The Federal Budget Is Like Your Family’s Budget!

Cartoon by Barry


Two women are talking, who I will call “Black Dress” and “Sneakers,” respectively.

Panel 1
BLACK DRESS: The Federal government’s budget is just like a family budget!
SNEAKERS: Really? Your family prints its own currency?

Panel 2
BLACK DRESS: Well, no.
SNEAKERS: Can your family sell its own super-low-interest bonds to borrow money?

Panel 3
Both women have become a bit annoyed with the other.
BLACK DRESS: No! But when I do my family budget, I can’t spend more than I earn.
SNEAKERS: Then how will anyone in your family ever own a home? Or go to college?

Panel 4
BLACK DRESS: My point is, the government has to cut back! Starting with social security!
SNEAKERS (horrified): Your family saves money by robbing Grandma?

Posted in Barry's favorites, Economic cartoons |

How We Define Unemployment, And Who Benefits

Cartoon by Barry


Two characters are standing on the planet earth. They are giants – they could step across a continent in five steps – but they’re drawn in an adorable tiny-body-cute-head fashion. One of them is wearing a floral-patterned short sleeve shirt and an “uncle Sam” hat; the other wears a business suit.

Panel 1
UNCLE SAM: The economy is awful! How will we fix this mess?
BUSINESSMAN: I know! Let’s measure unemployment with a bizarre definition that makes it look much smaller!

Panel 2
MAN: I can’t find full-time work so I’m supporting my kids with a twelve hour a week job.
BUSINESSMAN (popping in from the side of the panel, in the foreground, and addressing the readers instead of the man, with a manic grin): Not unemployed!

Panel 3
WOMAN: I want to work, but after ten months of looking and no luck, I’ve given up.
UNCLE SAM (again, popping in and not looking at the other character): Not unemployed!

Panel 4
MUSTACHE MAN: I made five bucks by watching my friend’s baby for an hour this week.
BUSINESSMAN: (You get the idea by now, right?) Not unemployed!

Panel 5
PUNK WOMAN: I do chores fifteen hours a week at my parents’ farm, but I’m not paid.
UNCLE SAM: Not unemployed!

Panel 6
STUDENT CARRYING BOOK: I’m taking a month off from job-hunting to take classes to improve my skills.
BUSINESSMAN: Not unemployed!

Panel 7
UNCLE SAM: That was amazing! We cut unemployment in half without doing a thing to help anyone!
BUSINESSMAN: Problem solved!

Sub-panel at the end
UNCLE SAM: Get a job!

Posted in Economic cartoons |

The Minimum Wage Versus The Earned Income Tax Credit

Cartoon by Barry


The cartoon shows two people arguing, a young woman with her hair in a ponytail, and an older man wearing a suit.

WOMAN: We need to help low-income workers, we should raise the minimum wage!
MAN (thoughtfully): The minimum wage is inefficient. To really help low income workers, you’d have to raise the Earned Income Tax Credit.

WOMAN (enthused): Sounds good! Let’s raise the Earned Income Tax Credit.
MAN (angry): NEVER! That would increase government spending!

WOMAN: But you just said…
MAN: What a shame there’s no policy that helps low-income workers without government spending.

WOMAN (annoyed): You mean, like raising the minimum wage?
MAN (enthused): Hey, you know what poor people really need? Tax cuts for millionaires!

WOMAN (enthused): We should raise both the minimum wage and the tax credit!
MAN: Give me a sec to work out why I’m against that.

Posted in Economic cartoons, Labor rights & Unions |

It’s A Matter Of Perspective

Cartoon by Barry

Panel 1
An old man, who is a Senator, wearing a suit and tie, sits behind a large desk. There is an American flag behind the desk.
SENATOR: I love being a Senator. Lots of assistants, comfy chair, the pay is great, and I never lift anything heavier than my laptop.

Panel 2
SENATOR: I could keep doing this job forever!

Panel 3
As it snows heavily, an old man wearing a plaid shirt struggles to life a huge bundle of newspapers out of a truck. Behind him, through the snow, we can see the Capitol Building in the background.

On the front paper of the bundle of papers, we can read the headline: CONGRESS RAISES RETIREMENT AGE. A sub-headline says “Senator: ‘I’ve never met anyone who wants to stop working!'”

Posted in Economic cartoons, Labor rights & Unions |

Copyright Vs. Shakespeare

Cartoon by Barry

(Buy a print of this cartoon on Redbubble.)

This cartoon was inspired by a Huffington Post article by Jennifer Jenkins, in which she quoted Judge Richard Posner:

What happens if these underlying sources are copyrighted? As Judge Richard Posner pointed out, “Romeo and Juliet itself would have infringed Arthur Brooke’s The Tragicall Historye of Romeo and Juliet… which in turn would have infringed several earlier Romeo and Juliets, all of which probably would have infringed Ovid’s story of Pyramus and Thisbe.” You get the point — without a rich public domain, much of literature would be illegal.

Many thanks to my friend Rachel Swirsky, who co-wrote this strip. This is the second “Ampersand” strip Rachel has co-written; the previous one was The Church of Fiscal Conservatism.

Panel 1
Shakespeare, at a writing table, feathery quill in hand, holding up what he has just written to read it aloud.
SHAKESPEARE: “But soft! What light through yon window breaks? It is a lightning bug, and Juliet is the bug’s ass.”

Panel 2
Shakespeare sits, slumps his head into his hands.
SHAKESPEARE (thought): Needs work.
FEDERAL AGENT (from off-panel): HALT, THIEF!

Panel 3
Shakespeare rises and speaks sharply to the Federal Agent who has just walked in. The Federal Agent wears a 20th century suit and dark glasses, and displays a badge.
SHAKESPEARE: SIR! What brings you to my chamber?
FED: This PLAY you wrote, “Romeo and Juliet.”

Panel 4
FED: You STOLE it from Arthur Brooke’s “The Tragical Historye of Romeus and Juliet!”

Panel 5
Shakespeare is using the ol’ “explaining hands” gesture, the Fed points and yells.
SHAKESPEARE: The SEED was Brooke’s, but under my care it has flourished into a DIFFERENT tree-
FED: So you ADMIT it!

Panel 6
The Fed whips off his dark glasses for a panel. He looks so mad that he might eat them.
FED: Answer THIS, smart guy: Why should BROOKE bother writing NEW WORK when second-raters like YOU swipe his stuff?

Panel 7
Shakespeare is beginning to get pissed.
SHAKESPEARE: But sir! Poor Brooke lies beneath the sod. My simple play cannot disturb him now. The ONLY work being stifled is mine own!

Panel 8
FED: YOUR work? HA! Derivative TRASH! If you had any talent, you’d write something ORIGINAL!

Panel 9
SHAKESPEARE: But Brooke’s OWN idea germinated with Matteo Bandello! We are ALL leaves from the same branch, sir! That’s how creativity works!

Panel 10
The FED, who is quite a bit larger than Shakespeare, grabs Shakespeare and shakes him back and forth.
FED: No, that’s how STEALING works! Brooke’s only been dead for THIRTY YEARS. The worms have barely finished digesting!

Panel 11
Shakespeare’s babbling is interrupted when the stern-faced Fed yanks him around to put handcuffs on him.
SHAKESPEARE: But this is MADNESS! Do we not value freedom of THOUGHT? Are IDEAS not the currency of culture? The veritable grist of progress for the social mill? Tell me sir– OW!

Panel 12
Shakespeare, dressed in jailbird’s stripes, sits in a prison cell, loking a bit wistful or confused.
CAPTION: And so Creativity was Saved from a Plagiarist Lout.

(Buy a print of this cartoon on Redbubble.)

Posted in Barry's favorites |

Immigration and Jobs

Cartoon by Barry

Illustration shows Alamar, a dark-skinned man wearing overalls and a hardhat, standing behind a partly built brick wall holding a brick in one hand and a trowel in the other.
CAPTION: Alamar came to the United States to find work. Alamar is a brick mason. He works hard and is very productive.

Illustration shows Alamar continuing to work on the wall, while a woman nearby wearing a hardhat checks something off on her clipboard. Behind Alamar, a man walks up carrying a box. Behind that man, a large truck has pulled up.
CAPTION: Because Alamar is so productive, people in related jobs, like brickmakers, site supervisors, and truckers, have more work to do.

Illustration shows Alamar, no longer wearing a hardhat, buying groceries from a cashier.
CAPTION: All those people, including Alamar, spend money in the local economy, on things like groceries and movies and diners and gas and clothes. All that spending creates more jobs.

Illustration shows Alamar back at work on the wall. Next to him, an angry bald man is yelling.
CAPTION: That’s why Americans welcome Alamar with friendship and open arms.

And here’s the same cartoon, in French! Thanks to Immigration Libre for the translation.



Panel 1.Alamar a immigré en France pour trouver un travail. Alamar est maçon, il travaille dur et est très productif.

Panel 2.Grâce à sa productivité, Alamar procure du travail à ses collègues tel que les routiers, contremaitres et briquetier.

Panel 3.Toutes ces personnes ainsi qu’Alamar dépensent leur argent dans l’économie locale, sur de la nourriture, des places de cinémas, de l’essence ou encore des vétements. Toute cette consommation crée encore plus de travail.

Panel 4.Et c’est pour cette raison que les Français acceuillent Alamar chaleureusement.
Angry Man Chauve: *Rentre chez toi ****** de voleur de boulot!*

Posted in Economic cartoons, Labor rights & Unions |

Talking About The Deficit

Cartoon by Barry

Cartoon depicts a woman and her child, sitting on the edge of the curb. The child is sleeping leaning against its mother. In front of them, a homemade cardboard sign reads “Unemployed Hungry.” On the sidewalk behind the pair, two men wearing jackets and ties are arguing back and forth: Deficit! Deficit! Deficit!

Posted in Economic cartoons |

Really Good Careers

Cartoon by Barry

Description of cartoon: The cartoon shows a woman holding a child’s hand, in a fairly dismal-looking city area, standing on a sidewalk at the entrance to a building. Above the entrance is a sign that says “Really Good Careers.” To the right of the entrance, a smaller sign says “An equal opportunity employer.” The entrance is shaped like a male silhouette; it seems apparent that the woman and her child could not fit through the entrance.

This cartoon is also available in black and white.

Posted in Economic cartoons, Feminist cartoons, Labor rights & Unions |

See Sue Run (now with two endings!)

Cartoon by Barry

There are two versions of this cartoon. The only difference is the final panel; in one version, the final panel is about how many Americans ignore the way government helps their lives. In the other version, the final panel is specifically a dig at the Tea Party.

The general version:

And the Tea Party version:

See Sue
(Illustration of small white girl in pigtails running. This is Sue.)
See Sue run.

See Sue run to public school.
(Illustration of Sue running towards brick building.)
Go, Sue, go!

See Sue’s Daddy tkae a child-care tax credit.
(Illustation of Sue’s Daddy in foreground filling out some forms while Sue plays with toys on the floor in the background.)
Maybe Daddy will use it to buy Sue more toys!

See Sue use federal student loans to attend college.
(Illustration of Sue, now a teenager in a cap and gown, receiving a high school diploma.)
Good going, Sue!

See Sue lower her taxes with the lifetime learning credit.
(Illustration of Sue putting an envelope into a mailbox. This cartoon is certainly action-packed, isn’t it?)
Clever Sue!

See Sue get a job.
(Illustration of sue wearing goggles and sawing a piece of wood that’s clamped to two sawhorses.)
See the employer tax exclusion make Sue’s health care cheaper.

See Sue buy a home.
(Illustration of a small house.)
Sue can afford it because of the mortgage deduction!

See Sue have a baby.
(Illustration of a baby’s pacifier.)
See Sue take the child-tax credit.

See Sue save for her kid’s college education with a tax-free education savings account.
(Illustration of Sue, now a bit older, filling out forms.)
Good planning Sue!

See Sue retire.
(Illustration of Sue, now older with white hair, at a retirement party — there are balloons and cake and a man has his arm around her shoulders.)
Now Sue will collect Social Security!

See Sue get sick.
(Illustration of Sue in a patient’s gown at a doctor’s office, being spoken to by someone holding a clipboard.)
Good thing Sue has Medicare!

See Sue Fail To See
(Illustration of Sue, wearing a blazer, angrily speaking.)
Sue: When has the government ever helped me?
Funny Sue!

See Sue join the Tea Party.
(Illustration of Sue, wearing a blazer, angrily speaking.)
SUE: I’ve never taken a cent from the government!
Funny Sue!

Posted in Economic cartoons, Health care |

The Ten Stupidest Objections to the Occupy Wall Street Movement

Cartoon by Barry

Panel 1
Large lettering says “The Ten Stupidest Objections to the Occupy Wall Street Movement”
In the lower right-hand corner of the panel, a self-portrait of the cartoonist, a fat guy with long dark hair, says: I’ve heard or read all these myself!

Panel 2
Furious-looking yelling man in polo shirt: Folks in third-world countries are EVEN POORER, so poor people in AMERICA should be GRATEFUL and SHUT UP!

Panel 3
Balding man at laptop: If they don’t have an official media spokesperson, how can we take them seriously?

Panel 4
Angry yelling woman: They criticize corporations, but use SMART PHONES made by CORPORATIONS! HYPOCRITES!
Same woman, added as an afterthought: And they wear clothes!

Panel 5
Person with long hair in a ponytail, shrugging and looking confused: Shouldn’t they protest in WASHINGTON instead? That’s where the people in CHARGE are, right?

Panel 6
Angry man with giant head and a necktie: THEY’RE HIPPIES! HIPPIES SUCK! I HATE GODDAMNED HIPPIES!

Panel 7
Concerned looking woman with long wavy hair that I was happy with how the drawing came out: Why aren’t they wearing NECKTIES, like civil rights marchers fifty years ago?

Panel 8
Angry, strict-looking man wearing a vest and with his shirt buttoned all the way up: There was a bad statistic on a hand-lettered sign! That’s PROOF these people are liars!

Panel 9
Smiling woman in striped shirt who looks as if she thinks she’s making a really telling point: Why aren’t these people at JOBS instead of protesting? HUH? Why not? Huh?

Panel 10
Paranoid man in a trenchcoat with the collar turned up, standing against a brick wall, whispering something confidential: “Occupy Wall Street” is OBAMA setting up the country for riots!

Panel 11
A yelling man with a huge open mouth, whose face fills up virtually all of the panel: A movement that FAILS to compress its entire meaning into a simple SOUNDBITE is DOOMED! DOOOOOMED!

Posted in Uncategorized |