“If (Americans) really want to slash the deficit, there’s no way to do it without a great deal of pain.” – San Francisco Chronicle
“To avoid meltdown, we need pain” – LaCrosse (Wi.) Tribune
“The fiscal deficit commission, Congress and the White House … have to spread the pain.” – BusinessWeek
“PAIN. That neatly sums up what the public can expect if lawmakers are serious about slashing growth of the national debt.” – The Miami Herald

WASHINGTON D.C. ( – With economists and the media clamoring for immediate and painful deficit solutions, Congress today suggested that Americans stick forks in their eyes and rip out their own fingernails.
In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

“Everybody says we have to do something painful, and we have to do it now,” said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), co-chairman of the ad hoc House Ways and Meaningful Pain committee. “So, yeah. We all stick forks in our eyes. That is going to be really painful.”
Critics quickly slammed the committee for failing to directly address the nation’s $13.7 trillion deficit, a charge Ryan did not immediately contend as he had a fork in his eye and was finding it hard to concentrate. Even Tea Party conservative Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) argued that making Americans stick forks in their eyes will not reduce the debt. Committee co-chair Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said the committee understood that concern.
“No, right, obviously, forks and fingernails won’t bring down the debt,” said Van Hollen. “But what if we combine that with other painful stuff, like punching the elderly and pushing schoolchildren off bridges?”
In response, Bachmann said she could support that.
Across the country, budget analysts were confused and bemused by the proposal. Appearing with Ryan and Van Hollen on CNN, former White House Budget Director David Stockman explained that the “pain” economists keep referring to is an unappetizing combination of tax hikes and spending cuts. In response, Van Hollen replied, “Oh.”
“No, that wouldn’t work,” he added after a break. “See, if I vote to cut Social Security, I won’t get re-elected. And if (Ryan) votes to increase taxes, he won’t get re-elected. That would be really painful. Honestly. So we’d much rather everyone just do the fork-in-eye thing, thanks.”
Rep. Paul Ryan and members of the House Ways and Meaningful Pain Committee.

Deficit hawk and Sen.-elect Rand Paul (R-KY), however, expressed concern that the committee acted rashly, particularly by suggesting Americans rip out their own fingernails. “It’s class warfare,” Paul said. “Wealthy people spend more on their fingernails. If they rip them out, they lose both their fingernails and their investment. But poor people, do they even have fingernails? I can’t tell because of all of that dirt.”
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) was equally unhappy, but for the opposite reasons. “The rich have gained more so they should suffer more,” Rangel said. “Those making more than $250,000 a year should put forks in both eyes. The middle class would just do the one eye, and the poor could use plastic forks. Or even sporks.”
Committee members said they were open to such alternatives, which pleased Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire. “This plan is a significant step down the path of fiscal responsibility,” said Gregg. “But it can be improved. I think making bagels that explode when you touch them would cause a lot of pain. We can expand that to other ethnic groups. Tacos that explode. Egg rolls that explode. Exploding tofu.”
Whatever bill finally does hit the House floor, Rep. Ryan expects it to be controversial. “The fur is definitely going to fly,” he said. “That’s not a euphemism. We have a proposal to put family pets in blenders.”

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