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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 02/15/2011

Doctor's order

By Tom Toles




My favorite story about McMansions (it may even be true!) was when a contractor told me about how a burglar broke into one with a boxcutter. He supposedly cut through the vinyl siding and just kicked through the drywall, the sheathing being a bit on the scarce side. Now McMansions are passe. It may not be as easy to get out of them as it was for the burglar to get in, but the foreclosure people are happy to hurry the process.

It was only a matter of time before the airy monstrosities that gave new meaning to the balloon in balloon framing came to be seen as a startling mismatch between needs and wants, with their thirteen-bay garages with extra clearance for the baker's dozen of over-sized SUVs for the family of four. The flimsy top-heavy crowns on the inflated head of the now-concluded bubblicious sprawl, spread and squander epoch of America's experiment in elevating excess to the level of culture.

Of course the ultra-weathy will still retreat to their special castles, but it won't be as much fun anymore. When the little people downsize into their toolsheds, it's not long before they start getting reacquainted with their pitchforks. The wealthy were thinking ahead when they put up the gates. --Tom Toles




By Tom Toles  | February 15, 2011; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Economy and jobs  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Circular reasoning
Next: Tom Toles's Cartoon Caption Contest returns

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Why don't we agree to view it from a conservation approach or maybe insurance.

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 15, 2011 7:46 PM | Report abuse

@dalyplanet | February 15, 2011 6:28 PM

"What do you think about Chevron's new green plan of action is of much greater concern to me."

If you are ready to discuss solutions to AGW, then you've surrendered on the GW issue and CO2 as the cause of GW issue. Or or this just another way to change the subject.

You're engaging in a war on science. You have no interest in learning about things. You simply say to "no" anything having to do with GW. You are a waste of my time.

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 15, 2011 7:30 PM | Report abuse


Thank you for the excellent link you provided yesterday. I have been looking at some of the information this evening. Many of the projects \ plans provided are viable and are completely different than the government plans.

Your response link solution is what I have been looking for from the many posters here. Perhaps I have not been asking the right questions.

As you can probably tell I am not in favor of growing fuel on productive cropland.

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 15, 2011 7:26 PM | Report abuse

PTG I said

329 ppmv in 1970 to 389 ppmv in 2010 = .44% compounding annual increase not 1% -- a 227% overstatement of the facts at the official Rocket Scientist site of NASA !!

Mainly I think this is funny as Rocket Scientists are not supposed to be making math errors. The CO2 eyeballing satellite is an amazing construction.

What do you think about Chevron's new green plan of action is of much greater concern to me.

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 15, 2011 6:28 PM | Report abuse

@dalyplanet | February 15, 2011 3:59 PM

The CO2 concentration at Mauna Loa for January 2011 was 391.19 ppmv. Have a nice day.

One other thing. Because you have rather flatly accused NASA of "lying", you can no longer use any data they present that might support your own position. Why? Because you, yourself, said they lie. You can't select only the data you like from a source.

Trust me, the noose you are tightening is around your own neck. Soon you will run out of places to turn for information because you have accused them all of lying when they don't support your anti-AGW agenda. That's rocket science research for you.

Posted by: ptgrunner | February 15, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I want to point out a little brainwashing that occurs here at the WaPo site every day.

There is a banner ad from Chevron that states "It's time Oil Companies get behind the development of renewable energy. We Agree. Do You Agree" This has a click that leads to their website where they tell you how green they are. Fine so far.

When you look deeper you see that this oil company is partnering with a tree company to grow switchgrass between the rows of trees and we will not be using food for fuel. The pictures and text lead you to believe that this will occur in mountain valleys and such. The reality is that switchgrass is a high intensity plant like corn when used for ethanol production. How do I know this. For 5 years a switchgrass to ethanol pilot project has been in production on 60 acres farmland that abuts mine. A producer of trees leases the land. On other land they control they grow trees.

Only about a third of this land with trees has trees and the rest rotates corn and soybeans, almost 900 acres of crops on high productivity soil. A petroleum producer wants to take the 60 acre pilot project to 900 acres of production removing food directly from ethanol but still removing food from production, a politically correct version of food to fuel. I am hoping most of you agree this is a bad solution. Switchgrass also requires more passes on the land in one year than two years of a corn and beans cycle. Switchgrass has a much smaller yield of ethanol than corn and there is no mash byproduct for animal feedstock like corn.

So why is Chevron so up on this deal. Carbon credits and carbon offsets. The proposed plan to reduce CO2 pays oil companies to grow trees and produce biofuels. If you can grow trees AND biofuels on the sane acre you get paid twice. Partner with someone that is already growing trees it costs nothing to get a check. Get them to grow politically correct biofuels and get another check from the same acres. There is still a loss of productive farmland and the tree grower still would grow trees.

When I see this is the solution to climate change I am hard pressed to see any real concern for actual reduction in CO2 output. When you see it up close like I do it just looks like a scheme to make money from air.

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 15, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

To Tom Toles...
The problem with circular dominos is that "what goes around comes around".
We are both the beginning of the circle and the end of the circle.

Posted by: OckamsRazor | February 15, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

You can bet the Republicans are scared silly at the events in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, etc.

Posted by: duke5 | February 15, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Budget balancing strategies that focus on large cuts in federal spending translate directly into cutting jobs. Each $ of spending cuts includes someone’s job and benefits. Which jobs will be lost as a result of the Tea Party deficit hawks austerity measures?

Could it be yours? You can bet that the jobs lost will primarily come from the middle and lower-middle class.

People who lose their jobs as a result of budget cuts will be forced to reduce their spending. The resulting overall decrease in spending in our economy spirals down to impact other businesses whose goods and services are no longer affordable for the unemployed, creating more layoffs and more unemployed.

Each newly unemployed worker stops paying taxes to local, state, and the federal government, INCREASING the DEFICIT at all levels. This ultimately requires either state and local tax increases, or layoffs of more workers, or both.

Each newly unemployed worker collects unemployment and other benefits from the federal, state, and local governments, further INCREASING the DEFICIT at all levels that leads to more layoffs to reduce private sector costs. The result is decreased tax and sales revenues and increased costs to government at all levels, not to mention the human costs to the average American families. Cutting the deficit by significant budget cuts in the short run makes the deficit WORSE, not better, and risks the continuation of the recession.

Check the recent results for austerity strategies in UK and Ireland to get direct evidence that austerity measures don’t work during recessions.—save big cuts for when the economy has recovered to full growth and can withstand the shock.

Posted by: CJfromPA | February 15, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

As our nation suffers, we can ill-afford to be the world's police force; nor can we afford for the wealthy to get more of what they already have too much of. Wealth concentrated with a few, means basics denied to many.

Posted by: PrairieDog60


more populist baloney from the PrairieDog60. Less security, more welfare.

We know the message well!

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 15, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Your tool shed/pitchfork analogy is brilliant.

Aux barricades!

Posted by: leanderthal | February 15, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Wow Tom, you had the deniers spinning like crazy yesterday. I'm glad I stayed out of it. It hurts my soul to even read some of the comments yesterday. Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" comes to mind.

Anyway, regarding today's toon, in all this budget hoo-ha, I wish someone would talk about Homeland Security. The series of articles the Post ran a few months back talking about the sprawling bureacracy, and mega-contracts and contrators that have sprung up around homeland security, was pretty enlightening. It appears no one really knows how much money is being spent and where, on all this "fear of the rest of the world" stuff. It seems to be more of a sacred cow than even the Defense budget is. Not only sacred, but secret.

If you ask me, more frugal homeland security spending, a return to a 90% income tax on the upper tier (as we had in the 1950s), and getting our troops out of endless wars, would go a long way toward balancing the budget. As our nation suffers, we can ill-afford to be the world's police force; nor can we afford for the wealthy to get more of what they already have too much of. Wealth concentrated with a few, means basics denied to many.

Posted by: PrairieDog60 | February 15, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Tom, despite all the posturing on both sides,
the entitlements will continue to be robbed until Congress members become a part of it like the rest of us.
Robin Williams said, make the members of Congress wear NASCAR type overalls with the logos of their supporters (i.e. backers)on them.
Let's return these offices and their benefits to a privelege status, not a right .

Posted by: nsc3 | February 15, 2011 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security have their own dedicated taxes to pay for them. So, naturally, Congress has raided any related trust funds to pay for shortfalls on the General Ledger. The special nature of these popular programs disappears when they must be funded out of general revenues, which they are when the trust funds are filled with IOUs. The distinction is lost on unsophisticated voters and exploited by politicians who want government out of the social welfare business. Better, they say, for private enterprise to decide who gets the benefits of social welfare. Besides, private enterprise can turn a profit on social welfare by screw ing the clients. Hence the call for deregulation.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | February 15, 2011 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Don't think the poor who have their home heating fuel welfare cut off are going to think Obama's budget cuts are that hard to see

Posted by: obam44 | February 15, 2011 5:25 AM | Report abuse


Dalyplanet and bobmoses more than tied your arguments in knots (tip of the hat to you guys) but as usual, you miss the point. Too clever by ½ me thinks. So pay attention, PTQ, there is still hope of getting you past the 7th grade although being the biggest kid in class must have it’s advantages!

The key ingredient missing in your arguments is balance. You use gas but you excoriate the oil companies. You need fossil fuel but you offer no solutions for our future requirements. You receive criticism; you claim hypocrisy. You claim religious-like subservience to your inviolate right to argue only for the existence of AGW in our debates only to avoid the real issues of national security, national power, reduction of pollution, and economic benefit of reduced reliance on fossil fuels. You could convince Conservatives to try and achieve some of the goals the diaspora de AGW ‘claim’ to aspire to but you avoid these elements of discussion. Not part of the Liberal AGW Master Narrative. Wouldn’t want to toss those magnificent talking points out into the bin, would you?

As I’ve written on this blog many times, Democrats only want the AGW discussion for political points, not for ‘save the planet’ purposes. Democrats are like other, less powerful Nations in this regard. Kyoto was, simply put, an attempt to reduce US power. No intelligent POTUS would sign up for it.
Using key words from the Liberal play-book against Conservatives such as diversion, lies, desperation - do not help your argument.

Come on over here to Chatham House or RUSI for a debate (I can sense your skin-crawling now because you don’t know anything about those places – run to Google!) and we’ll see how rapidly your where-is-my-search-engine-supported mind can react.

I sense weakness on your part.

Posted by: pararanger22 | February 15, 2011 2:58 AM | Report abuse

Mortgage Rates have hit an all time low! For many, these rates will be the lowest we see in our lifetime. Rates change several times throughout the day, so to get an accurate quote search online for "123 Mortgage Refinance"

Posted by: lauracerny | February 15, 2011 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Congrats due you Toles on a REALLY big day there yesterday.I guess you have found a hot button on a hot topic.

Posted by: dalyplanet | February 14, 2011 9:50 PM | Report abuse

So much for the little guy making a living building mcmansions, fixing SUVs and putting up gates. Got to love that stock market going up so they can get a bigger SUV and bigger house. The good news is liberals wouldn't know which end of the pitchfork to use when they get really mad.

Posted by: billybeer6 | February 14, 2011 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Missing from your cartoon are the real areas that should be cut. Like tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. Or billions in subsidies to grow corn for ethanol, which is highly inefficient and drives up world food prices and therefore hunger and starvation as a by-product. Or billions for a tank/boat that doesn’t work and the Secretary of the Defense says we don’t need. Or billions in corporate welfare to oil and gas companies.

Posted by: EarlyBird1 | February 14, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

I attended a guest lecture this weekend where a retired philosophy professor said that the Republicans are much better at framing their message in such a way that they win. ‘Entitlements’ is one of the words that gives the impression that you’re getting something for nothing, that you’re entitled to it and it breeds thoughts that you’re not entitled to anything. Using the word entitlements is an easy short hand, but if you start by saying entitlements, you’ve already ceded part of the argument.

Americans pay direct taxes for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and want those programs and are willing to have taxes raised to keep them, but politicians are scared of any tax increases.

Posted by: EarlyBird1 | February 14, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

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