Unless you've been in an alcohol-induced coma for the last two weeks, you are aware of the dire state of our economy and the potential $700 billion bailout of Wall Street the House voted against on Monday.
But if you're like most Americans, you're wondering how best to proceed when the economy is going to hell in a handbasket and the next president has to rent out the Lincoln bedroom just to make the mortgage payments.
• Step 1: Get your hands on a few billion dollars so you can buy a struggling company at a fire-sale price. JPMorgan Chase recently purchased Washington Mutual for $1.9 billion after the company had been worth $45 billion in June. JP will now have to absorb WAMU's $31 billion in losses, but it will give JP a west coast presence and represents a huge windfall if the market does stabilize. So don't be bashful in this market - since the government will eventually pump cash into the market, you're almost guaranteed to see a return on your investment.
• Step 2: If you're the CEO of a company that is near collapse, but isn't being considered for a bailout, strengthen your ties to the financial system so that your collapse would be devastating for the market and the government will deem you too big to fail.
• Step 3: If you're the CEO of a company that the government will probably bail out, now is the time to get out while you can still get a golden parachute. When the government takes over and is only offering regular parachutes without multi-million-dollar compensation plans, you'll be sorry.
• Step 4: Don't make any rash house purchases just because homes are ridiculously inexpensive. Wait a little longer and see if prices get to the point when it seems like the seller must have "suffered brain damage" or the bank is just really desperate for cash.
• Step 5: If John McCain plans to suspend his campaign again, promises to fix the economy, or decides he's going back to Washington, sell your stock. Hopefully you can avoid the inevitable drop in the market as confidence levels plummet when investors learn that John "The-Fundamentals-of-Our-Economy-are-Strong" McCain might get involved.
• Step 6: Buy history books on the Great Depression. They're generally thick and will burn for hours when you find yourself unable to afford your heating costs in the winter. Added bonus, you can pick up tips on how to make it through the next depression!
• Step 7: Based on what politicians and economists are saying, you may want to move from Wall Street and Main Street because both will be hit hard in the upcoming days. Think somewhere like Oriental Avenue because of its low rent and proximity to a railroad.
• Step 8: If none of these options seem applicable, your best bet is to write your congressional representative and tell them to support a bailout. Tell them that, while you don't like rewarding the companies that failed us, you recognize that inaction could be devastating at every level of the economy. Demand more regulation and accountability, and hopefully we can avoid anything like this in the future.
Dave Lombardo is a senior political science major who swears that future market behavior can be decrypted from John McCain's liver spots.