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Frank Baum wrote “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” over a century ago. The story charms readers on several levels. The books and movie have been exceptionally popular. This interpretation describes the symbolism:

  • Emerald City: Greenbacks – paper money
  • Yellow Brick Road: The gold standard backing money
  • Dorothy’s Silver Slippers: Silver standard backing money (changed to Ruby color in the movie)
  • Scarecrow: Populist Midwestern farmers, perceived to be brainless by northern bankers
  • Tin Man: Dehumanized factory workers
  • Cowardly Lion: William Jennings Bryan, a politician
  • Dorothy: Average American who had the power to kill an evil witch – the existing monetary system – because she believed in herself.

Dorothy follows the yellow brick road and discovers the Wizard is a con-man manipulating images behind a curtain. Wizards and greenbacks conjured into existence by bankers are frauds.

(Thanks to Brian C. for the reference.)

A brief 2017 update to this classic story is:

Dorothy’s cell phone alerted her that a Category 5 hurricane approached her home in Florida. Officials on CNN stated, “We believe the Russians created the hurricane.”

She didn’t care if the Russians were responsible. Her job had been outsourced to China, and the bank repossessed her home and car. She barely survived on Social Security in a tiny mobile home that the powerful hurricane would surely destroy.

Dorothy prayed as the hurricane smashed Florida, leveling thousands of homes.  Flying debris shattered her windows, but a miracle occurred. Instead of crushing her home, the winds carried it far away and dumped it into a strange land.

Crash! Her home fell to the earth, breaking dishes and furniture. Dorothy stumbled outside, shaken and confused.

“Look, she killed the Wicked Witch of the East.” The local people bowed their heads toward Dorothy. “Thank you. We’re grateful.”

“I didn’t mean to kill anyone.” Dorothy stammered.

“But you did!  The Witch’s shoes and pantsuit are visible under the corner of the house.” The locals cheered.

“How do I return to Florida? I need to find my cats.” Tears rolled down her cheeks.

“You must ask The Wizard. He rules our world.  Even the Witches take orders from him. Follow the yellow brick road toward the Emerald City.” The people pointed south.

Dorothy looked around, but couldn’t see it. “What yellow brick road?”

“It’s black these days because it’s covered by debt sludge the Emerald City creates. Look over there.” The man pointed south and said, “The black road leads to The Wizard.”

“I will find The Wizard so I can return to Florida.” Dorothy walked south and found the path covered with black sludge. Soon she encountered two men resting beside the road.

“Hello, who are you? I’m Dorothy and I’m going to see The Wizard so he can send me home.”

“My name is Sammy Scarecrow, and this is Trevor Tin Man. We’re also traveling to meet The Wizard.”

“You are an unlikely couple.” She noticed the blank expression on Sammy Scarecrow’s face and the righteous frown on Trevor Tin Man’s.

Sammy told her, “I’m a liberal journalist. I write about Russian interference in American elections and politics.  But the stories make no sense. I need more brainpower.”

Trevor said, “I’m a neo-conservative who knows we must always fight wars, even against Russia. But my story is unappealing. I need heart to sell it.  The Wizard can give my liberal journalist friend brainpower and give me more heart. Let’s go see him.” Trevor Tin Man stood and began to slog through the sludge.

The three marched south along the black road where they encountered another man mumbling at the side of the road.

“Who are you?” Dorothy asked.

“Oh, my name is Leonard Lion. I’m a cowardly politician.  Voters want jobs, money and the benefits they were promised. They’re worried they’ll lose their savings, purchasing power and retirement. I’m afraid to tell them that all these things are fading away.” His voice sounded strong and powerful as he began his speech, but it trailed off into uncertainty.

Trevor Tin Man spoke to Leonard Lion. “You need courage. Walk with us to meet The Wizard. I’ll ask him for more heart, Sammy will ask for more brainpower, and Dorothy will ask to go home. You can ask for courage.”

“I’m delighted to go with you.” Leonard Lion spoke firmly and smiled as if he were recording an election commercial.

“We’re off to see The Wizard! Mind the debt sludge.” Dorothy directed the group south, toward the Emerald City.

Dorothy, Sammy Scarecrow, Trevor Tin Man and Leonard Lion braved stormy weather, deeper black sludge, drone monkeys and other dangers as they traveled south. After many hardships, they arrived at the Eccles Building, the Wizard’s home in the Emerald City.

Leonard Lion stepped forward. “Let me handle this.” He entered the building and informed the Receptionist, “We’re here to meet the Wizard. Take us to him.”

“Do you have an appointment?  No, of course you don’t.  Besides, the Wizard is conferencing with many important economists deciding the fate of our monetary world. He can’t see you today or ever!” She spoke firmly knowing The Wizard’s importance.

“I must see the Wizard.” Dorothy ignored her and pushed open the conference room doors.

She barged into the room and found it empty. “Where are the economists?” They looked around and saw one old man punching a computer keyboard. A black curtain partially hid him from their view.

“Go away. I’m busy.” The cranky old man snarled at them.

“No! We’re here to see The Wizard, and you don’t look like a Wizard.” Dorothy stomped her foot.

He stood barely five feet tall.  “I am a debt Wizard, and you are interrupting my work.  I must generate billions dollars of debt today.  Someone has to do it, and that someone is me. Now go!”

Sammy Scarecrow asked, “So you created the ugly debt sludge and destroyed the yellow brick road?”

“Yes, and I’m proud of it! Debt powers our financial world and makes my fellow bankers wealthy. Now leave!”

“You can’t help anyone. You’re a fraud. I’ll find my way home.” Dorothy turned and marched out.

“Russia isn’t causing our problems. You are!” Sammy Scarecrow screamed as he realized the mistakes of his fellow liberals and walked out.

“And you have no heart. You increase debt, but care about no one. Debt sludge destroys everything including our ability to fight wars.” Trevor Tin Man stomped out.

“I’m running for reelection. I’ll tell the truth about your dangerous sludge production.” Leonard Lion left the Eccles Building.

The Wizard returned to his computer and conjured up two billion dollars of debt during the next hour. He smiled to himself and forgot Dorothy and her group, because they were irrelevant.

The Wizard pumped out more debt sludge year after year. Most people lived unhappily ever after.

Almost everyone ignored real money – gold and silver – except those who called Miles Franklin at 1-800-822-8080 to protect their savings, retirement and purchasing power from the poisonous unbacked paper and digital debt sludge that contaminates our world.

Gary Christenson

The Deviant Investor