Hello again! Anastasia here, coming to you live from the heart of the United States(alt). As I promised in my last report, today’s topic of discussions is:
Our economy, after we eradicated our budget deficit in it’s entirety, has been very healthy for some years. There are many reasons for this, none the least of which is the fact that we phased out of the almighty greenback and adopted virtual currency. We now only use Bitcoin(alt), saving ourselves the expense of printing banknotes, minting coins and policing all of it against counterfeiters. As Bitcoin(alt) required no central regulating agency to either issue or transfer the currency, the banking industry argued most vociferously against the move. The Departments of Finance and Treasury(alt) which jointly proposed this legislation, fought quite a battle with banking special interest groups by launching media campaigns, all to sway public sentiment their way. Needless to say, the bankers lost. The Office of the Comptroller of Currency was charged with overseeing all Bitcoin(alt) transactions after all twenty one million coins Bitcoins(alt) had been successfully mined.
The banking industry wasn’t made entirely redundant. After all, the rest of the world still used physical currency and we still had to meet our international obligations as we had before. Banks were still needed to handle loans and mortgages as well as convert international currency receivables into Bitcoins(alt), but savings and checking accounts were eliminated since we had no use for these anymore. Same went for credit cards. Household debt dropped as people learned to live within their means. The crime rate went down as there was no physical cash to be stolen from anywhere. Early on there were a few incidents of hackers getting into individual accounts and illegally transferring deposits out but we increased safety measures and this ceased to be a problem. It took us a while to give up the feeling of security we derived from having cold hard (physical) cash but, with time, our phones took over the role of our wallets and now we look at it as having one less thing to carry around.
Another move we made was to assemble a committee of bankers, economists, lawyers and other specialists with the mandate to structure a means by which corporations which heretofore had vast amounts of assets overseas could repatriate those assets back to the U.S.(alt). After many months of haggling, the committee arrived at a solution (grudgingly) accepted to both sides. It was all very complicated and technical; the resulting procedure took several years to implement. Bottom line, the corporations had little choice as leaving their assets where they were risked rendering them worthless. Any effort to diminish those assets by diverting them elsewhere was met with penalties which made that particular exercise very counterproductive.
The U.S.(alt) became awash with cash. This rather fortuitously coincided with advances in medicine in general and geriatric medicine in particular, which resulted in life spans rising to the point where attaining the age of one hundred ceased to be an exceptional event. With life expectancy so much extended, and the overall health of the population, both mental and physical so much improved, middle age was considered as starting around the age of sixty, so we raised the official retirement age to eighty. With people working longer, our tax revenues increased dramatically as did contributions to Social Security(alt).
The influx of repatriated cash plus a consumer base which remained productive for so much longer, translated into an increase in overall disposable income, fueling demand on the market to provide more goods, resulting in expansion of production facilities to supply the same, the new factories and businesses generating new jobs, causing the unemployment rate to drop to somewhere around three percent and staying there. Business net revenues have been rising steadily year after year.
So much for our economy. There are many more things I could tell you - like the fact that, for a time, converting all coin operated machines was quite a profitable little business or that little children, too young to have phones, have the same piggybanks we all had in the old days, but now they contain plastic Bitcoins(alt), given to them by parents and relatives for whatever reason. Once they reach cell phone age, these coins usually get converted into usable currency although we have heard of a few instances where kids got shafted, but that’s another story.
Next time, and for a change of pace, I’ll tell you all about fashion. Till then, this has been,
A. J. Aston
Reporting to you live from the United States(alt)
Article first published as An Alternate Reality United States, Part II: The Economy on Blogcritics.