In a move that startled even his most ardent admirers, President George Bush announced this week that the government is going out of business. Kaput. Finis.
In true Bush style, the announcement was cleverly concealed in a post on the government's Economic and Statistics website, Economic Indicators.
It reads "Due to budgetary constraints, the Economic Indicators service, will be discontinued effective March 1, 2008."
A white house spokesman confirmed, "We're broke. Everything will get sold. The President's desk, the Oval Office rug, even the damn dog is on the block."
Many citizens noticed several years ago that the government M3 (Money Supply) reporting was discontinued. That was the indicator that let citizens know how much money the government was printing. From that number, one could extrapolate how fast inflation would be rising. Some analysts have noted that since the demise of that number inflation has topped 41%.
The loss of the Economic Indicators is much more serious. The loss of this kind of accountability reporting seems more indicative of people on the run.
"Hell, we see this all the time when couples bust up," a marital-financial counselor said.
"First they spend all the money and then they max out the credit cards. After that, they start kiting and bouncing checks and then the paper trail just vanishes. They move away and the only things you can find left behind are a beer can, a dead cat and a pile of dog crap."
Yearning for the day when auctioneers will be barking keepsakes from the National Archives, flea market bargain hunters were excited by the news.
"I've always had my eye on that Lincoln Memorial," said Carlton Fishback, a local entrepreneur. Do you suppose it would fit on a flat-bed trailer?"
Advocates for the homeless pointed out that the Pentagon building is large enough to house the entire homeless population of New York. "We might have a problem getting them to sleep inside because it smells like a government office. But add a little a diesel and some beer urine and the place will be great."
Librarians could already be seen gathering around the Library of Congress. "They may have burned Alexandria, but I'll be damned if they're getting this one," a graying, slender woman intoned.
Sensing that there would no longer be any paychecks, government workers began scrambling to find alternative sources of income.
One worker was overheard saying, "Do you remember that guy in the Bible who called all his master's customers and cut their bills in half? Well, I have been calling people who owe the IRS and boy do I have some happy new friends!"
"Next week I'm calling everyone who got busted by the DEA."
And in the most poignant moment of irony to date, a representative from the Native American Council called and offered to buy the whole Washington, D.C. area for the grand total of $24.00 payable in beads.