|Karlen Family Leader Steve speaks with the media after this week's historic budget agreement.|
The Karlen Family approved and finalized its budget for Fiscal Year 2014 this week, setting the stage for a fifth straight year of sound economic policy for the Waterloo-based family. Grown-Up Party (GUP) Leader Steve said the string of five straight annual budgets is a dramatic improvement over the "I sure hope we're not spending more than we're making!"-based fiscal policy that marked the first several years of the Karlen Household.
Notable in this year's budget is a dramatic increase in the grocery budget. "Peter is eating like a horse lately," said GUP Co-Leader Laura. "I mean, he had five pancakes for breakfast yesterday. Can you believe it?" Steve nodded in agreement, muttering something about how "Growing boy or not, that's ridiculous."
Other sharp spending increases include home owner's insurance premiums and an increased gift envelope--of which Steve noted, "I guess now that we're pushing 30, we really should be getting our parents at least a little something for their birthdays."
While the GUP said these spending increases were necessary to keep the family viable, Children's Party (CP) Chairman and Karlen Family Minority Leader Peter said not enough was done to increase spending for candy, video games and other awesome stuff, referring to the budget as "the same old politics as usual."
|Children's Party Minority Leader Peter reacts to the family budget|
Prior to going outside to blow bubbles and catch fireflies, the six-year-old Peter voiced his opposition toward a lack of money allocated for his college savings fund. "Investing in my education is investing in the future of the Karlen Family. This budget is irresponsible and negligent."
Karlen Family insiders had predicted a big increase in college spending upon reports that Peter expressed interest in attending a Catholic college. Those hopes evaporated when he added, "and a college that has great sports. I want to go to Marquette!"
Since the budget was passed, it's been reported that the GUP and the CP are negotiating a reinstatement of college savings funding contingent upon Peter agreeing to go to a "real" Catholic college.
The heated budget negotiations reflect an increasingly polarized Karlen Family. Analysts believed the contentiousness is driven by Peter's frustration with the Children's Party's perpetual minority status.
"Peter expected that the birth of his brother John Paul last fall would lead to a 50-50 split in the Karlen Household and result in a power-sharing agreement between the Grown Ups and Children," said Peter's friend Owen. "But Peter has grown incredibly frustrated by his brother's inability to challenge the political hegemony of the parents."
|One children's party representative speaking on the condition of anonymity referred to John Paul as "clueless."|
As a result of John Paul's political inexperience, Steve and Laura have retained an iron-clad grip on power in the family. Meanwhile, John Paul has retained an iron-clad grip on the wooden spoon he was given to amuse him while the rest of the family ate dinner.