I’ve been fascinated listening to President Obama describe increasing the “debt ceiling” as the only responsible course of action Congress can take as October 17th approaches.
It’s a good thing he’s President of the United States because there is no other position on the face of the Earth where you could make such an argument with a straight face.
You’re a husband and father of four who’s always been itching to buy a Ferrari. Sure you’ve already bought a boat and a Harley and those season tickets to the Red Sox games aren’t cheap, but a Ferrari would just make you happier than you’ve ever been before.
Sadly, you’ve maxed out all seven credit cards and you’ve taken out multiple loans. You’re barely making the minimum payments as it is. But you really want that car.
So you make a few calls and you find one more loan shark . . . er . . . bank willing to loan you the money at a legal interest rate (meaning the terms are just okay enough not to fall afoul of the usury laws). You’re all set except for one small problem.
You’re married and the “bank” wants your wife to sign the note. You have to convince her.
No matter how much you sell the value of the car, she won’t budge.
Under no circumstances will she raise the family “debt ceiling.”
Not only that, but she thinks you need to take the pressure off the family by alleviating some of the debt.
“At the rate we’re going we’ll never pay all this off in our lifetimes,” she tells you, “Our kids are going to end up paying the bill.”
You panic. Now not only is she refusing to sanction the new loan, but she actually wants you to reduce the debt. You could lose all those things you really couldn’t afford to begin with . . . the country club membership and the handmade Italian suits.
Thinking quickly, you come up with a plan. If you “give” your oldest son the new Ferrari to drive for a while you could enlist him on your side. What kid wouldn’t love to drive a car like that . . . especially when it’s “free?”
You called this one right. The kid is thrilled and now joins you in beating down your wife until she relents. She’s not a total pushover though. She makes you promise to start discussing ways to bring down the family debt soon.
Now if you’re this fictitious fellow, there is little doubt where you’ll end up . . . bankruptcy (and perhaps divorce) court.
So what about Uncle Sam who is playing out this exact scenario on a much grander scale. Will “he” meet the same unfortunate end as dear old Dad here?
I can’t say for sure, but I do know one thing. At the rate we’re going, we’re about to find out very soon.