|[from the ONION]
Cost Of Living Now Outweighs Benefits
April 13, 2005 | ISSUE 48•09 ISSUE 41•15
WASHINGTON, DC—A report released Monday by the Federal Consumer
Quality-Of-Life Control Board indicates that the cost of living now
outstrips life's benefits for many Americans.
"This is sobering news," said study director Jack Farness. "For the
first time, we have statistical evidence of what we've suspected for
the past 40 years: Life really isn't worth living."
To arrive at their conclusions, study directors first identified the
average yearly costs and benefits of life. Tangible benefits such as
median income ($43,000) were weighed against such tangible costs as
home-ownership ($18,000). Next, scientists assigned a financial value
to intangibles such as finding inner peace ($15,000), establishing
emotional closeness with family members ($3,000), and brief moments of
joy ($5 each). Taken together, the study results indicate that "it is
unwise to go on living."
"Since 1965, the cost-benefit ratio of American life has been
approaching parity," Farness said. "While figures prior to that date
show that life was worth living, there is some suspicion that the
benefits cited were superficial and misreported."
Analyzed separately and as one, both the tangible and intangible
factors suggest that life is a losing investment.
"Rising energy costs, increased prices on everyday goods and services,
and the decreased value of the dollar have combined to drive the cost
of living in this country to an all-time high," Farness said. "At the
same time, an ever-increasing need for additional emotional-energy
output, low rates of interest in one another, and the decreasing value
of ourselves all greatly exceed our fleeting epiphanies."
Experts nationwide have corroborated the report's findings.
"The average citizen's lousy, smelly, uncomfortable
daily-transportation costs rose 2.1 percent in January," Derek
Capeletti of Wells Fargo Capital Management said. "Clothing costs were
up 2.3 percent, reflecting an increased need for the pleated khakis,
sensible sweater-sets, and solid ties we have to wear to our awful
fucking jobs. And grocery expenses were up almost 4 percent,
reflecting the difficulty that light-beer, microwave-burrito, and
rotisserie-chicken makers have faced in meeting the needs of a
depressed economy and citizenry."
Capeletti added: "The benefits of living remained stable or decreased.
Especially—surprise, surprise—in our love lives."
According to the study, high-risk, short-term, interest-based
investments in the lives of others cost thousands of dollars a year
and rarely yield benefits, financial or otherwise. Although
conservative, long-term partnerships do provide limited returns, the
study indicates that they tie up capital and limit options.
Child-rearing, a course taken by many people who choose to live, is
actually contributing to the problem.
"The fact is, the supply of Americans greatly outstrips demand," said
Evan Alvi of the Portland-based Maynard Institute. "Americans seem to
believe that minting more lives will increase the value of their own
holdings. All they are doing, though, is inflating the supply and
reducing the dividends paid by long-term familial bonds."
Despite life's depreciating value, Alvi did not recommend that
shareholders divest themselves of their holdings.
"Limited dumping could result in a short-term increase in available
resources for those who remain in the market," Alvi said. "However,
it's a risky move that could affect perception of value, leading to
Alvi added, "And let's not fail to mention that some religious experts
say there are penalties for early withdrawal."