This article was originally published on Humorality, on April 18, 2011.
Compromise agreement includes shopping spree at Penney’s
After several days of tense negotiations, a Seattle-area family has decided to increase the maximum amount of money it can borrow, also known as its “debt ceiling.” The Watterson’s previous limit was $286,000, an amount that included a mortgage, two car loans, and a 60-inch flat-screen television. “By increasing our indebtedness to $300,000, we can finally get back on a strong financial footing,” said Helen Watterson, the wife in the family and the lone female representative. “And get a new summer dress.”
Husband George voted in favor of the spending plan. “When I lost my job at the factory, we collected unemployment benefits for a while. But when that ran out, we resorted to deficit spending. It’s served us well in the past. Holding back on the credit cards is probably what kept me from getting a new job in the first place. As everyone knows, there’s no better way to revive the economy than by borrowing.”
Billy, the youngest Watterson with a vocabulary limited to “mama” and “no,” cast the only dissenting vote.
The family’s financial difficulties began with their wedding, when the true cost of the $50,000 fête made its way onto Visa and MasterCard accounts. “We felt bad at first,” said Helen, “but then we realized, ‘This is cool!'” They made slow but steady progress paying down the original loan amount. “That is, until my uncle, Sam, recommended that I take out a loan on a house,” said George.
“They’re idiots,” said Christopher Hoffman, the Watterson’s meddling neighbor, whose daughter has invited young Billy to several of her front-lawn tea parties. “I’m a financial adviser by trade, and I can tell you that, given their current level of income, the only legal means they have of getting out of debt are to reduce their spending, or to find a way to extract money from their friends and relatives.”
“I’m liking that second option,” responded George from across the hedge.
Notable economists were generally upbeat about the family’s plan. “I’d loan them a buck or two,” said Paul Krugman, the Nobel laureate for economics and columnist with The New York Times. Timothy Geitner, a high-ranking secretary of something or other at “The Executive Branch,” agreed, but was cautious. “At some point, even foreign banks are going to stop lending to them,” warned Tim. He also pointed out that past performance is not indicative of future results, “despite our best efforts.”
Even with the increase in their borrowing, the Wattersons continue to look for a job or some other way to pay back the funds. “We could cut back our expenses,” said George, “but as my son grows, I think this mountain of red ink will better serve as a teaching experience for him. The future of our home—of our nation—is in the hands of our children. It gives me hope.”