US government not closed: ‛It was just a joke’

WASHINGTON (Rooters agency) – “Hey guys, lighten up! We were just joking!” That was the message at a surprise press conference this morning, held jointly by the President and the leaders of both houses of Congress.

Speaking first, the President said that the idea of pretending to close the government arose during a party he had attended with Congressional leaders. “It seemed to us that a lot of the public dissatisfaction with Washington arises because both sides of politics are just too somber too much of the time. So we dreamed up this little charade as light entertainment.”

“You didn’t really think we’d close the government, did you?” asked the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John “Stone Age” Bomber. “The majority of the House was elected on a clear platform of opposing government. If we closed the government, we’d have nothing to oppose. And most of our constituents tolerate us only as long as we are opposing something.”

Harvey Pooka, the majority leader in the Senate, pointed out that they had given a number of hints that the “closure” was not real. “For instance, we said we weren’t going to close down the military, and of course that’s the most important part of the government; without a strong military, the government might be overrun by poor people.”

“We didn’t want to frighten the public,” said Congressman Bomber, “so we didn’t talk about closing anything really important – only shutting down little things like national parks and home loans and stuff like that. I can’t remember if we pretended to close the IRS, but it really doesn’t matter – the IRS, open or closed, doesn’t collect anything from rich people; as for the rest of you, you know we’ll get you one way or another, no worries.”

“And of course,” the President added, “the CEOs of the big corporations and banks weren’t fooled for a minute. They knew perfectly well that we wouldn’t do anything that might interfere with the flow of their subsidies and guarantees for their profits.”

This point was endorsed by Bomber, who said, “The pretend closure of the government might have caused some temporary fluctuations in the stock market, but that would be welcomed by the big hedge funds, who know what’s going on and how to make use of it.”

A reporter asked whether the public should expect similar jokes of this type in the future. “We don’t want to overdo it,” the President replied. “You media people are just too gullible, if you’ll pardon me for saying so, and so things keep getting repeated long after the joke has passed. Some of you still haven’t wised up to that Nobel Peace Prize story.”

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