Having stupendously failed to address America's runaway deficit spending, the Supercommittee officially cedes its congressional authority to "The Three Stooges."
A new episode in the crisis begins: "Calling Dr. Howard. Dr. Fine. Dr. Howard."
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MOE: (Clumsily wielding a rusty, two-man timber saw in a wood-paneled Washington hearing room.) "Stand aside, knuckleheads. We'll show you how it's done." LARRY: (Donning red cape and curtsying.) "Gangway, Congress. Gangway, Simpson-Bowles. Gangway, Obama-Boehner grand bargain talkers. Gangway, super silly Supercommittee. The new Super, Duper Committee is now in session."
CURLY: (Setting down an enormous crate full of assorted tools, then grabbing one side of the giant two-man saw.) "Why, soitenly!"
MOE: (Smacking Curly across the face.) "Hey, let go of that saw, you imbecile. What are you trying to do?"
CURLY: (Grinning and snapping his fingers.) "I'm cutting taxes, Moe. N'yuk, n'yuk, n'yuk."
LARRY: (Smiling, oddly.) "See, Moe, I told you cutting would be a cinch. More money for the rich means more money for us, too."
MOE: (Coiling the saw, then releasing it, whacking Curly and Moe with a loud "Boing!") "Listen, you two nitwits. The whole country is depending on us to cut spending, not revenues. We need at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts. Now quit thinking about yourselves and get busy cutting."
LARRY: (Hand to chin, as if thinking.) "Let's change "Medicare" to "We-Don't-Care'."
MOE: (Fingers to forehead, also as if capable of thinking.) "Let's fire the army. We can give the job of global security to the French Foreign Legion. All three of us stooges served there in one episode. It's a swell outfit."
CURLY: (Bouncing his head, making mechanical typing sounds through his teeth.) "Hey, Moe, $1.2 trillion ain't gonna cut it. The deficit's growing faster than the whole economy."
LARRY: (Whispering to Moe.) "Remember that plumbing job we did, and how the water kept pouring in on us, no matter how many pipes we broke?"
MOE: (Grabs Larry by the curls of his hair.) "Listen to me, porcupine. You keep talking like that and you're gonna get us downgraded by Standard & Poor's again."
CURLY: (Still calculating.) "Ruff. Ruff. Wait a minute, Moe. The debt is only $15 trillion. Ruff. That's only 15 and a few zeros."
MOE: (Smacking Curly's face, again.) "Oh, a wise guy, aye? Maybe I should slap you 15 trillion more times. That's bigger than the nation's gross domestic product."
CURLY: (Waving his arm at Moe in protest.) "Who says we can't have $30 trillion in debt, Moe? Who says? The more dollars we borrow, the more we devalue the dollar, and pretty soon what we owe is worth next to nothin'."
LARRY: (Playing "Pop Goes The Weasel" on his violin.) "That's right, Moe. Interest rates went down the last time S&P downgraded us. Let's flood the world with dollars. What else is there? Euros?"
MOE: (Smashing violin over Larry's head.) "Oh, I see. You're fiddlin' while Rome burns."
LARRY: (Fumbling with the broken pieces of his violin). "But I'm the best musician in the country."
MOE: (Snapping the violin bow over Larry's head.) "Yeah? How are you in the city?"
CURLY: (Shuffling his feet, hysterically.) "Woo-woo-woo! Burning? Something's burning? What's burning Moe? What's burning?"
MOE: (Blowing industrial-age steam whistles through his ears.) "Simmer down, you idiot."
CURLY: (Pulling a fire hose from wall, blasting the room.) "Woo-woo-woo! Where's the fire, Moe? Where's the fire, Moe? Woo-woo-woo!"
LARRY: (Dodging the spray, calmly.) "He said it's in Rome, Curly. But it's also in Greece. And Spain. And Portugal. And Ireland. And …"
CURLY: (Handily tying a knot in the fire hose to stop it.) "UMMMPH! Why didn't you say so?"
MOE: (Clanking Larry's and Curly's skulls together as fire-hose water streams down his face.) "OK, you two puddin" heads. So far we've got nothing done."
CURLY: (Smiling, because his head is shock resistant and blissfully unaware of the rapidly expanding fire hose that he knotted.) "I got something done, fellas. I had burnt toast and a rotten egg for breakfast."
MOE: (Scratching his head.) "Why would you eat that?"
CURLY: (Slapping his hands on his hips.) "I got a tapeworm and that's good enough for him!"
LARRY: (Untangling violin strings from his wet hair.) "That is to say, we don't want President Obama getting any credit."
MOE: (Grabbing Curly and Larry by their noses using two pairs of pliers.) "Listen you two goons: This whole calamity is gonna be blamed on Republicans."
LARRY: (Rubbing his swollen nose.) "But it's the Democrats' fault."
CURLY:(Tending his swollen nose, too.) "And the tea party's."
MOE: (Handing Curly a hammer.) "Here, take this, you Wisenheimer."
CURLY:(Looking puzzled.) "I don't need a hammer, Moe. I need that saw. "
MOE: (Hitting Curly's arm, causing the hammer to swing in a wide circle, hitting Curly's head with a gaveling thud.) "Meeting adjourned."
LARRY: "Success!" CURLY: "Success!" MOE: "Success!"
(The knotted fire hose explodes.)
(Al's Emporium, written by Dow Jones Newswires columnist Al Lewis, offers commentary and analysis on a wide range of business subjects through an unconventional perspective. Contact Al at email@example.com or tellittoal.com)