The mystery of coherent fiscal policy.

My Granda taught me a lot of things. He was, in many respects, a genius.

An industrial chemist in his working life, I didn’t get to know him properly until he’d already retired and was in a position to drop a certain amount of wisdom directly into my head from years of percolation through his own experience. Now and again, something he said will strike me, and ring so true it seems folly I should have thought otherwise.

Thus I present to you his masterly summary of all things fiscal.

1. Look at a coin. it is a solid metal item, approximating to a cylinder whereby the parallel circular faces take up significantly more of the surface area than the band which joins them. It is round. Because money likes to move. What goes round, comes round. Easy come, easy go. The best coins for rolling are heavy and have a thick edge. Try it with pound coins on a table, if you can afford a table and pound coins. Money is made to move, to be acquired and moved on in exchange for goods, services, or anything else it can buy. Apparently, not happiness, but I’ve never been given a chance with enough of the stuff to test that theory completely.

or

2. Look at a coin. It’s basically a two sided circular object which falls on one face or the other. It’s flat. It’s good for stacking. Money in the bank is there for rainy days, or to give to those in need. It’s good to have reserves built up. What I make is mine. Once I have bought or traded for what I need, the rest can be put to one side. Money cannot buy happiness, but it can buy a level of security and comfort which is difficult if you have no money.

This summarises all fiscal policy, ever. Round or flat, that’s that.

I think the simplicity of this dichotomy is the truth of it. Politicians may spin their way through press release after press release, convincing the population at large that they are being considered and consulted, but all policy eventually boils down to this – stacking high or passing round.

I have yet to decide which balance of the two is best for me, so I would not presume to pass comment on the British economy.

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