Understanding the Debt Ceiling by Way of My Bathroom Ceiling
I had an epiphany while reading an article about the debt ceiling. I was eating lunch at my desk, trying to fathom the enormity of 14 trillion dollars, when it dawned on me that I just needed to put it into context.
That made me think of my bathroom ceiling. Much like the debt ceiling, the whole thing is rather ugly. And both are hanging over our heads.
You see, we had a minor plumbing problem in the upstairs bath about two years ago. We resolved the leak and opened the downstairs bathroom ceiling to dry it out. We figured we’d do a minor repair or maybe even, a long overdue renovation.
That’s when the economy tanked… but we understood. We had a tank, too. As Washington patched the crisis with a bail-out… after bailing out the tub, we patched our ceiling with plaster board.
When shady mortgage dealings left home owners under water, we could relate. We had been under water, too.
So many similarities! Prominent financial institutions were having their wrists slapped… and we prominently slapped caulking around the edges of the shower. When unemployment escalated, Federal spin-doctors issued polished statements... and we polished our faucets.
That’s why the comparison is so easy. $14 trillion dollars to a nation is like $1,400 in repairs to an underemployed family.
The article I mentioned, well written by Jeanne Sahadi ©CNN News, explained that “The Treasury Department has said it will no longer be able to guarantee that it can pay all the (country’s) bills in full and on time.” What a remarkable coincidence! We had the same conversation the other night.
Who to pay first? Some think the government will pay bond investors first. Well, we know about bonds! Last week I leaned on the bathroom sink to bond a broken sandal strap with heavy-duty glue. And we’ve watched more than a few James Bond movies on TV rather than go out to dinner.Continued on the next page