By Scott Sipprelle
It is comical to see our political class seized anew in a surreal debate about whether it is “possible” to cut $100 billion from an annual expenditure of $3.7 trillion without irrevocably harming babies or cratering the economy. It got me thinking about how we even arrived at this strange place where our elected representatives are spending 65% more than we are collecting in revenues every year. Somewhere along the way spending money in Washington DC became less about “necessity” and more about something else entirely.
So, here is another amazing fact to ponder: in the very near future we will be spending more virtual money in online fantasy worlds than will be spent by real consumers in the world formerly known as reality. Members of the online game FooPets breed and adopt dogs and cats and spend, on average, nearly as much money on their cyber puppies and kittens as actual pet owners in the real world. The nearly one million unique residents of a 3D virtual world called Second Life can buy everything from private islands to suggestive lingerie using a currency called Linden dollars. In an ominous development, Chinese authorities have recently barred a merger of their online and virtual economies. It seems that players who were particularly adept at accumulating wealth in the online world were selling this virtual game wealth for hard cash to rich players who would use the currency to boost their status and prestige in order to attract gorgeous pixel-based avatars.
But we know that you cannot really hold back the advance of technology. So, it got me thinking…how about this novel idea to solve our nation’s fiscal problems: for so long as is necessary to restore a balance between expenses and revenues, the Congress is only allowed to appropriate a new virtual currency called Fedbits? This new monetary unit, unregulated by annoyances like debt ceilings, interest rates, or the Federal Reserve, could be used to purchase an unlimited inventory of items in an online Congressionally-run supermarket. In order to secure passage of this landmark legislation, each Congressman would also be entitled to earmark a certain quantity of Fedbits to any constituent or special interest of his choosing.
Anyone want to buy a romantic lighted gazebo to go along with their private island?
Scott Sipprelle is the principal of Westland Ventures, LLC. Scott was the Republican nominee for Congress from New Jersey’s 12th congressional district in 2010.