Two Japanese travelers trying to enter Switzerland were caught carrying $134 billion -- yes, billion -- in fake US Treasury bonds in a briefcase. The forgeries contained 249 securities with a face value of $500 million, several "worth" more than $1 billion, and several "Kennedy" bonds, which, um, are just totally made up to begin with. What exactly is the endgame here, one wonders? As my colleague Charles Davi, who discovered the article, quipped: "Uh excuse me. I'd like to cash my 130 billion dollar check!"
And here's one of the most delightfully absurd paragraphs I've ever read in a news story:
Had the notes been genuine, the pair would have been the U.S. government's fourth-biggest creditor, ahead of the U.K. with $128 billion of U.S. debt and just behind Russia, which is owed $138 billion.
The idea of running around continental Europe with 4.5 percent of US debt stashed away in a hidden briefcase compartment is, let's face it, so dumb it's awesome. So here's something fun. Using 2008 Treasury Department data (which has slightly different numbers for Russia and the UK) I've graphed where these morons would fall on a comparison of US debt owners.
And just to be immature about it, here's one more to print out and share with friends:
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