Home » economics » Miracle on 1st Street SE

Miracle on 1st Street SE

Imagine that you are the proud manager of the only company that provides food to the people who live in a large area around your plant.  Your CFO comes to you for the quarterly update and for the first time in a long time it’s good news.  He shows you the graph below:

government pl

“We haven’t made money in ten years.  If we do nothing, we’ll be on forecast 1, still losing money, but the bleeding is slowing down.  We’re going to get through it.  We’re lucky that the cost savings and price increases we put in place over the last ten years have set us on that path, because sales and operations are demanding even lower prices and bigger budgets.  If we were going to give them what they wanted, we’d be on forecast 2 and still hemorrhaging cash.”

You think about it for a second and ask your CFO, “What does our balance sheet look like?”

He pulls out a copy of the balance sheet and hands it across your desk:

balance_sheet

“Oh, hmm, ” you say.  “I see our shareholders are in the red by about $15 trillion.  God love ’em, they do support us.  Let’s give sales and operations what they’re asking for.”

Your CFO should be shocked, but by now he’s totally resigned to your insane management of the company.   “Okay,” he says, “I’ll call up our overseas competitors and get additional funds.”

You reassure your CFO, saying, “Don’t worry, they know we’re the only company providing food here.  If they need us to pay off the debt, they’ll let us know, and we’ll just raise prices.  Our customers will have to pay it.  But let’s try to avoid that, okay?  Also, call some emergency meetings with sales and operations.  Make them work through the holidays to make sure we get onto forecast 2.”

You might think you’d be insane to run a company this way, but oddly enough, this is exactly what we’re doing to ourselves in the United States.  See, for instance,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiscal_cliff

http://www.gao.gov/financial/fy2011/11frusg.pdf (page 45)


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Doug via Email

I don't blog often. Guaranteed no email overload.

The up-and-coming landlord association for Massachusetts.