Monday, October 2, 2023 | Back issues
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How To Save the Economy

People have been asking me lately: If interest rates are cut down to nothing, what can the Federal Reserve do next?

(In the interest of full disclosure: These inquisitive people are inside my head. But that doesn't make them any less real.)

The answer (to the interest rate question, not people-in-my head problem) couldn't be more obvious: you pay people to borrow money.

Don't scoff. This makes perfect economic sense and, in fact, may be just the stimulus the economy needs.

Think about it. If I'm a prudent person (and I know this is unlikely), I'm not going to want to run up more debt on my credit card. But what if I were being paid to buy things?

Instead of running up my debt, I'd be running it down.

Everyone would be spending, credit would flow in the streets, and, the longer we avoided paying off our bills, the less we'd owe.

How are banks going to finance this?

Have you heard the term "bailout?"

Ah, but if everyone is being paid to spend money, who will do the work to produce things to spend money on? After all, if you get paid to receive money, jobs are kind of pointless.

Have you heard of illegal aliens?

Legalize them but don't let them have any credit.

All problems are solved.

PROPER MOTIVATION. If you're having trouble collecting debts or judgments, here's a tip: find the one person who will never stop hunting your prey.

In other words, find their ex.

Really. This is the kind of stuff you learn by reading appellate opinions. Check out Aaron v. Mahl from the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in which we learn that a California law firm got a judgment of more than a million dollars against its former managing partner. The managing partner then proceeded to leave the state and change her name.

So what did the law firm do?

It assigned the judgment to a guy who used to live with the ex-managing partner. The 7th Circuit panel said that "may seem odd," but it sure seems to me like a stroke of genius because the former lover has been pursuing that million dollars since 2001.

The man clearly has motivation.

Expect to see more former lovers and spouses in the collection business.

CONSIDER YOUR AUDIENCE. I won't repeat the history of the spat between a Massachusetts Superior Court judge named Ernest Murphy and the Boston Herald, but I do want to note that there is an important lesson to be learned here: be careful about putting anything in writing for someone who works for a newspaper.

Check out In the Matter of Ernest B. Murphy in which we learn (if we didn't live in Massachusetts and already know) that a judge, who'd won a libel suit against the newspaper decided to send a rather demanding and somewhat questionable letter to the Herald's publisher that, among other things, said that it would be "a mistake . . . to show this letter to anyone other than the gentleman whose authorized signature will be affixed to the check in question."

Not much later, the letter appeared in the Boston Herald.

Never whisper anything to a guy with a megaphone.

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