Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Dollar Drinking In The Last Chance Saloon

Last Chance Saloon
Stephen King

The weather's looking rather unsettled outside, but the policy cowboy doesn't mind too much as he ambles into the Last Chance Saloon. Going up to the bar, he orders his favourite tipples. Low interest rates. A big budget deficit. And, to make sure there's no disappointment, he also orders a bottle of "Mr Snow's weak dollar elixir". The barman slides this depreciation bottle down the bar. The cowboy grabs it eagerly, and takes a deep swig. The dollar heads to lower levels and the cowboy begins to feel a whole lot more relaxed.

But relaxation under the influence is unlikely to be sustainable, particularly when the cowboy finds himself in the Last Chance Saloon. He strides over to the roulette wheel, hoping that his new-found confidence - helped by his depreciation inebriation - will lead to big winnings. In particular, he needs to win a few jobs because, so far, despite all his spending, all his borrowing and all his drinking, he hasn't quite got to the point where his gamble has really paid off.

The cowboy slaps his last few remaining dollars on the table, the wheel spins and... and...

And oh dear. His numbers don't come up. What does he do? He can't cut interest rates any more, because they're already close to zero. He can't really borrow very much more, because his creditors are becoming uneasy about the debts he's built up. And he can't keep swigging from the dollar depreciation bottle. A couple of gulps might not do too much damage, but a whole bottle? That's another matter altogether. ...Link

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