Economic Dystopia in Five Easy Steps

David Shankbone

“The reason our stock market is so successful is because of me. I’ve always been great with money, I’ve always been great with jobs, that’s what I do.” — Donald Trump, Nov. 4, 2017

  1. Take credit for the stock market. Lead people to believe your attitude and rhetoric alone, without meaningful policy, are responsible for economic growth. Play to unrealistic expectations at all costs.
  2. Despite low unemployment, raise federal deficit spending and long-term debt ($1.5 trillion) through tax-cuts and/or non-recession stimulus spending. Tout supply-side economists that say tax cuts will pay for themselves through economic growth.
  3. Create a short-term bubble. Get gross domestic product up a percentage point before the midterms to keep the current party in power. Make sure everyone believes they’re going to get rich. Take credit for the sugar-rush-like growth and rosy outlook.
  4. Deregulate the banks. Take pressure off financial speculation. Allow banks to speculate against their own customers. Take pressure off rating agencies so they won’t downgrade toxic securities entering the marketplace. Give executives enough room to over-leverage their firms. Tacitly promise publicly funded bailouts to maintain confidence in the system.
  5. Buy an island with your generous severance package. Watch working-class people lose everything. Watch the opposing party sweep the next election with promises of reform. Laugh to yourself, knowing the cycle will continue, ad infinitum.