As with my post on Cleomedes (I just happened to be listening to The Great Courses series on Classical Mythology, and the story spoke to me), I just happen to be re-reading my favorite Austen novel, Persuasion (link is to the free Gutenberg HTML version).
Something from the opening was compelling:
But now, another occupation and solicitude of mind was beginning to be added to these. Her father was growing distressed for money. She knew, that when he now took up the Baronetage, it was to drive the heavy bills of his tradespeople, and the unwelcome hints of Mr Shepherd, his agent, from his thoughts. The Kellynch property was good, but not equal to Sir Walter's apprehension of the state required in its possessor. While Lady Elliot lived, there had been method, moderation, and economy, which had just kept him within his income; but with her had died all such right-mindedness, and from that period he had been constantly exceeding it. It had not been possible for him to spend less; he had done nothing but what Sir Walter Elliot was imperiously called on to do; but blameless as he was, he was not only growing dreadfully in debt, but was hearing of it so often, that it became vain to attempt concealing it longer, even partially, from his daughter. He had given her some hints of it the last spring in town; he had gone so far even as to say, "Can we retrench? Does it occur to you that there is any one article in which we can retrench?" and Elizabeth, to do her justice, had, in the first ardour of female alarm, set seriously to think what could be done, and had finally proposed these two branches of economy, to cut off some unnecessary charities, and to refrain from new furnishing the drawing-room; to which expedients she afterwards added the happy thought of their taking no present down to Anne, as had been the usual yearly custom. But these measures, however good in themselves, were insufficient for the real extent of the evil, the whole of which Sir Walter found himself obliged to confess to her soon afterwards. Elizabeth had nothing to propose of deeper efficacy. She felt herself ill-used and unfortunate, as did her father; and they were neither of them able to devise any means of lessening their expenses without compromising their dignity, or relinquishing their comforts in a way not to be borne.
This is resolved in Chapter 2. After the overlooked
Paul Ryan Anne Elliot and her great friend Lady Russell find their proposed plans for "austerity" do not go over well, the on-the-make estate agent recommends Sir Elliot rent out Kellynch Hall and live cheaply in Bath. Hilarity (if you think this sort of thing hilarious) ensues.
Alas, Gov. Quinn cannot ship the entire state of Illinois out to Myrtle Beach and rent the land out to China, but maybe it's doable with D.C. itself. If the profligate Sir Elliot could manage to live within his means, requiring a much larger than 5% cut in dscretionary expenses, surely Congress could find something appropriate to cut.
And while some may be concerned that the
media neighbors may not be supportive, especially with regards to dignity, I don't think they really need to worry about it.