips and were forced into wearing old rags imported from Uruguay and living in small, dank, mud huts with dirt floors were jealous. They grumbled darkly about “conspiracy” and complained about the smell.
Now there were two political parties in Unis. For a long time, the Demon party controlled the Commons with the Pibble party in opposition. And while the Demons took campaign contributions from the rich peasants, they enacted all sorts of laws to make their lives and livelihoods difficult. First, in order to improve the parking downtown, the Demons imposed a tax on juice at the turnip press. The Demons built several parking garages (which almost immediately began to fall apart thanks to bid rigging, payoffs, shoddy materials, and an incompetent builder whose only qualification was that he was the brother in law of the head of the Demon party). Then they passed regulations that forced the rich peasants to remove the bad smell from the turnip juice when it burned. This proved to be easier said than done and their costs to refine turnip juice skyrocketed.
Of course, the rich peasants were forced to pass on these increased costs to the people of Unis. Not only that, they were forced to cut back production of turnips due to other regulations passed by the Demon controlled Commons. They were told they couldn’t grow turnips in certain fields because it spoiled the view of the mountains for some wealthy friends of the Demons. This forced the rich peasants to increase their yield per acre of turnips which added to the cost of the juice.
Then, a group of poor peasants petitioned the Commons to have the rich peasants remove several of the refining facilities because they were unsightly and smelled very, very bad. Always willing to pander to the voters (it’s how they stayed in power for so long), the Demons forced the refineries to close. And when the rich peasants asked if they could build other refineries to replace them, the Demons laughed them out of the Commons.
Needless to say, the rich peasants had to keep raising the price of turnip juice just to maintain their profits.
Finally, a new day dawned in Unis as the Pibble party wrested control of the Commons from the Demons. Seen as the rich peasant’s best friends, the Pibble party promised all sorts of relief for the their friends in the turnip business. They promised to let them grow turnips in fields that blocked the view of the mountains for some of the Demon’s wealthy contributors. They promised to ease up on the smell regs. They promised a lot but nothing ever came of their promises.
Time passed. The world changed. Now everyone was driving turnipmobiles. The rich peasants were forced to import more and more turnip juice from abroad just so that the people of Unis could be supplied with the vital fuel. But the supply from abroad was unreliable. Some peasants in far away Dinnerplate were willing to pay more for turnip juice so more supplies from abroad went there rather than Unis. Since the rich peasants had to buy turnip juice at the inflated price, the cost of juice at the press in Unis started to skyrocket.
This proved too much for the poor peasants in Unis who demanded that the Pibble party do something – anything – to bring the cost of turnip juice down. The Demons, seeing an opening, skewered the Pibble party for allowing the rich peasants to make enormous profits. Rather than try and explain that the rich peasant’s profits were necessary so that more domestic turnips could be grown and refined, the Pibble party turned on the rich peasants and demanded an investigation. The rich peasants were a little bemused. After all, it was the Commons that had forced this situation on everyone with their stupid, shortsighted, and ignorant turnip policies.
King Berrywart was befuddled. A former turnip grower himself, he sympathized with the rich peasants but was also sympathetic to his friends in the Pibble party. “We must give the people relief!” he cried. “We will give one hundred wartmarks (known as “wammers”) to all taxpaying citizens of Unis to help in this crisis.”
The kingdom’s economists did a double take when Berrywart made that announcement. They tried to follow the logic of Berrywart’s thinking but were unable to do so. Berrywart wanted to collect the tax on turnip juice, have the Kingdom’s tax bureaucrats count it, and then have them issue one hundred wammers to each taxpaying citizen? The economists figured such a program would cost at least 133 wammers per citizen which would add to the already ballooning deficit being run by the Kingdom. Why not just suspend the tax, they wondered?
Meantime, the Demons had a better idea (politically speaking, that is). If the Pibble party could pander to the people then the Demons could up the ante. “Let’s tax the excess profits on turnip juice,” they cried triumphantly. This had the advantage of playing to the ignorance of the people of Unis about how turnips are grown and refined while making them sound like they’re “doing something about the problem.”
Of course, all the scheming and planning by the Pibbles and the Demons did not produce one additional drop of turnip juice. So the price remained high. And the people?
The people of Unis took out their frustrations at the polls in November. And which party do you think suffered the most?
Powerline has the skinny on the Republican “plan” to save the nation.