The City Desk page of this week’s dead-tree edition of Washington City Paper features a short, parodic piece focusing on the simultaneous political debates over the District’s budget deficit and its high-speed gentrification. With critics of Mayor Vince Gray‘s budget measures arguing that too much of the pain falls on working-class Washingtonians, the piece suggested a number of goofy revenue measures that would primarily hit the comparatively affluent gentrifiers who many local pols love to hate.
We figured that the absurdity of the specific proposals—an excise tax on Subarus, the erection of toll-booths along city bike lanes—would make it clear that the piece was somewhat less than serious. And we figured that, since the piece only presented the idea of a cupcake-line surcharge as our own suggestion, that no one would think such a measure was actually on the agenda of actual elected officials. We figured wrong.
This morning, a staffer from the office of U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) called for more information about one of our suggestions: A snowball-fighting permit. The staffer was calling to see whether such a proposal was actually on the books. “We’re just checking in,” he said.
The federal government is due to shut down in 14 hours. Thanks to the bizarre nature of D.C.’s legal setup, the libraries and garbage trucks that Washingtonians pay for with our local taxes will shut with it. But it’s good to know Republicans in Congress are hard at work on the important issues!