Two countries. Two different stories.

Good day in India. Bad day in the US.

Woke up this morning to find Trump is going to be the 45th President. Just when I thought I had seen the last of the chump, I find he’s sticking around for four years. Was it a whitelash against Obama? But lots of women, blacks and Latinos voted for Trump? Maybe all they wanted was change. Whatever. The quintessential big, ugly American has now come to personify the USA.

You make your bed, you sleep in it. If the Americans voted in Trump, then I guess the country deserves him. Sad to see him following an all-time great like Obama. Sad also for the many good people who’ve to see all they value being trashed. Maybe as the old saying goes, you need lows to appreciate the highs, and four years from now Americans will unite to say, “Never Again.” In the meanwhile, I hope Trump doesn’t bring down the whole sandcastle.

But life goes on.

Speaking of change, here in India, Prime Minister Modi risked his political future with a gutsy move. He banned ₹500 and ₹1000 currency notes overnight, and got four birds with one stone… black money, fake currency, income tax avoiders and terrorism financiers. The thing is political parties are notorious for hoarding black money so Modi’s own party will also be hit.

Some lucky goat just got to eat its richest meal ever

It’s estimated that the black money economy is over 20% of the Indian economy. Even more astonishing is the fact that only 2% of Indians pay any income tax at all. Most people work in the economy’s informal sector in jobs like construction workers, road side food sellers, and the like, which are completely driven by cash transactions that never figure in tax collection. Looks like India will now have lots of money to drive its economy.

But I wouldn’t completely write off black money. Indians are innovative enough to find other ways to avoid taxes. Like barter, using gold, or even huge amounts of smaller currency notes. Having said that, only 20% of printed currency value is in those smaller notes, so the damage is limited. I believe the new currency notes of ₹500 and ₹2000 will have tracking devices embedded in them that will make them hard to counterfeit.

Terrorism is the other big casualty of Modi’s sneak attack on black money. It’s a commonly accepted fact that Pakistan has mastered the art of printing fake Indian currency notes, and is in effect using fake Indian money to finance terrorism against India.

I’d love to have seen the faces of the ‘rich’ terrorists who woke up to find they are now owners of tons of worthless paper.

And that’s a nice thought of the day to sign off with!

it’s an odd world

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