By Jeff Girod
Break out the harmonica and hobo stew: The U.S.A. is officially flat busted! That’s after President Obama and Congress reached an agreement last week to raise the national debt ceiling to $17 trillion. ($17 trillion? Forget a ceiling, that’s more like a debt superdome.)
Turns out, Wall Street wasn’t comforted by Congress’s $17-trillion I.O.U. The Dow Jones Industrial Average immediately took a nosedive of more than 634 points, the sixth worst point decline in 112 years. (The occasion would have been commemorated on a gold coin, but apparently gold is now more priceless than Lady Gaga tickets.)
To top it off, Standard & Poor’s—one of the financial industry’s most respected agencies—downgraded our nation’s credit rating from AAA to AA+, meaning for the first time in 94 years America can’t even qualify for a Discover card.
Standard & Poor’s warned that if the U.S. doesn’t pull its act together, its credit rating will be downgraded to a plain ol‘ AA, putting it on the same level as Bermuda and Qatar. Here’s some trivia about Qatar and Bermuda: Both are countries I wouldn’t take a gas station crap in. And now, thanks to our nation’s $17 trillion-dollar marker, Standard & Poor’s is lumping the United States in with both—like three crack heads lining up to get into a Check ‘n Go.
Then again, what does our credit rating really matter? We’re still the most powerful, interesting nation on the planet. How about we just stop donating to every charity whenever some other country has a natural disaster? Sure, Japan, we’ll ship you earthquake relief . . . once you start making a $100 55-inch Sony Bravia. You’re saying “medical supplies” Japan, but all we hear is “HD Surround Sound.”
Too harsh for you? Well boo-hoo. We’re $17 trillion in debt. You have any idea what that looks like on a monthly Visa statement? Frankly, I think the United States has been too magnanimous for too long. It’s about time we started charging for our red, white and goodies.
The United Nations is located in New York City. What exactly is the rent for 100 years of maintaining world peace? Oh and let’s not forget how we won World Wars I and II. That has to be worth a few trillion in donations from every kiss-ass European country currently not speaking German.
Americans invented airplanes, air conditioning, fast food, video games, the Internet, toilet paper, the artificial heart, lasers, television, the electric guitar, the iPhone and Seinfeld. You would think that would be enough to “square” things with almost everyone in the world. That every other country would be grateful and say “Thanks, America, without you we never would have figured out how to chew bubblegum, wear blue jeans, drive a car or switch on a light bulb.” But apparently electricity and Bubble Yum only go so far . . .
China can’t wait for Kobe Bryant to come over and dunk a basketball in an exhibition game. What if Kobe lets that Sasquatch of Yao Ming actually score a basket or two and we call our debts to China all-square?
Then again, so what if the U.S.A. gets a bad credit rating? Why should any of us care? So what if the stock market goes into the pooper? The only thing I have invested is an imaginary 401k I’ll probably never live to see anyway. (I eat a lot of deep-fried butter at county fairs.)
And why should our government’s credit problems be any different than its citizens? (I still have a Discman on layaway at Circuit City.) The system is broken. Maybe what we need is to give the system a real strong kick in its broke ass, and for things to get so out of control that more than a few politicians start getting bounced out of office, sued or tossed into prison.
Maybe if the national debt gets bad enough, the whole economy will finally melt down and we’ll revert to a bartering system based on salted meats and beaver pelts.
Sounds like a win-win to me, America. Who doesn’t like salty meat and not wearing pants? That’s an idea worth its weight in Lady Gaga gold coins.
Contact Jeff Girod at firstname.lastname@example.org.