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This debt-ceiling thing the United States government is dealing with has me really spooked. I honestly don’t know whether they’re going to pull this one out before the August 2 epoch. I do know it could lead to some very interesting times if they don’t.
The situation is actually very simple: The US has a debt on which they are threatening to default. Just like a personal loan, what happens when you default? The creditors get a bit peeved and they do what they can to get you to pay. Scale that up to the level of nations and now you begin to understand why I’m scared.
Level-headed nations to whom we’re indebted may work out refinancing and other payment options and that’s sane. I’m more worried about the powerful nations that really could decide to send some repo-men of their own. “You can’t pay? This flatscreen TVSilicon Valley is a good start. Oh, still not able to pay? I’ll just have a party inblockade your swimming poolGulf of Mexico.”
The solution is simple*. Just like private debt, spend less and earn more. Spending less will rile the folks up, but if it’s an impartial cut like, say, 15% cuts across the board, no one program can be reasonably mad at any other program because they’re all hurting 15%. NASA can still be mad Defense is getting a much larger portion of the pie, but that’s an old grievance that can be addressed another time.
Earning more is tricky. How does a nation get a raise or a second job? One solution is raising taxes, but I believe that’s self-destructive in the long run. I’d like to entertain the second job. The government could sell use-time of its services and programs. “Hey you! Nation-state struggling to defend your borders! Yeah, you! Want some of the finest mercenaries money can buy?” We could rent national parks out to other nations for a few quarters at a time. “Yosemite: open to the European Union.”
I just hope they figure it out before August 2.