WASHINGTON, DC—Seeking to ensure the continued distraction and contentedness of the American people during a time of unprecedented prosperity, Congress allocated $4 billion for bread and circuses Monday.

Plebians gather at Chicago's Soldier Field to enjoy the grand spectacle of mighty sporting contests.

President Clinton announced news of the bill's passage to awaiting throngs from his purple-draped balcony at the White House.

"Good citizens of America!" an olive-leaf-bedecked Clinton said. "Never has there been more peace, abundance and contentedness across the Republic than now. Our granaries are full to bursting, ships laden with the fruits of our noble labor leave our ports everyday, and our domiciles are filled with comforts that make us the envy of the world. What's more, our glorious military victory in the far-off province of Kosovo has bolstered our stature among other, lesser nation-states."

Continued Clinton: "Therefore, with the passage of the Bread And Circuses Act, I call for a celebration of these achievements. I call for revelry in the streets, much feasting and imbibery of the fermented grape, and gaming in our stadiums and coliseums featuring the Republic's most eminent athletes. Let the merriment begin!"

Shortly after his announcement, Clinton served as Grand Marshal of an immense triumphal procession down Pennsylvania Avenue. The procession, attended by thousands of onlookers, featured a display of Exocet missiles; several Stealth bombers flying in formation; a phalanx of prominent military leaders, senators and bureaucrats; dancers, fire-eaters and contortionists; two rare Siberian white tigers, who pulled a gilded coach containing the current Miss America, Nicole Johnson; a battalion of bull elephants; and Barbra Streisand.

At the back of the procession were four dozen captured criminals and Serbian prisoners of war, who were repeatedly beaten by a prison guard as they slowly trudged under the weight of their chains and manacles.

Following the massive parade, a state-sponsored feast was held on the Capitol Mall, and great quantities of such beloved American delicacies as hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, potato salad, Lite beer, orange pop and sheet cake were served free of charge to vast and ecstatic crowds, who gorged themselves to excess.

"Hail good President Clinton, noblest American of them all!" said visiting Grand Blanc, Michigan, resident Sherman Kozik, before racing to one of the many porta-vomitoriums to purge himself of the gallon of three-bean salad he had consumed.

The gaiety continued on through the evening, as per Clinton's command, as standing-room-only crowds packed stadiums, arenas and racetracks nationwide for such popular sporting events as pro football, stock car racing and wrestling.

The most celebrated event took place at New York City's Madison Square Garden, where defending World Wrestling Federation champion "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was defeated in a stunning upset by the Undertaker before thousands of fans. Having subdued Austin with a tombstone piledriver, the Undertaker looked up to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who was seated in his mayoral box high atop the arena, to determine Austin's fate. Giuliani pointed his thumb downward, and the Undertaker ran Austin through with a broadsword to fans' raucous cheers. He then presented Austin's lifeless body to the mayor.

Despite the widespread popularity of the Bread And Circuses Act, some believe that crucial issues are being ignored, and that Clinton advocated the law solely to increase his approval rating. An early dissenter was U.S. Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ), who gave an eloquent oratory in the Senate floor shortly after the bill was signed into law.

"By appealing to the plebians' low instincts for bloodlust and gluttony, the despotic libertine Clinton has traded away our freedom and quality of life for his own advancement, and as a consequence, our Republic lies dangerously prone to its base vices," Torricelli said. "How can he speak of celebration and feasting when there is still abundant evidence of chronic want despite a robust economy, when large stockpiles of nuclear weapons continue to exist, when our presidential candidates remain frustratingly vague on issues of great import, and when the environment continues to undergo man-made degradation?"

"Citizens!" Torricelli continued. "I beseech you to look past the revelry and consider your condition. Have you truly benefited from this state of affairs? I respectfully submit the resounding answer of no! No, no, a thousand times, no!" The morning after his speech, Torricelli was found dead in his bedroom, an apparent victim of an asp bite sometime during the night.

The Clinton administration has denied any wrongdoing in Torricelli's death, as well as claims made by its political enemies that the Bread And Circuses Act was intended to lull the populace into a state of apathy and complacency.

"Citizens, who scoffs at your indulgence? The same patrician snobs who have kept you in your place for years," said White House press secretary Joe Lockhart. "Life is short and desperate, and soon the Grim Reaper will darken your door. That's why it's of capital importance to enjoy yourself while you can. Now, who's up for a free, government-sponsored crucifixion of some convicted murderers?"

As the mass celebrations continue into the weekend, the President will host an enormous bonfire on the White House lawn, to be followed by a special ceremony in which Clinton will appoint his favorite horse as the new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.