The Obamanomy

February 4, 2013

Anyone who heard President Obama’s logic-defying inaugural address knows that we can expect even more government during term two, but what exactly is his economic plan?  Here’s a sneak preview:

Everyone will work for the government.  The private sector is driven by that ugly thing called “profit.”  So why not eliminate it?  Think of the benefits:

  • The economy will boom.  Government employees are paid more than private sector equivalents, so consumers will have more discretionary income.  When consumers spend, the economy booms.
  • Full employment.  We'll all have jobs for life.
  • Improved healthcare.  Imagine if we all had the same quality of healthcare that members of Congress provide for themselves.
  • Better retirement benefits.  Who needs crummy 401(k) plans, when you can retire at 55 on a full pension!  If you really know the system, you can retire, take another government job and receive two pensions.
  • Higher quality of life.  Why work 80 hours a week trying to run a business, when you can work for the government?  Work a stress-free 40 hours and never worry about losing your job.
  • A cleaner environment.  Without the evil private sector, there will be less pollution.  Given the amount of paperwork generated by the government, more trees will die, but nothing will ever be produced except for paperwork, so overall the environment will be cleaner.

Buy every bond.  Easy monetary policy allows the government to run trillion dollar deficits indefinitely.  It’s helped the economy grow at a rate of more than 2% a year and it hasn’t produced hyperinflation yet.  It’s worked so well in the U.S., the unemployment rate is now below 8% … as long as you count part-time workers and don’t count those who have given up looking for work.

Since bond buying works so well, the U.S. Treasury is going to boost the world economy by buying every bond ever issued.  This will drive demand for bonds, since there will be none left to buy, which will boost prices.  As a result, the U.S. government will be wealthier and stronger than ever.

Pass a 100% tax rate.  The dramatic success of President Obama’s first term proves that a dollar in government hands is a dollar well spent.  Imagine how successful this country will be when every dollar earned goes to the federal government.

Give nuclear weapons to Iran and North Korea.  For this “leading from behind” thing to work, we need to go all in.  Why not give nuclear weapons to Iran and North Korea to demonstrate just how much we trust them?  This display of generosity will ensure that they never use them against the U.S.  Israel may no longer exist, but that would solve problems in the Middle East as well.  When there’s nothing left to fight for, why fight?

Death at 65.  Currently, Social Security, Medicare and pensions for government employees have created more than $86.8 trillion in unfunded liabilities.  Ending life at age 65 is the only way we can keep those liabilities from increasing.

Mint $1 trillion coins.  What better way is there to pay off our $16.4 trillion in debt?  Clearly, Ben Bernanke isn’t thinking big enough.  Why waste time buying $40 billion in bonds a month when you can be minting trillion dollar coins?  Of course, trillion dollar coins will be illiquid, since no one can cash them, so they will never be worth a trillion dollars.  Still, Jonathan Chait endorsed the idea in The New Republic:

I actually feel like this plan could, in addition to rescuing the economy, provide the spark our film industry requires. I could sit here for ten minutes and rattle off a half-dozen great film concepts based on this story.

Bank caper: a dashing Clooney-esque figure assembles a team to steal the trillion dollar coin.

Comedy: a bumbling assistant Treasury Secretary played by Jack Black accidentally picks up the trillion dollar coin and spends it on a Mountain Dew, sending the entire government into a mad scramble for the coin before the world economy collapses.

Noir: Regular person somehow acquires the coin, and is slowly twisted.

Action: Super-villain plots to destroy the coin and bring the economy to its knees, from which he stands to profit due to a nefariously brilliant hedge he has prepared. Maybe we'll call him "Eric Cantor."

So we can boost the economy AND help Hollywood?  What are we waiting for?

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