The late-2000’s recession, sometimes referred to as the Great Recession, Lesser Depression, Long Recession, or Fuck Honey We’re Broke Decade, is a severe ongoing global economic problem that began in March 2004 when President George W. Bush took up mountain biking. The economy took a particularly sharp nosedive in September 2008 as the cumulative effects of the president’s obsession with cycling caused him to completely ignore his obligations to the nation and, in effect, pedal the economy off a cliff.
The Great Recession has affected the entire world economy, with higher detriment in some countries than others. It is a major global recession characterized by the various systemic imbalances that are all too familiar to the spouses of avid cyclists, i.e., declining wages and increased expenditures on redundant bike crap. Although it’s unclear when Bush started fucking off in earnest, historians put the onset of his cycloholism sometime in 2004. “His knees were shot to shit from decades of jogging and sucking all that corporate/Big Oil/Wall Street cock,” says Flubber McGee, historian-in-residence at the Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. “Mountain biking was a natural: the kind of nasty, dangerous, psychotic, wild-ass crazy, off the reservation, batshit crazy activity that you’d expect from a man stupid and whacko enough to invade Afghanistan.”
Lance and Me
“He’s become a biking maniac,” said Mark McKinnon, Bush’s former media advisor and frequent cycling companion. In a 2005 interview, McKinnon confirmed what mountain bike widows know the world over. “He’s obsessed with it,” McKinnon continued. “He now likes to do nothing but work out on his bike, and he does it with a frenzy that is reserved for people like Lance Armstrong, and the legions of idiots who think they’re Lance Armstrong. It’s a full-blown case of cycloholism. May the good Lord have pity on our poor fucking country.”
Adds Tatty Inkster, the president’s private MTB trainer and consultant, “The prez’s crapper, you know, it’s filled with bike mags. Good fuckin’ luck gettin’ him to read an intelligence report. He’ll stay in there for fuckin’ hours and come out wantin’ to know should he go clipless or platforms, whatever. He’s got it fuckin’ bad. In a good way, of course.”
When asked about mountain biking at a prayer meeting of fundie crazies in Great Falls, Montana, Bush’s face lit up at just the mention of biking. “Prayer and the bike are what keeps me going,” he told his interviewer. “And killing people.”
The ravages of Bush’s cycloholism, and the impact it would soon have on the U.S. economy and later the global economy, became clear in the hills of his Crawford, Texas ranch in 2004 when he took a face-battering spill. “We’ve got thrills, spills–you name it,” Bush told an Associated Press reporter who accompanied him on a ride that saw the president sail over his handlebars, crash to the ground, smash his already ugly face to a pulp, and then hop back on his bike.
“Are you okay, Mr. President?” an accompanying Secret Service agent asked.
“Fuck you!” the president shouted as he sailed off another small cliff into a wooded ravine filled with briars, wild boars, and large, jagged stones.
Economic historians pinpoint this period as roughly simultaneous with the time that the U.S. economy began to wildly overheat and plunge into an economic ravine of its own. At a G-20 meeting later that month, when Japanese Prime Minister Kuki Fukinutti asked Bush about U.S. policy regarding the regulation of subprime mortgage collateralized securities, the president famously replied, “Fuck you!” and dashed outside the building to ride his new carbon Cannondale painted like Air Force One over a series of curbs.
“Recession” vs. “You’re Fucked for Life”
There are two senses of the word “recession”: a less precise sense, referring broadly to “a period of reduced economic activity,” and the scientific sense used most often in economics, which is defined operationally, referring specifically to the contraction phase of a business cycle, with two or more consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth. By the economic-science definition of the word “recession,” the Great Recession ended in the U.S. in June or July 2009. Bush historians note that this is conclusive evidence that the president’s cycloholism was linked with the collapse of the national economy, as by 2009 he was no longer in office.
However, in the broader, layperson sense of the word, many people use the term “recession” to refer to how brutal and hopeless their lives have become, and will likely remain until they die. This includes the inability to pay for rent and utilities, children raised in ignorance and squalor, and the inability to meet basic medical needs, such as remedial dentistry for meth mouth. In the U.S., for example, persistent high unemployment remains, along with low consumer confidence, the continuing decline in home values, the increase in foreclosures and personal bankruptcies, an escalating federal debt crisis, inflation, rising gas and food prices, and tax cuts for billionaires. In fact, a 2011 poll found that more than half of all Americans think the U.S. is still in recession or even depression, and that they believe official data that shows a historically modest recovery doesn’t mean squat when you’re begging for food and living with your kids in a fucking homeless shelter.
Has cycling ever helped your career? It didn’t help Bush’s, either.
Although most Americans are unaware of the connection between Bush’s cycloholism and his abandonment of the daily job of governing the nation, a recent historical survey of cyclist wives confirms the link. Sally Sadsack, stuck in a 25-year loser marriage with a hopeless cycloholic, concurs. “As soon as I saw that news clip of Bush picking his face off that rock I knew we were fucked,” she says. “You know how many times my husband Billy has come home missing teeth? Fractured orbital bones? Six-month convalescences? Christ, I’ve lost count. But as soon as the rods and plates are out, he’s back at it, the dumb sonofabitch.”
Mary Mizzable, who divorced her MTB husband after a decade of therapy and cyclanon meetings at the local church with other addicts, believes that once Bush got hooked on mountain biking, the recession was a foregone conclusion. “Come on,” she says. “All these guys want to do is hammer each other. That’s it. It’s a Tiny Dick man thing. Bush gets his Secret Service homies out on the trail and batters them to hell. Then they all go into the presidential shower and snap wet towels at each others’ asses. How is complex economic theory and monetary policy going to compete with that?”
Next: How former President Bush made amends to tens of thousands of horrifically injured war veterans, made up for trillions wasted on the Middle East wars, and atoned for his stewardship at the helm of our nation’s worst economic crisis with a charity MTB ride.