Washington DC -- The government has released a booklet of survival tips aimed at helping US citizens protect themselves during the nation's upcoming debt default.
Titled "Deadbeat Nation," the guide emphasizes that any property in America, public or private, can be repossessed by lenders once the US defaults on its debt.
"So for instance, you could come home one day and find a Chinese family living in your house," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said. "As long as the head of that family lent money to the US, by investing in Treasuries or even buying a savings bond, you're out of luck."
The guide contains practical advice on avoiding such catastrophes: "The two most essential rules are never leave your house unoccupied and don't answer the door."
Protecting other assets is also covered by the booklet. "The lender might be going after something more portable than real estate, like your firstborn child," Geithner noted. "That's why we're recommending that everyone under the age of 18 be locked in their room."
Vehicles of all types will be particularly attractive to lenders who are looking to recoup their investments. The booklet suggests that every vehicle owner purchase a baseball bat and learn how to use it.
"If someone is going to seize your car, use the bat to ding up the vehicle's body," Geithner said. "That will make it unattractive and reduce its value to the lender. If that doesn't work, it's time to take batting practice on the debt collector's skull."
When asked by reporters if such antisocial behavior was going to hurt the economy, Geithner replied: "What economy? China has an economy. Germany has an economy. We've got Congress."
Copies of the guide are unavailable because the Treasury Department did not have the budget for printing. "We've only got the original copy," the Treasury Secretary said. "You're going to have to learn how to share."