[The Phineas and Ferb cartoon is the creation of Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh, and they have no responsibility for the following. -HJC]
"Whatever you two are doing, is meaningless."
"Huh?" Phineas Flynn looked up from the adjustments he was making to the quantum state duplicator.
"It's meaningless." His older sister Candace Flynn stood over him, with hands on hips.
"Well, I can explain how it works."
"It doesn't matter." She waved this off. "Everything you two have built has always disappeared by the end of the day, right?"
"Yes, I suppose so." Phineas nodded at this as his stepbrother Ferb Fletcher walked over to his side. Ferb knew that he couldn't do any welding while Candace was standing around the backyard without eye protection, and that while her filibuster of their brother continued, he wasn't going to get much else done either.
"I finally see it now. There's absolutely no need for me to bust you two. The immutable laws of economics will take care of it for me."
"Economics?" Phineas struggled to figure out how that dismal pseudoscience applied to their latest daily project.
"My eyes were finally opened last night when I fell asleep reading the Cliff Notes for Atlas Shrugged and watching a Paul Ryan budget presentation on C-SPAN. He's so ripped. I need to get Jeremy to start doing P90X. Well, like I was saying, whatever you two make just vanishes, right?"
Phineas nodded to his sister's comment. "That's been the pattern so far, but we're still studying it."
"And that is the same as a one hundred percent tax rate. By the Laffer Curve there is no reward for your efforts, so it's only a matter of time before you stop doing it on your own."
Phineas suspected that Candace wouldn't accept any arguments about how the pursuit of knowledge enriched all mankind. He thought a moment and then came up with what he hoped was a sufficiently selfish explanation for his creative urges. "But we find the most joy in creating and trying out new things. It would be boring to have the same old stuff cluttering up the backyard day after day. Right, Ferb?"
Ferb nodded in support.
Candace pointed at her younger brothers and smirked. "The building of your designs isn't the creative part. You only do that to impress your friends. Soon you'll find that Money, rather than creativity, is what really matters to people."
"Well if didn't test our designs we wouldn't know what worked and what didn't." Phineas knew he was making a risky approach, but perhaps the shock of the implication would get Candace back to her old self.
A brief glimmer of doubt clouded Candace's mind as she imagined picking Phineas' corpse out of a pile of wreaked equipment. Then she hardened her heart and crossed her arms. She had to retain faith in the power of Neoliberalism. The explanation had been so clear the previous night. Additional facts would just confuse the matter. "Now, if you two geeks will excuse me, I'm off to have unprotected teenage sex with Jeremy."
Phineas stood stunned, until Ferb nudged him, then he asked, "But isn't the entire tri-state area pro-life?"
"So?" Candace made a waving off motion. "Isn't everybody in favor of life? I'm sure that Jeremy's minimum wage, no benefits, fast food job will easily cover any expenses that occur. After all, only the payroll tax applies to his wages, and that is a low rate flat tax, so shouldn't discourage him from increasing his economic activity indefinitely. I'll just add dependents as needed, to keep the Alternative Minimum Tax from applying to us."
Phineas blinked and stood there silently, as he ran the household budget numbers through his finely tuned mind. He kept coming to the conclusion that Candace's scenario somehow had Jeremy working 30 hours a day, 8 days a week.
Ferb shrugged and waited for his stepsister to leave, before turning to his stepbrother and asking, "Isn't Amanda Johnson's conception five years off?"
Phineas snapped out of it. "Ferb, I know what we're going to do today."
"Deprogram Candace and get the future back on track?"
"Well at least this isn't as bad as the time she wanted to convert to Mormonism with Jeremy and Stacy and move to Utah with them."
"Ferb, if I had really thought that would make her happy, then I would have had the Defense of Marriage law abolished."
"Aren't you a little young to be a registered federal lobbyist?"
"Why yes, yes I am. It's a loophole, but I'm not too proud to use it for Candace."