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Family Matters

While our elected “family” in Washington argue over which party’s plan for raising the debt limit is better, their constituents are left on the sidelines, wondering what, exactly, will happen when the country grinds to a halt in a week or two.

While I’ve never been a math whiz, there are a few basic principles that I’ve managed to hang on to. 

For instance, I know that if you have a monthly budget of, say, $10 and you’re spending $20, you end up in a deficit situation, which is not good. 

To make matters worse, you then decide to borrow $10 to pay off the deficit, ignoring the fact that not only are you still in debt to the tune of $10, but now you have to pay interest on top of that. Do this for a few years and you’ll discover why financial lenders are raking it in.

Then, just to further complicate the situation, you sign an agreement, with your significant other, which says that you can’t borrow more than, say, four-times your household income without putting it to a family vote. It sounds good on paper, but …

Lo and behold, the day comes when you need to borrow at least five-times more than you’re taking in, just to keep the wolves from the door. After all, prices don’t usually go down, do they?

So you call a family meeting. You explain to your spouse that unless you can alter the agreement, there’ll be some serious repercussions. 

For one, the cats will only be able to eat on alternating days.

The big-screen T.V. in the living room is likely to go dark without the benefit of electricity, which, unfortunately, would have to be eliminated entirely. Ditto for grandma, who’s life support system, alas, also depends on your monthly power expenditure.

Your partner who, is no doubt still a little peeved by your flirting with that “bleached blonde” at the company picnic, decides to dig in. “No way,” she says, unequivocally. 

“But, sweetie,” you plead, “this is serious.”

“Okay,” she responds, with a wicked gleam in her eye. “I’ll tell you what ... you can borrow on the credit card, but you have to sell the BMW.”

“Not the BMW!” you cry.

“And you have to get a second job,” she adds, enjoying the power-trip.

You decide it’s time for a counter-proposal. “Okay, how about this? I’ll sell the BMW, but only if you cut out those trips to the beauty parlor,” you suggest. 

“Forgetaboutit.” she says, unbending.

“Well, likewise,” you respond.

The argument goes on for weeks, despite the distraction of creditors repossessing the furniture, the cats deciding to relocate to a home with better cash-flow and grandma’s untimely passing. The T.V. is dark, as is the rest of the house, which is why the auction has to be held during the daylight hours.

Still, the couple continues to slug it out. After all, is it really about finances or about who’s in charge?

If you think the situation sounds eerily familiar, I, for one, won’t argue the point.

While our elected “family” in Washington continue to kick this political football back and forth, arguing over which party’s plan for raising the debt limit is better, their constituents are left on the sidelines, wondering what, exactly, will happen when the country grinds to a halt in a week or two. 

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