A sigh of relief in Washington as former Republican congressman and present director of the Office of Management and Budget Jim Nussle declares that there is little reason to worry in the short-run about our deficit, which is expected to grow to 400 billion dollars by the time President Bush leaves office. The New York Times cites Mr. Nussle’s characterization of the deficit as “manageable”: “It isn’t the largest in history by any stretch of the imagination.”

Mr. Nussle went further, saying that the deficit “in sheer dollar terms doesn’t mean anything” when compared to the size of the economy. The Democrats responded with the insight and subtlety which has become their trademark, arguing that “if the deficit can be dismissed so easily, so can the problem of domestic spending.”

When asked how Mr. Bush plans to maneuver a Democrat-controlled Congress to have his way, a Republican member who prefers to remain anonymous responded, “Uh, most likely by asking them to bend over and then politely requesting that they be his bitch.” The Congressman added that there was a reason why the Democratic symbol is an ass. “A smooth, supple ass,” he added unnecessarily. A Democratic colleague responded to these insinuations with silence and measured capitulation.

But with the election looming, bi-partisan posturing is looking more promising than ever. There is hope—however slight—that both parties may take this opportunity to work in tandem to drive this country into a financial debt that is at once crushing and inescapable.

Yet there are those who resist such a happy ending. Many have once again raised the deeply confusing issues of Medicare and Medicaid. Mr. Bush suggested that the problem be solved by reducing payments given to hospitals and doctors. In typical, irritating fashion, the Democrats objected. Some Democrats would prefer to use a “pay as you go” method, which would mean that America would borrow money to pay for infrastructure as opposed to charging them to a budget. This sound plan would finally make use of a long untapped American resource, the mystical money-lending unicorn that daily shoots coins and happiness out of her pearlescent horn.

Still others hope to “set up a bipartisan commission to help the next president and Congress deal with these issues, possibly through legislation.” This plan has come under scrutiny after many remembered that legislation has not solved a problem since 1954.

Mr. Bush’s final budget is 3 trillion dollars. While he vows to cut spending in every area except Child Health, he has shown his ability to compromise with the Democrats by agreeing to never cut taxes and repeatedly whispering, “Nanny-nanny-boo-boo, you can’t catch me.” Democrats in Congress are beginning to unbuckle their belts and drop their pants in preparation for the “battle” ahead of them.