200908071117One fewer cartoonist is (potentially) gainfully employed today, after the Senate questioned a Treasury plan to hire a cartoonist. The Treasury’s Bureau of Public Debt hoped that witty cartoons and seminars on humor would cheer up their workers, who are toiling to oversee the nations $1.2 trillion debt.

“Our training staff felt that at a time when employees are working extra hours, it might have been helpful,” said Kim Treat, a spokesman for the bureau.

But the effort was canceled because it had become “more of a distraction than an opportunity,” he said.

The plan was scuttled when the office of Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D. questioned the move, Dorgan wrote, in part, “Of all the agencies, the Bureau of Public Debt should know that there is very little that is funny about today’s economic conditions.”

Truly debt is no laughing matter and we must turn back to the private sector to find jobs for the nation’s ink slingers.

(Caricature of Dornan by Kerry Waghorn.)

NOTE: Eagle-eyed Steven Stahl points out the nation’s debt is actually $11.66 trillion. The $1.2 trillion figure is from the AP.


  1. “Well, it looks like the Big Three auto makers are going to get some bailout money. But the CEOs, these guys, they have promised when they get the bailout money, they can’t use it to give themselves big, big year-end bonuses. They said, ‘Well, no, of course not. That’s what the employee pension funds are for.'” –David Letterman

    “Little bit of history trivia. It was this week, actually yesterday, in 1961, Fidel Castro announced that he was a Marxist and would turn Cuba into a Communist country, where the government would take over all the major industries. Or as we call that today, a bailout.” –Jay Leno

    “In times like these it is difficult not to write satire” –Juvenal

    To quote Mel Brooks, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.”

    Everything is funny…. nuclear annihilation (Dr. Strangelove), war (M*A*S*H), cannibalism (Eating Raoul), homicide (Arsenic and Old Lace), bull fighting (Bully for Bugs).

    Furthermore, comedy is a great way to deal with difficult circumstances. By going slightly mad, we keep from becoming insane.

  2. Yes, but it’s not as though the world is so short of satirists that it needs the US government to employ its own. It sounds as though they were hiring the guy to do internal training materials or leaflets or something, and while it’s actually fair enough for the government to spend money on making those things as readable as possible (no doubt they were hiring commercial illustrators to do it already), I can see the argument that it looks a bit profligate.