“Here’s an idea: once you earn over fifty million dollars, you get a free pass agreed on by every world government and participating society that aside from buying something major like property, let’s you otherwise make everyday small purchases of up to $1000 a day for you and you alone indefinitely….for the rest of your life. Anybody should be able to live off that kind of spending.”
“Hmm…” Harry took it all in. “Nice idea, but that’s pretty naïve. That would only work if there was no corruption in any government. If these oligarch’s weren’t trading their economies away for each other.”
“These so-called Demodads, you mean” Cheryl added with a smirk.
“Yeah…but it wouldn’t work.”
“No, it really could work! That way no tiny fraction of the population ever hordes most of the wealth ever again. Then you could regulate reasonable capitalism, instead of this stupid system they clung on to this whole time.”
“You really thought this one through, huh?”
“Well we got all the time in the world down here. You know, in a way — it’s a relief maybe this happened. Otherwise, I don’t think the cycle could have ever been fixed itself. We’re too stubborn.”
“Hmm, another interesting theory.”
Cheryl was flattered, but after a while she had to ask: “What, this fallout/natural disaster above being for our own good?”
“No, I mean your theory on economics. Assuming you keep the proportions of taxes the same for everyone, You thinking that it would minimize an uprising, or some mass exodus by the rich. But that’s assuming that everyone with super wealth was rational and not suffering from obsessive compulsive hoarding. Otherwise the middle class would eventually get screwed.”
“I don’t think it works like that. Besides, come on. You don’t think all super rich people could be that greedy could you?”
“Well, I’m not just talking about rich: how the hell do you think we got into this mess in the first place?”
“I don’t know.”
“Let me ask you this, back to your last point: What if I’m rich and I want to run the government? At that point, people would need to know what are my motives? Imagine a law that says that as a candidate you must either accept the need to contribute to philanthropy, or if you are a greedy sociopath, it’s open season on you. The law states anyone can kill you. That would be an amazing system.”
Cheryl nodded with delinquent agreement. “That would be an amazing system.”
Harry put his arm around Cheryl. “I’m kidding. That would violate everything I stand for. Who the hell should force anybody to be ‘nice’? It’s not sincere. There’s got to be a better solution.” They were sitting on the floor of the ‘living room hallway’ – it was the long hallway in the bunker that provided the only luminescence of natural light in this entire bomb shelter: A skylight fifty feet above that could be reached by a long black ladder inside the exit shaft. Harry and Cheryl liked sitting there in the afternoons when daylight seemed brightest. Occasionally, the Hesselson boys would join them and they would play board games. But here was where they would watch the day go by and ponder the fate of the world if they ever got a chance to get out of here.
Soon Tim walked by and sat with them — there were only so many places to wander inside of here.
“What are you contemplating now?” Tim had to ask. Harry filled him in on their conversation, and after nodding and listening intently for some time, he started to agree with them.
“You think we would have learned this fourth time around; with the massive civil unrest in the last twenty years, the segregation of societies gone wrong, and the nuke that detonated, the damn weather patterns as a warning, and the ancient astronaut alien religions that sprouted everywhere, but we didn’t’.”
“But we didn’t” Harry nodded in agreement. They sat silent for a few minutes. After a while Harry broke it: “ Maybe Michelle really was right about this one: ‘the experience of life is a form of testing: to see if you can master being grateful for whatever you get in this life’.”
“Well if that’s the case, then I hope she opens the hatch upstairs already and comes down and tells us how she survived that long inside the blob above.” They all laughed for a bit, until something triggered inside Cheryl’s mind, and after staring catatonically at the wall for a bit while Tim and Harry talked, she started to cry. “What is it? What’s wrong?” “ I actually started thinking I can’t believe how fucking beautiful nature in this earth is…and thinking about how the fucking human race ruined everything makes me want to fucking kill everyone!” Tim and Harry looked at her sympathetically, but Harry had to laugh after a while. “There is complete irony in that thinking…maye that’s one of them sociopathic seeds that made people become so self-destructive about this planet in the first place”
“Deep! Where the hell did that come from?” asked Tim.
“Yeah, more of Harry’s Michelle-isms” Cheryl added with a smile amidst her tears. “I know what he’s going to say next; I’ve heard this a hundred times: ‘To think you’re morally justified to inflict violence is what brought about the cloud. Yeah…that’s what she would have said.”