It’s Time to Play… Housing Jeopardy!

(Originally published in February of 2009, right after the economic stimulus bill passed, but it seemed fun to read today…)

Well, the economic stimulus passed and was signed into law by President Obama. It’s over. So, whether you were for it, or against it, it’s long since time to stop thinking about it… it’s done. And what’s done is done.

So, unless you plan to be one of the shovels on one of the “shovel ready” projects the bill provides funding for, or unless you need something to be frustrated about, there’s not much reason to give the bill’s details another thought. It’s water under that soon to be retrofitted bridge, as it were.

Don’t worry though, there’s still going to be plenty of controversy, because… we’ve got housing!

MUSIC UP: Game show music theme.


ANNOUNCER:Yes, it’s time to play Let’s Solve the Housing Crisis on the game that at least half the country loves: Heal the Misfortune!


ANNOUNCER: Starring this year’s contestant, President Barack Obama!


And don’t forget your host, the man that never saw an earmark he didn’t like: Mandelman!

APPLAUSE! (Mandelman runs out on stage waving to adoring crowd.)

MANDELMAN: Thank you… thank you… you’re very kind… thank you… who me? Thank you… Welcome to the sure to be exciting, Let’s Solve the Housing Crisis edition of Heal the Misfortune, the game where contestants attempt to navigate the political minefields in an attempt to solve the nation’s problems.


HOST: Tonight we have a brand new contestant. We’re pretty sure he was born in Hawaii, but he grew up in Chicago, and is now living in Washington D.C… let’s give a nice warm Heal the Misfortune welcome to President Barack Obama!


MANDELMAN: Remember, the rules of the game are anything but simple. Here’s where we’re starting from: Our nation’s real estate markets are decimated. Prices are falling faster that Nancy Pelosi’s breasts. No one can get a mortgage or refinance their existing one. Way too many homes have been built and the number of foreclosures is continuing to rise into the millions. It’s the worst economic situation since The Great Depression!


MANDELMAN: All President Obama has to do is devise a way to stop people from losing their homes to foreclosure, while re-starting lending and stimulating the market to get home prices to start rising again, without spending taxpayer dollars, and with bi-partisan support!


MANDELMAN: Then we’ll all watch as he tries to sell it to the American people… to both our Republican and Democratic representatives in congress, and finally to the liberal media and liberal media elites!


MANDELMAN: If he succeeds in solving the housing crisis, he’ll win fabulous cash and prizes, including a BRAND NEW CAR!


ANNOUNCER: Yes, it’s a Toyota Pius! The favorite of elitist liberals everywhere, because it’s the car that only emits clouds of smug. AND THAT”S NOT ALL… on top of that, if he succeeds he’ll finish his first term in office and go on to a second term with a mandate of unmatched popularity!


MANDELMAN: Of course, if he fails he’ll receive still receive our lovely consolation prizes. Tell them about the consolation prizes Johnny…

ANNOUNCER: Losers on Heal the Misfortune receive a fabulous set of six matching steak knives, Rice-a-Roni — The San Francisco Treat. And Lee’s Press-on Nails… for those long luxurious nails that last and last… AND he’ll drop at least ten points in job approval rating and face a serious Republican challenger in 2012!


MANDELMAN: Okay, let’s get to it… President Obama, welcome to the show. What should I call you? Barack? Barry? What?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Um… welll… er… No, I… um… I think Presdient Obama, um, er… would be best, or if you’d like… um… Mr. President would… um… be okay, I suppose.

MANDELMAN: Well, alrighty then! And my name is Mandelman, so you can call me… Mr. Mandelman!


MANDELMAN: It’s time to get started… Spin the wheel…

(Wheel spins, clicking sound… slows, then stops.)

MANDELMAN: Okay… the first round is worth $100,000,000,000… for $100 billion, which category would you like? Your choices are:

  • Blame it on the Bush Adminsistration
  • Ram it down Republican’s throats.
  • Invite Republicans to Michelle’s birthday bash.
  • Send Email to 10 million die-hard supporters.
  • Consult with a new 50-person committee.
  • Address the American people in a televised speech.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’ll take “Address the American people in a televised speech” for $100 billion, Mandelman.

MANDELMAN: A fine choice, Mr. President. Are you sure I can’t call you Barack?


MANDELMAN: Well, okie dokie then… ladies and gentlemen he’s going to Address the American people directly on television!


MANDELMAN: Now, the lovely Ann Coulter is escorting President Obama into our specially designed sound-proof booth so he can work on what he’s going to say when he addresses the American people on television. He can’t hear us, but we can see and hear him.

(Door closes… Ann Coulter smiles to the crowd.)

MANDELMAN: Okay… Barack’s in the House! Let’s turn the hidden hot microphone on and make sure it’s working…


MANDELMAN: Yep… it’s working alright… Okay, that’s the end of round one… So… while Barack’s in our sound-proof booth trying to figure out what he’s going to say and do to solve the housing crisis, we’ll use the time to pay a few bills by listening to a word from our sponsors. Don’t go away… ’cause we’ll be right back with more Heal the Misfortune!


Theme music up… and out.


FADE IN: Scene of American family at home sitting around dining table.

YOUNG GIRL: “Mom, what are we having for dinner?”

MOTHER: “Why dear… you know what we’re having… it’s pork.”

YOUNG GIRL: “Oh, mom… pork again?”

VOICE OVER: Yes, American mothers are serving the meat that everyone’s eating these days… PORK. Pork is what today’s family eats when they want to put food on the table.

DAD ENTERS: “Honey, do we have any pork in the house? I’m starving.”

MOTHER: “Oh, sure honey, don’t worry… the government just dropped some off this morning. And they told me… there’s lot’s more where that came from!”

DAD: “I’m so glad. I’m so hungry, I could eat a whole pig!”

VOICE OVER: Why not serve pork for dinner? Pork. It’s the stimulus that won’t make you feel like a pig.



FADE IN: Western music theme under montage of Americana footage…

VOICE OVER: The Republicans. Tired of following someone who hangs around with terrorists? Looking for a little less socialism in your day to day routine. Or maybe you’re just getting tired from having to think so much. Well, come on over to The Republicans… where we do your thinking for you.

VOICE OVER: Yes… the Republicans… there’s no thinking involved, because we all vote together as one. The Republicans… it’s easy to belong, we’ve even got our own television news channel, so you can learn the talking points fast… and without having to do any of that annoying reading that Democrats always expect you to do.

VOICE OVER: The Republicans… Come on over to the right side of the aisle… Come on over today. Call 1-800-GET-NUMB… that’s 1-800-GET-N-U-M-B. Or visit us online at

VOICE OVER: Paid for by The Republican Party who is not totally sure whether or not they approve of this message.



MANDELMAN: Okay… we’re back! Let’s listen in and see how ole’ Baracko is doing in there…

THE PRESIDENT INSIDE SOUNDPROOF BOOTH: Sh#t… How the f#@k… This is total B#@lsh#t… I should have listened to Michelle and let Hillary win… God damn it… This is f#@king impossible.

MANDELMAN: (Laughs…) Well, he’s certainly having a ball figuring this one out. Let’s go to our panel of experts and see what they think he’ll do to attempt to solve the problem. Who’s on our panel today, Johnny?

ANNOUNCER: Well, Mandelman… we’ve got an all-star line-up on our panel of experts today. First we’ve got world famous economist, only recently returned from the dead… ladies and gentlemen, the man who single-handedly either fixed or made more of a mess out of the Great Depression… Sir John Maynard Keynes!


ANNOUNCER: And, once a student of Keynes who followed a new direction beginning in the 1950s, a favorite with Republicans everywhere, except in Argentina… everyone’s favorite money man… it’s monetarist Milton Friedman!


ANNOUNCER: You’ll remember our next expert from the Reagan Years… he’s the man who never saw a tax cut he didn’t like… the man who’s short, but has a fabulous curve… yes, it’s economist Art Laffer!


ANNOUNCER: And our final two experts are not economists, but they play economists on T.V. Let’s give a big, warm welcome to talking heads, Chris Matthews and Bill O’Reilly!


MANDELMAN: Okay… before we ask our panel what they think, let’s just check in and see if Barry is doing any better solving the housing crisis…

PRESIDENT INSIDE SOUNDPROOF BOOTH: Um… er… well… hmmm… I, um… er… well…

MANDELMAN: Nope… doesn’t sound like too much is happening in there… Let’s go to our panel… first we’ll ask Sir John Maynard Keynes what he thinks B. Hussein should do… Is it okay if I call you Johnny-O?

KEYNES: Uh, sure… I suppose that would be acceptable, insomuch as one could consider such a modification to be, and regardless of whether one would normally favor…

MANDELMAN: Alrighty then… Johnny-O it is… So, Johnny-O… what should our president do to Barack-the-House?

KEYNES: Well Mandelman… it’s interesting… as you know… the theories that form the basis of Keynesian economics were first presented in The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, which I published in 1936. I favor a type of demand side economics that encourages government action to increase or decrease demand and output. I think the state should stimulate economic growth and improve stability in the private sector – through, for example, adjusting interest rates and taxation and funding public projects. In addition, the actions of individuals and firms can lead to aggregate macroeconomic outcomes in which the economy operates below its potential output and growth… In other words…

MANDELMAN: I’m sorry, although that was very interesting… we’re all out of time… let’s go to our next economic expert… Milton Friedman! Can I call you Milty?

FRIEDMAN: Well, I’d prefer that you…

MANDELMAN: Okay, Milty… what should Beerack do to solve the housing crisis?

FRIEDMAN: As everyone knows, I’m best known for reviving interest in the money supply as a determinant of the nominal value of output, that is, the quantity theory of money. Or in other words, monetarism, which is the set of views associated with modern quantity theory. Its origins can be traced back to the 16th-century School of Salamanca or even further but my contribution is largely responsible for its modern formulation. I think that…

MANDELMAN: Another compelling answer… but that’s all the time we have… let’s go to our next expert, economist Art Laffer… Art, tell us what the Obamasia should do…

LAFFER: Cut taxes.

MANDELMAN: Thank you Art… anything else?

LAFFER: Cut taxes.

MANDELMAN: Alrighty then… let’s see what our talking heads think… first let’s go to the man who gets a tingle up his leg whenever he hears President Obama talk… he’s the host of Softball… Mr. Chris Matthews! Chris… what’s your take…

MATTHEWS: I like everything he’s saying… I just think he’s the bomb… we haven’t had a president like this is over 100 years… and he’s just so smart… I just love him… and…

MANDELMAN: Okay, I think we all know where you stand on the issues… Bill O’Reilly… tell us your view from the “No Spin Zone”…

O’REILLY: Thanks Mandelman… Look, first of all I hope President Obama succeeds. But, that being said, his clearly socialist agenda and past association with a slew of undesirable characters, combined with his incredible lack of experience and the fact that he’s really just a puppet of the far left with the most liberal voting record in the senate… but I still want to be clear that I hope he succeeds.

MANDELMAN: Okay… thank you for that invaluable insight… and we’ll pass along your good wishes to the president… So… let’s check in to see how President Obama is doing…

PRESIDENT INSIDE SOUNDPROOF BOOTH: Let’s see… we need to address the… um… housing crisis that has… er… gripped our nation for the… um… last year. We need to allow hard working people to… um… get mortgages and… um… help support our financial institutions…um… as they struggle to…um… return to a state in which… er… um… damn… sonofab#tch… this is hard… can’t I get a life line? Call a friend? Nothing? Damn it…

MANDELMAN: Well, isn’t this exciting… he’s getting closer to finding his answer… and he’s running out of time until he’ll have to address the American People directly on television. What will he do, what will he say… who will like it and who won’t… it’s anyone’s guess… Will the Republicans continue to vote no as a group, or will some of them start thinking independently? And what will the Blue Dog Democrats do?

MANDELMAN: The fun just keeps coming and you won’t want to miss it on the next exciting edition of Let’s Solve the Housing Crisis on everyone’s favorite show… Heal the Misfortune!

MANDELMAN: Until next time…


VOICE OVER: Tomorrow night on Hannity… Why, even though we want him to succeed, President B. Hussein Obama can’t possibly save the housing market or the economy from being flushed down the toilet by liberal Democrats… with special guest, economic expert, Dick Morris!

Mandelman OUT…

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