The FT Alphaville State of the Union game | FT Alphaville

The FT Alphaville State of the Union game

Tonight is the State of the Union — a chance for the US to reflect on its past, look to the future, and play drinking games.

If you’re interested in some pre-game reading, then we recommend checking out the following:

— Presidents not named “Bill Clinton” rarely get SOTU bounces in the polls.
— A bunch of luminary types grade Obama’s economic record.
— Obama will announce a spending freeze; what a shocker.
— The WSJ’s News Hub team will have running commentary until midnight.

For what it’s worth, we’re actually quite excited about the SOTU and Paul Ryan’s response. The 2012 presidential race unofficially starts here. Even though these speeches usually make little difference to the political calculation, this year there’s a genuine opportunity for both sides to put forward a convincing vision for America’s future. It could mark the start of an intelligent debate. (Stop that smirking at the back.)

And if you’re keen to listen to this in a mind-fuzz, then here are some options for political quaffing.

FT Alphaville would rather not drink alone is different, however, and we figured that our readers would prefer to consider some spreads* and enjoy a nip of scotch rather than pounding a PBR every time the President says “America.”

So get your friends together, ask them to bring their wallets and use FT Alphaville’s commission-free spread suggestions to make some cash. (Which you could then use to pay down the debt.)

Based on word usage figures from last year’s SOTU (available here), we’ve guesstimated an over/under figure for how many times the President will use some economy-related words. For example, we guess that the word “debt” will be used six times. Feel free to use this amongst your friends as a marker — though we’ll leave the point prices to you.

Here you go, we suggest you print and laminate. Estimates for this year first, real usage numbers for last year in parentheses:

America: 35 (24)
Future: 30 (8)
Jobs: 26 (23)
Economy: 17 (15)
Invest: 15 (6)
Tax: 9 (13)
Recession: 2 (6)
Debt: 8 (4)

Deficit: 8 (4)
Trillion: 8 (6)
Cuts: 6 (6)
Meltdown: 1 (1)
Hayek: 0 (0)

G’luck! And in case you’re up for more, why not play the Paul Ryan double or quits game? The Congressman is giving the Republicans’ official response to the SOTU. We don’t have any historical evidence to base these predictions on so please treat with caution:

Unsustainable: 6
Fiscal: 7
Deficit: 10
Debt: 10
Moody’s: 0

G’luck (again)!

And if you’re still looking for ways to lose some money here are some potential side-bets*:

– Nancy Pelosi sits in the Speaker’s chair by mistake: 15-1

– A cry of “you lie” is heard after the President says “the state of the union is strong”: 33-1

– Rahm Emmanuel takes this opportunity to sneak back into the White House and sit at the Chief of Staff’s desk: 10-1

– The President completes his administration reshuffle by announcing that he will install the Wall Street Bull on the White House lawn: 50-1

– President replaces “all those watching at home” with “all those live blogging from their offices”: 66-1

– Someone is caught on mic muttering “even Davos is more fun than this”: 1-2

– That someone is Joe Biden: 2-1

– The Fox News banner “accidentally” reads STFU instead of SOTU: 5-1

– S&P, Fitch, or Moody’s announce a brand new quadruple A (“AAAA”) rating for the US during Paul Ryan’s response: 150-1

Fesitivities kick-off at Chez Alphaville at 9pm EST, see you there. (It’s BYOB.)

*FT Alphaville does not, of course, endorse speculation in any form.