The last thing I expected after the epic Ugo beat down at the end of episode 10 was to see episode 11 of Magi segued into a better explanation about the pitfalls of the preferred fiscal policies of the current administration then I’ve heard from the increasingly inept looking Boehner and the Republican party.
It was almost eerie how close the explanation of how Balbadd in Magi has fallen on bad times matches what’s going on right now in the United States. It started with an economic depression which the ruling party decided was best remedied with large infusions of paper money. In Magi this money was loaned to them by the Kou Empire and in real life our government just printed it and foreign countries like China bought the underlying bonds that backed this money (so slightly different at the start but eventually it’s almost exactly the same thing because the countries holding US debt can start influencing US policies because they, in effect, own a share of the country). Everyone applauds this injection of money but it gets thrown around with little thought of really accomplishing it’s supposed goal of helping turn around the economy.
The money runs out, the economy is still no better off and both Balbadd and the United States need more money. Balbadd borrows more money from the Kou Empire and the United States prints more money after getting China and others to buy more of their bonds. The cycle repeats and the economies of both Balbadd and the United States are still no better off and all this manipulating of the money supply has the side-effect of increased inflation. In Magi the general mentions how things that one day cost a single Fan note would cost two the next day. Here, the bean counters try to hide how much inflation has occurred but shopping at the same store for several years and comparing the experience is all that’s needed; a box of mac’n’cheese that cost $0.29 in 2008 now either costs $0.55 or it’s gotten reformulated with cheaper ingredients and only costs $0.45 (with an inferior taste) or a frozen chicken pot pie that cost $0.33 in 2008 now costs $0.79, to name just a couple of examples.
Another side-effect is that the poor in both Balbadd and the United States are worse off since the institution of this fiscal policy. Though, in Balbadd the poor rightly blame the ruling party for the problems but in the United States the ruling party convinced the poor that it’s not them but the other guys (who have no power in the government) who are making them worse off. I was even struck when, in Magi, the general said that they were borrowing money to try to pay off their debt because that so mirrors what’s going on in the United States.
Now, it’s not exactly the same between the two; Balbadd is further along in their slide and worse off and has a ruler set to sell the citizens of the country into slavery but that doesn’t change the underlying parallel circumstances.
How Balbadd gets back on it’s toes remands to be seen and will probably include at least a little hand-waving because even if they change rulers Balbadd still owes the Kou Empire a bunch of money. One part of the solution that seems heavily hinted at is the need to stop using the paper money of the Kou Empire and to go back to a money backed by gold. Which is where Ron Paul comes in because he believes the United States needs to do something similar. I’ve always found him a bit out-there but looking at the “negotiations” between both parties about this “fiscal cliff” and the inability of both sides to even attempt to rein in the monster debt-creating-habits of the government and thinking about episode 11 of Magi – I think maybe he’s onto something.