Bob Holden Hopes To Consolidate Missouri's Debt Into One Easy Payment

Fake News written by Martha Throebeck on Saturday, February 16, 2002

from the easy-installments-of-19.95-million-each dept.

JEFF CITY -- After watching a TV commercial for the "Consumer Debt Counseling Service", Gov. Bob Holden decided to take action. Last week he scheduled a debt-consultation appointment to explore ways to reduce Missouri's debt.

"Why didn't I think of this earlier?" the governor said while waiting in the lobby. "Their TV spot said they could reduce our debt by up to 35% by consolidating it into one loan. I hope so!"

The appointment didn't go quite as well as expected, however. Right off the bat, Mrs. Ira Lerdorf, the debt consultant, said, "I'll be honest with you Mr.... uh, Holden... we don't perform miracles here. And you need a miracle."

"See here," she continued, "For the last several years you just assumed your income would increase by several percent annually. That's like going out and buying a new mansion because you expect your lottery ticket investment to pay off any day. You can't do that."

The governor tried to get a word in edgewise to defend his fiscal policy, but Mrs. Lerdorf droned on. "Why did you spend several million dollars on prescription drug credits for seniors that didn't qualify for them? That's like taking hundred dollar bills and throwing them off the nearest overpass. What were you thinking?"

"Also, here's a piece of advice, Mr. Holden. According to your records, you spend a sizable amount of money each year for things listed as 'Federal mandates'. Basically, you're spending money because other people tell you to. You need to develop a backbone and stand up to this Federal organization and quit letting them mandate how you must spend your money. I bet the bullies in grade school stole your lunch money all the time -- well, the same thing is happening here. Fight back!"

Finally the governor was able to ask, "Is there any hope?"

"Oh sure, maybe the economy will suddenly rebound giving you a 10% raise in tax revenue. Or maybe pigs will fly, which will increase your income from airport taxes. And there's always the possibility that Hell will freeze over, increasing the demand for natural gas and giving a boost to your state's industry. But don't count on it."

At this point the appointment came to and end. "I have to meet with an executive from K-Mart in five minutes," the consultant said while pushing the governor out the door. "And then it's off to Texas to visit Enron World Headquarters. Anyway, I wish you the best of luck. May the dollar be with you!"