Christopher Lamb has graciously permitted us to cross-post his latest op-ed, What Happens if There's a Fiscal Cliff?: "Human Sacrifice, Dogs and Cats Living Together ... Mass Hysteria!"
If no budget deal is reached between Congress and President Barack Obama by the end of the year, the United States will face what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke described as "a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases."
We know the seriousness of this situation because no news program goes more than 10 minutes without telling us the seriousness of the situation.
The closest historical precedence for anything like the "fiscal cliff" is found in the 1984 movie, "Ghostbusters" -- when the ghostbusters inform the mayor of New York that the city is threatened by a disaster of biblical proportions:
Mayor: What do you mean, "biblical"?
Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes . . .
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!
The news media have told us that the failure to avoid the fiscal cliff will result in--and make no mistake about it--a serious situation. They've reported that there will be an immediate tax increase on most earners and massive cuts to government programs, the defense budget, and Medicare.
But this is just the stuff they're telling us. Could it mean the end of the world? It might just be worse than that.
Here is a partial list of what will happen if Congress and the president don't agree to a budget deal before January 1, 2013.
-- The United States will convert to the metric system.
-- Replacement refs will return to the National Football League.
-- Congress will repeal the laws of gravity, leaving thousands of other bills up in the air.
-- The National Anthem will change from the "Star-Spangled Banner" to "Everybody Wang Chung Tonight."
-- Hours will have 61 - minutes.
-- All prime-time television programs will be required to include at least one appearance by a member of the Kardashian family.
-- Cell phones will only work in South Dakota.
-- Supreme Court justices will exchange their traditional robes for hoodies, low-rider jeans, tank tops, and doo rags and write their decisions in rap.
-- The letter "e" will be removed from the alphabt.
-- You will only be able to buy shoes for left feet and socks for right feet.
-- Olivia Newton-John will marry former major league pitcher Tommy John, divorce him, marry singer Wayne Newton, divorce him and then marry chef Jamie Oliver. She will become Olivia Newton-John-John-Newton-Oliver.
-- Texting will end, forcing millions of Americans to talk to each other.
-- Texas and Arizona will be returned to Mexico, which will then pass repressive anti-immigrant legislation.
-- "Human Sacrifice, Dogs and Cats Living Together . . . Mass Hysteria."
Chris Lamb is a professor of journalism at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. His last book was The Sound and Fury of Sarah Palin (Frontline Press).