After weeks of contentious and fiercely partisan negotiations, Neil and Carol Offen announced yesterday that they had raised their debt ceiling and would be able to go out to dinner more often, and not just at the K&W cafeteria. 

The couple said, in a joint statement, that they hoped the agreement would end the constant bickering about whether to get a new rug for the living room or replace several of the cracked dinner dishes. “We have an agreement the American public can be proud of,” they said. “We have shown that the system works, although we’re not sure exactly what system that was.”

The breakthrough came near the deadline for action, when their MasterCard bill was due for payment and the Offens would have had to fork over a ludicrous 19.8 percent APR on the balance left in their account. They were able to come to an agreement when both sides conceded they had no idea what APR meant.

If an agreement had not been reached, the Offens risked taking money from their VISA account to make payments on their home equity loan which would have meant having to move money from their money market fund into their Discover Card balance.

Local markets reacted positively, particularly Whole Foods, which saw its stock of organic pistachios hit a new monthly high.

The compromise cut 32 percent from the Offens’ Twizzler budget and reduced funding for future generations of chocolate chip cookie purchases. It completely eliminated from the spending plan even the thought of buying veal or those really thin, incredibly tasty loin lamb chops — the ones with not much meat on them. Nevertheless, the agreement still left to be determined what the Offens would do about increasing revenues, although the couple promised they would at least start to look more carefully into selling some of their collection of old Merle Haggard vinyl albums.

The agreement had been held up by an extreme wing of the household, the Offen children, who had hoped that they would be entitled to any money left over after mom and dad took that big-spending trip last September to Paris.

“While we understand that there will be some short-term pain here, we ultimately decided that we just have to limit entitlement programs and spend more time watching the DVDs we already have,” said Carol Offen.

The agreement to raise the Offen debt ceiling, however, was only the beginning, Neil Offen said.

“We want to use this as a springboard to more lasting compromises,” he said. “We believe that if we can do this, we can even reach accord on who gets to set the home thermostat even if one of us is wearing shorts and the other is wearing two sweaters.”

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