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Way Off the Grid: Wall Street Threatens to Postpone Presidential Election

Editor’s Note: Way Off the Grid is a satire feature of Off the Grid News. While the articles in this section may deal with current events, they are meant to portray these topics in a satirical and humorous light.

NEW YORK – In a directive delivered Tuesday to the U.S. Congress, fifteen Wall Street CEOs warned that unless the federal government got caught up on its delinquent bailout payments to the financial sector, they “would find it necessary to delay” the November presidential elections. “We do not consider this a threat, just tough love,” explained Citibank CEO Lloyd Moynihan. “Each of us, including the federal government, needs to keep current with his or her obligations.” John Dimon, CEO of Goldman Sachs added, “We have bills to pay, too, and unless the federal government remains current, we will find it difficult to continue all our expected services.”

The CEOs agreed that delaying the presidential election would be the most likely service to withhold. In a press conference following the announcement, JP Morgan Chase CEO, Jeremy Corbat admitted that in committee they considered closing down other services first, such as “the Supreme Court, the Pentagon, and major television media.” He said they believed delaying the elections “would be the best way to get people’s attention quickly, sort of like yanking a big pony tail.”

The directive makes clear that the postponement would affect only federal elections, not state and local races. They added that if the federal government refused to make any movement in the right direction, then Wall Street would have to consider vacating state and county elections “in order to send a broader punitive message. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that,” the letter said.

In Wednesday’s White House press briefing, spokesperson Jay Vietor asked if the CEOs had “tried phoning the federal government with a warning before threatening such strong measures?” Vietor suggested that financial companies usually made numerous phone calls to homes and offices before turning to such drastic measures. However, “neither the president nor the Speaker of the House ever received such a phone call. It’s just common decency.” He added that a review of House, Senate, and White House mail “did not turn up any statements or warning letters with all caps.”

The fifteen CEOs made an emergency visit to the White House on Wednesday afternoon, and a substitute press spokesperson, Emilia Johnson, later read a public apology from the White House for its “flippant and disrespectful tone.” She explained that President Obama fully understood Wall Street’s “very reasonable election-postponement option, and he supported their decision fully.” She explained the president would be willing to wait for Wall Street’s judgment for the timing of a new election, whether that was “a week, a month, or two years off.”

Mitt Romney campaign spokesperson, Richard Adams, expressed the candidate’s understanding of the situation. “Mitt Romney has never been late on his own bills, and he promises that when he is president, his government will continue the great American tradition of paying Wall Street on time.” In a CBS interview Saturday, Mitt Romney added he would even be willing to consider “adding a tip for the Wall Street payments, an extra thank you, so as to keep things running smoothly, whatever they think appropriate.” Romney added the suggestion that, if the postponement lasted longer than a few months, Wall Street might consider installing an interim president until an election could be held, “perhaps even one of the fifteen CEOs?”

Many political pundits across the spectrum expressed outrage at the response of the Obama and Romney campaigns. Radio host Ted Miller dedicated his whole show Friday to lambasting the two campaigns for their hesitation in supporting Wall Street’s warning. “This is America. After all Wall Street has done for us, how dare we second guess and question? These candidates sicken me.”

Several political pundits pushed the issue further, questioning even the need for a presidential election. “Given the immense costs and triviality of the thing,” said Jenna Engstrom, “why not just let these CEOs be CEOs? Do what they’re good at and rule.”

Jamie Brian, head of the Financial Services Forum, explained that the CEOs were very favorable to a traditional election. It was just the timing they questioned. He added that, “after all, Wall Street has already purchased these candidates and campaigns fair and square, and it would be a significant waste of money not to go through with the elections.”

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