I'm no economist, but I play one on tv. Dr. Mortgage E.D. Haven't seen the show? I'm not surprised. It's an economic policy version of House. I play this scruffy university economist with an addiction to huffing glue and a twice weekly column in the New York Times. Every week, there is an economic meltdown in some third world country which I am called in to diagnose and solve. Last week it was Burkina Faso. Ouagadougou was almost as beautiful as Tattoine, the women were friendly and gorgeous, the soumbala was delicious, but the dolo gave me a crushing headache.
I digress. Next week, we're dealing with the economic meltdown on Wall Street. I am called in to save America from descending into chaos and third world status. In the script, I am asked to explain what the hell happened to the patient. This is what I say.
"Look, basically Wall Street was playing a sort online game of Monopoly from roughly 1998 to 2007. They were addicted to it and the whole country was watching - like American Idol, betting on who would win. It was so competitive, whenever one of the players started to fall behind, he would spend real money to buy more Monopoly money. To get that real money, he made loans to anybody and everybody. Then he'd turn around and sell those loans to whoever would buy them.
"They became so involved in the game that they lost their ability to distinguish reality from the game world - like Warcraft. They started trying to spend their Monopoly money in the real world and were shocked, shocked I tell you, to learn that the real world didn't run on Monopoly money. So they went back to Monopoly world and asked the bank to convert their Monopoly money to real money and the bank said, sorry, we spent it all on bandwidth. How could you do that? the players cried, to which the bank replied, Do you realize how many people were playing?"
So I bet you're wondering how I solve the crisis. Well, this is one of those episodes that shows how human I am. Brilliant though my character may be, I am capable of making a mistake. The situation is so terrible that I can't deal with it, so I go in a closet and start huffing glue. And while I'm stoned out of my skull, I recommend that the government step in and agree to buy a bunch of that Monopoly money from the players. Of course, you see and I see how that's not going to help, it's only going to make it worse, because we're still talking about Monopoly money here, and when the banks collapse, that's all the FDIC is going to have to replace your bank deposits. Monopoly money. Take it or leave it.
But that's ok, because in part 2 (did I mention it's a two parter?), I suggest the government put a moratorium on issuing new debt in any form. Stop the bleeding first. Then I say, declare a debt jubilee. All domestic debt is forgiven. All foreign debt is defaulted. No more house payments. Your credit card balances are zeroed out. Your car belongs to you. Sounds crazy, but think of this - the only ones hurt are creditors, and those who issue credit and charge interest create nothing, they produce nothing, all they do is leech off the productivity of others. The economic illness, so to speak, is a parasitic pathogen. The first step in healing the patient is to bankrupt the parasites.
Then we establish usury laws outlawing interest charges above 10 percent. We abolish the Federal Reserve and the government takes over the printing and issuing of money. Etc. Etc. Sounds crazy doesn't it, but it worked for Argentina.
And at the end of the show (did I mention it is also the series finale?) a bank assassin pricks me with a pin infected with a mystery virus and I am rushed to the hospital for a House tie-in next season. Be sure to tune in, because if ratings don't pick up, I'll have to start making pornos again.