Scene: Jordan and Sandy, a former business colleague, are having coffee.  The discussion, which began Entry #121, has centered on Sandy’s frustration with Federal government policies and Jordan’s attempt to explain the rationale and benefit of certain policies – politely, why Sandy’s thinking is incorrect.

Sandy:  “OK, Jordan, we’ve had our break.  Now let’s get back to the federal budget.  Why can’t we have an amendment to make sure it’s balanced every year?”

hunterJordan:  “You sound like some Tea Party Republican.”

Sandy:  “Well, that’s what I am.  So why not?”

Jordan:  “In an attempt to answer your question, I’m going to tell you a story.”

Sandy:  “Typical bureaucrat.  Never…and I mean never…gets to the point.  OK, I’ll be nice and listen.  What’s little Jordan’s story?”

Jordan:  “You would have enjoyed what happened to me the other day.  I was playing golf…”

Sandy:  “Excuse me, playing golf is a waste of time.  It’s the only game I know where people who play less are happier than those who play more.  You’d think if you were spending all that money for a round of golf, you’d want to hit the ball more times, not less.  Yes, I’ll be quiet.  What’s the story?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “I was playing in a charity tournament and lo and behold, whom do I meet in the locker room afterwards but two of your favorite people.”

Sandy:  “I cannot imagine since the people I like would be at the shooting range, not the golf course.  Who?”

Jordan:  “The Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader.”

Sandy:  “You’re kidding.  You guys pal around with each other?”

Jordan:  “Hardly.  Remember, I said this was a charity golf tournament.”

Sandy:  “That is interesting.  What happened?”

Jordan:  “Finally, he’s willing to listen.  I’ll tell the story as best I remember it.  Here goes.”

The following is Jordan’s dialogue explaining the encounter.  Scene: in the locker room after the tournament.

CongressJordan:  (Addressing the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader) “Gentlemen, what a pleasant surprise.”

Speaker of the House (aka, John Boy):  “Well, well, well, if it isn’t one of POTUS’ lackeys, Jordan Abel.”

Jordan:  “Thanks for the compliment, John Boy.  Glad you are so supportive of people who try to help.”

Senate Majority Leader (aka, Mackey): Forgive him Jordan, he had a bad round of golf.  I’m glad to see you…well, sort of.”

Jordan:  “By the way, what I have ever done to you guys?”

John Boy:  “It’s not you, Jordan.  Your boss is the problem.”

Jordan:  “OK, what’s the issue?”

Mackey:  “Where do we start?  The list if issues is very long.”

man_with_speechJohn Boy:  “First of all, why won’t he cooperate?  He’s like a rock.”

Jordan:  “What do you mean?  Give me an example.”

Mackey:  “You buy us a drink and we’ll talk.  Deal?”

Jordan:  “Deal.  (Order drinks.)  OK, give me a couple of issues.”

Mackey:  “Environmental stuff.  POTUS keeps pushing to reduce coal consumption.  Why?  We need more coal, not less.”

Jordan:  “You mean your constituents like coal because they think it means jobs.”

Mackey:  “Coal equals jobs.”

Jordan:  “Mackey, you and I both know that the coal industry has far fewer jobs per ton mined than it used to.”

Mackey:  “But we can’t lose those jobs that are left.  And POTUS is a major threat to those jobs.  What’s wrong with him?”

Jordan:  “What if there were a way to create jobs and reduce coal production?”

Mackey:  “Sounds like some liberal gibberish.  We need coal.”

Jordan:  “What about emissions from coal?  What about scarring the land?””

occupations_lawyerMackey:  “More liberal gibberish, Jordan.  You just don’t understand.  Quit being so rigid and uncompromising.”

Jordan:  “Think I’ll probably have another drink.  John Boy, what’s your issue?”

John Boy:  “Budget.  We need a balanced budget.  In fact, we should have a Constitutional Amendment requiring a balanced budget.”

Mackey:  “I agree.  The country is going to run out of money.”

Jordan:  “Excuse me?  Run out of money?  How?”

John Boy:  “You know what I mean.  The country cannot afford all this debt.”

Jordan:  “Tell me why not.”

John Boy:  “The private sector pays its debts.  Why shouldn’t the government?”

debtJordan:  “You really think the private sector pays its debt?”

Mackey:  “Of course it does.”

Jordan:  “Mackey, you’ve been inhaling too much coal dust.  Most private debt debt…commercial anyway…is rolled over and new debt issued.”

John Boy:  “C’mon, Jordan.  Stop the BS.”

Jordan:  “Really, think about this.  Do financial institutions ever…and I mean ever…pay off their debt?  No.  They merely issue new bonds.”

John Boy:  “But the private sector has collateral backing their debt and the government.  So another liberal lie.”

Jordan:  “So you’re claiming the government has no assets?  What about all the land, buildings and equipment it owns?  You don’t think those are assets?”

John Boy:  “I’ll be honest with you since we are off camera – I never thought about government debt being backed by collateral.”

Mackey:  “Frankly, I hadn’t either.  Wonder why no one explains the debt structure the way you just did?”

Piggy BankJordan:  “Part of it is the problem is the approach to accounting – and I’m not talking about counting beans.  Unlike private industry, the government is forced to use what I call “piggy bank” accounting.  Piggy bank accounting is just like it sounds – how much cash goes in the piggy bank and how much is taken out.  Does not matter that the money went to buy something that will last say 50 years?  You have to account for it all right now.”

John Boy:  “Accounting.  I almost failed that and I only had one semester.”

Jordan:  “Remember debits on the window side and credits on the chalkboard side.”

John Boy:  “How’d you know?”

BeanCounterMackey:  “OK, while we’re confessing, I don’t understand accounting either.  But what real difference does some accounting system make?  A bunch of bean counter stuff.  The government should not run a deficit.”

John Boy:  “You know, I never thought I would say this but Mackey, let the man explain.  We might learn something.”

(To be continued)