Ben Bernanke: Twisted Logic?

Ben Bernanke does the twist

Domesticus: Mr. Bernanke, first of all, we recognize that you’ve got one tough job. Last year, we even wrote you a sincere note to tell you so, and offered our sympathies. To which one of your staff people actually responded with a thank-you note.  We understand that trying to manage the economy–well, not manage it, but, you know, trying to keep the weather not too hot and not too cold while somebody’s always screaming about heatstroke and somebody else is dying of frostbite, is really an impossible task to get right. In fact, some people would say that since it’s such it’s an impossible task,  your job shouldn’t even exist. We don’t know about that, but we know we wouldn’t want to do it.

So we have a lot of sympathy for you, trying as you are to do the impossible. But we also have some questions. Because frankly, we’re concerned about the deficit, the big gap between what the government owes people–especially older people who, even if they can’t retire are liable to get sick some day–and what the government can afford to pay them. Can you summarize for us what the Fed is doing about this problem?

Bernanke: Sure. First we had QE1, where we bought up all those bad mortgages that never should have been made in the first place.

Domesticus: When you say we

Bernanke: I mean us taxpayers. You, me, your Aunt Hilda, your neighbor down the street who paid $500k for that piece of swampland, we’re all in this together. So we bought up the bad mortgages that were weighing down poor Fannie and Freddie and also gave them $100 billion in pocket change so they could put dinner on the table. And then we cut interest rates to zero so that we would all feel cozy and start spending again.

Domesticus: And what was the result?

Bernanke: Mortgage rates went way-way-way down.

Domesticus: And people and businesses started spending again?

Bernanke: No, they were too scared.

Domesticus: So then what did you do?

Bernanke: QE2. We bought long-term Treasury bonds. Lots of them, $600 billion worth.

Domesticus: And what did that do?

Bernanke: Created a stock market boom. Saved us from depression! Created jobs.

Domesticus: How many jobs were created?

Bernanke: Some 700,000.

Domesticus: Let’s see…$600 billion spent, 700,000 jobs…that means we spent $850,000 to create each job. And unemployment was still over 9 percent.

Bernanke: But mortgage rates went way-way-way down.

Domesticus: Tell me what you did next.

Bernanke: Operation Twist! We sold short-term Treasury bonds and used the money to buy long-term Treasury bonds.

Domesticus: What for?

Bernanke: To get interest rates down so people and businesses would feel comfortable spending again.

Domesticus: Did it work?

Bernanke: There was a big meltdown in Europe and people here were afraid of catching it, so they didn’t go out and spend money and create jobs like they were supposed to do. But mortgage rates did go way-way-way

Domesticus: Mr. Bernanke, you’re scaring me. You’re making it sound like the Fed only knows how to do one thing, and we have these giant, mounting debts that we can never repay staring us in the face. What if someone is falling asleep at their desk and needs to retire? What if someone gets sick? What if someone gets mad and throws a brick through the window at Citibank? What are we going to do, Mr. Bernanke?!

Bernanke: Chill, baby! There’s nothing to fear but fear itself. Here, I’ll show you. [Pushes up from his chair and strides across the room to a black box sitting in the corner. Opens it and sorts through it.] Ah, here it is! [Pulls out a cd and pops it into his computer.]

Bernanke [singing along and dancing]:

Come on, let’s twist again

Like we did last summer

Yeah, let’s twist again

Like we did last year!

Do you remember when

Things were really hummin’?

Yeah, let’s twist again

Twistin’ time is here!






Snow White and the Magnificent Seven

Once upon a time, an elementary school in Kirkland, Washington decided to put on a play about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

They’d done it before. But this time, the school’s worried principal decided to edit out certain elements of the story, in light of the school’s human dignity and anti-bullying policies. Quite a hubbub ensued.

In fact, the story was censored edited in such a thoughtful and sensitive manner that Domesticus immediately recognized the consulting firm the school must have hired to do it:

Official Three Stooges logo. L to R: Moe Howar...


Here is a transcript of their work:

Larry [reading]: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Moe [tearing the script from Larry’s hands]: No! Gimme that, you nitwit! [Turns his attention to the script] We can’t say dwarfs.

Curly: Can we say dwarves?

Moe: No! We gotta use gentle woids, on account of the tender innocent ears of all them little pitchers out there. With mommies and daddies some ‘a which is legal types that can send the whole school board to Sing Sing if we ain’t careful.

Larry: How about The Seven Short People?

Moe [shaking head]: What do I do with such nincompoops? No, we can’t say short people, you idiot!

Curly: Why can’t we say short people?

Moe: On account of Randy Newman.

Larry: How about Snow White and the Vertically Challenged Helpers?

Curly: Helpers, now there’s a gentle woid.

Moe: Them elemen-ter-arry kids ain’t gonna figger that out. Plus, it don’t sound real gentle-like.

[A thoughtful pause. Moe and Larry squint in concentration. Larry takes a sip of water and smacks his lips. Curly leans back in his chair, puts his feet on the table and stretches his hands behind his head. As he does so, his elbow bangs Larry in the head.]

Larry: Hey, watch it, you! [Shoves Curly’s feet off the table.] Keep your hands to yourself!

Curly: Them ain’t gentle woids!

Moe: Shut up, you numbskulls! [Jumps between them and bashes their heads together.] Whatsa matter with you? Can’t you see we got woik to do? [Struts back to his seat.]

[Larry and Curly both rub their aching heads. Suddenly, Larry’s eyes light up, as though a genie has appeared to him.]

Larry: Hey! I got it!

Moe [leering]: Oh. A wise guy, eh?. Whadda you got, you miserable pink-faced monkey?

Curly: Them ain’t gentle –

Moe: Shut up, you numbskull! I’d knock your brains out, if you had any brains.

Larry: Are you ready? Snow White … and the Magnificent Seven!

Moe [hesitates a moment, then pounds his fist on the table, splashing water from Larry’s glass into his eyes]: Now you’re tawkin! [Rubs palms together.] In that fine spirit, let’s read through the rest of it and clean it all up for them poor innocent tykes.

[They huddle together over the script in silence.]

Curly: It says here that Sneezy calls Dopey stupid.

Moe: We can’t say stupid.

Curly: Why can’t we say stupid?

Moe: On account of it might offend some people who’s liable to take it poissonal.

Larry: Who would take it poissonal?

Moe: Why, the school board, you nitwit!

Curly: Look at this! This here girl is singin’ the praises of her coivy-coives!

Larry: Ooh, coivy-coives, where’s dat, lemme see dat!

Moe: We can’t have no coivy-coives.

Larry and Curly [faces fallen] Why not?

Moe: On account of it takes their innocent little minds away from the subject.

Larry: What is the subject?

Moe: You gotta whistle while you woik.

Curly: Some people can’t whistle.

Moe [rubbing his chin]: Hmmm … Maybe we oughta take that out. But we still got a nice little ditty at the end they can all relate to.

[Sings]: Heigh-ho! Heigh-ho! It’s home from school we go.

Where we rush to play our God of War and Grand Theft


Larry Fine (right) with Moe Howard and Curly H...