The Onion’s Guide To Understanding The Debt Ceiling Crisis

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John Kerry Scrambles To Stop Bunker’s Self-Destruct Sequence As Russian Oligarch Taunts Him From Bank Of Monitors

BOGDARNYA, RUSSIA—Working frantically to gain access to the system’s override settings at the computer terminal controlling the impending implosion, Secretary of State John Kerry scrambled to stop the self-destruct sequence of an underground bunker located thousands of feet below the Russian countryside Tuesday while oligarch Dmitry Granovsky taunted him from the numerous banks of monitors positioned throughout the facility, sources confirmed.

CIA Orchestrates Coup D’État To Replace Entire Population Of Venezuela

Agency Installs Pro-American Populace Of 30 Million Venezuelan Citizens

CARACAS, VENEZUELA—Sources are confirming that the Central Intelligence Agency has orchestrated a coup d’état in the South American nation of Venezuela, toppling the country’s 30 million residents and replacing them with an entirely new, pro-American populace.

How Obamacare Can Be Improved

With Aetna just the latest health insurance provider to opt out of covering Obamacare markets, many are wondering what changes can make the Affordable Care Act more appealing to customers and insurance companies. Here are some proposed improvements

NSA: ‘Can Somebody Good At Computers Help Us?’

FORT MEADE, MD—Explaining that things weren’t working right and he didn’t know why, visibly frustrated National Security Agency director Michael S. Rogers called a press conference Thursday afternoon to ask if somebody good at computers could help out the intelligence organization.

Secretary Of Interior Unveils Plans For New High-Speed Creek

WASHINGTON—Calling the $650 million project the “future of America’s pastoral waterways,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell unveiled the agency’s plans for a new high-speed creek Thursday that would reportedly connect Weybridge, VT with the adjacent town of Addison.

The Pros And Cons Of Affirmative Action

The Supreme Court upheld a challenge to the University of Texas at Austin’s affirmative action program Thursday, reigniting debate over the merits of policies that favor members of groups frequently targeted by discrimination. Here are the pros and cons of affirmative action

47 Weak-Willed Senators Bend To Interests Of Powerful American People

WASHINGTON—Saying the closely watched Senate vote clearly demonstrated where the elected officials’ loyalties lay, political observers confirmed that 47 weak-willed lawmakers bent to the interests of the powerful American public Monday by voting in favor of measures that would bar anyone on government terror watchlists from purchasing firearms.

John Kerry Jettisons Russian Henchmen From International Space Station Airlock

LOW EARTH ORBIT—Having stowed away aboard a Soyuz resupply rocket and silently slipped into the International Space Station as part of a high-level fact-finding mission, Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly found himself forced to jettison two Russian henchmen from an airlock Monday after being set upon by the thugs in an ambush that resulted in a violent zero-gravity struggle to the death.

CDC Horrified After Discovering Existence Of Thousands Of Public Pools

WASHINGTON—Calling the finding an imminent threat to public health nationwide, horrified officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention convened an emergency press conference Wednesday to announce they had discovered the existence of thousands of public pools throughout the country.

Obama Discovers Telepathic Connection With Military Drone In Afghanistan

‘Our Minds Have Become One,’ Shaken President Says

WASHINGTON—Appearing frightened and confused by his unexplained new powers, President Barack Obama reportedly pulled members of the White House staff aside Wednesday to inform them of his recently discovered telepathic connection with an Afghanistan-based military drone.

The TSA’s Plans For Improvement

The Transportation Security Administration has pledged to revamp its processes in response to recent record-setting airport lines and wait times. Here are some ways in which the TSA plans to improve

EPA Urges Flint Residents To Stop Dumping Tap Water Down Drain

FLINT, MI—Citing the significant health and safety risks that it poses to public infrastructure and the local ecosystem, the Environmental Protection Agency released a statement Thursday urging residents of Flint to discontinue dumping tap water down their drains.

Upcoming Changes To U.S. Currency

Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew recently announced a series of significant changes to U.S. currency. Here are some of the more notable alterations on the horizon

Head Of IRS Has Personal Filing System To Keep Track Of Nation’s Tax Returns

Commissioner’s Office Cluttered With 100 Million Folders

WASHINGTON—Pointing out the towering stacks of manila folders cluttering his desk and stepping carefully around the millions of forms laid out on his office floor, Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service John Koskinen showed reporters Thursday his own personal filing system for keeping track of everyone in the nation’s tax returns.

Pentagon Holds Gala To Celebrate 25 Years Of Bombing Iraq

WASHINGTON—Bringing together the many civilian leaders and military strategists who helped them reach such a historic milestone, Pentagon officials held a lavish black-tie gala Sunday at which, sources said, they commemorated 25 years of the United States bombing Iraq.

How Firearm Background Checks Work

With gun violence in the United States rising to unprecedented levels, many lawmakers have pushed to expand federal background checks for the purchase of firearms. Here’s how background checks are currently conducted

How Refugees Are Admitted Into The U.S.

The United States’ effort to accept Syrian refugees seeking asylum has been the subject of much controversy over security concerns and the rigor of the vetting process. Here are the steps involved in a refugee’s arrival in America

City Adds Some Big Concrete Stairs

They’re For Sitting On Or Running Up Or Something

CHICAGO—Noting the structure’s considerable size and prominent location in a busy public park, local residents confirmed Tuesday that the city had installed some big concrete stairs that were probably for sitting on or running up or something like that.

How To Reform The Nation’s Prison System

With pressing issues such as overcrowding, overuse of solitary confinement, and the long-term incarceration of nonviolent offenders, many critics of the nation’s prison system are calling for sweeping reforms. Here are some of the proposals to improve the prison system:

NASA Deploys Congressional Rover To Search For Funding

WASHINGTON—Calling the program “the most crucial in the agency’s history,” researchers at NASA announced Wednesday they have successfully deployed a Special Exploratory Rover to Congress as part of an open-ended mission to seek out any possible trace of funding on Capitol Hill.

Is The Nation Ready For The Next Katrina?

Friday marks the 10-year anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, and many commentators have argued that not enough has been done over the past decade to address infrastructure and emergency response issues that could put coastal cities nationwide, including New Orleans, at risk of a catastrophe on a similar scale. Is the nation prepared for another Katrina?

Biden Offers Government Post To Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark

WASHINGTON—Calling the late-night horror film host well-suited for the job “and then some,” Vice President Joe Biden offered Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, an entry-level position within the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, White House sources confirmed Thursday.

Nicaraguan Diplomat Drops Deadly Spider Onto John Kerry’s Blanket

ISLA GRANDE DEL MAÍZ, NICARAGUA—Creeping stealthily into the bungalow where John Kerry lay sleeping after a trade summit Thursday, Nicaraguan Minister of Foreign Affairs Samuel Santos López, illuminated only by a sliver of moon, reportedly slid open the lid of a small pine box and released a deadly Brazilian wandering spider onto the blanket of his American counterpart.

Resolute Congress Passes Second Amendment Again

WASHINGTON—Easily securing the requisite two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate, a resolute United States Congress responded to the ongoing national debate on gun rights Tuesday by passing the Second Amendment again.

What’s Next For U.S.-Cuban Relations

After 54 years of closure, the U.S. embassy in Havana and the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C. each began flying their flags once more this week, a symbol of the restored diplomatic ties between the two nations. Here is what we can expect from the relationship going forward

Nation’s Homophobic Bigots Pack It In

‘Rules Are Rules,’ Say Those With Deeply Ingrained Prejudices

WASHINGTON—Following the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, the nation’s homophobic bigots reportedly conceded today that “rules are rules” and announced that they were going to pack it in.

Report Finds Drug Tunnels Most Intact Transport Infrastructure In U.S.

ARLINGTON, VA—Touting the extensive safety precautions, routine maintenance, and limited congestion, a report published Friday by the American Transportation Research Institute revealed that drug tunnels are now the most intact and reliable form of transport infrastructure in the United States.

Vilsack Stays Up All Night With Sick Corn Plant

WASHINGTON—Gently applying a cool cloth to the plant’s kernels as he cradled its frail stalk in his arms, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stayed up all night caring for a sick corn plant, sources close to the former Iowa governor confirmed Tuesday.
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The Onion’s Guide To Understanding The Debt Ceiling Crisis

The Treasury Department has warned that the continued failure by Congress to raise the debt ceiling would leave the United States unable to pay all of its bills and may force the country to default on its government bonds. Here are some helpful answers to the most common questions about the debt ceiling crisis:

What is the debt ceiling?

The debt ceiling is a specifically defined yet changeable clause in official federal legislation that ensures that our country becomes embroiled in maddening, childish theatrics every few months or years.

How high is the debt ceiling now?

Just like normal ceiling height.

When will we hit the debt ceiling?

On Thursday, Oct. 17 at precisely 5 p.m. Eastern time, when the nation’s $46 billion cable bill comes due.

What happens if the government defaults on its debt?

The United States will lose the credibility and respect we incorrectly assume other nations still hold toward us.

How would a government default affect the economy?

Picture a cake, small crumbs of which fall off during each slice, or transaction, whenever money is lent to institutions from the Federal Reserve. It is a thick, rich sponge cake with icing. The icing is the American people.

How would a government default affect me?

It’s always about you, isn’t it? Prick.

Has the government ever defaulted on its debt before?

No, although it came close in 1877 when Rutherford B. Hayes installed the White House’s first telephone, then ordered 900,000 pizzas.

What do Republicans want in exchange for raising the debt ceiling?

Reasonable solutions to create an affordable, private, cost-effective health care system, a renewed emphasis on the entrepreneurial spirit that makes this country so great, long-term investments in our economy and infrastructure to build a stable and sustainable middle class, and a return to constructive political discourse.

How can I explain this crisis to my children?

You have kids? Uh-oh.

Are the debt ceiling crisis and government shutdown connected?

Technically no, but in many Eastern veins of thought it is believed that all things in the universe are connected. The cherry blossom and earthworm do not know the other exists, but is it not the fallen petal that provides nourishment to the earthworm, and is it not the earthworm that enriches the soil for the blossom’s mother tree? Perhaps there is more truth in seeing the world and everything in it as one than in believing that things are separate.

Why do we need Congress to raise the debt ceiling?

You know what, you’re absolutely right. We don’t need Congress. Let’s just do it ourselves! Come on, everyone!

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