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Eric Cantor Meets Contagion; or, Plague is a Six Letter Word for Fiscal Responsibility

09/08/2011 02:06 pm ET | Updated Nov 08, 2011
  • Mark Axelrod Professor of Comparative Literature, Chapman University

So, the synopsis of Contagion goes like this. The story follows the "rapid progress of a lethal airborne virus that kills within days. As the fast-moving epidemic grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself. As the virus spreads around the world, ordinary people struggle to survive in a society coming apart."

Of course, the virus has now spread to the United States and Virginia in particular.

It's Yom Kippur, the holiest of Jewish holidays, a day of atonement and repentance, and, as the world medical communities hasten to find a cure for the lethal and pandemic disease, Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) holds a press conference outside the synagogue where he's been attending services. When asked by a twitching CNN reporter what he thought the federal response should be to the unmitigated spread of the virus, Cantor says, "Yes, we are going to find the money. We are just going to have to make sure there are savings elsewhere to continue to do so."

As he continues to speak, people standing around him begin twitching and dropping to the ground apparently succumbing to the onslaught of the disease. Cantor continues, "Just like any family would operate when it's struck with disaster, it finds the money to take care of a sick loved one or what have you, and then goes without trying to buy a new car or [putting] an addition onto the house."

Undaunted by the multiplicity of bodies surrounding him, Cantor proceeds towards his car, stepping ever so gingerly over the cadavers.

"But don't you think a disaster of this immensity needs immediate attention?" A Fox reporter foaming at the mouth asks before succumbing to the virus. Stepping over the fallen reporter, careful not to touch him with his highly polished shoes, Cantor responds, "The goal should be to find ways to pay for what is needed or to find offsets whenever possible; that is the responsible thing to do -- especially with a $14 trillion debt."

"What exactly would you cut?" asks twitching and drooling MSNBC reporter before falling by the wayside. "I'd immediately cut funds to FEMA in order to pay for disaster relief." "But isn't that like holding federal aid as a hostage?" a Current reporter asks before clutching his chest and falling to the ground, flailing at nothing in particular. "I agree that time is of the essence, and it is important to start working on this matter so my constituents can receive help in this time of need; however, it's our fiscal responsibility to pay as we go... there are no free lunches here."

When the last of the reporters drops to their deaths, Cantor asks if there would be any more questions. Hearing none, he coughs slightly, removes the handkerchief from the breast pocket of his suit, opens the car door of his SUV and drives home.