American Consequences - December 2017


government needs is somebody lending it $90 billion. Secretary Mnuchin would be skipping though the halls of the Treasury building singing...

good. And I really didn’t mean to do this. That is, paying taxes. Gosh, will I be doing that. I’ll be in the top tax bracket – 39.6%. That means an annual income tax bill of $445.5 million. Yes, all the money in the world will hire some excellent attorneys and accountants. And let’s say I sail very close to the wind with the IRS. (I certainly intend to!) I’m still going to wind up being taxed a couple hundred million a year. If I keep doing that for the rest of my natural lifespan, that will be more than $2 billion in taxes. But let’s look on the bright side. Even assuming that half my tax dollars go to “waste, fraud, and abuse,” that’s still a billion dollars’ worth of paved roads and sewage treatment plants, of public education (with vouchers, I hope!), of benefits for veterans, the disabled, and my cousin Mikey-Mike, and of police and military protection for my fellow countrymen. What if I simply give the $100 billion to the local chapter of Earth First! and then spend the next 10 or a dozen years chained to an ipê tree in the Amazon protesting illegal tropical- rainforest logging? How much good would that do? For $100 billion, I could have bought the rainforest. B B

The $82 billion deficit increase Just got palmed with P.J. grease!

No, let’s say I put my money in 12-month bank CDs at 1.25% interest. (True, this would require 360,000 different banks in order to keep my $90 billion fully FDIC insured. That’s almost 356,000 more banks than there are in the U.S. But I guess I could start some new ones.) An interest rate of 1.25%, paltry though it is, gives me an annual income of $1.125 billion. And even though I haven’t invested in a way that any real investor would call “investing,” my $90 billion is still out there in the world economy helping to increase global wealth. An increase in global wealth is a good thing. Period. Even if you’re up all night being a worry wart about climate change, you’d better realize that stopping or reversing or coping with the effects of climate change will require more wealth than the globe has now. An increase in global wealth is the only certain way out of poverty and the only likely way out of oppression. With wealth comes power over the world. Men and women are freed from drudgery and exploitation. Businesses can be started, communities empowered, educations pursued. Keeping my money will do good, even if I don’t mean to. And there’s another way my money will do A A

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