It was a very dark time. The housing bubble had just popped. Ragged bankers were crowding the streets with signs forecasting the end of days.
The general public thought long and hard; recalling the compassion and reciprocity lenders had shown them in tough times. Out of the darkness a beautiful thing happened. The American people, despite all their differences, stood united and shouted, “Oh Hell No! You made your bed banker boy.”
As fate would have it, another miracle happened. Republicans and Democrats came together and decided that only they knew enough about the economy to say what was best. They sent those bankers bailing with cushy tax dollar bonuses to pad their fall.
Maybe they had a point. Until recently, I only knew 2 things about money. One, that it’s both the most desired thing on the planet and the dirtiest. Second, it takes me two weeks of hard work to earn my paycheck and only one hour to spend it all on bills.
Determined to never pay for another loan twice, I set out to learn more about the economy from the most trusted and knowledgeable source, WWW.Google.com. Today, I share the economic wisdom of the internet with you.
It all started out with George Washington, taking a stroll through some downtown shops, looking to purchase some wig oil.
The store owner says “That’ll be 25 puka shells or an 1/8 of an ounce of gold.”
“Wouldn’t you know it”, George begins, “Martha took my last stack of puka shells off the night stand this morning to make a bracelet and I haven’t had a chance to dig up any gold yet. How about I just write “IOU” on this paper and I’ll pay you in gold later?”
The vendor clearly skeptical.
“I’ll put my picture on it for you”, George says.
George begins drawing a self-portrait, stick figure; curly wig on the head, he even draws an arrow pointing to the smiley face and writes the words wooden teeth.
“I just don’t know if I trust it.”
“Well, what do you trust?”
He thinks about it for a minute, “I trust God.”
“Get out of town, me too!” “In God We Trust.” [he signed on the bill]
It only grew from there printing paper IOU’s in the form of dollars, all backed by gold.
Then one night, the mint in Philly gets a call for a reorder. “We’ll take a ream of twenty’s, a pallet of fifties; say how about you mint me up some 100 dollar bills, maybe slap a picture of Ben Franklin on it.
“But sir, we don’t have enough gold to print more money.”
“Here’s what we’ll do. We will put all the gold together, store it in a locked vault, let’s say, Texas. Yah, no one is crazy enough to mess with Texas. No one will be the wiser.”
So, a convoy begins scooping up all the gold making its way south to Texas. A little road trip pit-stop in Kentucky, a few shots of bourbon later, next thing you know, “Here’s as good a place as any”. Bada-boom Bada-bing, Fort Knox.
This is where things start to get real interesting. A group of con artists had a brilliant idea for a long con. They convinced some people to give them money to start a snake oil business for a share in future profits. Around the same time, some street performers on wall street were doing this amazing trick. They would ask observers to give them a dollar and then magically make two appear from thin air.
Making money off of trading money became such a huge hit they even opened up their own store. All the magicians would converge together at the Stock Market, hurling their hands in the air, yelling the secret words, and money just rains from the sky.
Then things started to get complicated; fluctuating interest rates, based on the price of rice in China. It was a lot for even the most experienced investor to comprehend. The stress became too much in 1929 when some bankers took the quick way down the Rockefeller building, straight out the window of the high rise tower. To the benefit of the 2008 money makers, we got smarter after that and installed impact resistance glass in all the financial buildings.
As upset as I used to be, I’m actually pretty excited about the whole thing now. I’m looking forward to a little Quid Pro Quo with my credit cards. I got my eye on this big screen T.V., a couple of trips abroad…
I’m sure when it comes time to pay up, the bank is going to ask me how I ever planned to pay for it all. I will look them straight in the face,
wait, scratch that….
I will hold that phone and admit to Bob from India, that I knew I was borrowing more than I could ever afford to pay back. I just figured I could cash in on that IOU Chase has coming my way.
It is amazing what you can learn on Wikipedia.
Not only did I find out about this sweet IOU, but I learned a thing or two about the language of money. For instance, when The Nightly business Report announces that the Yin has not surpassed the Yang and that Starbuck’s stock is booming, despite Microsoft taking a hit from those Silicon Valley Winds, well that just means there is a fifty-fifty chance it will rain in Seattle.
I even used my new found financial wisdom to guide me in last year’s election for the next great CEO. For our options, we could have chosen between a tan, blond, bombshell; or for the first time in history, we could have voted for a woman to fill the oval office. I chose to save my money; I didn’t like what either one of them were selling.
Good thing too, because as it turns out, you needed rubles to buy a vote. I’ll be more prepared next time though; I hear WikiLeaks has some insider information on the international market.