I have been following with great interest the negotiations on the debt ceiling. Senator McConnell’s three-stage proposal seems to be both meritorious and promising, unlike some of the others. However, I would like to present my own plan, which I believe has a superior theoretical basis. It has the advantage of tuning policy to political and economic conditions on a monthly basis. Just follow the algorithm below. All financial, horoscopical, and other relevant parameters are reflected in a readily computed score that ranges from 0 to 5. This gives, at last, a rational, equitable means of dealing with one of today’s most serious problems.
Algorithm. At 6 PM on the evening of the full moon, obtain the current debt figure from the Secretary of the Treasury. Take the square root of this number. Subtract pi times the number of Democratic Congressman. Flip a coin. If it is “heads”, subtract 22/7 times the number of Republican Congressmen. If it is “tails,” subtract 3 times the number of Republican Congressman — the approximation is good enough for government work. Take the square root again. Now add one if the President is a Republican, two if he or she is a Democrat, three if neither of the preceding is a true statement. Find the first digit to the right of the decimal place of the resulting number, divide by six, and write down the remainder. If the remainder is zero, do nothing, although you are permitted one beer from the fridge. If the result is 1, raise the income tax by 1%. If the result is 2, decrease the income tax by 1%. If the result is 4, decrease expenditures for the coming fiscal year by 10% of the annual deficit. If the result is 5, refuse to raise the debt ceiling, call for passage of balanced budget amendment, and insist on full payment of the national debt by the following Thursday. Do not negotiate unless the second digit to the right of the decimal point is zero. Negotiation is for sissies, socialists, and Democrats. In any case, the game begins anew in one lunar month, so who cares?
Notes: (1) If you compute a score not in the range 0-5, then you must pay the national debt yourself by April 15. (2) It is possible, though unlikely, that in carrying out the above algorithm, you will take the square root of a negative number, thus producing, so to speak, an imaginary number. While imaginary numbers do exist, current government policy on the subject is “compute but don’t tell.” We do not agree. If you should find an imaginary answer, call your local newspaper and discuss this potentially sensational news with their staff mathematician. (3) Any connection between the lunar calendar and allegations that a certain set of policians are lunatics is fortuitous and is not an opinion expressed by the author of this blog.
NB. In case alternative (5) results in default, the above algorithm may no longer apply.
For further political comment, see What Would Eisenwhower Do? ,