|Cartoon by Marshall Ramsey of Creators Syndicate.|
Just when you think Washington can't screw it up any worse.....
For weeks, as the Capitol has consumed itself in its summer tragi-comic fire drill to raise the debt ceiling, expert after expert has come forward with cataclysmic predictions that if the USA actually does end up defaulting on its $14.3 trillion debt on or about August 2 -- the current target -- financial markets will implode. Investors will dump American stocks and bonds and send the country careening into fiscal chaos, a depression worse than the 1930s. Are they right?
Unfortunately, with President Obama, Speaker Boehner, and the other Capitol Hill leaders apparently incapable either of solving the puzzle or trusting each other with a deal, it now looks increasingly like we're going to find out.
So while the rest of the country faces calamity, we at Viral History have decided to mark this truly historic moment with a contest. We call it Debt Ceiling Russian Roulette.
See if you are any smarter than the Washington politicians and TV experts. To enter Debt Ceiling Russian Roulette, just post a comment on this Blog telling us what you think will happen to the Dow Jones Industrial Average on August 2, 2011, the day of the expected default (or August 3 if the US Treasury waits until after markets close on the 2nd to announce the default - or lack thereof). Will the Dow Jones --
- Crash as global investors dump American assets, like the experts say? If you think so, tell how how many points you think it will lose. Hundreds? Thousands?
- Soar through the ceiling as Congress and Obama reach a surprise last-minute deal? If so, how high?
- Stay relatively flat as investors either shrug at the latest boneheaded news from Washington or wait for other shoes to drop? or
- Rally, having collapsed in the days beforehand, staging a technical "dead cat bounce"?
My own guess is that Wall Street will shrug at first, and the real ugly crash will come later in the week when overseas markets panic. So my official entry is this: Dow Jones +12.
Enter today. And tell your friends. It's free (as all speech in America should be), and the winner will receive a bottle of wine from us.
[In the increasingly unlikely event they agree to raise the debt limit before the weekend, ending the crisis and making this contest moot, we'll give a tepid half cheer and call the whole thing off.]
Meanwhile, enjoy the hot summer weather.