Ever had a conversation like this one with my Significant Other?
ME: Honey, Congress is thinking about shutting down the government again. Would you mind not using your credit cards for awhile. You know, just until this blows over.
OTHER: You’re kidding me, aren’t you? It’s almost time to start shopping for the holidays. Besides, what’s that got to do with us?
ME: Nobody knows, which is one reason to be a little nervous. We might have to get along without those Social Security checks for awhile, and then there’s the mortgage. Our interest rate is tied to the Federal Funds Rate. It’s hard to imagine that won’t bump up when S&P cuts the government’s credit rating. So it would just be prudent to pull back a little.
OTHER: I don’t believe it. Besides, we live on our retirement accounts, not Social Security, so we’ll be fine, won’t we?
ME: Well, maybe. The Dow didn’t crash too badly last time, but the economy was a lot stronger in 1995. To be on the safe side, we should probably eliminate the discretionary stuff.
OTHER: You mean things like Halloween costumes, candy corn, and pumpkins, right? Maybe cranberry sauce and oyster stuffing if it lasts through Thanksgiving?
ME: Exactly! And maybe travel, restaurants, the dentist, and shopping at Fashion Island.
OTHER: You can’t be serious. This is part of that conspiracy against holidays, isn’t it?
ME: Well, we might want to skip Christmas cards this year. Maybe you can just e-mail everyone back in Ohio.
OTHER: Oh sure, pick on my side of the family. Listen, if Congress can decide not to pay Washington’s bills for awhile, why can’t we take a break too? Stop writing checks until after Christmas. Maybe through Easter to allow some breathing space.
ME: Well if you don’t mind them cutting off the water, gas, electricity, and phones.
OTHER: Oh no, not the phones!