King Nevuhhadnuttin’s dream

King Nevuhhadnuttin had a bad dream and he was trying to figure out the meaning of it but he couldn’t and so he called in the wise satraps and the council of advisers; then seemingly out of nowhere, but actually it was from the jailhouse,  this wise woman Danielle steps forward and with mucho aplomb poses this mysterious enigma wrapped in a question:
“The other side? The other side of what?”
And King Nevuhnadnuttin exclaims: “That’s it! That’s exactly what I”m wondering, and what I’m frantically asking, in my dream just before I wake up.”
And Danielle calmly continues, “Precisely, O King, and allow me to describe your dream, for I have discerned it and I can interpret the meaning thereof.”
“Go for it!”says he. “Knock yourself out.”
Then saith Danielle: “We’re careening down a slippery road; the brakes are failing; further down the slope ahead of us in the frozen darkness is a precipice and we’re going to slide right off it into sheer unsupported air.  Here’s one guy speaking urgently from  the back seat pleading the driver to stop spending money because if we don’t we’ll slide right off the edge and plummet to insolvency and fiscal ruination that will lead to societal disintegration and national chaos.
“But over here in the passenger seat is another guy warning with controlled alarm in his voice that we’ve got to keep the money flowing and make it possible for most everyone to keep spending dollars and the only real danger is we have not yet  thrown enough money at the problem  and if we cut off the Fed supply the fall from the precipice will be very bad and our recovery will be long and protracted at best.
“So the driver–and I’m talking about not only you, O King, but your entire realm and every person in it (how’s that for high stakes pressure, huh?)–is worriedly weighing these two opposite warnings, and trying desperately to apply the brakes but finds it impossible while the passenger says just let the thing go because if we build up enough downhill momentum–not to worry–we’ll launch beyond the precipice fast enough and far enough to land on some terra firma which is surely on the other side.
“‘The other side? The other side of what?'”
“The other side of the balanced-budget misconception,” saith Danielle. “You see, according to the prevailing Keynesian wisdom, balanced budgets are an obsolete notion that no longer have any real meaning. They’re just relics from the past–holdovers from ages long gone, like the age of gold, when monetary value was tied to gold, and the age of silver when we were using silver certificates for currency, and the age of bronze when all our value was linked to industrial production, and the age of iron when times started to get hard, and now the age of iron mixed with clay when everything falls apart.”
“Falls apart?”
“O, not really, O King. I was just kidding. We’ll be okay. Have you thought about declaring a jubilee?”
“A what?”
“A jubilee. Free all the debtors from their debts, and let every person and family just take ownership of his/her/their domicile and vehicle.”
“Say what?”
“Just kidding, O King, it would never work, too disruptive and unorthodox–definitely not a workable strategy.”
“Right, Danielle. That would be a…uh…can of virtual worms.  Now who’s dreaming?”
“Me, I guess. I have a dream too.”

Carey Rowland, author of Glass half-Full

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