These little piggies went to market

Economic indicators signal good news for the rich, but minimum-wage latte drinkers are advised to cut back on the caffeine.

Topics: U.S. Economy, Great Recession, Unemployment, Business,

New economic indicators suggest that the U.S. economy will continue sturdy expansion for the fortunate, relieved economists announced today.

Shares of irony surged 78 percent in response to FDA approval of the drug InOp. The patented hallucinogen, which contains the active ingredient “indifferent optimism,” is already being used to treat politicians who suffer from occasional awareness. However, it has not yet been tested on human beings. Sales hit a record high in the days following the death of former President Ronald Reagan.

Other new economic indicators reveal a similar trend away from facts as a viable market index. In a nationwide survey 5 out of 5 economists with job security, benefits and stock options reported being unconcerned that 80,000 Americans a month are still being put out of work.

“There are always layoffs,” said an unruffled Jess Fine, a senior business economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. “Jobs are being created and jobs are being destroyed every day. Just not my job.”

Among the jobs being created, says Fine, are self-employed lottery ticket investor, privatized civil servant at large, and vice president in charge of overseeing mail drop in the Bahamas.

Among the jobs being destroyed, says Fine, are midrange professions for “a bunch of people who live, um, out there somewhere.” Fine added that many of these people would soon be downsizing their homes and announcing discount sales of their pre-owned consumer goods, a move he says reflects Americans’ growing confidence that suicide is still the last resort.

Despite all the good news, Congress scrambled to put together several important emergency packages last week. Chief among these was $10 billion in aid to Accenture LLP, which has developed an apparently incurable resistance to paying a fair share of corporate taxes shortly after a long feeding session at the public trough. Aid workers for Accenture had previously boosted the company’s tax immune system by airlifting the headquarters to Bermuda, but say that “much, much more — and then some” will be required to keep the company healthy, wealthy and smug.

The new emergency package is expected to have widespread benefits for at least half a dozen members of the American public, say supporters, who included three lobbyists, two shareholders and a senior executive. Hiring one of the more aggressive outsourcers of American technology to track foreign visitors as a security measure just makes sense, say lobbyists, who admitted they couldn’t say why.

“You’d sort of have to be there sipping that third martini,” one explained.

Others cited good old-fashioned American sentiment as the reason for their support of the lucrative deal. “When you see a company that’s outsourcing business to the tune of $2 billion a year,” said one congressman, “you can’t help but be moved by its plight. Or whatever.”

  • Employers who have worked tirelessly to limit or curtail access to affordable health insurance report that the program is giving older workers and retirees a whole new lease on life. The lease is owned and operated by the Federation of HMO Cowboys for a Healthier Balance Sheet. By cutting off or severely reducing promised health insurance benefits, employers say they are inspiring their workers to take more risks and encouraging elderly, ailing retirees to stop sitting at home feeling sorry for themselves at a time when there is so much poorly remunerated work to be done.

  • The House of Representatives approved new tax credits for children of families that earn as much as $309,000 a year. Supporters argued that families who already enjoy cushy benefits from earlier tax cuts have developed a heightened sensitivity to discomfort that the poor have failed to take into account. Asked to respond to a Washington Post editorial that criticized the tax credit as “bad social policy, bad tax policy, and bad fiscal policy,” one congressman announced, “We wish to thank the Washington Post for recognizing that our actions are consistent with our family values.”

  • In a related story, Congress approved a manicured grass-roots movement to stamp out latte drinking among the nation’s working poor, whose complaints about the sudden price increase for dairy products and other basic foods are really beginning to grate on the nerves of people who think tossing back their hair or rolling their eyes counts as a searing cultural indictment.

    Authors looking for a way to manipulate people into buying their latest get-rich-quick books have agreed to help. Starting today, they will write books, go on talk shows and wheel out carts piled high with fake money to show how much “anyone” can save if they just kick the supposedly universal habit of drinking a bucket of latte a day — seven days a week, for 30 years, at 10 percent interest.

    The alleged latte drinkers, who were last spotted deciding whether to A) buy the 64-ounce box of powdered milk for $11.79 and go without the cornflakes, or to B) just get the smallest box for now and pay double the unit price, could not be immediately reached for comment, as they do not have cellphones, fax machines, access to the Internet or, in some cases, a fixed abode. But spokespersons for the better off were quick to point out that nobody really cares what they think anyway.

  • Finally, a spokesperson for the White House defended the $100,000 advance paid to the Pentagon for a last-minute project to build a platform with red carpet, walkway and an artificial island. The walkway enabled President George Bush and French President Jacques Chirac to take a brief but stately stroll over a memorial pool at the U.S. cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer during the D-Day 60th anniversary.

    The spokesperson pointed out that the walkway will also be used to allow federal regulators to step over a growing pile of insult added to injury in California. The “over my dead body” formation arose earlier this month when feds demanded that California pay Enron — whose traders joked about gouging them — and other companies nearly $270 million in refunds.

    Once the swindle has been completed, the EPA will recycle the walkway at one of several National Superfund parks.

    “This will allow visitors to take better photos as they step over the natural formations of industrial contaminant,” said a spokesperson for the regulatory agency, who was unable to specify what the letters EPA stand for.

    “I think it’s just one of those made-up marketing phrases, like Häagen-Dazs,” the spokesperson ventured.

    Some Capitol insiders expressed disappointment at the decision, saying they really could have used the overpriced walkway.

    Said one insider, “It would have been nice to give Americans an opportunity to ease vice presidential access to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, especially for those times when Dick does not wish to be seen in the same boat.”

  • Joyce McGreevy is a writer in Portland, Ore.

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