Friday, November 30, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Gets Makeover

During an ice-breaker at their recent fall conference in Chicago, members of the American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists reportedly connected a vast number of dots configured it turns out in a picture of a country suffering from a mass syndrome presumably caused by the looming fiscal cliff.

It seems American mental patients and their loved ones across the land have been struck by the obsessive impulse to just hold hands with somebody next to them and maybe say “I love you” as we all sail together into the fast-approaching Grand Canyon of economic woebegoneness.

Explained Dr. Brennan Cox from the American Psychiatric Association, “It makes perfect sense. Here we all are almost twelve years into a worldwide American financial and war and environmental crime spree. The domestic road behind us is piled up with the half million or so corpses of those we just watched die because they couldn’t afford health care. And this is to say nothing of the cold-blooded killing off of any hope that America has any democratic mechanisms left for changing its ways.

“So I’m not sure why anybody would be surprised when Americans decide to hold hands and do a collective Thelma and Louise when a big cliff presents itself.”

According to sources, there is now growing concern in the mental health community and elsewhere that the economic boon of the final-hour, completely irresponsible holiday spending sprees they’re seeing patients and their families give themselves over to will lower the fiscal cliff just enough that when Americans open their eyes back up after having gone over it, they’ll be faced with the devastating realization that they have survived only to face the specter of the next personal and nationwide fiscal cliff their reckless economy-saving spending spree has paved the way for.”

Said Dr. Roberta Grier from the AACP, ”I just don’t think the fragile American psyche can take another institutionalized boom and bust cycle.

“The responsible thing to do, and indeed perhaps the only thing left to do as the clock winds down, is to mold the metaphor into a less fatalistic, less embraceable shape.

“In my own practice, I’ve had some luck framing this looming financial moment of truth, or untruth as the case may be, as an austerity bomb. I’ve found that clients, perhaps inspired at some psychological level by the Sergeant James character in the film The Hurt Locker, are now armoring themselves against the crisis as opposed to walking into the bright fiscal light so to speak.

“Colleagues have seen similarly positive results from framing the whole thing as a fiscal pane of Hollywood saloon glass. Visualizing the situation as an ambush by the President and Congress and Wall Street and the media has been particularly helpful.”

“And I just read an intriguing paper by a colleague in the Southwest who kept the cliff metaphor but gave it a lighter-hearted Wile E. Coyote dimension. Minus the falling anvils and grand pianos, of course.”

In a related story, Grover Norquist, adapting to the mounting evidence that Republicans are finding the personal courage to question the wisdom of his no-tax pledge, is reconceptualizing his approach to holding the nation’s economy hostage.

Working with Orwellian supergenius Frank Luntz, and inspired by the “chickie run” scene in the film Rebel Without a Cause, Mr. Norquist has been drafting a new “covenant” that reportedly, in so many words, will involve Republicans swearing to God that they will never be the first to jump out any time their party and the Democrats race their respective stolen cars toward a fiscal abyss.

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