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 the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  Most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.

Occasionally I break from the normal formatting and do a “sense check.”  Auditing one’s own work is problematic but I try to be objective.  Entries #300 and #301 are the most recent “sense checks.”  Your thoughts are welcomed and appreciated.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments, please.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC, start of workday

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “Good morning, Jordan.  Sorry I didn’t make it back from the conference yesterday.  Long day.  How was your visit with Walt?”

Jordan:  “Visit was great.  His thinking seems to have returned to normal.”

Gelly:  “So his ‘de-brainwashing’ of Trumpism really helped.  The whole idea of brainwashing someone or some group seems a bit odd to me but it must have worked.”

BrainwashedJordan:  “Worked on Walt and millions of hard-core Trump supporters.  Say, what’s with the sling on your left arm?”

Gelly:  “That’s why it was a long day yesterday.  On the way out of the conference, I slipped on something and landed on my left elbow.”

Jordan:  “Yikes that must have hurt?  Go to ER?”

Gelly:  “Yes, it did hurt.  Fortunately my doctor’s office is close to where I fell.  Went to the office and got an X-ray.  PA said my elbow was fractured.  Then I got this cast.  Well, not really a cast but keeps me from moving my elbow.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Any idea how long in the sling?”

Gelly:  “Apparently 6-8 weeks.”

Jordan:  “Can you work at all?  Seems as if we should get someone in here to help…at least for a couple of months.”

Gelly:  “Some help would be great.  As far as work?  I can hold a cup of coffee in my left hand but not much else.  Serious typing, trying to file or even moving anything is out for a while.”

Jordan:  “OK, then let’s get somebody in here no later than tomorrow morning.”

Gelly:  “Now, back to business.   At the conference there was a lot of discussion about the effect of government economic policies.”

Jordan:  “Such policies as…?”

Gelly:  “The topic for one of the sessions was Federal government economic policies following the Revenge Revolution.  A couple of speakers kept touting that Trump’s economic policies in the first two years in office were highly effective and should be the basis for future government economic growth.”

Tear PaperJordan:  “You mean such policies as tax cuts for the wealthy, tearing up trade agreements with other countries that the US drafted after WWII, efforts to severely restrict immigration and then allow only people with money to get green cards and finally citizenship.  Those kinds of policies?”

Gelly:  “Yes, but the speakers seemed so convincing.  In the past I’ve heard you debunk those policies.   What I’d like to learn is a simple, but meaningful way to decide which government economic policies are appropriate for certain conditions.  Can you help me?”

Know NothingsJordan:  “Of course.  I have three guidelines – really basic questions that might help you.  The first question is about tax policy.  Ready?”

Gelly:  “Yes, have on my thinking cap.”

Jordan:  “If the Federal government is going to use personal income and taxes to help spur economic growth, to what kind of people should it direct most of the effort?  Who, for example, is likely to spend say $1,000?  A person or family making $35,000 per year with little savings or a person making say $235,000 with a decent stock portfolio?”

Gelly:  “The person or family making $35,000.  That person probably has 5-10 things the money could be used for.  The person making $235,000 will likely never notice the $1,000 and just leave the money in the bank.”

Unemployment2Jordan:  “Question #2.  If the Federal government wants to stimulate employment, which policy would be more effective – trying to create even more new jobs when unemployment is already low or trying to create new jobs when unemployment is high and a lot of people ae looking for work?”

Gelly:  “Why would the government try to create more jobs when unemployment rate is already low?  That makes no sense to me.  Create more jobs when unemployment is high.”

Jordan:  “Question #3.  If you’re the Federal government, when is a better time to save money and pay down the Federal debt?  When Federal tax revenues are high and maybe likely to grow or when federal tax revenues are falling and likely to fall more?”

Money BagsGelly:  “When tax revenue is high.  That’s when government should pay down debt and save for a rainy day.  When the economy starts to get bad is when the government should start spending more money and create more jobs.”

Jordan:  “Gelly, you are on your way to becoming an economist.”

Gelly:  “Those questions and answers seem so basic.  But the left-over Trump supporters kept spouting exactly the opposite of what we just discussed.  They kept taking about more tax cuts for the highest income people. Their argument was if the government doesn’t reduce taxes for people with the most money, they won’t invest, build new plants and create more jobs.  A lot of people seemed to buy in to that argument.”

Jordan:  “Here’s another question.  Say you own a business and the government just reduced income taxes…but mostly for very wealthy people.  And let’s say your factory produces chocolate candy bars.  Are you going to increase production of candy bars in hopes that people will eat more chocolate?”

StupidGelly:  “No, that would be stupid.  Sounds like a waste of money.”

Jordan:  “When would you add production capacity and hire more workers?”

Gelly:  “When I kept having to produce candy bars on overtime and it was hard to keep up with demand.”

Jordan:  “You’re right.  The idea of ‘build it and they will come’ works only in the movies.”

Gelly:  “Then why did Trump promote all those economic policies that seem illogical?  And, even worse, why did the Republicans in Congress pass the legislation?”

Me FirstJordan:  “Short answer is greed.  The Donald was never, ever for anyone but the Donald.  He did not care how economic policies affected the country as long as he and his family could make more money.”

Gelly:  “What about the Republicans in Congress?  Could they have been brain-washed like Walt was?”

Jordan:  “Some maybe.  I think the old adage about ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’ applies to Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and some of the committee chairs.”

McConnellGelly:  “When you mentioned McConnell you know what popped in my head?  The scene from ‘The Graduate’ where Elaine is in Benjamin’s rented room near Berkeley, she’s just screamed and the landlord is headed toward the room and turns to Benjamin.  The landlord says to Benjamin, ‘You are scum.’  Seems to fit Trump, McConnell and some others.”

Jordan:  “I’ll buy that.”

Gelly:  “Have you got time to explain more economics to me, please?”

Jordan:  “Of course.  Keep in mind not all economics is as basic as we just discussed.  And some parts are counter-intuitive.  We can talk more about fundamentals…after I refill my coffee.”

Gelly: “OK and I’ll call the temp agency.”

 

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