Thursday, April 30, 2009

You're gonna love Credit Card Camp!

All those birthday, anniversary, wedding and Christmas gifts. All those groceries. All those fill-ups at the gas station. Not everyone was in credit card camp because they'd gone on shopping binges at a furniture or electronics store. No, there were plenty of people interned at Visa, MasterCard and American Express Camp whose spending had centered on the bare essentials of daily living. But debt was debt and the first wave of debtors' prisons were opened in 2010, and filled to overflowing as quickly as the boxcars could deliver them from around the country.

"Trickle-up economics?" Rush Limbaugh intoned, as though pronouncing the words venereal disease. "Trickle-up economics? Gimme a break! How does an unemployed person stimulate the economy? How does a homeless person expand city or state tax revenue? No, no, no. Barack Obama is just trying to create class warfare -- stir up resentment toward the upper class among the poor and working class."

The contingent of "pro greed" politicians in Washington -- a frightening number existing in both parties -- put a gun to the Obama administration's head: If you're going to pour "stimulus dollars" into the economy, it's time to hold careless home owners and credit card holders accountable. Hence the "Debt as Theft" Bill passing both houses.

As per usual, corporate executives were exempt from the Debt as Theft legislation because the bail-out money that paid them millions upon millions of dollars in bonuses and compensation was not considered debt. The single mom in Akron, Ohio who was paying for daycare, groceries, and fuel for her car on a series of credit cards was criminalized overnight. Her crime was compounded when the rate on her variable rate mortgage reset.

There was no way to house the hundreds of thousands of newly branded criminals in conventional jails and prisons, nor much desire to do so. And just because most politicians were anti-middle-class didn't mean they sought to break up families. So, a plan was taken off the shelf from the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney/John Ashcroft administration to finally make use of all of those FEMA camps dotting the country. Covert photographs of these camps had been showing up on the Internet for years, accompanied by the most paranoid and cynical conjecture as to the future uses of those camps.

The switch was flipped and every citizen who had more than $30,000 in outstanding debts suddenly became a felon. Rather than being charged with a crime, each newly minted felon was given the opportunity to "work off" their debt in their area of expertise.

There was Visa Camp, MasterCard Camp, American Express Retreat, Bank of America "Get back on your feet!" Camp, Countrywide Country Camp, etc..

Interned accountants worked on their debtors' books.

Interned carpenters and contractors worked on job sites for their debtors, building summer and winter homes right across the country for all of those exempt executives.

The more proficient of Interned medical staff worked as personal physicians and caregivers to the expansive executive staffs of their debtors. The less able among the Interned medical staff worked in internment camp medical tents.

Interned filmmakers, writers, directors, producers and production staff were enlisted to make corporate training films, PR pieces and commercials for their debtors.

The most capable and attractive of Interned chefs, cooks, waiters and bartenders were assigned to their debtors' executive dining rooms, and even worked as catering staff for executive dinners, parties and award ceremonies -- those bonuses, kudos, slaps-on-the-back and unearned vacations still had to be given out! The other cooks, waiters and food industry internees worked in their camp mess halls.

Interned daycare workers looked at children in their respective camps.

Interestingly enough -- and to the great disappointment to the sweaty, eel-eyed executives -- a noticeable dearth of sex workers was interned. There was, however, quite a glut of pornographers, particularly dinosaur-old-school-print pornographers. Nobody could figure out what to do with them, so they were given brooms and told the sweep the place up.

When Visa Camp found that it would fall short on a payment to one of its debtors -- a re-insurance outfit centered in South Africa, the name of which had never been mentioned on the North American airwaves -- Visa struck a deal in which they lent a thousand accounting, legal and medical internees to the re-insurer.

There came a point when Bank of America was going to default on its debt to a foreign re-insurer of re-insurance firms. It transferred a thousand daycare worker internees, along with five hundred chefs and mixologists.

The system of paying off corporate debt with bundles of human beings was a surprisingly efficient and effective way of debt-management. Corporate executives -- meeting at Bohemian Grove, and other such private retreats where the laundry lists of "undesirable" colors, creeds, gender, sexual orientation, were nearly as numerous as their actual membership lists -- spoke with wonder and retroactive frustration that such a system hadn't been established decades ago.

"When the Chinese banks and Hong Kong Stock Exchange start clamoring for repayment," said one eel-eyed, cadaverous executive, "I just transfer a thousand filmmakers, or agri-engineers, or under-aged teenaged kids, and boom! It's done! No write-downs, no second set of books, nothing. Our hit team of accountants hates this because their losing their chops for hiding, obscuring and obfuscating."

"Tough shit, I say!" bellowed a portly, eel-eyed executive.

The roomful of khaki-trousered, salmon-colored-golf-shirt-eel-eyed executives laughed uproariously.

As with all great events in history -- pandemics, wars, droughts -- the debtors began trickling out of Visa Camp and MasterCard camp. The good news was that each of them was free of debt. The bad news was that each of them was homeless, jobless and penniless. So, meeting each new releasee at the gate of these respective camps were representatives from Visa and MasterCard, Bank of America, Fanny Mae, Countrywide, GMAC Financing, all with offers and applications for lines of credit, cheap variable rate mortgages, and super deals on new vehicles.

"That's the great thing about the capitalist system," Rush Limbaugh intoned one afternoon on his radio program, "the Great American Entrepreneur can find an opportunity anywhere! Even among these former losers who are now looking to put their lives back together!"

Political leaders were pleased to see private enterprise accepting these former cast-outs. "We wanna make sure that there are no more debtors prisons!" Congressman Barney Frank lisped. "We're glad to see these companies meeting their social obligation and bringing these citizens back into the fold, so that this mess is not repeated again!"

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