As you fans of edgy thinking well know, this column has been your "edge"-fund of ideas...one whose time has yet to come...brilliant ones, revolutionary, to be sure, but based on precepts like value, honesty, common sense... concepts far too radical for the mainstream..
True to that mission, it's time to offer still more from the avant-garde furthest reaches , new ways to reinforce the shaky pillars of our collapsing economy. At some point in the future we'll work on improving cliches like "shaky pillars of our collapsing economy". But one major project at a time. First let's rescue the financial system.
Let's start with Big Banking. It's time to think outside the deposit box. Actually, go right next to it, to the ATM machine. You know that fee they charge anytime someone decides to take out his money, the one that irritates one and all? What if customers got a little trinket along with what little cash they had left to withdraw?
How about a share of the bank's stock? It isn't worth squat so it won't cost them much. Maybe they could offer the consumer a choice between that stock and a postage stamp, whichever is worth more...although unlike the stock we know the price of a stamp will definitely go up. Still,one share would be nice, considering that it would give the taxpayers a little piece of what they're already paying for. Just a little one.
Let's move on to those exorbitant charges for an overdraft. Instead of docking amounts that far exceed the bounced check, why not punish the offender another way?
Require him or her to unburden the bank by taking possession of a batch of those toxic securities it accumulated during the frenzy to put profits over responsibility. They're desperately trying to get dump them somewhere. You could call it a "Bad Asset Penalty"
Here's another way-out proposal, aimed at all those retailers whose customers have been abandoning them faster than Republicans are turning away from Michael Steele.
What those merchants who are struggling to get people into their stores actually induced them with improved service. I told you this would seem on the fringes but it's worth a try.
It doesn't have to be extreme. Perhaps start off by hiding your contempt for the customer. Maybe if you acknowledge he or she is there and not invisible, that would be a good start.
From there you can gradually move to being helpful. Sometime down the road, see if honesty works. Imagine a slogan like " We Won't Cheat You From Now On". What a draw that would be.
Think of all those who would flock to your establishment to spend their last bucks. Think of all those you couldn't layoff, who would then be able to shop elsewhere. They'd save the jobs of workers there who could then afford to patronize your establishment. And they'd want to because you're the one who didn't treat them like pond scum.
I wonder if they teach this in all the MBA programs and elite universities. I kinda doubt it. But that brings me to a final outlandish thought. What if we looked elsewhere for those who design and run our economic policies? Now THAT truly is exotic. Think of it, someone in charge who comes from the real world. That's where people face the consequences for their incompetence. Of course,it'll never happen. If the people running things had to account for their ineptitude, they would suddenly join the ranks of the unemployed. They're not about to surrender their power and wealth. So forget everything you just read.