Hey, did you hear about the stock market taking a nose dive on Monday?

I sincerely hope it hasn't affected anyone, like your 401k or your pension fund or your life's savings.

Oh. It did?

Bummer.

Isn't that the way it feels our politicians are thinking?

There they are messing around with a budget that is absolutely impossible to balance, raise the debt ceiling and some yo-yo investment company by the name of Standard & Poor's gives the U.S. a credit rating downgrade from AAA to AA.

Here's a direct quote from their website: "Moreover, Standard & Poor's independent equity research business is among the world's leading providers of independent investment information, offering fundamental coverage on approximately 2,000 stocks. We are also a leader in mutual fund information and analysis."

Well, if they're so hot, how come their investment information hasn't helped our government make smarter decisions instead of stupid ones like prolonging this war in the Middle East at a cost of $1.15 trillion to date?

Standard and Poor's says, Congress is to blame for the nose dive the stock market took.

Maybe they should have taken a more serious look at what they were extending the debt ceiling for.

We can't pay our own bills but each year we give $25 billion to foreign aid and $3 billion to Israel.

$3 million granted to researchers at the University of California at Irvine to play video games as "research" to study how "emerging forms of communication, including multiplayer computer games and online virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft and Second Life can help organizations collaborate and compete more effectively in the global marketplace."

$700,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the University of New Hampshire to study methane gas emissions from dairy cows.

$615,000 was given to the University of California at Santa Cruz to digitize photos, T-shirts and concert tickets belonging to the Grateful Dead.

Really?

So after our government wiped out most of our savings, they took a recess. Until Sept. 5. Doesn't that seem like a really weird thing to do? Our country is in financial turmoil and they get to go out to play?

Did you know that these folks we vote in get paid over $160,000 a year and work an average of 140 days a year while you and I work an average of 245 days and get paid, well let's just say most of us don't quite make $160,000? $160,000 dollars we pay them to put us in the poor house. A real bargain, huh?

All this has me thinking about my future.

I should be depressed about the upcoming Depression because I just know it's going to be like the 1930s all over again.

But I'm not depressed. See, I've got a back up plan.

Since I'll probably be working for the rest of my life, (or not,) and because I won't be able to count on Social Security, and my 401k has been annihilated yet again, I've been thinking about the Waltons. Remember that great TV show about a multi-generational family that lived together during the Great Depression back in the 1930s?

Well, Mom doesn't know it yet, but Diane (my sister) and I are not stressing about a place to live after we lose our homes because we plan on moving in with her. Harry and I plan on taking over the basement. It has the wood stove and a fireplace so I know we won't be cold in the winter. It gets a little musty in the summer but if we dry homegrown herbs down there, that should help with the smell. Diane and her family of five can have the bedrooms upstairs with Mom.

Mom's got quite a bit of land so I know we can plant a huge garden and sustain ourselves by canning and preserving.

Since Mom lived through the Depression, she'll help us learn how to survive. We'll make baked bean sandwiches and ice cream out of snow. We'll make our clothes out of flour sacks. Instead of watching cable television at night, we'll sit around and play dominoes.

And I think we should get chickens. Like those really cute ones that have feathers around their legs that make them look like they're wearing pantaloons.

But I refuse to use corn cobs as toilet paper. I can see us now on cold winter nights companionably sitting by the fire cutting up old newspapers into nice neat little squares.

Harry and George hunt and fish, so I guess we'll be eating more deer meat, rabbits and trout. The fact that I hate all three, has me looking forward to losing a lot of weight. There will be definite upsides to a Depression.

This isn't funny, you say? I shouldn't be making jokes?

Well, if I don't laugh, I'll be crying in my Coke because I don't know what we can do about it.

OMG! I probably won't be able to afford Cokes anymore!

OK. You're right. This is serious.

Let's take a vote. All those in favor of firing all politicians and electing the executives and accountants from Walmart, the richest company in America, raise your hand.

Why Walmart?

With a slogan of "Save money. Live Better," they've got to be an improvement over what we have now.