|[almost too true to be funny]
Recession-Plagued Nation Demands New Bubble To Invest In
July 14, 2008 | Issue 44•29
WASHINGTON—A panel of top business leaders testified before Congress
about the worsening recession Monday, demanding the government provide
Americans with a new irresponsible and largely illusory economic
bubble in which to invest.
"What America needs right now is not more talk and long-term strategy,
but a concrete way to create more imaginary wealth in the very
immediate future," said Thomas Jenkins, CFO of the Boston-area Jenkins
Financial Group, a bubble-based investment firm. "We are in a crisis,
and that crisis demands an unviable short-term solution."
The current economic woes, brought on by the collapse of the so-called
"housing bubble," are considered the worst to hit investors since the
equally untenable dot-com bubble burst in 2001. According to
investment experts, now that the option of making millions of dollars
in a short time with imaginary profits from bad real-estate deals has
disappeared, the need for another spontaneous make-believe source of
wealth has never been more urgent.
"Perhaps the new bubble could have something to do with watching
movies on cell phones," said investment banker Greg Carlisle of the
New York firm Carlisle, Shaloe & Graves. "Or, say, medicine, or
shipping. Or clouds. The manner of bubble isn't important—just as long
as it creates a hugely overvalued market based on nothing more than
whimsical fantasy and saddled with the potential for a long-term
accrual of debts that will never be paid back, thereby unleashing a
ripple effect that will take nearly a decade to correct."
"The U.S. economy cannot survive on sound investments alone," Carlisle added.
Congress is currently considering an emergency economic-stimulus
measure, tentatively called the Bubble Act, which would order the
Federal Reserve to begin encouraging massive private investment in
some fantastical financial scheme in order to get the nation's false
economy back on track.
Current bubbles being considered include the handheld electronics
bubble, the undersea-mining-rights bubble, and the decorative
office-plant bubble. Additional options include speculative trading in
fairy dust—which lobbyists point out has the advantage of being an
entirely imaginary commodity to begin with—and a bubble based around a
hypothetical, to-be-determined product called "widgets."
The most support thus far has gone toward the so-called paper bubble.
In this appealing scenario, various privately issued pieces of paper,
backed by government tax incentives but entirely worthless, would
temporarily be given grossly inflated artificial values and sold to
unsuspecting stockholders by greedy and unscrupulous entrepreneurs.
"Little pieces of paper are the next big thing," speculator Joanna
Nadir, of Falls Church, VA said. "Just keep telling yourself that. If
enough people can be talked into thinking it's legitimate, it will
become temporarily true."
Demand for a new investment bubble began months ago, when the subprime
mortgage bubble burst and left the business world without a suitable
source of pretend income. But as more and more time has passed with no
substitute bubble forthcoming, investors have begun to fear that the
worst-case scenario—an outcome known among economists as "real-world
repercussions"—may be inevitable.
"Every American family deserves a false sense of security," said Chris
Reppto, a risk analyst for Citigroup in New York. "Once we have a
bubble to provide a fragile foundation, we can begin building pyramid
scheme on top of pyramid scheme, and before we know it, the financial
situation will return to normal."
Despite the overwhelming support for a new bubble among investors,
some in Washington are critical of the idea, calling continued
reliance on bubble-based economics a mistake. Regardless of the
outcome of this week's congressional hearings, however, one thing will
remain certain: The calls for a new bubble are only going to get
"America needs another bubble," said Chicago investor Bob Taiken. "At
this point, bubbles are the only thing keeping us afloat."
© The Onion