Gather 'round kiddies, and Wonkronk will tell you about a traditional Japanese Noh play being performed right here in our nation's Capitol. It's called The Budget, and President Barack Obama, the Republican-led House, and the Democrat-led Senate have crafted a wonderful drama that combines all the classic elements of Noh theater. The show is long, tedious, highly stylized, and features jerky moves, screeching dialogue and is all very symbolic and reassuringly predictable. Oh yes, and everyone wears masks.
Here is how it goes: The Republicans in the House have 87 new members from the Tea Party, who are determined to balance the Budget by slashing billions and billions of dollars from vital public services while coddling the richest, most powerful evil Lords on Earth. The President wants to thwart the Tea Partisans by proposing a Budget that slashes slightly fewer billions and billions of dollars from vital public services while coddling the richest, most powerful evil Lords on Earth. The Tea Partisans declare no such blasphemy will occur, and spread their peacock feathers and strut around proudly in the traditional peacock dance. Annoying Japanese stringed instruments screech loudly.
Meanwhile, if a Budget agreement isn't reached by March 4, the whole United States Government will shut down, and poor Tiny Tim won't get his operation and will die. Tiny Tim is making a cameo from Dickens.
The Tea Partisans force the Republican leaders to pass their onerous proposal through the House, but the President vows to veto it and the Senate won't go along with it anyway. Screeching strings.
But Senate Democrats and Republicans come up with a bipartisan compromise very near the President's original proposal, with perhaps a few more billions and billions slashed from vital public services than the President will have liked, but far fewer billions and billions than the Tea Partisans wanted.
The House and Senate now must agree. The Tea Partisans won't be budged, but the Republican leader gathers enough votes that, along with votes from all the Democrats, the Tea Partisans are shut out, and the compromise resolution is hailed as a victory for bipartisan cooperation. Thus, the Tea Partisans can go back to their constituents and say they'd given it the ol' college try. Screech!
Of course, the budget cuts were aimed at only the tiny 12% discretionary spending portion of the Budget without touching revenue, defense or social security and medicare/medicaid entitlements, so the Budget deficit ends up not being addressed at all, while countless millions of Americans, especially the poorest, most elderly and infirm among them, are ruthlessly body slammed repeatedly onto a forest of razor-sharp samurai swords.
But the richest, most powerful evil Lords of the Earth are pleased, and Wall Street careens wildly into its next bubble.
Oh, and Tiny Tim dies.
Now, what could possibly go wrong?