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The plane ride we’re on isn’t bad as it sounds

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

As I was clicking around searching for financial advice, I kept hearing a common theme.

“Buckle up, it is going to be bumpy.”

“Keep your seatbelts fastened.”

The flu hits Wall Street

It’s the familiar seatbelt metaphor as if we’re all flying in an airplane held up not by the Bernoulli effect, but by the hopes and dreams of investors. And when you feel your aircraft go into roller coaster mode, what’s the first thing you think, “Please! I hope this is the best pilot they have!”

Well, for the purposes of the Wall Street “buckle up” metaphor, the pilot is the United States Congress. Congress’ flight plan for the past year — and I’ll give you the most recent figure, which is for the one-year period ending Wednesday — the flight plan was to borrow more than $598 billion to fuel the plane. That works out to about $1.6 billion borrowed a day, and is likely to double as the tax cuts kick in.

But it’s actually not as bad as it sounds. If every man, woman, child, and undocumented immigrant on our flight just paid an extra $10 a day into the US Treasury, we could keep this aircraft aloft — even with the tax cuts. So you might want to consider that.

Hey, if it’s any consolation, you have to admit, the movie on this flight has been pretty entertaining.

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