In the most recent episode of HBO’s terrific show “Entourage”, fallen movie star Vincent Chase is confronted by his angry financial advisor. “You’re broke”, he screams at him, and encourages him to declare bankruptcy. Instead, Chase decides to take any possible gig to raise money, and ultimately ends up swallowing his pride and appearing at a lavish sweet 16 party for a lot of quick cash.
Even in the fictional world of movie stars that is how things work. Ultimately if you are tapped out and want to avoid bankruptcy, you have to cut expenses and raise cash. Work more, sell something, cut expenses; that’s how you dig out of a financial hole. But in the more surrealistic world of American politics, the normal rules of cash flow do not apply. Politicians deal with debt by simply borrowing more money, primarily from other countries. At least that is how it has worked for the last administration. Whether or not the rest of the world will continue to loan us boatloads of dough during this current crisis is yet to be determined.
Perhaps there are other options that the Washington braintrust have not considered. When Vincent Chase is first confronted with his dire financial situation his reaction is to “sell something”. Unfortunately, he had nothing to sell, but that is not the case with the government. They have plenty of assets, and since they seem to have no issues with getting into bed with corporate America, the options are almost limitless. Here’s an idea –
- Sell the corporate naming rights to Washington DC. It would not only be a great way to raise cash, but would also be a constant reminder to our elected officials of the consequences of bad financial management. Microsoft just spent $300 million on their new ad campaign. Perhaps they would pony up $500 million to change the name of our seat of Government to “Microsoft City”. Or how about “stop by and see the Smithsonian in Yahoo Town!” They could use a PR boost. Or Googleville. That one just rolls off your tongue.
Of course, just like Vincent Chase, our elected officials could raise more money by working more. Most of them already make a ton of extra cash giving lectures and making public appearances. Perhaps that money should go into federal coffers, since they are doing it on federal time. And if fake movie star Vincent can appear at a birthday party, perhaps our politicians can lower their pride level a bit and really do something special to raise some money. Here is an interesting idea –
- A travelling road show of “Mamma Mia” featuring politicos. Nancy Pelosi could be the horny mother, with the young-looking Sarah Palin appearing as her daughter. Pelosi’s aging suitors would include Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and Barney Frank. I would personally pay $1000 per seat to see Rove in a Speedo crooning Abba music! And we all know that Palin looks great in a bikini (and I am so curious about her tattoo)! This could be big – really big. Forget the Streisand Comes-Out-Of-Retirement-Again concerts – this would be the hot ticket!
Finally, our government could go on a diet, and spend less than they bring in. What a novel concept! In the corporate world there would be lay-offs to cut expenses. Perhaps Washington should do a little house cleaning. Does everyone need all those aides and assistants? How about an across the board cut of 20%? We could consider getting out of Iraq right away which would save us $10 billion a month – and since Iraq has an $80 billion surplus they could afford to hire Blackwater! And dare I suggest…. salary cuts? Seems the powers in Washington have done a pretty dismal job of managing things. In the real business world when things go badly sometimes people have to take less money. Perhaps Washington should live in the real world.