Monopoly's new "house rules" will probably not be popular in the houses of Ron Paul or Rick Perry. Many of those rules are straight out of their Fed-hating nightmares.
Hasbro, maker of the Monopoly board game, has proposed a bunch of new "house rules," the most popular of which will be officially adopted as optional rules. Here's a sampling:
Free Parking, Fast Cash: All taxes and fees will be collected in the middle of the game board, if you land on Free Parking, it's your lucky day: collect all the money from the middle of the board.
Dash for the Cash: Landed on Go! Amazing, you get to double your salary - 400M dollars instead of 200M Dollars.
Lucky Roller: Did you just Roll Snake Eyes (double one's)… odds are in your favor, collect 500M Dollars.
3's a Crowd: Are there 3 players in a row on 3 unique properties? Well done, each player gets an extra 500M Dollars.
Break The Bank: At the start of the game, leave half the money in the bank. Then mix up the other half of the money in the center of a board. On the count of 3 every player grabs what they can! Free For All!
Look at all that cash flying around! That last rule is straight out of former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's playbook: In 2002, he proposed that one way to stimulate the economy would be to just dump cash out of a helicopter for people to grab.
Bernanke's Fed didn't go that far, but it did slash interest rates to zero and pump hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy in a series of stimulus measures. This enraged Texas Governor Rick Perry so much that he threatened Bernanke with lynching.
Perry, Paul and other conservatives and gold bugs hate the Fed's easy money. Fed money-printing will destroy capitalism and cause rampant hyperinflation and other perversions of nature, they have warned. Hasbro has not listened to those warnings, obviously.
The original Monopoly rules create a fake economy that "is akin to one tightly and aggressively controlled by a central bank," noted Slate writer Alison Griswold. They're more favorable to hard-money enthusiasts like Ron Paul, in other words. Looser rules will better reflect our current economy, economist Jock O’Connell told Griswold.
“People who have taken the rules into their own hands are probably trying to more closely emulate what they see happening in financial markets around the country and on Wall Street," O’Connell said.
Maybe, but these rules are also simply a lot more fun, which is why variants of them have been used by players for many decades, through hard times and good.
They could also represent fantasies of wealth redistribution. Under the old Monopoly rules, owning expensive properties like Boardwalk and Park Place is a key to success. With cash being funneled straight from the wealthy bank, even the riffraff slumming it on Mediterranean Avenue have a chance.
Soon, our living rooms may be full of little socialist Bernankes, if they aren't already.