RateWatch #293 - The I-Monster Prime Time
March 1, 2002
by Dick Lepre
Greenspan spoke this week and I was thinking about the future of inflation and noticed that Larry King - continuing his policy of concentrating on what's really important - was going to interview Monica Lewinsky tonight. All of this reminded me of the following which I originally
wrote in October 1999.
The I-Monster Prime Time
I talked with folks at work Thursday and asked people if they had seen the Interview with Alan Greenspan and the I-Monster on cable the night before. People have since tried to convince me that this did not happen but my memory goes something like this:
I have the cable remote in my hand and am trying to search the guide to see what time Baywatch is on. I accidentally turn on CNN. The gabby guy with the suspenders is on.
"Tonight on Karry Ling Live we interview two men who are at the core of the debate about inflation. In our studio here in Washington - Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, and from Miami, Florida the embodiment of inflation, the I-Monster."
Karry: Chairman Greenspan, you addressed Congress last week and warned about the dangers of inflation saying that you would raise interest rates at the least sign of inflation.
Greenspan: That's right Karry. Inflation is the nominative destabalizer of the economic predicate.
Folks who have worked so hard to get rich won't be so rich if inflation devalues the essence of their fungible currency rendering it subjunctive.
K: You know, Alan, Muhammad Ali said something like that when he was on my network - I mean my show - several years ago. I-Monster, what do you have to say about what Chairman Greenspan just said?
I-Monster: Karry, I have no idea what he said. In fact, I am sure that no one had any idea what he said. Chairman Greenspan is used to sitting in front of Congress twice a year and talking like that. First of all, half of them are asleep. Second of all, no one in Congress has the guts to get up and say: "Hey, Al, I have no idea what you are talking about. Can you try English for a few minutes."
G: Mr. Monster, the economy is, in fact, a complex set of dynamic interrelationships among the
sociological threads of the warp of our society. My humble task that of seeking to expedite the
shuttling of the woof that weaves this fabric. Simplistic renderings of that dynamic interrelationship
have, in the past, proved disastrous.
K: You know, Alan, my dear friend Shirley McLain said something like that when she was on my show several years ago. In fact, she revealed that, in a previous incarnation she had been Alexander Hamilton - the first Secretary of the Treasury.
I: Look guys. I have a simple point to make. For the majority of American citizens, I, inflation,
am your only hope. Most citizens don't have a lot of money saved. They have a lot of debt and a big mortgage. If Chairman G keeps CPI growth to under 3% you'll die broke, if you're lucky. Inflation offers you an alternative. If inflation were 100% you could pay off all of your credit card debt next year and pay off your mortgage in about 4 years. Sure, prices would increase but so would your income. The only thing missing would be your debt. Furthermore...
G: (interrupting) Karry, if the Federal Reserve were to allow such irresponsibility no one would invest in America's companies. Our economy would come to a standstill.
I: So what? Americans are working too hard and - what? to keep me under control. Let me do the heavy lifting for a couple of years and you can have all of your debt paid off and, if the Chairman is right you would all get a few months off when the economy slowed down a bit. Hey, there is plenty of empty beach here in Miami.
K: Chairman Greenspan, the I-Monster does seem to have a point there. Their debt would be paid off. They would have no mortgage payment.
G: Karry, America has a responsibility to the world. We must maintain the value of the dollar. The
I-Monster would have us destroy what America has worked so hard to build. Its...
I: (Interrupting) ...its debt. All that you have to lose, citizens, is your debt. And if you can keep
me at 100% for a decade, you'll all be worth 1,000 times what you are today. Do the math.
K: We need to go to a commercial break.
The sound dissolves and we see the host and the Chairman talking. A commercial comes on. A resonating voice encourages the citizens to buy new furniture promising no payments for 1 year. In Miami, the I-Monster smiles knowingly.
To receive this free RateWatch newsletter each week by e-mail, click here.
To view the archive of RateWatch newsletters, click here.