The Sacred Bull Basic English and Math Test
For Federal Politicians
by Charles Curley & Claire Wolfe
Congress and the Clinton administration have recently contemplated (if it can be said
that either has ever contemplated anything) a proposal to set national educational
standards, then test all fourth graders for reading ability and all eighth graders
for math skills.
One question that has so far gone unasked is this: What qualifies politicians even
to "discuss" standards, let alone impose them upon others? Given the standards of
most politicians for ethics, personal hygiene, and relevance to the real world, weíre
not sure we want them setting standards for anyone else.
Nevertheless, and much to our surprise, the Beltway Bullies have accidentally hit
upon a good idea this time--just not in quite the way they intended. If they believe
it is important to test school children, think how much more vital it is that we test
our would-be rulers--those selfsame congresspeople and administrators--for some minimum
level of knowledge and skill.
Herewith we present:
The SacredBull Basic English and Math Test for Federal Politicians
Competency in English
1.The phrase, "Congress shall make no law..." means
a. Congress shall make no law...
b. Congress shall make some laws...
c. Americans can do anything they want, except things my colleagues
and I, or our largest contributors, personally dislike.
d. Congress can do anything it damn well pleases, starting with
stacking the courts with our toadies.
2. What is the correct interpretation of the phrase "...the right of the people...
shall not be infringed"?
a. The right of the people...shall not be infringed.
b. The right of the people...shall be infringed, but only gradually, moderately
and for the good of children and battered women (except the ones we batter).
c. The right of the people is actually a stateís right and the states are a bunch
of wusses whoíll put up with anything as long as we offer them enough tax-funded
loot in return for selling out their citizens.
d. The people are all sitting on their butts watching TV, so we can infringe any
damn thing we feel like infringing, and weíll get the media to screw you if you
3. What is the meaning of the phrase, "The powers...are reserved to the states,
or to the people..."
a. The powers...are reserved to the states, or to the people...
b. The interstate commerce clause gives us the authority to do anything. Therefore
there are no other powers left to reserve for those other twits. Too bad for them.
c. Whereíd you get a stupid idea like that? Weíre more powerful and have bigger guns
than they do, and thatís all that really matters, isnít it?
4.Essay Question: Write a bill (a proposed law, you twit) in plain English,
for once. We just want to see if you can do it. Extra credit if itís constitutional
or can be read and understood in less than ten minutes by a high school student of
Competency in Mathematics
1. A fugitive oil baron named Roger gives $300,000 to the Democratic National
Committee for the specific purpose of gaining "access" to the president. For that,
he is given six invitations to the White House, but does not get the pipeline he
wanted. How much money should Roger give to the DNC next time?
a. Nothing. People shouldnít be able to bribe their way into the presence of public
b. This is a trick question. Next time, a Republican president might be in office,
and Roger should give his money to the RNC, instead.
c. I know the president. If Roger gives me the money, Iíll give Roger access. Heck,
Iíll even throw in some hot babes, since Roger said the babes at the White House were
too busy stroking Clinton to pay any attention to him.
d. $600,000. (Rogerís answer, in testimony before Congress 9/18/97).
2. According to the administrationís own projections, Americans will soon face
an 82 percent income tax rate if present entitlement programs and levels of federal
growth persist. How many years before American citizens rise up in rebellion?
a. Americans should never be driven to that kind of desperation. We should
immediately begin rolling the federal government back to constitutional levels.
b. Donít worry, weíre going to reform the tax system and, as Rep. Mitch McConnell
says, "virtually abolish the IRS as we know it"; weíll just have an 82 percent
national sales tax, instead.
c. As soon as my term in office is over and I can get an oceanside place in Costa
Rica, complete with Uzi-toting bodyguards.
d. What do we care? Weíll just let Janet burn the little jerks and claim they
3. The federal budget is...oh...some great big figure in the gazillions.
The national debt is probably about five trillion dollars, give or take. The
annual deficit is, you know, billions and billions and billions (not counting
off-budget stuff like Amtrak and the Post Office). Budgets for Social Security
and Medicare are increasing at some really wowie-zow of a percent every year.
(Not like you care what the actual figures are, anyway). Congress and the president
have just cooked up a tax cut package filled with goodies for favored special
interests. Please explain how you can claim the budget will be balanced by 2002.
a. We canít do it without extreme cutbacks in government. Anybody who says we
can is lying like a congressman.
b. Revenues will...uh...yeah...revenues will increase because of all those tax
breaks and...uh...the economy will be just perfect forever and ever and...uh...maybe
some plague or something will come along and kill off all those money-sucking old
folks...or something like that, maybe.
c. The media said itís true, didnít they? What more proof do you want?
d. Hey, thatís for the suckers who are here in 2002 to figure out. Iíll be in Costa
Rica by then.
e. Well, actually, now that I think about it, Iíll be in some other country with an
army so they can fight off the U.S. troops who will be sent to take my loot like they
did Noriegaís. Like, hey, I stole mine fair and square!
Correct answers: C, D, B, C, D and E (From the politiciansí point of view, that is.
Hey, you know, whatever we can get away with while the folks are watching TV...)
Correct answer, in reality: L-E-A-D T-H-E-R-A-P-Y
© 1997 Charles Curley and Claire Wolfe. Permission to reprint freely granted.