"When darkness comes and pain is all around, Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down."
As Election Day approaches, presidential hopefuls are luring potential voters with Simon and Garfunkel evergreens. It's not the first time a purported bridge over troubled water has been a bridge too far. Darkness and pain in the early 1930s gave America a president whose economic policies prolonged a crisis caused by the preceding lack of executive and monetary leadership. And, imagine the irony, public schools still portray him as a savior.
Now, we have the chance to make more history. The next man in the Oval Office will be given an opportunity to engineer a depression and a hyper-inflation in just one term. Buy one-get one free. All sales are final. Here is some free advice for the future leader of the free world on how to change America into a new Weimar Republic:
As Keynes observed, "there is no surer means of overthrowing the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency." So let's ruin the dollar. Let's spend to jumpstart the ailing economy. Spend other people's money. Take it from the profiteering entrepreneurs and give it to the proletariat. When you run out of cash, keep spending. You are the government. You can go on a spending spree and never worry about paying the debt.
You can make the Fed make more money. Yes you can. You can stimulate demand. Sustaining bureaucracy is demanding. You can create jobs. In the public sector. Preferably green ones. You can increase output. Especially of pork. And cheese. And then hand it out for free. You can invest in infrastructure. How about a highway to the North Pole? Or a bridge to the Moon? And don't forget to use only clean technologies. To stop global warming.
Since all the billions spent in the past on public-school programs have produced poor educational results, you can shower the losers with newly manufactured billions to pay for new after-school programs. They will worship you for generations as the next savior. You can repeal all free trade agreements and block the free movement of capital. You can appoint your servants to determine what constitutes fair exchange in the labor, product, and credit markets.
Don't forget that capitalism's main deficiency is the tendency of the private sector to overproduce. You can discourage productivity growth by limiting the work week to 30 hours (spreading out the leftover work hours to the unemployed), increasing paid leave, adding more holidays to our calendar, mandating health insurance, and helping all employees to unionize. Go take an internship with the French. Or the Italians. And if you are still not quite satisfied with the results, create more public-private incubators to hatch siblings for Freddie and Fannie.