Friday, May 29, 2020

We’re All Marxists Now

Animal Crackers (1930 film) - Wikipedia

Gregg Opelka has an opinion piece in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, Marxist Economic Policy—as in Groucho, in which he exposes the unintended consequences of the country’s ongoing Wuhan Cooties economic policy of shutdown and compensation:

We’re all Marxists now. Not Karl, Groucho. There’s a famous sketch in “Animal Crackers” (1930) in which Groucho (as Captain Spaulding) quizzes Chico (Signor Emanuel Ravelli) on how much money the band gets paid. “What do you fellas get an hour?” Groucho asks. “For playing we get $10 an hour,” Chico replies.

Groucho presses: “I see. What do you get for not playing?” “For not playing we get $12 an hour. . . . Now for rehearsing, we make special rate. That’s $15 an hour.” Groucho: “That’s for rehearsing? And what do you get for not rehearsing?” Chico: “You couldn’t afford it. You see, if we don’t rehearse, we don’t play. And if we don’t play, that runs into money.”

Thus demonstrating that the Marx brothers, in a  90 year old movie, had a better grasp of Keynesian economics than anyone in Congress has exhibited at any time since.

Opelka, who is also a writer, makes his point with a Marx brothers like appreciation for the theatre of the absurd.

I have a musician friend, Jim. He plays the bass. Jim is a talented man, and his gigging takes many forms—studio recording as well as live performance. As has happened to so many, his entire livelihood dried up overnight in mid-March. After filing for unemployment relief, he was grateful to receive the bulk of his lost weekly income but equally surprised by the unexpected $600-a-week bonus.

Without auditioning for it, Jim has become an unofficial member of Signor Ravelli’s Animal Crackers orchestra. He recently complained, only half ironically, that he doesn’t know how he’ll make ends meet once he can work again.

If we stay the course Congress’ next movie will undoubtedly be a remake of Duck Soup (the story of a bankrupt country handed over to a would-be dictator, in case you’re not a Marx brothers aficionado).

"If any form of pleasure is exhibited, report to me and it will be prohibited... This is the land of the free!"