Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

A Bit of Wealth Distribution Goes Long Way in Sherwood

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

A Bit of Wealth Distribution Goes Long Way in Sherwood

Article excerpt

WHO wants to be a millionaire?

Every American, if Russell Crowe has his way.

The Oscar winning actor is about to star in a Ridley Scott production of Robin Hood and he certainly knows how to prepare for a role.

True to character, he's keen on a bit of wealth distribution.

Except, where the romantic Sherwood Forest-dwelling bandit took from the rich to give to the poor, Crowe wants to give to everyone; well to all Americans, anyway.

As stock markets around the world plummeted last week, Crowe came up with a plan to stimulate the economy and get people spending: The US government should give every American - 300 million people - a gift of $US1 million.

He worked out the cost of $US300 million would only be a fraction of the $US700 billion financial bailout package politicians in Washington have been haggling over.

Crowe's solution to the financial crisis was announced during a chat with TV talkshow host Jay Leno and was dubbed the "Crowe Plan".

Go Russell!

Problem is, as mathematicians and economists pointed out, the Crowe Plan would actually cost $300 trillion. His $300 million would give Americans $1 each.

Still, even though I knew it had to be flawed (though I was too lazy to do the maths) I couldn't help thinking about Crowe's suggestion.

It's the sort of thing you ponder when you're stuck at the traffic lights at the corner of Ruthven and Margaret streets; plenty of time to solve the world's problems as you turn grey waiting for the green.

What WOULD happen if the Australian government adopted the Crowe Plan? Let's tone it down a bit, though, and suggest the government gives each of us $100,000.

Sure, unless we're all too unsettled by the turmoil on world markets and elect to hide the money under our mattresses, it would boost spending.

But then I thought if we all had this sort of financial windfall would anyone turn up for work?

Would we try to spend our big bonus only to find that no-one was around to sell us anything or produce products or services for us to buy?

Not only would inflation spike as all this money chased fewer goods but maybe, with no-one actually doing anything, the economy would simply collapse. …

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