An Economic Conversation

Having been inspired by my recent trip into the past in the time machine left to me by my distant ancestor, Dr. Wells, I recently resolved to test its functions for traveling into the

The Time Machine!

future.  I set the controls for 2111, that seeming like a reasonable trip, but to my chagrin it stopped at 2015.  There seems to be some bugs in its system.  Another peculiarity of the machine is that, inexplicably, it seems to home in on people of one line of heredity, the Flaxseeds.  In this case, I arrived at the Fairfax, Virginia home of Floyd Flaxseed who, fortunately, happened to be in.

The bastion du Dauphin

Image via Wikipedia

Floyd’s house was a modest, well, let’s be honest, run-down dwelling in the Washington, DC suburbs and it was surrounded by barbed wire.  When he answered the hand-bell, he rather startled me because he had a pistol in each hand.  However he was most hospitable after I explained that I was completely unarmed and a time-traveler with a very limited period before which I had to return.  To my astonishment Floyd accepted my story readily, despite his initial suspicious mien.  He explained that his family had always passed down stories of being visited by time travelers.

I asked Floyd to please quickly fill me in on how things were going, explaining my time limitation.  The conversation went something like this:

Well, he said, not good.  Not good at all.  What you see here in my neighborhood is pretty much the way things look across the country.

What happened?

House of cards, he said.  It started right after president Palin’s and vice president Paul’s

election with the so-called reform of the tax code. See, the Tea Party had the bit in their teeth by then, so to speak.


Red Tape: The Government Grind

Red Tape, by columnfive via Flickr

Yes, I know, you would think that would have been a good thing, but who knew how many people depended on that system for a living.  There’s been a lot written about it, a lot of soul-searching, but it’s too late now.  Did you know that overall, running the tax system in this country was a $600 Billion a year operation?

Come on, Floyd, how could it have been that big?

Well, he said, just think about it.  All those IRS people were out of a job, lots of them able to retire early on fluffy government pensions.  Then all the tax preparers, you know, like H & R Block.  Out of business.  CPA’s all over the country, who did corporate and rich-folks’ taxes, same thing.  Then there was the tax software companies, instantly gone – computer geeks and the rest.  Then there was the refund-anticipation loan industry – gone.  Just about all of the lobbyists in Washington lost their jobs – without the tax code to play with, the politicians lost most of their influence and people hated them even more than before.

Now we might have weathered that part of the storm, but the country couldn’t afford the sudden increase in the unemployment applications just as we were inching out of the last recession.  China started cashing in their Treasuries and then others too.  Even Greeks.  Then, with Congress split right down the middle in complete gridlock and the boomers qualifying for Medicare, there wasn’t enough money to pay for them all, plus Medicaid and Social Security too.  Did you know that Medicare administration alone was costing $20 Billion a year?  Most of those civil servants were thrown out of work too.  Hospitals and HMO’s began failing.

Then, in desperation Congress cut almost all the subsidies to Big Agriculture and, wouldn’t you know the farmers would have a bad year at the same time?  Some blamed it on global warming, but who knows?  Result, they couldn’t run their big machines, and then, just to compound the problem the number of people available to pick the citrus crops completely dried up because we finally got the border with Mexico sealed.  Well, the cost of food went right through the roof.  Well, that was the end of the dollar.  Complete collapse of the currency system.  Know what we use now?  The CIP.

What’s that mean, I asked?

Oh, he said, that’s one-hundredth of the value of an i-Pod, one of the few things that’s held its value.

Why, that’s horrible, Floyd.  Are there any other parts of the economy that held up?

Well, a few.  With doctor visits costing at least 50 CIP’s the home-remedy business is

Fjord Horse & Buggy

Image by appaIoosa via Flickr

thriving.  Remember Hadacol?  Good for just about anything that ails you – even bunions.  Let’s see, what else?  Ah, horses!  You see, without repairs the roads and bridges are completely unreliable and nobody can afford much gasoline anyway, so horses have made a real come-back.  A good horse goes for about 5,000 CIP’s now.  Then there’s the farmers’ markets and the gun industry, boy, that one’s thriving.  Want to see my new 50 caliber rifle?  How about my hand-grenade collection?

No, Floyd.  My time’s nearly up and I don’t want to get stuck here in 2015 with this mess and President Palin.

Oh, you don’t have much to worry about that.  She was impeached and convicted last month and has moved to Russia.

PS – Upon my return to 2011 I decided to check some facts, just to make sure the whole trip hadn’t been a bad dream, you know, an undigested piece of big-Mac in my gut.  I went to Wikipedia and found a TAX link.  When I read it and much to my chagrin saw what was under “CONTROVERSY”,  that was enough for me.  Yipes!  Was it all a vision of what must be, or what might be?  I wish I knew.

About Jim Wheeler

U. S. Naval Academy, BS, Engineering, 1959; Naval line officer and submariner, 1959 -1981, Commander, USN; The George Washington U., MSA, Management Eng.; Aerospace Engineer, 1981-1999; Resident Gadfly, 1999 - present. Political affiliation: Democratic.
This entry was posted in Economics, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Government size, Government waste, Humor, Medicare and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to An Economic Conversation

  1. jwhester says:

    very entertaining!


  2. ansonburlingame says:


    I love these time machine discussions. For sure we do not know “Floyd’s” skin color or what regional accent he might have. We only know he has at least become a gun nut. Whether or not he was such a “nut” before is beside the point. As to his other political persuasions in 2011, we have no clue. He simply seems to be reporting the conditions on the ground in 2015 resulting from the rise of President Palin and VP Paul.

    Where indeed did you get your crystal ball, Jim. Sure such is possible. But so are lots of other things when viewed through “my” crystal ball. But now I am left with the choice to reveal the future from my crystal ball or simply smile at yours.

    After engaging in such rebuttal in the past between Bradey and Clem, I think I will just sit her and smile instead and enjoy the humor of the current forward thinking “vision” expressed herein.



    • Jim Wheeler says:


      Thanks for the feedback, which is pleasing to hear. My motivation in this kind of thing is not to antagonize but merely to stimulate thought and discussion about the possible outcomes of the political rhetoric we are hearing in these fractious times.



  3. ansonburlingame says:


    IMPOSSIBLE for DQ to not tilt, at least a little.

    So according to Floyd, the reasons that we had such high taxes in place in 2011 was really to keep all those bureaucrats employeed and look what happened when they “hit the streets” to find “real” work, like shoveling horse manure off the streets.

    Na, they couldn’t do THAT. After all they had all those college degrees and could never stoop so low as to shovel shit or pick fruit!! And for sure they didn’t have a clue how to plant and raise a garden like Floyd probably had near his cave.

    So belly up you folks in 2011, keep electing those Dems so we can keep bureaucrats off the streets. And I was so foolish as to think that all that tax money went to poor people like Floyd probably was in 2011.



  4. The President Palin riff was hysterical.


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