Thursday, April 20, 2006

Talk to the Invisible Hand

Invisible Hand addresses readers’ questions and concerns about economics and what really happens behind the free market walls. Invisible Hand is the son of Adam Smith and played an integral role in capitalism’s free market system until he became gainfully unemployed in 1986 – a direct result of trickle-down economics.

Dear Invisible Hand:

I've heard it said that a rising tide lifts all boats. Well, there ain't a whole lot of boats rising in my neighborhood, that's for sure. I saw on T.V. just the other day that 5.4 million more people have entered poverty since 2000. You sure can tell it around here. But the president says our economy is strong. Maybe the truth is, this particular tide is lifting only the yachts. What do you think?

Bitterly yours,
Sinking in New Orleans

Dear Sinking:

Declare war on Malibu! You’re correct, the tide is not only lifting yachts, but it’s been reported that some yachts have actually transcended the water in the Malibu Beach area. It’s up to you and your dispossessed peeps to trek across the country in a Joad-like caravan, invade Malibu, and commandeer the floating yachts back to the Gulf Coast. This will not only prompt the Federal government to take quick and decisive action (nobody messes with Malibu), but you can turn the yachts into gambling boats, and everyone knows gambling fixes every economic woe.

Faithfully Yours,
Invisible Hand

Dear Invisible Hand:

My husband and I work for a small business which, due to the exponential increases in health care, was forced to take away our health benefit package. We can no longer afford to work for this business, but we’re afraid to quit our jobs until we find new ones. Do you know a place we could work that will guarantee us health benefits?

Will Work for Health Care

Dear Will:


Faithfully Yours,
Invisible Hand
Dear Mr. Hand:

I was all for the Bush tax cuts. I believed the president when he said that if people get to keep more of their own money, especially rich people, they'd invest it and create more jobs. From where I sit, though, it looks like those folks are creating more jobs in Bangladesh than here in Batesville. My husband worked at the local casket factory for over 30 years, and we thought we were doing pretty good. Nothing's for sure but death and taxes, right? (Or so we thought.) Out of the blue, the company just folded up shop and moved the whole operation to Asia—and Howard just two years away from retirement. The personnel lady said maybe the laid off workers could get retrained to do something else, like plumbing. I'll be the first to admit that a lot needs flushing around here, but how many plumbers does she think Batesville needs? Besides, by the time Harold gets through community college, he'll be 65 and lucky to get a job greeting plumbers at Wal-Mart.

What are we going to do? Since you are so smart, I thought you might have some ideas.

Yours truly,
Hopeless Housewife

Dear Hopeless:

The President did create more jobs, just not in the United States. I suggest you take your husband’s severance pay and put it all in one casket: invest all of it in the outsourced casket company. Imagine the new profit margin after the caskets go from a 1000% markup when manufactured in the U.S. to the 10,000% markup when manufactured overseas with sweatshop labor. Buy low before it’s too late.

Faithfully Yours,
Invisible Hand

Dear Señor Invisible:

We were so happy in Mexico about the NAFTA! Things weren't going so good for me on my leetle farm, you know? Your American farm subsidies were driving me out of business. But when the NAFTA come, so many American factories opened on the border, si? So me and my esposa, we sell the farm and move to Tijuana to seek our fortune making shirts! This work was not so good as we thought, and we missed our friends and family, but it was work, eh? Then, the Chinese say they make the shirts for less money, so the factories go to China! Me and Maria, we no longer have bad job making shirts, no longer have farm, no longer have nothing!

So I write to you, Señor, to ask a favor. I think that if I am fast, I can make it past the fat Minute Mens at the border, and I come to your house and you give me job. Si?

Your amigo,

Dear Jose:

If you were to make it to Witsend alive, I’m afraid I have nothing to offer. Thanks to Reaganomics, I’ve been gainfully unemployed since 1986. I don’t think working for the unemployed would be too lucrative for you and your wife. Although, if you’re willing to wait another 21 months, I know somebody in Crawford, Texas, who will be unemployed and who will need somebody who possesses a firmer grasp of the English language, such as yourself, to ghost write his autobiography.

Faithfully Yours,
Invisible Hand
To test the free-market system and Invisible Hand’s expertise, please send your questions and/or scenarios to


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