The Onion's Guide To Understanding The Debt Ceiling Crisis

Tyler Durden's picture

Source: The Onion,

The Treasury Department has warned that the continued failure by Congress to raise the debt ceiling would leave the United States unable to pay all of its bills and may force the country to default on its government bonds. Here are some helpful answers to the most common questions about the debt ceiling crisis:

What is the debt ceiling?

The debt ceiling is a specifically defined yet changeable clause in official federal legislation that ensures that our country becomes embroiled in maddening, childish theatrics every few months or years.

How high is the debt ceiling now?

Just like normal ceiling height.

When will we hit the debt ceiling?

On Thursday, Oct. 17 at precisely 5 p.m. Eastern time, when the nation’s $46 billion cable bill comes due.

What happens if the government defaults on its debt?

The United States will lose the credibility and respect we incorrectly assume other nations still hold toward us.

How would a government default affect the economy?

Picture a cake, small crumbs of which fall off during each slice, or transaction, whenever money is lent to institutions from the Federal Reserve. It is a thick, rich sponge cake with icing. The icing is the American people.

How would a government default affect me?

It’s always about you, isn’t it? Prick.

Has the government ever defaulted on its debt before?

No, although it came close in 1877 when Rutherford B. Hayes installed the White House’s first telephone, then ordered 900,000 pizzas.

What do Republicans want in exchange for raising the debt ceiling?

Reasonable solutions to create an affordable, private, cost-effective health care system, a renewed emphasis on the entrepreneurial spirit that makes this country so great, long-term investments in our economy and infrastructure to build a stable and sustainable middle class, and a return to constructive political discourse.

How can I explain this crisis to my children?

You have kids? Uh-oh.

Are the debt ceiling crisis and government shutdown connected?

Technically no, but in many Eastern veins of thought it is believed that all things in the universe are connected. The cherry blossom and earthworm do not know the other exists, but is it not the fallen petal that provides nourishment to the earthworm, and is it not the earthworm that enriches the soil for the blossom’s mother tree? Perhaps there is more truth in seeing the world and everything in it as one than in believing that things are separate.

Why do we need Congress to raise the debt ceiling?

You know what, you’re absolutely right. We don’t need Congress. Let’s just do it ourselves! Come on, everyone!

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F-Tipp's picture

"We don't need congress."

Pladizow's picture

If you went home today and found the main line had burst and had filled your house with sewage all the way to the ceiling - would you raise the ceiling or remove the shit?!?!?!

EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

Guillotine for the Plumbers...

Scarlett's picture

IMF saying "how about robbing 10% of everyone's bank accounts?" in plain sight. (p.49)

http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fm/2013/02/pdf/fm1302.pdf

Joe Davola's picture

Nah, let's just QE the money supply to infinity - that'll take an even larger percent and no one, including Know-Bell bearded economists, will be the wiser.

EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

Why would anyone take a Monopoly Game so serious? I would if I lived in Iran or Syria...

Muppet Pimp's picture

The lunatics running the asylum have found the paymasters (the fed and foreign governments ) are more than happy to pay whatever it takes to keep the American serfs in perpetual debt slavery, seeing as they for the most part make their payments on time and the serfs for the most part remain unaware.

Manthong's picture

Repudiate the debt to the Fed.

It's a private bank and a den of thieves.. screw'em.

Issue US currency, replace all FRN's.. totally sovereign checkmate.

Nationalize the largest half dozen "investment banks", fire everybody, arrest some, execute some., spin'em off after you clean them up.

Repududiate all non-US/domestic CDO's. Take town the synthetic market and shadow banking system. Let the foreigners figure out how to clean their own act up.

Shutter the IMF and the ESF.

Repeal the 17th Amendment.

Fire the whole IRS and replace them with two guys, Bernie Maddoff's old AS-400 and a 10 % flat tax like in Russia.

WTF, it's Friday and it's happy hour.

SafelyGraze's picture

"Picture a cake, small crumbs of which fall off during each slice, or transaction, whenever money is lent to institutions from the Federal Reserve. It is a thick, rich sponge cake with icing. The icing is the American people."

please mister onion.

teach me how to write like that.

holy shit mister onion.

that was beautiful.

mofreedom's picture

smoke some pot...amen...not me...i don't write anymore.

artless's picture

@ Manthong

"Nationalize the largest half dozen "investment banks", fire everybody, arrest some, execute some., spin'em off after you clean them up." 

PROSECUTE UNDER CURRENT LAW the largest half dozen "investment banks", fire everybody, arrest some, execute some., spin'em off after you clean them up.

"Repeal the 17th Amendment."

Repeal the 16th Amendment. THe Federal Reserve Act. Soc Sec. Medicare. etc, etc.

"Fire the whole IRS and replace them with two guys, Bernie Maddoff's old AS-400 and a 10 % flat tax like in Russia."

Fire the whole IRS and replace them with  NOTHING.

Institute a fee based system to fund the absolute minimum and only those specified by The Constitution. 

Then go about dismantling the rest of it.

There fixed it for ya.

Manthong's picture

OK.. I'll give that one to you.

maybe I was not aggressive enough in my prescriptions...

and the AS-400 has long since passed the update stage.

Edmund Burke, in a speech to Parliament during the Revolutionary War made comments to the effect that the colonies, except for fighting the British, were getting along quite well without a central government.   

 

Well worth the 22 minutes:

http://mises.org/media/3120/American-Revolution-and-the-Spectre-of-Anarchy-The-HamiltonSeabury-and-PriceLind-Debates

DaveyJones's picture

think of the debt like a fat aunt you don't want to kiss

she only comes around once a year but she gets larger every year and while you hate her and ignore her, she's still yours

SeattleBruce's picture

"seeing as they for the most part make their payments on time"  How much longer will that happen?

James-Morrison's picture

That report was illuminating. 

If trickle-down doesn't work, why does the IMF advocate confiscating money and using their hyper-efficient bureaucracy to distribute it?

bjfish's picture

B-b-but the debt-ceiling was passed by both houses of Congress, signed by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court.

How could we possibly change it now?

Joe Davola's picture

I'm sure at least one person in that loop had their fingers crossed behind their back.

SheepDog-One's picture

2 plumbers was all it took to organize the recall of 2 rat shit anti gun nazi democrats from Colorados Clowngress.

Tenshin Headache's picture

Raising the ceiling would create more jobs. Part-time, of course.

NotApplicable's picture

29.5 hours of load-bearing per week. Sounds fun.

Clever Name's picture

No, no, and no. That's 59 hours! Think that 29.5 hours will pay for your childrens cat food? Back to work!

1100-TACTICAL-12's picture

@Pladizow , you owe me a keyboard... LMAO +100

Henry Hub's picture

***would you raise the ceiling or remove the shit?***

I'd return the house keys to the bank and walk away. It's bad enough the the house is under water financially. But being under shit as well is more than I could take.

notquantumdum's picture

I wouldn't do it with the house.

And, I assume this may not be a popular post, but . . .

The scary part to me, would seem to be that I'm pretty sure they wouldn't even have to "cut spending" to really help out our economy here in the US -- they could most likely really help the growth of our economy by merely slowing the rate of growth of government to where the very meager economic growth could catch up with it a little, if not hopefully surpass it.  They need to just stop growing spending so fast.  This would be like raising the ceiling but by somewhat less.

And they can't even just agree to that.

Look at these charts and remember how much better the economy was back during the Clinton / early-Bush days when costs of doing biz in the US were lower, back when employees were less expensive and more plentiful, back when spending and deficits as a percent of GDP were much lower.  They could just cut everything about 1 or 2%.  Come on, I'm sure we could do it.

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_1970_2013USp_14s1li11...

http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/revenue_chart_1970_2013USp_14s1li111l...

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_1970_2013USp_14s1li11...

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_1970_2012USp_14s1li11...

Ah, the good old days.

(And, I wonder why the tax revenues collected by the govt as a portion of the economy are so much lower now that we have the higher tax rates under Obama? /sarcasm off)

Manthong's picture

.gov types consider modest reductions in the rate of growth to be draconian cuts in critical services that will kill the elderly and starve children.

When the leg is black from gangrene, you don’t need a pen knife.

.. you need a machete and a bone saw or a Sawsall.

notquantumdum's picture

'But they can't even agree to the pen knife, let alone what might be more logical.  Doesn't Medicare estimate that something like 10 or 20% of their payouts are thought to likely be fraudulent -- I think I read something like that somewhere, at a somewhat legit sounding dot gov type address.  Imagine that.

GeezerGeek's picture

I personally believe you're being way too kind when you say that .gov types consider modest reductions in the rate of growth to be draconian cuts. They (I'm referring to the top tier here, not the obedient grunts) certainly claim that such is the case, but do they really believe it? More likely is that such claims are simply a smokescreen for their true feelings, as they have no qualms about killing children (both before birth and in certain cases after birth) as well as inventing those IPABs, aka death panels, to 'care' for those elderly you mention.

EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

Debt is just another word for counterfeiting.

DaddyO's picture

+1

Excellent Definition!!

DaddyO

EnslavethechildrenforBen's picture

We're all playing Monopoly. Unfortunately for us, the Banker has a copy machine and a loaded Uzi...

TrustbutVerify's picture

 


"We don't need congress."

Just what Obama wants.  

TheInfoman's picture

"We don't need congress."

Hold on there F-Tipp.  That would leave us with Obama and the Supremes. 

SheepDog-One's picture

Would there really be any difference?

GeezerGeek's picture

Soon to be Obama and ... Bo? Michelle? Bye bye SCOTUS at that point.

Crash Overide's picture

Sending these assholes money every year is just encouraging their bad behavior. Time to cut them all off...

TeamDepends's picture

We would like to publicly thank the Onion for many years of top-notch satire.  Bravo!!

kralizec's picture

Yeah...wait, but our gubmint...ahh..umm...who is providing the satire for whom again?

Clever Name's picture

Only those who get the joke?

viahj's picture

"We would like to publicly thank the Onion for many years of top-notch satire.  Bravo!!"  but sadly, their services are no longer needed.  the farce is now reality.

New_Meat's picture

viahj--I gave you a reddie, not at all because your point is incorrect, but because the Onion is one of the few organizations with the balls to make things more readily apparent.

the court jester's services were/are always necessary, no matter the source.

But the farce has not propagated into the so-called "minds" of the so-called "low-information-voters", so the farce remains necessary.

- Ned

SheepDog-One's picture

Onion having to dig very deep to imagine up satire that is over the top of the satire from Wash DC...very difficult.

MsCreant's picture

Where is the satire? Oh you mean the part about what the Republicans want...gotcha'.

malek's picture

Yeah, that part really teared me up of laughter

pocatello's picture

Ummm..

 

Buy some gold, bitchez.

 

http://www.fofoa.blogspot.com/

 

 

WarHorse's picture

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