Recent financial headlines have me scratching my head here in Stepfordville, because they don’t follow any of the logic that I was taught in school. However, what do I know? I am merely a lowly, underpaid, overly imaginative author.
Managers on Wall Street who are (allegedly) responsible for driving our economy into the ground are being rewarded with multi-million dollar bonuses. And entire countries—no, continents!—who are on the verge of defaulting on their loans are being given billions of dollars in financial ‘rescue’ packages.
Evidently there is some economic fantasy out there that these loans will be paid back. A fantasy perpetrated by so-called serious people with serious degrees from seriously prestigious institutions of higher learning.
Let’s stop here for a reality check: And *I* get mocked for writing fiction? These people have contructed the world’s greatest story, and other people are buying it. This thing should hit the New York Times Bestseller List at number 1 and produce zillions in royalties!
According to this logic, I should go out immediately and buy at least a thousand pairs of designer shoes. Why? Because that way I can run up significant debt, and then someone else can purchase it and gamble on whether I will or won’t pay it back.
If I don’t pay it back, one of the gamblers will make a metric ton of money, and the other one will be in danger of going out of business, but get bailed out by the government. And nobody will take my shoes away. They will simply wipe out most of the interest on the shoes so that I can buy more, thus stimulating the economy here in our Stepford Village and keeping the designer shoe boutique in business.
And when I max out my credit card, clearly someone at the Stepford Bank will offer me a new one—just see the government example. When I’ve maxed out about four of them, I can then run crying to a Stepford debt consolidation agency, who will arrange (for a fat fee) to negotiate down my balance and interest with the credit card companies, who will write off the bad debt as a loss and pay it back to themselves by charging more interest and more fees to someone else, who may become so overwhelmed by his debt that he shoots himself. Eh, well. Poor guy was clearly unbalanced.
Does any of this make *any* sense? Isn’t this all a case of passing around Monopoly money and plastic casino chips and favors—which are simply another form of debt? What’s that, you say? Ohhhhh. I’m supposed to be caught up in the intricacies of this twisting, turning plot? I’m supposed to be dazzled by the setting and entertained by the characters?
Oh, I’m entertained, all right. But as an author, I am also aware that at some point, we must get to the last page of this economic story. The point where it says, “The End.” The point at which we have to close the book and face reality. The point at which money and credit become worthless and we go back to trading skins and arrowheads.
But don’t mind me. I’m just a paperback writer, living between the pages of a good book. What would I know?
KK, who is writing barefoot today . . .