Is this thing on? Hello? Hello? Can you hear me? I don’t think this is working. Can anyone here fix it? Hello? Ok. I just want to say that I found this panel to be very stimulating, so thank you for opening this up to a Q&A with the audience.

Now I know this is a conference on new research methods in botanical science, and that this panel is focused on perennial flowers and their growing methods. But I really think we’re not talking enough about the national debt and what it’s doing to our grandchildren, so my question is about that.

I see there’s a long line behind me for other audience questions, so I’ll try to make this as quick as possible. I only want to ask a ten-part question. I will also have a couple of follow-up questions to the original questions, and some of the follow-ups might have follow-ups, which themselves might have follow-ups, with the potential for more follow-ups in case anything is confusing.

If each of the panelists could respond individually, that would be great.

See, I read this fascinating blog post yesterday that told me that the current national debt is higher than it’s ever been before. Did any of you read that post? It was on this web page with a lot of moving pictures. I don’t recall the exact name, but I wrote down the web site address for you if you’d like. I can read it out loud to you now.

Anyways, this blog post really opened my eyes. I really recommend you read it. I can forward it on to you—I already forwarded it on to all of my friends and grandchildren.

Here are some facts: One, the national debt is currently more than $16 trillion dollars. Wow. Two, the Congressional Budget Office projects that if nothing changes, in the year 4000, our debt-to-GDP ratio will be 27,000%. Wow. Three, Greece’s debt is twice as big as their economy. Wow. I don’t know if you know these facts, but when I learned about these facts yesterday I was just like, “Wow!”

Now I’m not an economist. But I’ve got a friend from high school back in Philadelphia who used to work at a bank, so you can be sure to trust me in what I’m saying. And when I say “Wow!” I mean “Wow!”

If someone could help me set up the projector, I have a short PowerPoint Presentation to accompany my question. I don’t know how to set up that kind of thing. Can someone help me? That man in a tuxedo over there, you look like you work here. Do you know how to plug this in? I put it on a floppy disk so you can just use it directly. What do you mean there’s no floppy drive? What do you mean you don’t work here?

To make a long story short, one thing’s for certain: pretty soon this debt is going to consume us all and we’re going to become enslaved by the Chinese communists who will make us all learn Mandarin and eat their food. Now you’re probably thinking, who is this guy up here asking this question? But don’t get me wrong: I like Chinese food as much as the next guy. There’s a great place called Szechuan House right down the street that Marcy and I go to all the time. But I’m tone deaf and very worried about having to learn Mandarin, which, I read somewhere, is a tone-based language.

Before I forget, I’d like to comment that the coffee in the foyer outside is only lukewarm. I don’t know who the best person to talk to is, but I thought somebody should know. You, sir, in the tuxedo. Should I direct that question at you?

And I’m not saying any of this because I want to get up here and talk. I’m only saying this because I think we’ve hit a real crisis situation and I’m very concerned about the direction we are taking. I’m very concerned. I think we could be in for a real problem if we don’t do something about this China issue soon. And I’m not concerned for myself, because I’m not that kind of guy. I’m concerned about my grandchildren.

Part two of my question: will lunch be served at this event? I know that nobody asked me, but it seems appropriate that a conference of this length would serve lunch. I know they served lunch last year, but I recall that the chicken was dry and the soup was cold. I don’t know who the best person to talk to is, but I thought somebody should now.

Follow-up to that part of the question: if there will be lunch, what will be served? I’m in the mood for Greek food.

I hear a phone ringing, and it’s making a noise that sounds similar to one I’ve heard before. Whoever owns that phone should really turn it off. I will attempt to continue talking over the noise until it goes away. Wait—is that my phone? Where is that coming from? It’s not in this pocket. It’s not in this pocket. Here it is—what button do I hit? Somebody help me! I can’t turn this thing off! I can’t turn this thing off!

My apologies for that interruption. I believe I was in the middle of a point about the Chinese. I was at a lecture the other day similar to this one, except that it was about injuries in competitive youth sports. I felt compelled to bring up the point about the national debt at that conference as well because it really is an important issue we aren’t talking about enough, and if nobody steps up to talk about it we could be headed for real trouble. I haven’t been this concerned about any issue in my entire life, and the statistics are just getting worse and worse every day. Even on the weekends they are getting worse, and nobody can do anything about it on the weekends. If we all worked weekends, the debt might get better.

There’s a conference next week on regulatory compliance issues in the life insurance industry that looks really interesting. I’m going to attend—I hope they’ll talk about the debt.

Plain and simple, the national debt is a huge issue because we are spending too much money. Did you know that 47% of the country doesn’t pay income taxes? And now we think that we can just have a system where we give, give, give people more things. Well, let me tell you—the Chinese are gonna give us all we want in terms of forcing Chinese food down our throats. Oh boy are we in for it, or what!

So, in conclusion, I want to let everyone in this room know that we need to be concerned about the national debt and that if we don’t act right now we are committing our grandchildren to lives of indentured servitude in the wok-making business.

So I guess my overarching question is: yeah, what do you think of that?