Although most people think it looks like explosions, this is what our annual spending actually looks like.The last time I took an economics class was probably in the distant year of either 2002 or 2003. The only thing I really got out of that class was a few jokes about the law of diminishing marginal returns and a desire to be rich enough to afford a solid gold gun with which to blow my own brains out. My point is that I don't know anything about economics and when presented with the opportunity to learn more about economics, I squandered it looking for cheap and pathetic jokes and contemplating suicide when the jokes weren't enough to fend off the A-bomb riding wolves of crippling boredom. In a perfect world I would not be qualified in any way, shape, or form to write an article on the nation's budget shortfall, which just reached an all time high... again. But this is a country where you don't have to be qualified or informed to be in charge of things, let alone write about said things. I have a lot in common with this land I call home. Not only am I full of crap most of the time, I'm also in debt. Because of the common bond I share with this great nation, I guess you can say I'm as qualified as anyone to handle this important task of making fun of a serious problem I do not understand at all.

The creamy nougat center of our country, the White House, recently announced that America (the United States of) was going to come up $427 billion short of paying off this year's huge bills. On the small scale, when you come up short of the bill, you generally have to put an item back, such as that magazine vanity purchase you opted for. Then there's always the "you break it, you pay for it" policy, and we kind of broke a few things over the last few years, most notably the heart of Mexican president Vicente Fox, who was promised a slot as our best buddy and then promptly forgotten. Also Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.. Oops. Yes, it's a cliche at this point to complain about Iraq, but it's really at the heart of our budget problems. So naturally we can look back and say, "Well, we probably should have spent a lot less time and money blowing crappy countries up and a little more time being a friend to Vicente Fox."

Now I know some people think that Iraq was a danger to us, but I've never been a fan of the "we must kill them in the event that they might actually try to kill us at some point in the immediate future" mentality. I ask you this, though. How many Americans did Iraq kill prior to us invading it? Not that many. They were so not a threat to us that we actually had to send people over there to get killed by them! If we had saved up our money until we had enough to mount a proper invasion instead of invading Iraq on a whim and charging the whole thing to the government's mythical credit card, things would be a lot better now. That sort of responsible action builds character and credibility, and the world would respect us more if we showed some fiscal discipline when attacking other countries. They'd say, "You know, those Americans worked hard and really saved up their money to invade Iraq. That's one war they earned. I sure wish we had that kind of work ethic!" And if we had saved up our money beforehand, chances are we could have attacked a better country, like one of those fancy European nations full of riches and delicious wartime spoils. We didn't really have the money to afford going to war with Iraq, but we did it anyway. I doubt we had the extra cash sitting around to fight off the invading Afghanistan forces either. That sends a bad message about managing money to the population, not to mention the population's impressionable children.

The bottom line is that it's really not smart to rack up debt blowing up another country when we could invest it in, oh, say, educating the population. Or, better yet, creating an entire army division consisting of the nation's homeless. A hobo brigade would be awesome, not to mention cheap and doubly expendable, because they're already dead to us. Maybe that's getting sidetracked, so let me get back to the topic of abortion. Abor—Crap! I meant the national debt. We cannot allow this type of reckless spending to continue. Each year our national debt grows bigger and bigger and, as of right now, is currently the largest numerical value ever fathomed by man or man's mental and spiritual equivalent, the very large IBM computer. At a certain point all this money we owe is going to haunt us. If we don't start paying the bills soon and with positive-valued numbers, it's only a matter of time before America defaults back to being owned by a shadowy consortium of Japanese businessmen, forced to dance the night away in lawless penthouse suites in the prefecture of broken dreams.

I took a break from drawing muscular barbarian men for a comic book my cousins and I are making to sketch out some rough ideas on how we might clear up this debt mess. I know a lot of important figures like Alan Greenspan routinely read Something Awful (mostly Jed's updates), so this should reach to the right people.

Declare "War on Debt" and spend massive amounts of money systematically destroying the roots and causes of debt. It worked well with terrorism and drugs, two concepts that people hardly even remember, so this idea is incredibly practical.

Demand that Iraqis and Afghanis pay back every penny we spent blowing them up.

George Bush should ask every elementary school student to bring one dollar into school, to be donated to the national treasury. This should get us out of debt in no time.

Sell off undesirable states such as South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and, well, pretty much all of the Midwest. At the very least we could rent them out to China.

Bring corporate sponsorship in to foot the war bills, like "Taco Bell's Operation: Desert Chalupa" or "Operation: Arab Grudge, sponsored by 'The Grudge' coming soon to DVD."

Invest all our money in economic eugenics programs designed to create a race of wealthy supermen completely impervious to the effects of poverty.

Spend less on war and defense and more on education so that we aren't all such colossal idiots hell-bent on putting a mediocre amount of effort into electing lousy leaders incapable of not making the world worse and worse each and every year.

Some of you probably don't agree with my politics (I wrote in a vote for a fantasy Evel Knievel/Super Dave Osborne Dare Devil Party ticket), so allow me to bring some outside voices into this discussion. I have assembled what I consider to be an excellent panel of celebrity animated gif files. Let's get started!

Do you agree with current White House spending?
"I think it's absolutely ghastly! Muwahahahahahahaha! Terrifying as the mandible maw of death as it sinks into your flesh!"
"I like a hot time, not a scary time!"
"Mwuahahahahahahahahaha! It's a fiendishly fiscal recipe for doom!"
From a financial standpoint, would you say the progress in Iraq warrants granting an additional $80 billion to defense spending?
"Sometimes you have to mix things up if you want a truly hot salsa, but a salsa isn't a salsa without a feisty chili pepper."
"Spend and spend and lend and lend, but man cannot run forever into a dead end! Bwahahahahahaaha!"
What do you see as the outcome to the government's current attitude towards spending?
"Balancing a budget is like making the perfect chili. It's a recipe man has yet to discover. When it comes to spice, though, the chili pepper is the only surefire bet."
"Who knows what horrors haunt the future of man. Spine-chilling terrors lurk in every dark corner waiting to strike! There is a buzzer under the seat of every American waiting to deliver the first jolt. Rigor mortis will deliver the final! Bwahahahaha!"

Thanks to our celebrity gif panel for their terrific insights. I hope this has been an educational and informative update, and I look forward to seeing each of you in the unemployment line.

– Josh "Livestock" Boruff (@Livestock)

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