There. Done. Let’s recess until September.
Okay, but really, let’s talk about this.
Don Pardo: And now the Not Incredible Adventures of the Down and Out Dollar.
American Dollar: Oh, boy oh boy. What a year, it sure does stink being a US dollar. Here it is, 2005, and I’m at an all-time low. I used to be on top of the world, now look at me – good for nothing. Who wants a measly old dollar?
Euro: Dollar? Is that you?
American Dollar: Oh. Hey Euro.
Euro: Oh my goodness Dollar, you look awful!
American Dollar: Oh jeez, here we go again.
Euro: Look at me, look at all my wonderful colors, aren’t they supercool? You like my hologram? Look at it this way, now look how it changes!
American Dollar: Oh boy it sure is nice. I wish I had a hologram.
Euro: Hey Dollar, do you want to hear a joke? Knock, knock.
American Dollar: Oh, who’s there?
Euro: Germany. And France. And Greece. And Italy. And Denmark. And Luxembourg. And Belgium. They’re all stronger than you, hahaha ha! Is that not funny?
American Dollar: Oh come on Euro! That ain’t a joke. Gimme a break.
Who is our in-house accountant at the White House?
I guess when they get to that level they’re called economists and the budgets they balance stop being about numbers and start being about parties, but maybe we’re missing out on something because of that.
I mean, shouldn’t there be a group of people sitting at wooden desks in corner offices keeping track of our budget anyway? Imagine them hunched over complicated calculators, reams of paper shooting out one end, pencils behind their ears and glasses perched on the end of their noses while they finally come to the end of one fiscal year and press the equal sign. Now imagine them shaking their heads in disbelief.
“Oh, no, no. This does not add up.”
Unless it’s an actual crisis, I usually let political dramas roll right on by while I focus on more important things like Katy Perry’s smurf dress or Ryan Gosling’s abs. But what I thought was just the dramatic flair of contemporary American politics actually turned out to be the dramatic flair of contemporary American politics that could potentially create a crisis. This was made even more interesting to me because I’m in the midst of managing my own budget.
Me and the United States government: twinsies!
Earlier this week, I was cruising Videogum when one of the comments led me to a summary of the debt ceiling debacle by Howard Marks, whoever that is (he works at a capital management firm, as indicated by the letterhead). It was all told in layman’s terms and except for a few digressions into Personal Opinion Time, or P.O.T., at the top of page nine and the bottom of page 10, it’s factually based and stays away from bias—even in P.O.T. he stays away from bias.
“For the last several years as I’ve visited with clients around the world, I’ve described the typical American as follows (exaggerating for effect, of course): He has $1000 in the bank, owes $10,000 on his credit card, makes $20,000 a year, and spends $22, 000. And what do lenders do about this? They mail him additional credit cards.”
He uses this as a jump-off to explain how the typical American’s fiscal health compares to that of our country as well as countries around the world.
What I took away from this article was that we need to balance the budget (OBVIOUSLY) and that in order to get any real, effective and lasting change in America with our budget, we are going to have to hurt for a while.
Real talk. I have been wistfully staring at the large, neon metro tote on MZ Wallace’s summer pop-up shop and quietly sighing to myself because even though I loved it at the beginning of summer, I never actually saved any money so I could buy it without guilt at the end of summer.
“In addition to balancing the budget and growing the economy, I think we have to accept that the coming decades are likely to see US standards of living decline relative to the rest of the world. Unless our goods offer a better cost/benefit bargain, there’s no reason American workers should continue to enjoy the same lifestyle advantage over workers in other countries.”
If you want to read more on the debt ceiling debacle before the August 2nd solution deadline, Pro Publica is constantly updating a reading list here that I am constantly not reading because one really great article is enough for me but maybe you’re interested in more. Kudos, you, people who click on that link!