This is an imaginary TV programme.
First of all, they show national economics and financing as politicians and commentators describe it:
'balancing the books'; 'not spending beyond our means' and all that.
Perhaps this could be done with person sitting in a room doing his or her accounts and then going off to the shops and saying, "Oh no, I can't afford that...'
Then it would show the 'Exchequer' - also as a room - and the Chancellor doing the nation's accounts.
Now this would be quite different.
1. To borrow money, the Chancellor would be seen to 'issue bonds' which people would come and buy off him. This appears on his accounts as 'debts' and 'deficit' (if it was the so-called gap between this year's expenditure and income). He needs to borrow money, he says, because a few years ago, the banks got in such difficulties issuing their bonds and lending money that they were all about to go bust. ( He purses his lips and tuts.) To help them out, the government agreed to take them over but this required him and his predecessor to 'issue bonds'. He doesn't like saying 'issue bonds'. He much prefers to say, 'borrow money' as this make him sound more like a household, and as we're all stupid, it's the only thing we can understand.
2. In the next door room, the boss of the Bank of England would shout through to say that hey, good news, he was buying these bonds off the people who had bought them. We would hear that he was buying them for more than what the previous buyers spent, but hey, who cares? (Laughter all round.) We would see that he was buying them with money he was creating with his money-making machine (or by shaking the magic money tree, perhaps). He would announce that he's got the bonds now and this was great because there was now more money 'in circulation' which will really help people want to 'invest' in business. 'Win-win,' he shouts, though this particular part of his wish-list doesn't actually materialise. All that happens is that some extremely rich people get richer. In reality, the government is now in debt to itself. Really? Well, yes, because the Bank of England isn't really as independent as people make out. They just juggle sums between them and 'the market' - the people 'out there' who are willing to buy bonds. If this looks like conjuring, that's because it is but we all like a good conjuring show. The TV show we are watching shows the Chancellor, the boss of the Bank of England and some people from 'business' juggling money, while the magic money making machine pumps more and more money into the juggling act. We love this. More, more, we shout, especially those of us carrying 'Vote Conservative' flags and Lord Mandelson. He likes this too.
3. Some stern very rich people would now come in and tell the Chancellor that they needed two things from him: low wages and a small public sector, otherwise they won't be able to go on making business work. It really doesn't matter if this is true or not. The point is, it's what these people always say. The Chancellor behaves as if these people are the Krays. In fact they are people like Sir Greville de Greville Greville from Greville, Greville and Greville, which owns Africa.
4. The Chancellor would say 'And this will bring down the deficit?' Yes, say the stern, rich people but in truth they don't give a damn and anyway, the deficit is just a projection or invention or both. It's a bit like the Cheshire Cat in reverse. The Cat Cheshire, in fact. It's there but not there. When it's supposedly there, people come on TV and say it's there. But when the Chancellor looks, it's not there yet. In a few years time, people look back and say, 'it was there' even though it wasn't really there then. The people on radio, TV and in the papers, though pretend they are very afraid of the Cat Cheshire. They treat it as if it's real and that if we don't all treat it as real, Sir Greville de Greville Greville will come in and we will all be ruined, especially poor people. This is not about rich people saving their own skins. Oh no oh no. This is about poor people who need rich people to give them jobs. Otherwise they wouldn't know what to make.
5. The Chancellor now goes on TV and says that he's been 'balancing the books' and 'we can't spend more than we earn' so people on low incomes must be on lower incomes. More flag waving from the flag-wavers and Lord Mandelson who seems to spend a lot of time in TV studios these days. If people on low incomes don't go to lower incomes, there would be chaos and hell and armageddon. A lot of radio and TV and newspaper journalists write down, 'hell and chaos and armageddon' and promise to keep saying this, whenever the word 'government deficit' is mentioned. They get pay rises and offers of a seat in parliament or jobs as the Prime Minister's press secretary. Some revolving doors start to revolve.
6. In the background the stern rich men nod and give thumbs up and go back to Africa where several countries are on the verge of bankruptcy whilst delivering $40 trillions-worth of precious metals, diamonds and oil to Greville, Greville and Greville.
7. At the end of the TV programme, a grizzled bearded bloke and a keen woman from a think tank are asked to agree that this is all for the good. They don't agree with this at all. They try to say, (though they are interrupted with comments about the fact that the grizzled bloke is wearing an old jumper and why they are both in favour of violence) that if the government and the Bank of England can do this juggling to borrow money, why not spend that money on things that people need, like: wages, the NHS, schools, and the making of useful things like alternative energy systems? This would then not be 'lost' in the way that the bond issue and Bank of England magic money tree juggling system had done, but would increase the wealth and well-being of all. In fact, when people saw, say, how these alternative energy systems were run with the people owning and controlling what was made (and how) people would start to ask questions about everything else...and how it's owned and controlled...and who for? Who do these systems of banking and manufacture benefit? And why?
8. Someone pulls the plug on the TV programme and normal service is resumed with a very experienced TV presenter explaining why running the economy is just the same as running a household budget. Lord Mandelson agrees and says that the greatest danger facing this country today is the grizzled bearded bloke and the keen woman.