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Debtopia

By petekva All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Humor

Chapter 10

Josh’s story about why the U.S. bombed China broke like a thunderclap on Friday morning over Washington, D.C., and the whole world, at least in the mind of Sen. Flik Maynard.

It was all he could think about. It was the most groundbreaking, game-changing story ever. He read it again on a screen in his office as bounced his feet up and down, as if his body was trying to burn off all the energy the news created inside him.

Dawson II’s shocking policy: Lend us money, or it’s war

By Josh Pinner

Oct. 6, 2051

The Dawson administration’s decision to bomb Beijing, Shanghai and other major Chinese cities is part of an aggressive but unstated U.S. foreign policy — one that’s been in place for more than a decade now — that calls for an unconditional state of war with any foreign nation that refuses to maintain and expand its holdings of U.S. debt.

The policy, confirmed by a high-ranking U.S. official and backed up by an assessment of financial data by an observer on Wall Street, is one that is likely to prompt every creditor nation to reassess its financial relationship with Washington, and set grim new parameters for every foreign diplomat dealing with the U.S.

Twice now in 16 years, the U.S. has made it clear, through the actions of President Dawson and his son, President Dawson II, that efforts by any nation to unwind their financial relationship with the U.S. will be seen as a national security threat, and will be met by immediate bombing and a military invasion.

The policy also raises several questions about the fiscal state of the nation and could roil Wall Street, as it reveals the economy is based on a shaky foundation that relies on continued debt expansion. Dawson II’s military response to the threat reveals that he sees continued access to overseas debt is a key piece of the U.S. economy, one that cannot be removed without dire consequences.

“Dawson II… has no choice,” said a Treasury official who spoke anonymously to The Rumpus. “If China stops borrowing, we’re screwed, and we can’t let that happen.”

“Any decision not to lend is being seen as an act of war,” he added.

That strategy was revealed to The Rumpus even as bombs continue to fall in major Chinese cities, just a short number of weeks after China made its final plea to the Dawson II administration that it could no longer afford to buy up U.S. debt.

In a secret cable obtained by The Rumpus, China’s foreign and economic ministers told the U.S. Treasury and State Departments in September that they would have to stop all purchases of U.S. debt instruments. Just two days later, in another cable from Treasury to State, an official said the U.S. needs to “get ready for war.”

It went on and on. The Rumpus hit it out of the park.

Jesus, Flik thought. What the hell is going on around here? Invading other countries when they get sick of us borrowing more money from them? They’re just supposed to lend forever?

This is my time, he thought. Someone had to show people what was going on, and fix it. Finally, people would see that it’s time to stop spending. He started to design a speech around it all.

“My fellow Americans,” he roughed out in his head. “Our unsustainable debt has finally corrupted us. We have become so enslaved by our debt, and so unwilling to address our own problem, that we will now do anything to keep the money flowing. We will even attack out centuries-old allies to maintain our bloated excess.”

“We have become a parasite, like a tick on a dog that wants only to feed and then jump to the next dog. When the tick gets too big… uh…”

Dammit, that’s a stupid metaphor. You can’t take something so big and dumb it down by comparing it to a tick. Stupid. But the main idea was there. There had to be some way to frame it. Maybe the U.S. was like a pirate ship.

“We have become a pirate ship of old, one that pulls into port, spends all of its plunder on women and wine, and when it runs out of money, it takes to the sea again to hijack its next victim.”

Better. Something like that would work. But this couldn’t just be some floor speech. It had to be a major event. America needed to be called together, for a purpose. It had to be shown the result of its incessant spending. America was robbing its neighbors, taking them over to feed its selfish desires.

As the story said, there were endless implications. Countries around the world now knew what was next for them. There would be formal protests. Ambassadors recalled. Economic shocks on Wall Street. Calls to impeach the president, and to vote out all the lawmakers who supported him.

The world could fall apart from this. The economic ripples could take down the global economic infrastructure in a week. Panic. Economic crash. Rioting. War. Starvation. Fearing the worst, he called up another screen to see how the market was doing. It was early still, so he called up the futures markets. It could be down 10,000 points already based on The Rumpus story. He briefly wondered about his own portfolio, and figured he’d had to put in a few trades today to salvage what he could. He looked as the screen popped up… and was dumfounded.

Dow futures were responding to the story, but not the way he thought. Futures were up 7,100 points in the 30 minutes since The Rumpus’ story came out. What the hell? Why wasn’t the world falling apart?

He sat down and tried to figure it out, and after a few minutes he realized what must be happening. Traders must have seen the story as a guarantee from the government that the deficit-fueled economy would keep on chugging. The Rumpus story was a giant advertisement to Wall Street that said the U.S. was so addicted to deficit spending that it would do anything to keep it going, even going to war. It was an admission of the U.S. reliance on debt. Traders would see it as the ultimate guarantee that the status quo would continue on and on, forever, at least as long as there were foreign countries to invade.

Jesus H. Christ in a tuna can. Wall Street was really something else, wasn’t it? Always one step ahead. Something could be terrible news for the human race, but Wall Street always had its own way of seeing things.

Here we were, invading other nations, creating a perpetual state of war around the globe, and anyone with big piles of money saw that as good news, as a sign the U.S. economy would keep on humming. They even didn’t care where the money came from, just as long as it kept on coming. Enslave Japan, enslave China, so what?

If the economy were fueled by a constant supply of blood from slaughtered puppies, Flik thought, Wall Street would not only be fine with that, but it would invent all sorts of charts and graphs to let the markets know about the reliability of the blood supply. How many new puppies were being born this month? Is it enough to meet demand? The market would fall a little bit in any quarter that showed births were down, and the price of a long ton of puppies would start ticking upwards.

And there would be proxy trades, too. How about the plastic tubes used to siphon the blood from the puppies into 40-gallon drums? Someone had to make those, right? And you’d be able to buy stock in those plastics companies, and the companies that supply those companies. Maybe some upstart company would get some investors together and start developing a whole new kind of puppy slaughtering machine, and people would get rich if they invested early. Care to get in on the ground floor of this exciting new company?

Those sick bastards, Flik thought. No matter how bad it got, it was just a game to those vampire traders. They weren’t even human anymore. Monsters, all of them.

Well, he’d have to nail them too. Nail all the insects up on Wall Street that allowed this to happen, that saw money as the only thing that mattered, and ignored how insane this country had become.

It would be a revolution. And a revolution would need a leader. He needed a plan to become that leader, or at least, one of those leaders.

He rolled over in bed and looked over at Tika, who was still sleeping. He looked at her and grew angry. Here was the biggest story ever, one that changed everything, and here she was, one of his top staffers, asleep in his bed. She had no idea the world had just changed, and he paid her to stay on top of stuff like this.

“Hey, wake up,” he said as he elbowed her. “We have to get on this.”

He waved his hand to adjust the screen so it showed up right in front of her face. The harsh glow woke her up, but she rolled over to dodge it.

“Wake up,” Flik repeated. “We need to blow this up. It’s huge. Are you reading this? It’s the end of the world.”

Tika struggled to sit up and quickly scanned the story while Flik got up out of bed and started getting dressed.

“OK, so, yeah,” she said, rubbing her eyes. “Yeah this is big. The final consequence of the debt crisis. We need to keep the story around, give it some air.”

“We need to write a letter,” Flik said as he paced the room. “The angriest letter ever written. People need to know how maddening it is, and to feel my anger. We need to set a marker here, let the press know I’m the point guy for… when it comes to being angry about this.”

“Well, I dunno, Flik,” Tika ventured. “People know you’re mad about this. I feel like we need to advance it procedurally. Demand some investigation, or something. Maybe we can do two things at once. Say you’re angry, and call for a probe.”

“Ugh, investigations,” Flik said. “Who cares? It’s a recipe for a three-year process. This isn’t the time for a committee, it’s the time to grab the torches and march on the street. We have to embarrass them now, and then we have to end it now. This has to be absorbed quickly, and then Dawson II needs to be embarrassed, and we need impeachment proceedings started, all within two weeks.”

“Hold a hearing then,” Tika said. “Start it up right now. Embarrass him right away. Talk to the oversight committee. They’ll jump all over this.”

Flik seemed to wilt at that idea. He was sitting on a bench at the end of his bed, and had just put on one shoe. But now he stopped, and flopped back onto the bed.

No, they won’t jump all over this, he thought. Oversight only cared about little political things, little “gotcha” moments, but no one really cared about the side effects of spending too much money. They were all caught up in the game. Everyone benefitted from spending too much. You could always spend more, it was sustainable forever. No one cares.

“No one cares,” Flik repeated out loud. “They won’t do it. I have to do it myself.”

“You’re not on Oversight,” Tika said.

“I’m on Banking though,” he said. “We could do it there. Senator Landry’s a good guy, he’ll set it up. Then I’m in a better position, on the committee. We can do it that way. See if you can set it up.”

Tika started messaging, and Flik sat up and started putting on his other shoe. This was really it, he thought. A chance to save the world. Stop the spending to lower the debt and remove the need for the U.S. to keep attacking everyone.

But he had to go in with eyes wide open. The solution sounded logical to him. But others would see it in other ways. Some, he had no doubt, will soberly say it’s no time to worry about spending patterns during wartime. He was ready to lose his mind once someone said that, since we were at war precisely because we were in too much debt. That counter-argument would be easy.

But still, others would attack his patriotism. They’d say they U.S. has the right to spend what it wants, and take from others to keep spending. Who knows if anyone could even believe a statement like that, but probably someone would say it, and the mob would pick it up and run with it.

He could hear the chanting already. It was a policy that said, “We’re the greatest nation in history, so give us all your money,” and for so many, that would make sense. They’d call it “investing in the great American spirit” or something.

And others would say that by arguing against attacking anyone who doesn’t lend the U.S. money, Sen. Flik Maynard was giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Flik would become a dangerous China sympathizer, someone who looks at the Japanese and pities them, instead of wanting to take all their stuff.

He’d see signs like, “Deport Flik.”

It was so easy to see it coming. Anyone with billions and billions of dollars headed toward their districts would just want it to keep coming, and who cared about a future crisis? People would say whatever they had to say to get what they wanted. And they’d scour all of history for scraps of arguments to make their case — bits of obscure law, Supreme Court rulings, hell, even ancient rhetorical fights from the Greeks and the Romans. Great countries took things, they’d say. It’s the destiny of a great power. But it was all OK, since it was in the name of reaching some higher state of civilization, or something.

He’d have to just blow everyone away at the hearing, throw everything he had into it. Arguments, charts, witnesses…

Hmm, witnesses. Who would he invite speak? He tapped a wall and called up The Rumpus story on a screen in the bathroom.

Well, there’s a few easy ideas, he thought. Josh Pinner, the reporter, and whoever his sources were.

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