Beeler on political Jeopardy

posted at 8:48 am on February 18, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

A good political cartoonist captures an argument or a concept in a single image, clearly and concisely.  A great political cartoonist takes the familiar and timely and teaches a completely different lesson with it.  One of my favorite cartoonists, the Washington Examiner’s Nate Beeler, demonstrates today why he’s one of the upper echelon in his field with “Political Jeopardy“:

Note the negative totals for both Obama and the Republicans, making the point that both have run up deficits while controlling Washington — although Obama has managed to generate his in record time.

It doesn’t take a genius to discover where most of the deficit originates.  The FY2011 budget proposal from the White House contains $1.3 trillion in discretionary spending (including defense), $2.5 trillion in mandatory spending (entitlements and interest payments), and a $1.6 trillion deficit.  Even someone manning an abacus could tell you that cutting discretionary spending — especially “non-defense discretionary spending,” which amounts to around $450 billion — won’t produce a balanced budget.  Entitlements and other mandatory spending take two-thirds of the budget now and begin to climb to three-quarters in just a few years.

Be sure to check out Nate’s blog for more of his excellent work, featured at the indispensable Examiner.


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Oh, this is an instant classic.

It would have been even better if he could have worked in a double jeopardy pun.

Scott H on February 18, 2011 at 8:52 AM

If there was a second panel to this cartoon, it would show Obama petulantly arguing with Alex Trebek over the answer or walking off the stage to let Bill Clinton finish the show.

jon1979 on February 18, 2011 at 8:54 AM

The GOP is afraid to really do what it takes ($100 billion in cuts? really? really?)–Absence of Leadership.

Leadership–The Wrecking Ball and the Dems and their allies are pushing full court press to CLOWARD PIVEN this country (they sense weakness on the part of the opposition).

If we survive until January 20, 2013 I’ll be surprised.

Who will stand against it and do the right thing?

PappyD61 on February 18, 2011 at 8:56 AM

I heard Chris Christie suggested raising the social security age by two years, and he vaporized right on the spot.

John the Libertarian on February 18, 2011 at 8:57 AM

If there was a second panel to this cartoon, it would show Obama petulantly arguing with Alex Trebek HAVING ONE OF HIS CZARS PULL THE PLUG ON WATSON (or having his supporters storm the stage and demand a new host) over the answer or walking off the stage to let Bill Clinton finish the show.

jon1979 on February 18, 2011 at 8:54 AM

FIFY :-)

PappyD61 on February 18, 2011 at 8:58 AM

If there was a second panel to this cartoon, it would show Obama petulantly arguing with Alex Trebek HAVING ONE OF HIS CZARS PULL THE PLUG ON WATSON (or having his supporters storm the stage and demand a new host) over the answer or walking off the stage to let Bill Clinton finish the show.

jon1979 on February 18, 2011 at 8:54 AM

FIFY :-)

PappyD61 on February 18, 2011 at 8:58 AM

Let him be clear.

fossten on February 18, 2011 at 9:01 AM

You can reform all the entitlements you want—just keep your damn hands off my taxpayer funded union pension.

Rovin on February 18, 2011 at 9:03 AM

One problem: you don’t end up with a negative number by answering wrong in final Jeopardy. The lowest you can go is 0. Oh, and entitlement reform is a spending cut.

Count to 10 on February 18, 2011 at 9:07 AM

Beeler’s the man. He and Ramirez.

ted c on February 18, 2011 at 9:10 AM

Here’s a knee-slapper for ya – instead of voting present as usual and running away from his Constitutional duties, Obama is going to show real leadership and buck his own party with bold new entitlement reform..

Yeah like that’s ever going to happen.

Chip on February 18, 2011 at 9:12 AM

Archived. That is a grand-slam homerun of a cartoon.

Dark-Star on February 18, 2011 at 9:18 AM

Ahhh….I see Watson is a racist machine that wants to see grandma starve in the streets!

/sarc

search4truth on February 18, 2011 at 9:20 AM

Count to 10 on February 18, 2011 at 9:07 AM

Wouldn’t it be nice in the real world if zero was as far as any government could go.

One other Jeopardy point, the actual question is misleading. This is NOT a “looming debt crisis”, it’s HERE NOW! Take Wisconsin’s 3+ billion deficit, multiply by eight times, and you get California. Looming????

Rovin on February 18, 2011 at 9:21 AM

One problem: you don’t end up with a negative number by answering wrong in final Jeopardy. The lowest you can go is 0. Oh, and entitlement reform is a spending cut.

Count to 10 on February 18, 2011 at 9:07 AM

Jeebus, nitpick much? I’m sure you did that just to draw attention to yourself.

fossten on February 18, 2011 at 9:26 AM

Love it.

SC.Charlie on February 18, 2011 at 9:27 AM

I’ll take The Excruciatingly Obvious

These are Third World numbers: Deficits that are in the double-digits vis à vis the gross domestic product—and total debts that equal tha GDP—are numbers that Argentina—Greece—Zambia gets:

These numbers aren’t supposed to happen to the good ol’ U.S. of A.!

Oh, but they are happening.
[...]
Again, this is a Third World policy: Deficit funding that nakedly depends on the central bank printing up and buying close to half of the new issuance of debt.

Abandon hope all ye who enter here:

ONLY A REVALUATION OF THE CURRENCY AND MIGRATING BACK TO A GOLD STANDARD CAN PREVENT INFLATION.

Like that’s gonna happen. What’s excruciatingly obvious is the morons in Washington have destroyed our once great and free country.

Rae on February 18, 2011 at 9:46 AM

I wonder what Mr. Beeler’s position was GWB tried his modest effort for reform back in 2005?

Fynxbell on February 18, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Playing the game also makes for a great metaphor, especially when both sides are losing at the moment.

Drained Brain on February 18, 2011 at 9:50 AM

One problem: you don’t end up with a negative number by answering wrong in final Jeopardy. The lowest you can go is 0. Oh, and entitlement reform is a spending cut.

Count to 10 on February 18, 2011 at 9:07 AM

I’m pretty sure there aren’t people with elephant heads walking around either.

John the Libertarian on February 18, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Can we please find a way to expunge the idiotic descriptions ‘mandatory‘ and ‘discretionary‘?? Not one flippin’ penny in the Federal budget is mandatory! (Although, if anything should be in the mandatory category, it should be Defense.) There are a very few areas (defense, foreign policy, treasury, etc.) that are called out in the Constitution as legitimate for the Feds to operate in, but no absolute requirement for a given level of spending on any of those. The level of spending, even in these areas, is up to the discretion of the people’s elected representatives. Bottom line: All Federal spending is discretionary!

fyzycyst on February 18, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Is that a pack of Zimbabwe currency peeking out of Obama’s breast pocket?

profitsbeard on February 18, 2011 at 10:06 AM

While Watson is correct once again, I would like to know how he will accomplish this feat. Is it part of his programming?

SS is still the third rail of politics. Republicans need to find a way to do what is necessary and still win elections. Easier said than done, even though it MUST be done or we are all DOOMED.

Ordinary1 on February 18, 2011 at 10:22 AM

The FY2011 budget proposal from the White House contains $1.3 trillion in discretionary spending (including defense), $2.5 trillion in mandatory spending (entitlements and interest payments), and a $1.6 trillion deficit.

But, didn’t 0bama also shift a bunch of discretionary spending items like Pell grants into the “mandatory spending” column?

Just like any con man, the guy just loves playing shell games.

UltimateBob on February 18, 2011 at 10:35 AM

F**************** love it.

Although Obama and the GOP need much, much more negative scores.

Jeddite on February 18, 2011 at 10:36 AM

SS is still the third rail of politics. Republicans need to find a way to do what is necessary and still win elections.

Ordinary1 on February 18, 2011 at 10:22 AM

I believe it can be done. Fiscal responsibility is really coming into vogue with voters these days. I predict 0bama will be toast in 2012.

UltimateBob on February 18, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Jeebus, nitpick much? I’m sure you did that just to draw attention to yourself.

fossten on February 18, 2011 at 9:26 AM

Nah. I just habitually nitpick.

Count to 10 on February 18, 2011 at 10:47 AM

And while we’re at it, let’s also expunge the use of the term “entitlement“. Nobody in this country is entitled to anybody else’s money. If we, as a society, decide out of the collective goodness of our hearts to tend to some segments of our society, great. But, ultimately, nobody has a right to demand my charity.

fyzycyst on February 18, 2011 at 11:00 AM

I heard Chris Christie suggested raising the social security age by two years, and he vaporized right on the spot.

John the Libertarian on February 18, 2011 at 8:57 AM

Gee whiz, what would have happened to him if he had been accurate with the VALID AGE instead of just suggesting two years?

I posted a few days ago that in order for the current age to receive Social Security to be consistent with the age when SS went into effect in 1937, you would have to considerably older. When FDR signed the Ponzi scheme into law, you needed to reach 65 years of age to draw Social Security. In 1937, the life expectancy of the average American was 63.7 years. The current life expectancy is 77.9 years, that means the current retirement age – when you can begin drawing benefits – should actually go to 79.5 years to be consistent with FDR’s numbers. Is there ANY politician out there who has the testosterone level to suggest raising the retirement age by FOURTEEN AND ONE HALF YEARS?

PS Since I’m currently drawing SS, please let me take this opportunity to thank all of you young people who are now supporting me.

oldleprechaun on February 18, 2011 at 11:02 AM

SEIU thugs are massing around Alex Trebek’s home at this very minute…

slickwillie2001 on February 18, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Beeler doesn’t realize that Mr. Elephant’s answers are better than Mr. Watson’s — in the sense that what we view as entitlement reform will necessarily be based upon spending cuts. Indeed, if you asked a Mr. Obama to reform entitlements, he’d raise taxes — since he views (as one small example) health care as an entitlement.

unclesmrgol on February 18, 2011 at 11:12 AM

Can we please find a way to expunge the idiotic descriptions ‘mandatory‘ and ‘discretionary‘?? Not one flippin’ penny in the Federal budget is mandatory! (Although, if anything should be in the mandatory category, it should be Defense.) There are a very few areas (defense, foreign policy, treasury, etc.) that are called out in the Constitution as legitimate for the Feds to operate in, but no absolute requirement for a given level of spending on any of those. The level of spending, even in these areas, is up to the discretion of the people’s elected representatives. Bottom line: All Federal spending is discretionary!

fyzycyst on February 18, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Agreed, the country did not start out with these bloated programs on the books, before them came into existence they were certainly discretionary.

What sort of magical incantation made them ‘mandatory’?

And while we’re at it, let’s also expunge the use of the term “entitlement“. Nobody in this country is entitled to anybody else’s money. If we, as a society, decide out of the collective goodness of our hearts to tend to some segments of our society, great. But, ultimately, nobody has a right to demand my charity.

fyzycyst on February 18, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Same thing – why aren’t the taxpayers – the people who actually earned their money entitled to their own property?
Why are others supposedly ‘Entitled’ to property they didn’t earn?

Chip on February 18, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Same thing – why aren’t the taxpayers – the people who actually earned their money entitled to their own property?
Why are others supposedly ‘Entitled’ to property they didn’t earn?

Chip on February 18, 2011 at 11:13 AM

I have paid into Social Security and Medicare for almost a half-century. The money I paid in was the work of my hands, and the money my employer paid in was extracted from me and other customers in the form of higher prices and lower raises.

If someone were to tell me that they were going to vote away Social Security, I’d say, “Wait until the next election, and if you are still in office after all of us greybeards have voted against you, then good upon it!”

My point: This is a Government sponsored Ponzi scheme, and if the Government is going to end or curtail it, they have to make whole the people they fleeced. I would expect, at a minimum, my invested money returned with the interest each dollar accrued from the point of investment (the interest could be determined by how well my private investments did during the same period. I would also expect some part of the money my employers paid in, for my raises would surely have been higher had the donkey not been on my employers’ backs.

Maybe the Government can do for us Social Security contributors what they did for the “black farmers” — a one time payment of a whole sh*tload of tax free cash for past abuses.

unclesmrgol on February 18, 2011 at 11:59 AM

SS is still the third rail of politics. Republicans need to find a way to do what is necessary and still win elections.

Ordinary1 on February 18, 2011 at 10:22 AM

I believe it can be done. Fiscal responsibility is really coming into vogue with voters these days. I predict 0bama will be toast in 2012.

UltimateBob on February 18, 2011 at 10:46 AM

I agreed with you. Besides, it’s a risk we have to take because it’s our last, best hope, and the right thing to do. It’s sad that much of the media will do all it can to hamper and distort the education effort that is necessary to pull this off successfully. While many American’s don’t listen to the MSM anymore, many more don’t pay much attention at all. It’s going to take a concerted effort to reform SS without scaring those already on it. Older folks vote.

Ordinary1 on February 18, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Meh.

1 – ‘entitlement reform’ *IS* a component of spending cuts, not something altogether different.

2 – yes, Obama’s figure is higher, but um, barely? If Obama’s is -$3700-ish, the GOP’s should be closer to on, say -$500 or so. This goes to far in making some kind of ‘economic relativity’ statement, imo.

The GOP don’t deserve to be let off the hook for their poor spending habits, but let’s not pretend that they’re anywhere near the scale of Obama and the Dems.

Midas on February 18, 2011 at 3:35 PM

My point: This is a Government sponsored Ponzi scheme, and if the Government is going to end or curtail it, they have to make whole the people they fleeced. I would expect, at a minimum, my invested money returned with the interest each dollar accrued from the point of investment (the interest could be determined by how well my private investments did during the same period. I would also expect some part of the money my employers paid in, for my raises would surely have been higher had the donkey not been on my employers’ backs.

unclesmrgol on February 18, 2011 at 11:59 AM

As someone who’s paid in less than you (only about 30 years), I can agree with the sentiment, but ask you to acknowledge that they’ll never be able to do that for everyone who has paid in – that’s entirely the point.

It *is* a ponzi scheme, and at some point it ends and *everyone* at that moment gets burned. I know we all want to be in the last chopper out before it all goes to hell, but that’s simply not going to happen for everyone – and the longer it’s postponed, the larger the number of people that will be hurt, and hurt worse.

Midas on February 18, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Midas on February 18, 2011 at 3:39 PM

The traditional Ponzi scheme has the fraudster convince you to invest of your own free will, while in this version, the fraudster enacts great punishments if you do not invest in the scheme. I would say that those forced to invest are entitled to some amount of damages from the Government.

As you point out in slightly different words, a controlled crash landing is the best possible crash landing; the question is how to control the crash landing so as to kill the least number of passengers.

I want that aftermath of the controlled crash landing to be such that no further victims are rounded up by the government and put on board the crashed aircraft, but those who were on the aircraft are made as whole as they can be made.

It’s the second part that will involve sacrifices all around. If the generation following mine is to be the last generation on Social Security, then those paying their benefits will receive nothing in return. A less damaging solution to an entire generation is required. It’s obvious that Bush was right and the Democrats wrong — the problem has a solution spanning generations, and we are running out of generations to fix the problem.

unclesmrgol on February 18, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Midas on February 18, 2011 at 3:35 PM

That’s why I think Mr. Elephant won the round and Mr. Watson lost.

unclesmrgol on February 18, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Can we please find a way to expunge the idiotic descriptions ‘mandatory‘ and ‘discretionary‘?? Not one flippin’ penny in the Federal budget is mandatory! (Although, if anything should be in the mandatory category, it should be Defense.) There are a very few areas (defense, foreign policy, treasury, etc.) that are called out in the Constitution as legitimate for the Feds to operate in, but no absolute requirement for a given level of spending on any of those. The level of spending, even in these areas, is up to the discretion of the people’s elected representatives. Bottom line: All Federal spending is discretionary!

fyzycyst on February 18, 2011 at 10:03 AM

Interest on the national debt is mandatory.

Pythagoras on February 18, 2011 at 5:48 PM