Apprentice
Meet The Billionaire

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Donald Trump and the suck-ups

Previously in the story of money: The demand curve looked at the supply curve all, "I'll see you at the market price, you bastard!" Alan Greenspan made out with monetary policy while Andrea Mitchell was having her hair done. Every state got to think up its own shiny quarter, and a bunch of them could think of nothing more scintillating than the official State Outline. Nobody really got into two-dollar bills, even though they were kind of an awesome idea, and nobody would touch Susan B. Anthony dollars, because no one could afford to invest the free time required to ascertain that they weren't quarters. Gas cost, like, $1.45 in the morning and $1.73 in the afternoon -- what was up with that? My bank had worse customer service than several European dictatorships of the past, including some that performed beheadings. Cereal seemed far too expensive, compared to other products that are largely flour. Like, for instance, flour. Northwest Airlines took over the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and brought with it the economic blessing of being unable to fly anywhere except Cedar Rapids for less than $300, unless you rode in the overhead compartment and forewent your pretzel twists. The Federal Reserve ran out of twenties after Alex Rodriguez visited a drive-through ATM on his way to Chuck E. Cheese. The rich got richer. The poor got poorer. The tax code thought expensive second homes were a greater social good than an advanced education. The post office would come to your house, pick up a letter, and deliver it anywhere you asked them to for 37 cents, but ordering French toast from room service four floors away required you to pay a jacked-up menu price, a delivery charge, an included gratuity, and a tip of your own if you didn't want the guy to sneeze on your pancakes. And through the wonders of eBay, everything was worth something to someone, even if it was broken.

We swoop in over water as tense music moans on the soundtrack. "Naaaaah-nah-nah-waaaaah," it says. We look up to see the skyline of Manhattan looming ahead. Several attractive aerial shots of the city follow, and then we hear the distinctive voice of one Donald Trump intone, "New York. My city." He means this literally, of course. New York is "where the wheels of the global economy never stop turning," he says, over pictures of Times Square and a bunch of people milling around, towered over by two enormously tall dudes who are apparently on vacation from their Lithuanian professional basketball team. Now that's the global economy in action. Trump next calls his city "a concrete metropolis of unparalleled strength and purpose." It drives business, it never sleeps...oh, and hey! There's the Stock Exchange! That's the factory where they make heart attacks! Manhattan is "the real jungle," and Donald says that "it can chew you up and spit you out." He says this over a shot of someone sleeping on a bench, which seems a bit too literal to me. "See? If you are weak in New York, you will end up like this guy!" In cheerier news not involving sadistic mockery of the homeless, Donald points out that "if you work hard, you can really hit it big."

Okay, let me see if I have this down. Do badly, suffer consequences. Work hard, do well. Donald is going a little bit fast for me, but then, I'm from the Midwest. I'll do my best to keep up. Hold on while I get another piece of hay to chew.

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Apprentice

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