Saturday, March 17, 2007

Save the Dollar, Lose the Greenback

I've figured out a way to knock gasoline prices down to a quarter a gallon. It will also involve a massive re-structuring of the U.S. economy, but I think it's time.

Everybody knows that the value of a dollar decreases every year, and steps are taken to halt inflation, but most people are resigned to the belief that we can't repeat the past, that never again will we be able to buy anything of substance for a dime or for a quarter. In response to that, I would have to quote Bob Dylan quoting Jay Gatsby: "You can't repeat the past? What do you mean you can't; of course you can!"

Before I unveil my plan, I have to make a case for the desirability of reversing inflation. The dollar has more than a literal importance on our economy; as the central unit of measure, it is a symbolic anchor. For decades, inflation was ever present, but the price of everyday items was consistently under the one dollar mark. So while both wages and prices went up, the dollar remained a figure of value. As long as the price of a comic book or a movie ticket remained under one dollar, it was reasonable for a kid to get a dollar bill as a birthday present from her or his grandparents. Now, with the dollar relatively powerless, the grandparent is forced to decide between multiple singles, a five, or a ten. Each of these options are fraught with peril. Anything less than a five makes the gift appear to be a cold calculation; anything five or higher speeds along inflation exponentially. I think this is representative of a psychological aspect of inflation. Sure, there are complex market forces at work in the increase of prices, but I think the continuing regression of importance of the central unit only speeds this increase. When a dollar is meaningless, why should we believe that two have meaning? What good are coins at all in this economy? Why should we be frugal with two dimes, when they won't buy anything? And once we become unfrugal with coins, it is a slippery slope to unfrugality with small currency, and finally large currency. As Yeats said, "Things fall apart/The Centre Cannot hold/Mere Anarchy is Loosed Upon the World." But what if we can restore the importance of the center? If we learn to be frugal with a pair of dimes, how much more frugal would we be with a pair of tens? And that all starts with restoring the center and making the small item less than a dollar.

What we need to do is reset the clock, so to speak, every generation. It would probably take a couple years of planning, but I think we can go back to 1945, when today's dollar was equivalent to a dime. Every bank account in America would lop off a zero. If you had $3500 in your account, you now have $350. If you were making a million dollars a year, you are now making a hundred thousand. You need to go down the bank and trade in all your greenbacks for the new bluebacks. Every dollar bill you cash in will get you a new golden dime, and every ten dollar bill will net you a new dollar coin. Of course, all prices would be slashed a commensurate amount. Gas is about a quarter, milk costs about 30 cents, and the dollar store is an old-fashioned five and dime store. Granted, we live in a global economy, so we'll just have to make this a sweeping worldwide policy.

My other idea is to probably less tenable--to replace the dollar with the doll hair.


Anonymous Your Dad said...

How about replacing it with a clam?? Let me be the first to wish you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! About this time (12:30 AM) XX years ago, Mom thought she was experiencing indigestion from the corned beef and cabbage we had just gone out for...but it was just you anxious to make your appearance!

12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thats a gross story your dad just posted.

i love that movie! what was it...When Harry met Loyld. awesome times. there was a hot guy in that movie.

-H to the J to the H

2:26 PM  
Anonymous not anonymous said...

Would this work:
A mega company lures workers with special perks but pays low wages and hires many part time workers without benefits.

They use merchandise tracking data more efficiently than any company to date and shelves are hardly needed to store merchandise because it has immediate demand on arrival at the store.

They call the shots with their suppliers and demand unbreakable contracts for the lowest possible prices when purchasing goods.

For all of these reasons they are able to sell products far below the prices of their nearest competitors.

Lower wages for their employees and lower prices for the products purchased are then a novelty.

But next they wipe out any "Ma and Pa" business who have the audacity to pay their employees higher wages and ask higher prices for their products.

This mega company grows and spreads and soon the inflation problem has disappeared. What else will disappear with it????

9:45 PM  
Blogger Boo said...

Hey Azor;
Happy late birthday. As a parent, I think the way to solve inflation is to cut down on children's allowance and spend less on them weekly. As you pointed out, it's grandparents giving them more money that seems to drive children's spending habits. If we take that away, end of inflation. The simple life, again. Sigh.

8:50 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home