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Alternate Explanations for the Current National Debt Levels

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"This is foolproof, I tell ya, foolproof," Henry Paulson said, grinning, his upper lip beading slightly with sweat. "You just invest a few trillion dollars -- and what's that, it's beans! -- and this thing will pay you back a thousand-fold! I guarantee it!"

"I don't know," George W. Bush said, frowning. "These sub-prime loans seem a little risky. And there are so many different banks involved, it seems sort of tangled..."

"Risky? Phooey!" Paulson said, jumping around frenetically. "These babies are golden. Absolutely one-hundred percent sure-things, here! Shoot, Fannie and Freddie have already gone in for millions -- BILLIONS -- in these, they're so confident."

"But I just cut taxes again, and if these don't pan out, that could mean..."

"Bush, baby, would I lie to you?" Paulson said, throwing an arm around the president's shoulders. "These are a sure thing."

"Well...if you say so," he said, signing over the nation's last several trillion negative dollars. "But if you're wrong, I will say 'I told you so.'"

* Barney Frank toppled over abruptly, sprawling out across the floor of the Capitol building.

"Looks like Frank can't hold his liquor tonight, either," John Boehner mumbled, slurrily. "It's just you and me, Nancy. Just like every night."

Pelosi tried to high-five him, but missed by about a foot.

"I'm bored," she whined, reaching for the only bottle of whiskey on the table that still had anything left in it. "Let's do something interesting."

"Like what?" Boehner said. "Legislating?"

They both laughed uproariously.

"Seriously though," Boehner said, his voice quieter, more urgent. "We could reassign some discretionary spending..."

"Yeah..." Pelosi said, comprehension dawning on her. "What if we increased military spending by, like, a few billion dollars? "

"Oh my god, yeah, no one will notice that," Boehner said, giggling. "And we could increase our social security obligations, and our medicare expenditures."

"Oooooh! Yes! California will love that shit -- let's put in a clause about how nose jobs are funded by Medicare 'if your nose is especially Jennifer Grey and/or SJP.' And what if we just eliminated that one section of the tax code? You know the one I mean."

"Oh, that would be SOOOOO funny," Boehner said, laughing. "By the time anyone noticed, it would be, like, years from now."

After hours of gleeful spending additions and tax cuts, they passed out alongside the hundred or so representatives who hadn't made it back to their dorms.

A few weeks later, the House phone rang. Joe Biden hung up, obviously livid.

"Alright, which one of you jokers increased the national debt by several trillion dollars? Boehner? Pelosi? I have a feeling you guys were involved in this..."

"Me? No way," Boehner said, refusing to look Nancy in the eyes. "It was years of tax and spend policy by you Demo-tyrants."

A brief look of pain flitted across Pelosi's face, before she yelled "BALONEY! It's fiscally irresponsible policies by Republicans that have brought us to where we are today. You can't reduce tax rates, increase corporate loopholes, and throw an all-expenses-paid rager in Aruba every other Tuesday and expect it to have no effect on the economy!"

Suspicious, but unable to tell who was telling the truth, Biden agreed to open the issue to public debate. Throwing one last, long, wistful glance at one another, Nancy and John readied themselves for the fray.

Barney Frank burped loudly.

* Long story short, don't start playing high-stakes Keno after a night of "medically necessary" sticky-icky and a few dozen rounds of shots "Harry Reid's treat!" It never ends well.