President Barack Obama was startled when his specially-issued, red smartphone rang Friday afternoon. He was even more startled when the person on the other line said they were from a collections agency.
The special phone is the modern version of the clunky, red rotary phone, that sat on the president's desk for emergency purposes for decades, to be used in times of war to launch end-of-times super weapons.
"Friday was the first time I'd ever spoken on the red phone," Obama said. "It just wouldn't stop ringing. I had to turn the ringer to silent."
Creditors have struggled to squeeze payments out of the United States for more than a decade, but recent publicly-touted struggles to restore order to the national budget have spurred creditors to turn the US' accounts over to collections agencies.
Obama spoke with two representatives before turning the ringer off, and sending the others straight to voicemail. They reportedly offered the US an opportunity to either pay off the debt in full with a one-time payment of 60-percent of the total debt, or set up a 12-month payment plan to settle the issue.
"I said, 'Do you know who I am?' and they said, 'Yes sir. Do you know your account is critically past due and needs resolved immediately?'" Obama said.
Obama asked the agents to stop calling the red, emergency phone, yet the number received 150 calls from only five unique callers Friday alone. Obama reported Saturday night, several of his relatives have also been contacted by debt collectors trying to find him.
"I'm not worried about it," Obama said. "If they don't take us to court and get a legal ruling forcing us to pay within seven years of the last payment, then the account will be written off and the debt is erased. I know, I've been dodging collections agencies for years."
In other words, the US doesn't plan on making a payment anytime soon.
"Besides, if they sue the nation, they'll have to do it in the federal court system," Obama said. "I like our chances there."
A write off would negatively affect the nation's overall credit score, as accumulated by the three major credit reporting agencies.
"Just last month, I paid the service that advertises credit reports and scores are available for free online to find out our score, and it can't get any worse," Obama said. "I enrolled the nation in the company's gold plan, so we will be notified any time someone views our credit report for at least the next year. If it's still my problem after that, we'll deal with it then."
Obama has requested a meeting with his cabinet Monday. The President said he wants to review the changes to the nation's bankruptcy laws enacted by President George W. Bush's administration. Under Bush, the nation made it more difficult for individuals to file for bankruptcy.
"As a nation, and public entity, I believe we can file bankruptcy on the debts we can't pay, and I want to explore that option," he said. "My uncle still uses the television, refrigerator, stove, and stereo, he bought on credit and then filed bankruptcy to erase the bills 15 years ago. I figure the same thing works with helicopters and other government stuff."
A request to change the phone numbers for both the red phone and the White House phones was made by Obama today. He said the move is a short-term solution to both stop the bombardment of calls and buy some time while options are explored.