I put out the call for more political fan fiction along the lines of Tom Friedman’s amusing column about a magical day when President Obama, John Boehner, and the rest of Washington hug it out and agree on everything. This submission comes from J.P. in California; it was submitted before the actual House Democratic names for the supercommittee were chosen, hence that reference.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Thanksgiving Day came and went, and many thought the congressional Special Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction charged with recommending steps to reduce federal budget deficits by at least $1.5 trillion over 10 years failed at its task. Little did voters know that the members of the Congress had a much bigger announcement up their sleeves.
“Frankly, I thought we really were headed toward unimaginable cuts that would prevent this committee from doing its duty,” said GOP Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Tex., the Republican co-chairman of the committee from the House. “But then the solution – it just popped in there.”
Echoing Hensarling, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who served as the Democratic co-chairwoman of the committee, stated: “This solution just makes real sense, and puts a long-standing divisions on an array of tough issues to rest.” In the early morning hours of what was potentially shaping up to be a dismal Black Friday for the nation’s retailers, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Treasury Secretary Timothy S. Geithner, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived at Camp David with the members of the bipartisan committee – Hensarling, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., along with from the Senate Murray, Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. Their arrival was followed by a virtual parade of black, tinted-window government vehicles arriving from Andrews Air Force Base, according to senior administration officials. To the surprise of quickly and hastily assembled reporters, joining the leaders on the dais just before the press conference began were Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. “Today,” President Obama began, “this bipartisan committee is prepared to announce a holistic, balanced and long-term solution to our nation’s debt problems – a plan for peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors that Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Abbas are prepared to accept today.” The president then welcomed Senator Kerry to the podium. “Credit for this idea really goes to Senator Toomey and Congresswoman Bass,” Kerry began, “who every week when the committee met would take turns reading aloud The New York Times columns of Thomas Friedman. We all knew the solution out of this nation’s debt doldrums was peace in the Middle East. Israel has agreed to end further settlement activity and give up approximately one-third of Jerusalem for use as a capital of a Palestinian state including the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In return, Palestinians will acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state, cease any and all hostilities along the shared borders, and permit all lands with settlements to become part of Israel. More importantly, we’ll avoid $500 billion in harmful security cuts by immediately investing over the next 10 years $450 billion in spending on peacekeeping forces comprised of predominantly U.S. troops who also will work to rebuild areas of Israel and the new Palestinian state damaged by years of conflict.” Senator Toomey then began to explain the source of funding for the plan… . “As we wind down wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, those savings will fund in part the $450 billion in investments in Israel and the new state of Palestine that will put Americans back to work doing what we do best – sending contractors and troops to Middle Eastern countries to build stuff. This will widen the income tax base of working Americans. In return, the tax cuts for persons making more than $500,000.00 per year will expire as scheduled in 2013, with all other tax cuts remaining in place… .” Come on – we all know this is a more likely outcome of the super committee than long-term resolution of our nation’s fiscal challenges.