Beating the dead horse

I live not far from a pretty little town with a ‘medical marijuana’ economy. Even the street people are prosperous. Business is flourishing. Recently, an academic spent a couple years evaluating the economic impact of the pot business: bigger than everything else.

The academic interviewed local growers, talked to political leaders, chatted up shopkeepers and dropped by the banks. Everyone was cheerful and flush, and not one of them had any plan for the future. Sure, maybe pot will be legalized next year and all the cash will disappear – but how do you really put your head around that?

For some reason I think of Europe, where there’s so much money banks are paying negative interest rates. You know, loan a hundred euros and get paid back ninety-nine. I’m not sure their shopkeepers and heads of state have solid plans for next year, either.

In the good ol’ homeland, wages have been flat for forty-five years. Now this is truly remarkable: both the unemployment rate and interest rates are historically low. Interest rates, in fact, are lower than they’ve ever been. In short, our economy is what the experts call ‘growing’ – just like in the little town next door.

 

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