First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment whether Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s Washington officeConversation begins Entry #204.

Greenie:  “Jordan, we’ve got to finish your fraternity brother’s list soon.  I need to get back.”

TrumpJordan:  “Alright.  The #10 reason to vote for the Donald, ‘Budget: Balance the Damn Thing.’”

Greenie:  “That seems like a logical statement.”

Jordan:  “It’s logical part of the time but not logical all the time.”

Greenie:  “When’s it logical…and when’s it not logical?”

Jordan:  “When do you think it’s logical?”

BeanCounterGreenie:  “If I look at my own situation, I get more concerned about spending too much during times when the economy is not so good.  I turn into a bean counter.  So I guess when the economy is not doing well we should balance the budget, right?”

Jordan:  “In the most diplomatic way I know, ‘you’re wrong.’”

Greenie:  “But it seems as if everyone should cut back on spending when times 010414_1635_16TeachingS2.jpgare not as good.  I don’t understand what’s not logical about that.”

Jordan:  “First, and I’ll keep this short because of your limited time, the actions of government to help keep the economy healthy are exactly the opposite of actions of individuals.”

Greenie:  “You mean as consumers cut back, the government should increase spending?  Increased government spending will get the economy going again?”

Jordan:  “Exactly.”

Greenie:  “Never thought about it quite that way.  But now I see why.  If the Spiralgovernment cuts back the same time as consumers, then incomes decline even more and spending would fall further.  The economy would then get worse, a whole lot worse, not better.”

Jordan:  “Why people don’t understand such a simple fact is beyond me. There is a ton of empirical evidence supporting that fact.  Government should increase deficit spending in bad economic times and try to run a surplus in good economic times.”

Greenie:  “Then why do Republicans keep harping on a balanced budget?  The Trumpsters were not the first Republicans do make the claim about a balanced budget and some Republicans still are.  Why?”

teacher_-_economicsJordan:  “Because many Congressional reps and a lot of Republican voters do not understand the difference between macro and micro-economics.  I can forgive someone who did not go to college for not understanding.  But virtually all Congressional Representatives and Senators have advanced degrees.  There is no excuse for not understanding the difference.”

Greenie:  “Anything else about the deficit?”

Accountant-Clip-Art6Jordan:  “Yes, there is a major difference in the required  accounting method between government and business.  If government could use the same accounting method as business, much of the deficit would disappear.  At the same time, if business had to use the same accounting method as the government, profits for a lot of companies would become deficits.”

Greenie:  “I believe you but the reasons are probably a bit arcane.  Let’s save it for another day.  What about reason #11?”

Jordan:  “Foreign countries: stop giving them our money.  Charge them for our help.”

Greenie:  “What’s not logical about that idea?”

globeJordan:  “I assume the Trumpsters were talking about foreign aid.  In broad terms foreign aid consists of three major chunks: (i) military related; (ii) assisting countries with economic development; (iii) Ex/Im Bank – export/import bank.”

Greenie:  “Remember, keep this simple.”

Jordan:  “Military-related would be expenditures for bases in say Germany, Japan and Korea.  One can argue how long such bases should remain open but the US does get something in return for these expenditures — military bases on foreign soil.  The bases allow the US to respond more quickly to threats to friendly nations and to threats to the US directly.”

Greenie:  “So, if the US doesn’t believe the bases are worthwhile, then we should close them?”

Jordan:  “Fair question that needs to be addressed by Congress.  But it’s a Turtleneckcomplicated question without a simple answer.”

Greenie:  “The other two chunks of foreign aid sound like some handout.”

Jordan:  “Direct foreign aid is designed to help countries struggling with economic growth or stability.  Just for fun, what percent of the budget goes for such aid?”

penny_back_40225_lgGreenie:  “If the Trumpsters thought it was such an issue, it must be at least 10%…maybe 15% or 20%.  Otherwise it doesn’t seem really worth talking about.”

Jordan:  “Try less than 1.0%”

Greenie:  “You mean like less than a penny per dollar?  So what’s the big deal?”

Jordan:  “The issue made the Trumpsters feel good I guess.”

Greenie:  “But let’s say the US charged the countries for this aid.  Why shouldn’t they pay?”

Jordan:  “If the country could pay, they wouldn’t need the aid.  Part of the reason for the aid is to buy ‘goodwill’ for the US.  If the US doesn’t support these developing countries, enemies of the US will.”

German FlagGreenie:  “A question then is whether buying some intangible like goodwill is worth the cost, even if it’s a penny.”

Jordan:  “Think about Germany and Japan after WWII.  What would those countries be like today without the Marshall Plan?  What would Europe and Asia be like”

Greenie:  “I see your point.  What’s this bank thing?”

Jordan:  “Ex/Im Bank – export/import bank.  Part of the bank’s function is to lend money to developing countries to assist with buying US-made products.”

Greenie:  “That seems like some sort of give-away program to those countries.”

Jordan:  “Think of it as a way to increase US employment.  Over the years, two of Boeing Logothe largest beneficiaries have been Boeing and Caterpillar.   A bunch of US companies have benefitted but Boeing and Cat have been in the group of big dogs.”

Greenie:  “You said Ex/Im is some type of bank.  Aren’t banks supposed to make money rather than give away money?”

Jordan:  “Ex/Im generates more money for the US economy than it costs.  Why the Trumpsters never understood that is beyond me.”

Greenie:  “You think the lack of understanding the value of foreign aid contributed to the Revenge Revolution?”

Jordan:  “When one does not understand the benefits of something…or even Talk Radioworse takes no time to try to understand…then it’s easy to be influenced by 10-second sound bites, negative advertising and talk-radio blowhards.  The short answer, ‘yes,’ not understanding foreign aid contributed to the Revenge Revolution.”

Greenie:  “What’s #12?”

Jordan:  “’Fix the tax code.’”

Greenie:  “I agree with that.”

Income TaxJordan:  “So do I.  The underlying issue is how to structure the tax code to: (i) generate enough income to run the government; (ii) be easy to understand; (iii) be fair to all income levels.”

Greenie:  “You agree the tax code is too complicated, right?”

Jordan:  “Yes.  Here’s an idea.  If the Trumpsters in 2016 and Republicans now really want to fix the tax code, then sit down with the Democrats and agree that the entire tax code has to be written on one sheet of 8.5’ x 11.0” paper – front and back – using 11 point font.”

Greenie:  “You think that would work?”

Jordan:  “The one sheet of paper would force both parties to think through the purpose of taxes and force compromises on both sides.”

Greenie:  “Interesting idea.  What’s the last one on the list?”

Jordan:  “’#13, Respect our military and our flag.”

military-clip-art--military-clipart-8Greenie:  “Sounds simple but what do you think that means?”

Jordan:  “I don’t know.  If the implication is the military is always right, then I can’t buy the argument.  And neither could the Founding Fathers.  The US military Commander-in-Chief is a civilian, not a military officer.”

Greenie:  “What about respect for what the military does – protect the country.”

Jordan:  “OK, but that’s what the military is for.  Besides what about respect for protection provided by police and fire departments?”

Greenie:  “You getting off track?”

Jordan:  “Possibly but I get very upset by the implication that the military is DoD Logoabove reproach.  The military has some great people.  And some bad ones.  Folks, the military is an organization with good parts and not so good parts.”

Greenie:  “Mmm.  To the Trumpsters the military is a part of a government agency that should be highly respected.  Yet other government agencies should not be respected and some even dismantled.  Trumpster logic I guess.”

Jordan:  “Trumpsters…well all of us…need to remember what the military is and what it is not.  I think the respect for the military would increase significantly if the US reinstated conscription.  Doing a stint in the military…or any kind of government service…provides a different perspective. ”

Greenie:  “Conscription is controversial.  Save that for another day.  What about respect for the flag?”

Jordan:  “I could be wrong, but my interpretation of Trumpster logic — respect for the flag is tied to respect for the military.  Therefore anyone who opposes what the military supports…Vietnam, Iraq, for example…by implication doesn’t respect the flag.  Trumpsters seem to link the two.”

american-revolution-728714Greenie:  “While you were talking, I had a vision of the same conversation happening in say 1775.  Would someone who didn’t respect the British military and the British flag be scorned by the Trumpsters?  I mean those who didn’t respect it were the liberal rebels.”

Jordan:  “With that comment Greenie, I think you answered the question if the statements and actions by the Trumpsters contributed to the Revenge Revolution.”

Greenie:  “Thanks for the help Jordan.  I’m outta here.”