A little story that puts recent events into perspective.
Shannon is the proprietor of a successful bar, but Shannon won't serve to low income customers who cannot afford to pay their bar tab.
Always looking for more votes to assure their re-election, Big Government politicians see Shannon's rejected low-income drinkers as a good potential vote bloc. So Big Government passes legislation, "The Fairness in Drinking Act" to pressure Shannon to serve to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. "Let Shannon raise her prices for rich drinkers," sneer politicians in support of the Fairness in Drinking Act.
As part of this act, Big Government politicians create special institutions (Borrower Investment Guarantee - For Alcoholic Rights Transactions, or BIG FART; and, Debtors Universal Management Brokerage - Alcoholic Services Securities, or DUMB ASS) to guarantee a market for securities called DRINKBONDS, ALKBONDS and PUKEBONDS designed by banks to fund bar owner compliance with the Fairness in Drinking Act.
Pressured with threats of income tax scrutiny and licensing fee increases if she fails to support Fairness in Drinking, Shannon begins to serve low income drinkers, regardless of their ability to pay, by creating a new payment plan called, "drink now, pay later." Shannon figures her plan will increase sales further by removing all limits on drinking and allowing her low income customers to drink as much as they want to now so long as they agree to pay later. Using a ledger, she tracks drink consumption by customers in her "drink now, pay later" program (thereby granting these customers loans) and, in the spirit of the Fairness in Drinking Act, requires that they need pay only a small fraction of their debt each month. At first, even these customers can make the small payments from their low wage income, unemployment compensation, or welfare checks.
Word about Shannon's "drink now, pay later" bar gets around and as a result increasing numbers of customers fill Shannon's bar. In order to remain competitive and show compliance with the new Fairness in Drinking Act, other bars begin to offer the same program. Even drinkers who could afford to pay their tab in full start to take advantage of this great new plan. Money pours in, future asset values skyrocket and business booms.
Taking advantage of her customers' freedom from immediate payment constraints, Shannon increases her prices for wine and beer, her biggest selling beverages. Since the impact of her price increases are miniscule, Shannon's bar sales volume increases massively. Her wine and beer suppliers are thrilled by all the extra business. Other bar owners are quick to follow Shannon's example and bars are packed everywhere. Let the good times roll!
A young dynamic customer service consultant at a local bank recognizes these customer debts as valuable future assets and increases Shannon's borrowing limit. He sees no reason for undue concern since he has the mounting value of debts of the all these mostly low income drinkers as collateral. This same approach is taken with Shannon's competitors who follow her example.
At the bank's corporate headquarters, expert bankers transform these mounting future assets into DRINKBONDS, ALKBONDS, and PUKEBONDS that are bundled and sold to BIG FART or DUMB ASS, the federally-created institutions that manage and broker these bonds. No one really understands what these abbreviations mean and how the securities are guaranteed. Nevertheless, as their prices continuously climb, the securities become top-selling items. Other banks follow suite when they see how easily they can bundle and sell large blocks of these high risk bonds to BIG FART and DUMB ASS.
BIG FART and DUMB ASS facilitate international markets for DRINKBONDS, ALKBONDS, and PUKEBONDS, thus spreading the risk worldwide. Big Government guarantees the solvency of BIG FART and DUMB ASS which, in turn, back the new DRINKBONDS, ALKBONDS, and PUKEBONDS. Banks are pressured to work with BIG FART and DUMB ASS so they can issue loans to bars to cover the tabs of low income drinkers and comply with the Fairness in Drinking Act. International markets buy up these bonds as secure investments believing they are securely backed by Big Government and the banking system.
Meanwhile, as their bar debts continue to mount, low income drinkers find it more and more difficult to come up with the monthly payment that is ever-increasing, even though it is a small fraction of their total bar debt. Some begin to be late with payments. Others skip payments entirely. Some make a partial payment. Others simply find a new bar somewhere else and start fresh with a zero balance.
Then one day, although prices are still climbing, a risk manager at one of the banks (subsequently fired, of course, for his negativity) decides that the time has come to demand greater payment of the mounting debt being incurred by the low income drinkers at Shannon's bar, some of whom have stopped making payments, thus squeezing Shannon's profits and ability to make payments on her debt to the bank. This same demand is made of other bars who've followed Shannon's example and are in the same squeeze.
Word starts to circulate that trouble is brewing for DRINKBONDS, ALKBONDS, and PUKEBONDS managed by BIG FART and DUMB ASS. Some Big Government politicians try to warn about a potential problem with these bonds that should be investigated. However, politicians who pushed enactment of the Fairness in Drinking Act (one of whom purchased a bar in a sweetheart deal using funds from ALKBONDS) and who head committees with oversight of BIG FART and DUMB ASS go on national TV claiming that BIG FART and DUMB ASS are sound investments and all is fine with DRINKBONDS, ALKBONDS, and PUKEBONDS. They chastise those raising the alarm, labeling them "unfriendly to poor, unemployed alcoholics who have rights, too."
All this time, managers of BIG FART and DUMB ASS, appointed by Big Government politicians, pay themselves large multi-million dollar bonuses by falsely claiming rates of return well above actual performance. But hey, who cares? Where's the harm? Friendly Big Government politicians cover for these managers, claiming their management is as sound as the value of skyrocketing shares of BIG FART and DUMB ASS.
However, the tipping point has been reached and most of the low income drinkers who've amassed a huge bar debt can no longer afford even the small fractional monthly payment that increases each month as their debt grows.
Shannon and other bar owners following her example get so far behind on their payments that the banks' risk managers now begin demanding full payment of bar owners' debts. Neither Shannon nor other bar owners following her example can fulfill their loan obligations and, one-by-one, they begin to file for bankruptcy and go out of business.
These bankruptcies and bad debts drive prices for DRINKBONDs and ALKBONDs down by 95%. PUKEBOND performs better, stabilizing in price after dropping by only 80%. Many people who relied on nationally-televised claims by Big Government politicians that DRINKBONDs, ALKBONDs, and PUKEBONDs were secure and sound investments lose just about everything.
The suppliers of Shannon's bar and the others who've followed her example, having granted generous payment due dates and having invested in the failing securities traded by BIG FART and DUMB ASS are faced with a new situation. Wine suppliers claim bankruptcy; beer suppliers fail or are taken over by more prudent competitors.
Big Government provides bailouts for banks and some of the larger wine and beer producers in exchange for partial ownership and control of certain operations. Bailouts follow dramatic round-the-clock consultations by leaders from the governing political parties who, calling them "greedy" and "selfish", take the opportunity to point the finger of responsibility at Shannon, her former suppliers, bar owners who followed her example, and bankers who extended the credit required by the Fairness in Drinking Act. Naturally, these politicians see nothing wrong with their own handiwork (the "Fairness in Drinking Act", creation of BIG FART and DUMB ASS, misleading the public into believing those institutions and their bonds were solvent, and blocking attempts to increase oversight that would have prevented the excesses from reaching such proportions that they threatened the global economy).
As the snowball of business failures grows, the economy plunges into recession.
In order to "stimulate" the economy, Big Government provides funding it doesn't have to establish neighborhood bars where free drinks can be dispensed to Shannon's "needy" former customers who can't find another generous bar since Shannon's and most others have by now closed down. This "stimulation" will save the nation's economy, claim Big Government politicians.
The funds required for this purpose are obtained by a tax levied on non-drinkers and administered through a new agency, The Drinking Rights Enforcement Guaranty System (DREGS) whose cabinet-level position is filled by an alcoholic who hasn't paid federal income taxes for the past 15 years.
Moral #1: "There ain't no such thing as a 'free lunch'."
Moral #2: "Never buy anything on credit."
Moral #3: "Those who trust government to do things best put their future in the hands of fools."
Question #1: "What were you THINKING when you voted for those politicians?"
Question #2: "Are you better off now than you were in 2006?" If not, note how the makeup and control of Congress has changed since then and see if you can figure it out.
This story is loosely based on a much shorter anonymous message floating around the internet. It was originally sent out by email using the original story's bar owner named "Heidi" (original bar was in Berlin). Shannon's bar is somewhere in the U.S. You may freely distribute links to this story -- or the print page. Please note that within the next month or so, the "asp" page will be replaced by a more secure "php" page, but everything else will be the same (so if the link fails, try replacing "asp" with "php" and it should succeed!
Biography - Bob Webster
Bob Webster, a 12th-generation descendent of both the Darte family (Connecticut, 1630s) and the Webster family (Massachusetts, 1630s) is a descendant of Daniel Webster's father, Revolutionary War patriot Ebenezer Webster, who served with General Washington. Bob has always had a strong interest in early American history, our Constitution, U.S. politics, and law. Politically he is a constitutional republican with objectivist and libertarian roots. He has faith in the ultimate triumph of truth and reason over deception and emotion. He is a strong believer in our Constitution as written and views the abandonment of constitutional restraint by the regressive Progressive movement as a great danger to our Republic. His favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and believes it should be required reading for all high school students so they can appreciate the cost of tolerating the growth of unconstitutional crushingly powerful central government. He strongly believes, as our Constitution enshrines, that the interests of the individual should be held superior to the interests of the state.
A lifelong interest in meteorology and climatology spurred his strong interest in science. Bob earned his degree in Mathematics at Virginia Tech, graduating in 1964.