Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Remnant: Money

Richards was cursing as he tried one more time to loosen the injector to the enormous cylinder of the Fairbanks-Morse, dual fuel engine.

The default mode was to run natural gas and to ignite the compressed air/NG mixture with a tiny injection of diesel fuel. Natural gas has a very high octane and is extremely resistant it igniting. Diesel fuel ignites very easily. Once the jet of diesel fuel ignites, the flame-front propagates throughout the cylinder and combusts the natural gas.

Except the governor had issued an executive order shutting off natural gas to rural areas. Ostensibly because the pressure had dropped so low that pilot lights would fail and home could potentially fill with natural gas and explode.

At some point the cities would have to start cutting off residential customers but for now they where basking in heat and the NG powerplants in larger cities were humming.

Not so, Eaton Rapids. It seemed to Richards that the governor could have shut off residential everywhere and kept all the electrical plants running. Not his circus. Not his monkeys, even if he was sure he had seen them before.

The Fairbanks-Morse engines were dual-fuel but it was not a quick or an easy transition. The F-M engine had been state-of-the-art in 1939. Various upgrades had been made but there was no way to pound enough diesel through the pencil sized injectors to turn the huge engines much less generate significant power.

If Richards had to, he could take the injectors out in pieces but they would never be usable again.

Sighing, he sprayed all of the injectors on the two, twelve cylinder engines with penetrating oil. He would give it another go before he tried the idea Martin over in the machine shop came up with. Martin proposed a socket that forced the injector poppet open and forced liquid CO2 through the injector. The hope was that the CO2 would shrink the body of the injector and make it easier to unscrew.

At this point, Richards was ready to try anything. Drilling out the injectors would undoubtedly bugger up the threads and then he would have to heli-coil them. Richards’ go-to-hell plan was to run the engine on diesel if he could get nine of the twelve cylinders changed over. He still had a way to go before he was there.


Jarrell asked for some uninterrupted “face time” with Mayor Wagner. It was easy to get face time with the Mayor. Uninterrupted face time was another kettle of fish.

Wagner invited Jarrell over to dinner. Jarrell accepted. He was not superstitious but he had a history of being able to make-the-sale over meals.

“So what is so important that you had to see me in private?” Wagner asked.

Mrs Wagner calmly cut and ate her vegetables. For all the attention she paid she might have been deaf.

“I want to talk about money” Jarrell said.

“You can complain about pay in public. Everybody else does” Wagner reproved him.

“I don’t want to talk about what you are paying me. I want to talk about why it might make sense for you to accept tax payments in things other than dollars” Jarrell said.

The mayor leaned back in his chair. “And why would I do that?”

“Because the dollar is on its way to becoming meaningless. It is more than halfway there” Jarrell said.

“Explain that to me” the mayor said.

“I used to be able to go to the store with twenty dollars and I could buy four pounds of bacon or two cases of beer or a nice bottle of wine” Jarrell said. “If I got home I could trade half my bacon for a case of beer and everybody would know where they stood.”

It seemed contrived but the Mayor could except the line of reasoning.

“Today, if something is reasonably priced it is either completely unavailable or it is something nobody uses and therefore meaningless” Jarrell said.

“On the other hand, if you want bacon…if you can find better be able to pony up twenty, thirty maybe even fifty dollars a pound”

“The government is handing out relief checks but they are based on a fictional inflation rate of 10% a year” Jarrell continued. “Looking at bacon, the inflation rate is closer to 500% and that has been in just the last two months.”

“Two things will happen if you demand that property taxes be paid in dollars. A lot of people will not be able to pay them and even if they could you will not have enough buying power to keep the city running” Jarrell said as he leaned back.

The Mayor was a good listener. He waited to see if Jarrell had anything more to say. He didn’t.

“I don’t know if you were aware, but I got a business degree from State” Mayor Wagner started his reply. “I was taught to never go to my boss with a problem in one hand if I didn’t have at least one solution in the other. Has that changed in the last forty years?”

Jarrell smiled. “No sir. That is still what they teach.”

The Mayor smiled a bleak smile. Jarrell’s narrative neatly summed up the sense of foreboding the mayor had. He could sense the storm clouds gathering upon the horizon.

“What is your solution. I cannot print dollar bills” the Mayor said.

Jarrell knew the sale was his to lose.

“You might not be able to print dollar bills but you can create money” Jarrell said. “I talked with Danno and he is willing to pay his property taxes with cannabis as long as you let others do the same.”

“Why would I want to do that?” the Mayor asked. The proposal came out of left field and caught him completely by surprise.

“Because if you accept cannabis at some par value, say $5 for every joint with 0.2 grams of cannabis the purpose of paying taxes, you effectively turned Danno’s greenhouse into a mint. The economy doesn’t have to lock-up because you created a new kind of money that Lansing and Washington cannot screw up.” 
"Why do I have to become involved?" the Mayor asked.
"Your say-so makes it official. Whatever rate you pick as 'par' sets the value of the new money" Jarrell said
"And what if a hundred people decide to grow weed? Where does that leave me?" Wagner asked.
"Let the rate float. The outdoor crop ripens in late September. Set the par value in the middle of October" Jarrell suggested.

“So what is in it for you?” Mayor Wagner asked.

“I want a charter to open a factory that makes condoms. To my way of thinking, if a joint is a five dollar bill then a condom ought to be worth a twenty.”
"I am a planner by nature" Jarrell said. "I can't help but wonder what might happen if the State of Michigan can no longer  ship pallets of flour to Eaton Rapids. It is better to have a plan, no matter how flawed, than to be deer in the headlights."


  1. Average Market Rate for Unprocessed Retail Marijuana:
    A.M.R sets the excise tax calculation.
    Colorado has sold 10.2 billion dollars in pot since 2014.
    Tax is about 40-50% spread between, state, county, city, special tax districts, first wholesale, then separate retail tax. Taxes are due monthly. A medium business pays 120,000$ tax including payroll tax a month. That business sells about 150lbs of flower a month, plus infused products amounting to about the same value.
    Marijuana was the beginning of the end for the Colorado I grew up in. The only road block to Fed legalization and Fed tax for pot is the Alcohol Industry, namely beer. Beer companies are the number one source of money against pot legalization. Pharma number two. Nothing to do with morals.

    1. The hippies won.
      Pot is legal.
      The barber shops are closed.

  2. Greg, that is very thought provoking. I never heard of the Alcohol Industry resistance to dope legalization before. Thanks---ken

  3. "It is better to have a plan, no matter how flawed, than to be deer in the headlights."

    Somebody needs to make this into a cross stitch.


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