Thursday, December 11, 2008

Broken News: Family values drop 9.8% during economic crisis

NEW YORK—While the nation’s economic crisis worsens despite politicians and industry heads valiantly trying to choke the problem to death with money, grim statistics have emerged suggesting we might have only seen the tip of this fiscal iceberg. According to the non-partisan Economic Family Institute, family values declined 9.8% in the last quarter. Among the hardest-hit sectors were Traditional Morality, which tumbled 11% and the Nuclear Family (7%), while the Sanctity of Marriage took the biggest fall, dropping 17% to a five-year low.

Religious groups were quick to tout these numbers but readily admitted confusion. “This is what we’ve been warning about, but it hasn’t happened in the way we threatened it would. I’m at a bit of a loss here,” observed Jeremiah Young of the Committee to Shame Gays. “A seventeen percent decline in the sanctity of marriage? We really thought that market would rally after Proposition 8 Passed.”

Young continued, “We’ve been so tethered to John Maynard Keynes' teachings on the relation of the homosexual and marriage markets that we missed the crucial financial sector/matrimony linkage. Perhaps we should have learned the lessons of Willem Defoe in Last Temptation of Christ and just gone apeshit on the moneychangers. That was a great movie. What was I talking about again? Scorsese?”

Smaller, related sectors have also taken modest hits, with the value of a good days work, the satisfaction of being able to provide for your family, and knowledge that the next paycheck is coming markets also dropping in reaction to the dwindling economy and shrinking employment prospects. These factors have created increases in the “Why are mommy and daddy yelling all the time?”, "Why does mommy smell like the men at the bus stop?", "Why is daddy drinking again?", and “You want a divorce? Fine!” indexes.

Some of the more hard line pro-family values organizations have been quick to point out that this drop was foreseeable when the National Statistics Center released figures last month showing not only an increased membership in feminist organizations, but also that female literacy was at its highest level ever. Ken Evans of Dinner Now! noted that things “...just aren’t like they used to be in the good ol' days,” before pausing to make sure that the striking rod he was holding was no thicker than his thumb.

Some progressive organizations want the government and the Economic Family Institute to broaden the markets they measure and define under the family values umbrella, noting that an expanded spectrum of measurement this quarter would have seen any losses neutralized. They want the EPI to include such standards as family planning, affordable child care, maternity leave, encouraging and supporting alternative family structures, access to contraception, increasing the minimum wage, education, childcare, and parent-friendly employment laws.

But these changes have been resisted by the Bush Administration on the grounds that these values “…were never articulated in an episode of Leave it to Beaver or sung in the refrain of a Charlie Daniels Band song” and thus didn’t meet the core applied standards of being religious enough or overly genital-obsessive.

More troubling still is that the value of a family has also dropped in strictly fiscal terms, not just in esoteric standards based around groin fear and deviations from the norm. A standard American child is now worth less on the black market than at any time in our nation’s history. The price per pound is down an astounding 53% from its six-month high and current exchange rates dictate that you would need almost two whole American children to trade for one syphilitic Latvian orphan.

“I’m getting killed on the maintenance,” remarked Charlie Foster, a husband who has seen his family values plummet during the economic crisis. “More and more I’m finding myself paying upkeep on a wife and family that is depreciating in value. I always knew I might take a bath on the kids; whites are never in demand on the world child markets, but the wife? She’s got a sturdy base, strong back, and could do at least two shifts in the field. Now they’re telling me I couldn’t get enough for her to pay off my mortgage. The market is killing me. It almost makes me regret falling in love and procreating.”

Analysts fear that by the time economic conditions are fixed family values will have fallen to the point where men and women will live together without unifying bands of metal around their fingers, children will see a dramatic rise in hyphenated and maternal surnames, and perhaps one day a complete elimination of the dinner table. It is hoped that Congress will be able to pass a values bailout before the year ends.

No comments: