Chart 62

The One-Minute Economic Cheat Sheet

Do you feel insecure? Are you unable to blurt out that key phrase that makes you the hit of the cocktail circuit? If so, this chart is perfect for you. It's a one-minute cheat sheet of American economic history. With it, you can stun your friends and dazzle acquaintances.

Your brother-in-law is on the phone badgering your wife into splurging from Dear Old Dad's trust. He wants her to take a flyer on raw Florida real estate that “can only go one way.” She's beside herself. She's afraid of blowing the bucks but also was never able to turn down her big brother. Decisively, you step into the cauldron by pulling out your cheat sheet and picking up the phone. “Ed, I've thought long and hard about this. The similarities are just too great. Unless you can convince me that I'm wrong about how much this economy parallels what went on during the Bank Credit Boom of the 1830s, I'm gonna have to lean on Suzy real hard to avoid raw land right now. I'II send you one of my old economic history texts on it—then get back to us.” Ed will never call you again, and to Suzy, you're her hero.

You're at a cocktail party, and some bozo is prattling on about how well his firm has done and the oodles of money he is raking in. Someone turns to you and belches through his gin fizz, “Poindexter, how're things for you lately?” You think back to your chart, then chime in, “Well, John, we've been doing swimmingly well ourselves, but I've been consciously trying to avoid ...

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