It is early June, the crisis point on the debt ceiling has been reached, and word has come down from on high that “Nobody leaves the Capitol until there is agreement on raising the debt ceiling NOW!!!” And so, the 435 representatives of the 50 states, tired and grumpy, are once again trying to hammer out a compromise that will at least appease both sides. For the purpose of this conversation, there are only two voices – Republican and Democrat, shortened to Rep & Dem – representing all members of each party’s interest.
Dem: Well, the problem is actually quite simple … putting it in layman’s terms for you, consider the family whose bills exceed their monthly income. Now, they have a few choices: take another or get a better-paying job to earn more money; reduce some expenses, cut back on non-essentials; or sell something for additional funds. This is where the U.S. government is at. Now, let’s talk about those three choices.
Rep: I’ve been saying all along that we need to reduce expenses! Those retired people are getting around $1,600 every month for sitting on their porch swings throwing peanuts out for the birds! Cut that in half … they should have been smarter and saved while they were working!
Dem: I’m not even gonna dignify that with a response! Those old folks paid into Social Security all their lives on the promise by the U.S. government – US – that they would have a cushion for their old age. You want to jerk that right out from under them? I know you probably don’t pay the bills in your house or do the shopping, but let me tell you, $1,600 a month is nothing!
Rep: Okay, okay, you bleeding heart liberal! So, what’s your better idea, or do you just want to rebut mine?
Dem: We increase revenue by … guess what … taxing your rich buddies! Percentage-wise, they are paying less than your average working Joe, especially since the tax cuts your lying little buddy gave them in 2017! Cut their loopholes, institute a fully gradient taxation schedule, and no exceptions!
Rep: Oh no!!! You start doing that, and our donor contributions will shrivel to nothing! Absolutely NOT! That idea is not even on the table!
Dem: Alright, then … that leaves the third option: we sell something.
Rep: Like what … maybe the White House, complete with the president in it? (laughs at his own joke)
Dem: No, I’m thinking maybe … well look, we’ve got 50 states, right? Personally, since it’s likely going to be underwater in ten years anyway, I’d opt for selling Florida.
Rep: I knew you’d pick a red state to sell … just knew it! Okay, let’s take a different approach and look at which state is smallest? I’m thinking that would be Rhode Island, right? Only about … let me look this up right quick … only 1,544 square miles! We’d hardly even miss it!
Dem: No way, Josè! First, it may be the smallest in terms of land mass, but not of population. Second, it is in the heart of the New England states … nobody is going to buy a state that’s surrounded on all sides by other states. But, that brings to mind another possibility, one that you might even agree to. Alaska! Alaska has the fourth smallest population, only 724,357 people, and it isn’t even physically attached to the U.S., but rather to Canada! Why, I bet we could make Justin Trudeau an offer he couldn’t refuse and he’d snap it up in a heartbeat!
Rep: Well … I dunno. That would increase your majority in the Senate by two.
Dem: And it would increase your majority here in the House by one. And what, really, does Alaska contribute to the national good?
Rep: Hey, there’s oil under all that snow and ice! OIL!!!
Dem: And you know as well as I do that the future of oil is doomed. You can deny it ‘til the cows come home, but climate science is real and oil is soon going to be a thing of the past as we move on toward more renewable, environmentally-friendly energy sources. WAKE UP!
Rep: Yeah, yeah … I know it and you know it, but I can’t tell my constituents that, for I’ve spent years convincing them that climate change is a Democratic hoax! Why, I’d never get re-elected! Not to mention I’d lose all those lovely donations from the fossil fuel industry.
Dem: Okay, fine, whatever. It’s after 2:00 a.m., we’re all tired, and we have a mandate to come to an agreement before we can go home and crawl into our beds, so … do we have an agreement? We raise the debt ceiling, pay the bills and let the old folks keep on keeping on, and to make up the difference, we sell Alaska to the Canadians?
Rep: I don’t much like it, but I sense it’s the best we’re going to manage, so … okay, deal.
They shake hands, and the deal is done.