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Posted by on Aug 1, 2011 in Arts & Entertainment, Economy, Politics | 4 comments

Marx Brothers Debt-Ceiling Deal

You have to bring back Groucho to explain this one. In a classic scene, he and Chico negotiate a contract by tearing off items from long sheets of paper until they are down to a sliver each.

“If any of the parties to this agreement,” Groucho reads, “have been shown not to be in their right mind, this contract is automatically nullified. That’s in every contract—-it’s called a sanity clause.

“You can’t fool me,” Chico answers, tearing it up. “There is no sanity clause.”

As the President announces a deficit deal, and Congressional leaders try to sell it to their factions, all concerned are well past sanity into a cuckooland of compromises and contingencies that will leave almost everyone unhappy, with the possible exception of the financial markets and credit raters.

The Marx Brothers routine is from a 1935 movie, “A Night at the Opera,” which has another scene that foreshadowed the weekend leading to what President Obama announced tonight.

In a small cabin, the brothers keep ordering up all kinds of deliveries and services until the space is a writhing mass of bodies that finally explodes when someone opens the door.

In this Washington remake of the chaos, however, nobody is laughing…


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