Rupert was not surprised to get the call. You didn't have to have fifty years as a Senior White House Correspondent to know that the government would be making an announcement the day before the debt limit crisis hit. The only question was what were they going to say? Did the two sides ultimately come to an agreement, or was Obama planning to use the fourteenth amendment as many had advocated. Rupert grabbed his coat, and hurried to the Metro station, and then, onwards to the White House.
There was a hush as The President, Senator Reid, Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke entered the room. The President stepped to the podium, looking grim.
"Good morning", said the President. "I'm going to make a brief statement concerning the negotiations over the debt limit."
The President looked around him, and bowed his head, reading the paper in front of him.
"Quite honestly, we're fucked."
There were gasps of horror across the room. Timothy Geithner stepped forward, and motioned at the President to move away.
"What the President means is... we're totally screwed. The entire economy is going to collapse at midnight tonight."
Bernanke nodded his head and stepped forward. "We're talking pretty much about an monetary apocalypse here. The US government is going to completely default on everything. I mean, I'll try to help, of course, but, well, I'm pretty much out of ideas. We have a liquidity trap, and, well, I can't do much now, pretty much by definition."
Rupert's shock did not prevent him from noticing what appeared to be a glimmer of a smirk from Bernanke. Why? What about this terrible announcement could Bernanke see as remotely funny?
Rupert fired off a report on his Blackberry, and then went home. He switched on the TV, and watched gloomily as the chaos began. The markets, which had been surprisingly high that morning, completely collapsed. The Dow was down 60%. The S&P 75%. Rupert expected the markets to close at any moment to contain the mayhem, but they stayed open, with stock after stock sliding into worthlessness. And, just after lunch, the markets stopped falling, there was a sudden spike, but everything was still down.
Rupert's Blackberry buzzed again. Another conference at the White House. Well, that was to be expected. Depressed, Rupert half intended to watch it on TV, but he grudgingly got up and went back to see what the President had to say.
Another hush as the The President, Senator Reid, Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke entered the room. This time the four were smiling. Had they found a way to prevent the crisis? Perhaps an agreement had been reached as the various sides saw the consequences of their actions?
The President stepped to the podium.
"Good afternoon", the President said. "I have a brief statement. Desperate times call for desperate, and unusual, measures. So this morning, before this morning's Press Conference, I instructed Timothy Geithner to invest what remained of our liquid funds into shorting the S&P. I'm pleased to announce that we now have all the money we need to completely pay off the deficit!"
Reid approached the podium, and, looking up, grinning, exclaimed: "Suck on that, Boner!"
"Bay-ner", said Obama, but Reid shook his head. "I'm sticking with "Boner"!" said Reid.
The four laughed, and left the room.