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Friday, July 29, 2011

I Am InDebted To You

This is the paper that I had to write for my creative English class. Now that I have submitted the final copy to the college, I release the draft to the world. Enjoy!
      Grab a paddle and jump in a canoe, because we are up the proverbial fecal matter creek. The United States can’t pay the rent, and is about to be evicted. Our country, like the individuals it is comprised of, is in need of a financial counselor —and most likely in need of a debt consolidation loan. Like crazed shopping addicts sitting at home watching the QVC, our nation has bought everything to cross its borders without ever worrying about repayment. And with the economy doing so well, why should we ever worry about paying the piper? It’s not like anyone can shut the United States down for not paying its bills.
As it turns out, we should worry about paying the piper. Because if we can’t pay the bills, we will be shut down. It seems when you borrow several trillion dollars from countries like China and Japan, they expect to be repaid. I think instead of learning Spanish in high school, we should focus on the languages of the countries that own us. This goes for cultural practices and religions —I plan to convert to Shintoism.
The first question at hand is, “What led to the meltdown of the United States economy?” According to politician and political watchdog Tom Coburn, the answer is “Rock and roll and neon signs.” Mr. Coburn found hundreds of wasteful expenditures of tax payer money during 2010. Among those, $610,000 was paid to the University of California to scan pictures of Grateful Dead memorabilia. This was justified as preserving a cultural icon from fading into obscurity. Mr. Coburn also found that we spent 2 million dollars to help fund a “Neon Sign Museum” in Las Vegas. The Elvis impersonators only cost us our souls. These projects, referred to lovingly as “pork projects” often get put into existing bills as a way of gaining the support of other politicians. It’s an expensive way of scratching each other’s back for tax payers.
This leads to the second essential question, “What are we doing to resolve this?” The simple answer is: Press Conferences and Debating. The government’s response to the imminent shutdown of America has been more about pointing fingers, than resolving the crisis. Congress cannot seem to decide what our best course of action would be. Republicans blame the Democrats for the fallout and vice versa. This has led to fear mongering in Washington. They have been debating for months about possibly cutting essential programs like Social Security and Medicaid. After all, it is much more important to spend “$239,000 to research how internet dating works” than to take care of the elderly who helped build the nation we live in (Coburn).
The other option that Congress has been stalling over is whether or not the United States should borrow more money from China and Japan. After all, what better way to fend off the loan sharks than by borrowing money from them in order to pay the interest that we owe to the loan sharks.
Our Presidents response has been much more on point. He has simply said in an interview via CNN news, “let’s at least avert Armageddon.” Wisely Mr. Obama realizes that we might soon be “turning Japanese” if we can’t get a handle on our finances. He has pushed for raising the debt ceiling, which is just a fancier way of saying borrowing more money.
With these two examples, we can sleep assured that the crisis will be quickly abated. But, that leads to the next essential question, “How can we solve this crisis and prevent it from reoccurring?”
While there is no easy answer, maybe we could start by cutting funding to Joe Smiths rock collection. We should prioritize funding based on the needs of the majority — instead of focusing on pet projects like polls that determine who liked My Little Pony when it aired in the 80’s. If a Senator or a Representative feels so strongly towards these projects, then let them donate money from their own wallets to pay for them. These pork projects cost hundreds of thousands and if cut, that money could be used towards things like stimulating the economy or education. Or possibly, repaying the people that we owe money to!
Maybe we should order a set of ginsu knives to slice our way through the budget and get it manageable. Then once it is under control, we need protocols in place to prevent these kinds of items from being added to existing bills and other pieces of legislation. We need to make the entire budget available to the taxpayers before it is signed into law, so this way we can all be appalled at the wasteful expenditures that we have planned to pay out. The President has voiced this idea of transparency (an open and accountable government), so why is this fundamental part of governing not made available to the citizens?
If we don’t make the hard choices and make the cuts to unnecessary programs, then our foreign investors will find us in default. As constituents, it is our responsibility to ensure our elected officials behave as good stewards for the United States. We should voice our opinions to them. And if they won’t hear us, then we elect someone who will. But, I am sure that once we replace our President with an Emperor everything will be fine. Luckily, I already enjoy eating Lo Mein and Sesame Chicken —and I like my eel fried in tempura. 


  1. Read this quote yesterday and thought it apropos:

    Under the circumstances, it's futile to go on blaming politicians and demanding from them a morality of which they're incapable. There's something pitiable about a people that constantly bemoans its leaders. If they've let us down, it's only because we've allowed them to. Arundhati Roy, War Talk (40)

    I'm a sucker for unagi myself. Mmmmm . . . sushi.

  2. I agree and it's time we the people do something about it...but alas I like my A/C alot and I am fond of "A Taste of Tokyo"