My latest project is ONE NATION UNDER RECEIVERSHIP, a political thriller set in 2027 when America’s national debt reaches $40 trillion and the unthinkable happens: investors stop buying American bonds. It is the story of OMB Director Andrew Gartner, who, as the person responsible for the federal budget under President Earl Murray, must find a way to keep the government operating without borrowing any money.
Gartner, along with the Treasury Secretary and Chief of Staff, drafts an emergency budget that cuts American government to the bone. No agency and no special interest is spared. Social Security, Medicare, defense spending – all are subjected to massive cuts to enable the government to keep functioning. The political fallout is intense. Gartner must negotiate a final version of the emergency budget that can pass Congress. After hard negotiations and vicious arguments, Gartner and Congressional leaders reach a bipartisan compromise that resolves the immediate budget crisis.
But all is not saved. For just as the emergency budget is passed and being implemented, the Chinese government takes advantage of America’s budget crisis to forcibly claim the South China Sea and blockade Taiwan in the hopes of forcing it to reunite with the mainland. In the midst of the budget crisis, and with no money available, President Murray and his foreign policy team must find a way to defeat this Chinese aggression.
In retaliation, the Chinese government demands repayment of the $4 trillion in American debt it owns. The American government does not have the cash to repay China and Gartner must find a way to repay this debt to China immediately.
China demands repayment in collateral – that is, the Chinese want to claim American government property to pay off America’s debts. Unable to raise cash, President Murray has no choice but to agree to China’s demands. The Government is forced to auction property to raise cash to pay most of the debt.
However, China insists its personnel be permitted to enter the United States to claim American government property. Chinese soldiers and government officials arrive in the United States to claim American government property to repay the remainder of the debt. Gartner is heartbroken as the Chinese haul away the contents of America’s government offices, courthouses, and museums.
Left behind is a country in shock and dismay at the humiliation at the hands of the Chinese. Gartner vows never to let this happen again and works with Congress on a bipartisan push to pass a balanced budget amendment that will prevent the United States from ever going into dangerous levels of debt again. The country slowly recovers, and within a decade, the American economy is once again at full power. President Murray and the Democratic Congress he worked with both win reelection because of their strong and cooperative handling of the crisis, and a new era of bipartisanship and budget restraint dawns.
The book is a thrilling take on a serious issue facing the United States -- its large and growing public debt.