A Solid Fiscal-Cliff Plan

As Republicans and Democrats continue to bicker about spending and taxes, the Onion has stepped in with an excellent plan for averting a fiscal crisis:

STEP ONE: Eliminate school breakfast and lunch programs, Medicaid, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, Medicare, PBS, New Mexico, elk, the Coast Guard, and all dams.

And, our favorite, Step Three:

STEP THREE: Eliminate federal prison system by converting U.S. territory of Guam into an unsupervised penal colony known as “The Gauntlet.”

Steve Nations

Step Four: Create a reality TV show called "The Gauntlet" and sell the rights to the highest bidder for a gazillion dollars.


My favorite is step 8
" Increase special interest loopholes and tax deductions for The Onion."

It epitomizes a very common complaint whenever the discussion gets down to details. Cut everywhere except when it affects me.

Eric M. Jones.

When I was growing up the New York Times, Walter Cronkite had a grip on the truth. Now the Onion and John Stewart are the voice of sanity. It used to be that quoting "Government Figures" would settle any bar bet....now, not so much.

Pat Smith

I have never understood the lunch programs. My nearest major metropolitan area reports 86% free lunches in their district. First, I have a hard time believing 86% of parents would let their children go hungry. Secondly, if we're going to have such an accessible program, why not make it 100%? That is, I suspect feeding the remaining 14% is cheaper than all the paperwork and administration the program.

Joe Dokes


I think you underestimate the level of poverty in this country. As individuals we tend to think everyone is like us, they're not. If school lunches were eliminated most parents would make the sacrifices necessary to ensure that their child was well fed. As a parent I would sacrifice my own health to ensure that my child was well fed. That being said, I had friends growing up who would have gone hungry if not for the free lunch and breakfast offered by these programs.

Yes there is waste in government and the school lunch program could be improved, but contrary to popular opinion the vast majority of children who receive the program are truly in need. Finally, it would be against federal law to allow all students to get a free lunch, as the law requires proof of need. Thus, while it might be 'cheaper' to offer free lunch for all on some high poverty campuses, federal law forbids it.


Joe Dokes



I don't think the Onion is very good at fact checking. The populations of Iowa and Minnesota are less than 3% of the US population including adults. However it might not be a bad idea to send all teenagers to Guam.


Step one is actually pretty standard rhetoric for Ron Paul-ites;

Here is a link where Paul advocates eliminating Medicare and Medicaid:

Here is him on eliminating the EPA:

Here is him voting against the CPSC's online database:

Here is his son proposing to slash CPSC funding:

For libertarians, there is little in Step one, besides the obvious joke bits (New Mexico, elk, all dams) that they would actually disagree with.



As opposed to the Democrats and Republicans, who only offer to slow down the rate of increase, with very little practical difference between them.


I think the best solution to the fiscal cliff is to increase taxes to placate the democrats, but then offer businesses the ability to avoid the tax increase or perhaps an additional portion of their taxes for hiring new workers in the coming year by permitting a tax credit for new hires (this should placate the GOP). The way out of this mess is to get people employed. By businesses hiring more workers it will stimulate demand. At the same time it will take workers off the welfare rolls, and those workers will also pay taxes. I can find some issues with this, but I think this plan is a lot better than the current face off of raise taxes and cut spending, which does not deal with the recessionary pressures at all. Perhaps we need to do all of the above, but the current debate flies in the face of Keynesian economics. We all know politicians are Keynesian till it comes to saving in the good times and setting aside rainy day funds.