“Hey, my two favorite customers. Or two of my favorite customers. Or—at this my moment—my only two customers,” waitress Beverly observes. “Pull up a couple of chairs and I’ll pour you our special brew.”
“Uh…what are we subjected to today?” John questions warily.
“You’ll love our dry-roasted Ethiopian Harrar,” promises Beverly filling our cups.
“I hope it’s inexpensive,” I worry. “I’m a little short on cash.”
“That’s actually a good thing,” John consoles patting my hand. “I think you can be the poster boy for America’s new economy.”
“How so?” I ask withdrawing my hand.
“Yeah, I’m anxious to hear how my business is going to survive on no money, honey,” Beverly stares sternly at John.
“Uh…hem…,” John blushes, “let me explain. We know that President Trump is angry at American companies that have shipped their jobs overseas and fired U.S. workers.”
“True,” I acknowledge.
“And he says that we lose at everything especially when competing with Mexico, Japan, and China,” John continues.
“Ditto,” Beverly nods.
“The problem is that it’s cheaper for U.S. companies to use low-paid labor overseas to make products that were once manufactured right here in America and were the envy of the world.”
“We already know that, so…”
“And other countries in turn can undercut our prices by shipping cheap products to the America,” John expounds.
“Enough already, John,” Beverly reaches to take his cup. “Where are you headed with this.”
“It’s obvious and so simple that I’m shocked that President Trump didn’t think of it,” John smiles proudly.
“Yes, simple is the perfect description for the president,” I agree.
“And both Republicans and Democrats want to raise salaries to lift the poor out of poverty and make America more prosperous.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, we got it, John,” Beverly pours more coffee. “Here, chug this full-strength espresso so you can get to the point.”
“Don’t you two get it?” John asks in surprise. “We don’t need less poverty, we need more poor people!” Beverly and I exchange looks as our jaws drop, “Say what…!”
“Yes, yes, yes,” John feels the caffeine rush, “We need to lower our standard of living for everyone. We’ll slash all salaries by 25 percent, scrap the minimum wage, eliminate all expensive health care, and we’ll cut back prices on every product and service by 30 percent!”
“Wait, you want every American to be poor?” I ask in disbelief.
“Of course. Here’s the beauty of it. With lower salaries for all Americans we can’t buy anything. If we can’t buy anything, prices for everything will have to fall.”
“And with lower prices and wages, American companies will return to the United States because our workers will be poorer and cost less to hire than everybody overseas,” Beverly realizes.
“With such a dismal economy, all undocumented workers will go back home because they won’t want to be poor in America?” I ask.
“Of course. Why be poor in America when you can stay poor right in your own hometown,” John elucidates.
“So it will again be cheaper to make products here and we’ll export more to other countries and improve our balance of trade,” Beverly suggests.
“You got it, girl,” John tries to high five with Beverly.”
Beverly, not taking the bait, “So now we have full employment with poor people earning low salaries, products and services are dirt cheap so we can export at a profit to other nations, undocumented workers have fled our country to have better lives back home. I think you got it, John,” Beverly stands up and drops off the bill.
“Congratulations, you’ve created a Communist America.”
“What! No, that’s not what I want! Wait,…”
“Well, I’m glad I’m already poor,” I declare as I get up to leave and hand the bill to John. “I certainly can’t afford to buy coffee and drink with a Communist.”
“But…but…” John stammers.
“Just so you know, Vladimir,” Beverly snarks and extends her hand to John for payment. “We take only Yankee dollars here.”