Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

If Congress Fails to Meet the Debt Deadline …

by Brian F. Foley

If Congress doesn’t reach a deal to extend our debt ceiling, the economy might collapse, and We the People will become We the Paupers. As the author of a new “financial advice” book, I investigate below whether some time-tested money tips might still apply to us after the U.S. stiffs its creditors.

Freeze your credit card? Some financial experts regularly advise people to put their credit cards in water and then freeze the water. The Deep Freeze Method makes it hard to buy stuff: you have to wait for the ice to melt! Thaw time cuts down on impulse buying, unless you have a microwave.

Unfortunately, this method has drawbacks. I once “Deep Froze” a credit card, but it didn’t work, because I could still see the numbers, expiration date, and even the security code through the ice. More, I’d already used my credit card so much that I’d memorized those numbers. I even wrote these numbers down before freezing the card, just in case I might need to buy something before my neighbor’s microwave could melt the ice. (Money Tip: use your neighbor’s electricity whenever possible.) So although my card was frozen, it wasn’t frozen metaphorically – I kept buying stuff on the Internet.

That’s why I never recommend the Deep Freeze Method, except as a metaphor. But if the U.S. defaults, I think all our cards will be frozen metaphorically.

Get Points/Air Miles on Your Credit Card? If you buy enough stuff on your card, you get points that get you free stuff. Getting anything for free is always sound financial advice. If the dollar tanks as the result of no debt deal, I believe that you’ll be able to use “points” and “air miles” as a basic currency. If you followed the Deep Freeze Method in rosier times, then you’re behind. Go charge stuff now!

Avoid High-Spending Friends? Some advisers say to avoid friends who spend lavishly. Why? Because we’ll try to keep up with these profligates, to avoid feeling like losers. But trying to keep up so we don’t feel like losers guarantees, paradoxically, that we’ll become losers.

But if the economy collapses, this advice will no longer apply, because none of your friends will be “high-spending.” Unless they have air miles. But as to your pals who lacked the wisdom to rack up air miles when they were high-spenders, the good news is that now you’ll be able to stop avoiding them. You’ll be reunited. You won’t be able to go anywhere or do anything, but you’ll be together, and the time will be precious, as it is time with friends, and time with friends, even formerly profligate friends, is precious.

On the other hand, if you follow my advice about getting air miles, you might end up the “high-spending friend” of your friends. If your friends still follow the financial advice to avoid high-spending friends, then you’ll spend lots of time alone. But at least you’ll have air miles and free stuff.

Get a Part-Time Job? This advice will no longer apply, as there will be no jobs. But this new development will come as a relief to everyone who’s long felt guilty for not following advice to land that Second Job to Make Ends Meet by slinging burgers or mopping floors at night. No more guilt!

Don’t Buy Books – Use the Library? This advice will become obsolete. Public libraries, as an “inessential” part of government, will shut down. (Or, libraries might raise their overdue book fines enough to cover their operating expenses – but then you definitely shouldn’t borrow and risk a fine.) So you’ll have to use the bookstore. You can try to read there for free, but that generally requires buying coffee. Your best move: stop reading altogether. Then you’ll identify more closely with our political leaders, who don’t seem like people who read.

Pay Off High-Interest Rate Credit Cards First? Advisers say to pay down these cards first, as they cost us the most. But these are the hardest to pay off, and you feel like Sisyphus when your payment barely bumps down the principal. You end up losing self-esteem — and then you spend money to feel better, which raises your debt again. The good news: this feel-bad advice about paying off credit cards will no longer apply if our government refuses to pay its debts. Why? I quote famous Supreme Court Justice Brandeis: “Our government is the potent, the omnipotent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example.”

So if the government defaults, we can all default and become debt-free! A default by the government, then, is a sound financial move!

Brian J. Foley is the author of A New Financial You in 28 Days! A 37-Day Plan (Gegensatz Press). Visit his blog at http://brianjfoley.net/ Email him at brian_j_foley@yahoo.com

 Brian J. Foley is a lawyer and the author of A New Financial  You in 28 Days! A 37-Day Plan (Gegensatz Press). Contact him atbrian_j_foley@yahoo.com.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
David Swanson
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
James McEnteer
Eugene, Oregon and the Rising Cost of Cool
Norman Pollack
The Great Debate: Proto-Fascism vs. the Real Thing
Michael Winship
The Tracks of John Boehner’s Tears
John Steppling
Fear Level Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Where Is That Wasteful Government Spending?
James Russell
Beyond Debate: Interview Styles of the Rich and Famous
September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail