Psalm 23, Newly Revised According to Modern Principles

[The Wall Street Journal, March 2, 2013] Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of debt, I fear no bankruptcy, for Obama is my shepherd. He prepareth a table of food stamps before me, and maketh me lie down beside waters He hath cleansed and seas He hath made recede, even though the bad Republicans wisheth the earth to be burnt unto a cinder, and will not buy the electric car that is good, for it hath zero emissions, and receiveth its power from a power plant, which hath not zero emissions, but the ways of the President are mysterious.

He hath told the stubborn Israelites, evil builders of apartments, that they know not their own interests and He does, and know not what they do, when they fear the nuclear weapon of the Persians. The ways of the President are mysterious. He alloweth the Persians to get the nuclear weapon (unless He hath something up His sleeve), for He knoweth that when they behold Him they will stay their hand, and not burn the Israelites unto a cinder, as they pronounce.

Yea, though Bernanke maketh funny money that will not compute, Obama prepareth a statistical table in front of the bad Republicans that showeth it will, if only they have faith. Fear not the Hellenes and the path they have trod. Though for sure we shall follow them, the President will be our sword, and our shield. His Hillary Rodham and his staff, they comfort us.

Fear not the Chinois, whose power waxes as ours wanes, for someday thy children’s children shall journey over the sea that Obama hath made recede, west of the land of Geffen and Famous Amos, to build railroads for Beijing. Then the Third World will have inherited the earth, and the strong will have been laid low, which is good, and which is also the Democratic platform.

Verily, we should be like the meek of the earth, and follow the commands of the President, the Amalekites, the EPA, and the IRS, which taketh our money, which is good, for we know not what to do with it. And Obama does, for you did not buildeth that. Once, we were slaves in the land of Reagan (and if you attributeth the “Reagan” deficits to increased military spending and lowered tax rates, tryeth accounting for the changes in military expenditure and tax revenues in the Reagan years, for, lo, when combined they yieldeth a surplus). Then, we were sinners, in spending our own money for what we thought was our own good. But now we are free, for the President spendeth it for us, and He maketh miracles, for, lo, He roasteth invisible chickens, and, lo, He spendeth money that existeth not, that Bernanke printeth. And, lo, it buys us stuff, for now.

Yea, though I accumulate debt higher than the mountains of Gilboa, and the deadbeats skip like rams, I shall not want, for Bernanke maketh funny money, and the President smiles upon the land, but not upon the bad Republicans. For they wisheth to live within their means, which surely must be evil. And what would you expect from people who are suspicious of Social Security? And wisheth to burn the earth unto a cinder. But arithmetic notwithstanding, I will dwell in the house of Obama all the days of my life. (Why not four terms, and what about Michelle? For the Constitution liveth.) And, the earth having been purified, surely it will be good when—and where do I apply for—government assistance will be the only thing left.

A version of this article appeared March 2, 2013, on page A13 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Psalm 23, Newly Revised According to Modern Principles.

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Mark Helprin