Which Economic System Prevents Pandemics?

Cartoon by Barry


Welcome to my friend and now collaborator Frank Young, who colored this cartoon. There’s no way I could do justice to Frank’s resume – cartoonist, novelist, former editor of the Comics Journal, author of many nonfiction books about classic comics, and curator of many fine collections of classic comics.

The first time Frank colored this cartoon, he colored it like a regular cartoon – you know, with actual colors and stuff. I had to ask him to try again, this time using the sort of very limited palettes I usually prefer. I’m very happy with how the finished cartoon came out.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels, plus a small “kicker” panel below the bottom of the strip.

Each of the panels shows the same scene; two humans, and an anthropomorphized coronavirus (with a perfectly round head and little things sticking out of the head in every direction). Other than that, the corona virus has an ordinary human body.

The two humans are a woman with shoulder-length hair, wearing a turtleneck and a skirt with a floral pattern; and a woman with glasses, black bobbed hair (like Lucy from Peanuts), and a sleeveless dress over a striped short-sleeved shirt.

They’re sitting around a little round table with two cups of coffee on it. The two women are arguing. The coronavirus is just looking ahead blankly, not seeming to pay attention to what the women are saying.

PANEL 1

GLASSES: It’s not a coincidence that cornonavirus began in a communist country. An unfettered free market wouldn’t have-

TURTLENECK: That’s crap!

PANEL 2

TURTLENECK: Single payer could have prevented this!

GLASSES: Socialized medicine didn’t save Italy, Spain and Germany!

PANEL 3

The same scene. The two women are leaning into their argument, their noses almost touching. The coronavirus, still without much expression, lifts a forefinger and speaks.

TURTLENECK: Just like capitalism didn’t-

GLASSES: How can you ignore-

CORONAVIRUS: Can I say something?

PANEL 4

Silent panel.

The chair coronavirus was sitting in is empty, and coronavirus is not in this panel.

The two women slump against the table and chairs, dead. (They have little “X”s for eyes, cartoon symbols for being dead.) An overturned coffee mug on the table is spilling over the side of the table.

SMALL KICKER PANEL UNDER THE BOTTOM OF THE STRIP

Two middle-aged men talk; one of them is Barry, the cartoonist. The first man looks inquisitive; Barry responds cheerfully.

MAN: So you’re saying both sides are equally bad?

BARRY: The phrase “fuck no” is woefully inadequate.


Posted in COVID-19, Economic cartoons |

Copyright: The Biggest Government Giveaway of All (featuring Bill Gates)

Cartoon by Barry


This cartoon was inspired by this Dean Baker essay.


If you like these cartoons, help me make more by supporting my Patreon! A $1 or $2 pledge really matters.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has five panels, plus a small “kicker” panel under the cartoon. All of the panels show the same setting: a sidewalk next to a grassy field with a couple of scattered trees.

PANEL 1

A balding man is talking on his cell phone, ranting to a friend or perhaps calling in to talk radio. He’s wearing a short sleeved shirt with a “!” on front. Behind him, Bill Gates is walking up to him with a friendly expression, raising a forefinger in a “making a point” gesture.

MAN: I say, Bill Gates earned every dollar of his $108 billion! The government had nothing to do with it!

BILL GATES: Actually, that’s not true.

PANEL 2

The man, turning around, jumps with surprise.

MAN: Gasp! Bill Gates!

GATES: I owe my fortune to the biggest government giveaway of all… Copyright law!

PANEL 3

A close-up of Gates, smiling and explaining.

GATES: People talk about copyright for “lifetime plus seventy years” as if it’s a law of nature. It’ snot! It’s a law that big corps like Disney lobbied for!

PANEL 4

A longer shot of Gates, spreading his hands as he talks.

GATES: If copyright only lasted five years, I might have to get by on “only” $25 million, and consumers would save a ton of money!

GATES: Plus, less monopoly would probably mean better products.

PANEL 5

Gates walks away, looking upward and holding one hand out towards the sky in a “I am a visionary” sort of gesture. Behind him, the balm man is happily cheering.

GATES: Now, if you’ll excuse me, somewhere out there is a small company with a great product. I’ll buy them out and make sure no one sees that great product for seventy years!

GATES: Just another way consumers get screwed by… Copyright law!

MAN: Hooray! Thank you Bill Gates!

SMALL KICKER PANEL UNDER THE BOTTOM OF THE STRIP

Barry the cartoonist, looking mildly surprised, is talking to the bald man, who is smiling.

BARRY: Why are you cheering? Aren’t you against government interference with free markets?

MAN: Mainly I just worship rich people.

Posted in Economic cartoons |

Billionaires Discuss Economics

Cartoon by Barry


If you enjoy these cartoons, help me make more by supporting my Patreon! A $1 pledge really helps.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has five panels, plus a small “kicker” panel below the bottom of the final panel.

PANEL 1

This is a title panel, showing a sedate arrangement of flowers in front of a vase. That’s all just the background for the lettering, which says: “Another edifying episode of… Billionaires discuss Economics”

PANEL 2

A middle aged-man sits in a high-backed desk chair; there is a desk in front of him, with a laptop and a cup of coffee on a saucer. He’s reading a magazine called “Tax Dodge Monthly.” But at this moment he’s looked up from the magazine to address the viewer, smiling.

SEATED MAN: Giving poor people handouts creates a culture of dependency, so the best way to help is to give them nothing.

PANEL 3

A younger man, wearing glasses and a Yale tee shirt, stands on a tennis court, holding a tennis racket over one shoulder. He speaks to the reader, looking friendly.

TENNIS: My great-great-grandfather made a fortune busting unions and paying workers a pittance. And eventually I inherited that fortune! Why can’t poor people just do that?

PANEL 4

A middle-aged man, balding, with a neat, pointy beard just on his chin, speaks sternly to the readers, one forefinger raised as if making a point. He’s wearing a double-breasted blazer and a necktie. Next to him, his dog looks up at him calmly. Behind him is an enormous mansion with big pillars surrounding the door.

BEARD: I’m sorry some people can’t afford health care, but we can’t help everyone with every little problem. People need to toughen up.

PANEL 5

The three characters from the previous three panels are all in this panel, looking frightened and panicked.

SITTING MAN: A small tax increase on income over fifty million dollars? It’s highway robbery!

TENNIS: Where’s their compassion?

BEARD: Why don’t they care what happens to us?

SMALL KICKER PANEL BELOW THE BOTTOM OF THE STRIP

The “Beard” character from panel four is chewing out Barry, the cartoonist.

BEARD: This cartoon is yet another example of pervasive anti-billionaire bigotry!

Posted in Economic cartoons |

It’s Excessive Occupational Licensing, Charlie Brown!

Cartoon by Barry


Help me make more cartoons by supporting my Patreon! I make a living through $1 pledges.


This cartoon is a collaboration with Becky Hawkins.  Becky and I have done other political cartoons together, and we also collaborate on our webcomic SuperButch.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels, plus a small extra “kicker” panel below the bottom of the strip. Each panel has the same setting – a green field with blue sky, and a childish booth, drawn to resemble Lucy’s “psychiatric help, the doctor is in” booth from the comic strip Peanuts. But this booth says “State Legislature, the Senator is in.”

Behind the desk is a white man with gray hair and a conservative suit and tie.

Panel 1

The Senator sits behind his booth, listening with his head resting on one hand. A Black person with braided hair has walked up to the booth and is talking to him.

BRAIDER: I’m starting a business braiding Black people’s hair. But the law says I can’t until I’ve taken two thousand hours of training in styling white people’s hair.

Panel 2

The Braider keeps on talking, getting a bit more passionate. Behind them, a grinning man wearing a v-neck shirt and a blazer, with a full beard and carefully styled hair, walks on, waving “hi.”

BRAIDER: Even becoming an Emergency Medical Technician only takes thirty three hours of training! This makes no sense!

SENATOR: This is Bob Johnson of the State Hairdresser’s Association. What do you say, Bob?

Panel 3

Bob leans his elbow on the Senator’s desk, oozing confidence. The Senator listens like an attentive schoolboy. Behind Bob, unnoticed, the Braider looks angry and appalled.

BOB: It’s far too dangerous to permit competit- I mean, to permit unlicensed hair braiding.

BOB: On a completely unrelated note, we’re increasing our donation to your re-election campaign.

Panel 4

The Senator, with a satisfied air, leans back on his chair, hands behind his head and feet on his desk. Bob grins and makes a “hand gun” gesture towards the Senator. The braider raises her hands into the air, and has a huge open mouth of despair and objection as she yells.

SENATOR: After careful deliberation, I’ve concluded unlicensed braiding would be a grave threat to public safety.

BOB: Thanks, Jeff. Lunch?

BRAIDER: THIS IS A TERRIBLE SYSTEM!

Small kicker panel below the bottom of the strip.

The Senator is talking to the braider.

SENATOR: If you don’t want to buy thousands of hours of training about white people’s hair, aren’t you the real racist?

Posted in Becky Hawkins collaborations, Economic cartoons, Racism & Racists |

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Cartoon by Barry


If you enjoy my cartoons, help me make more by supporting my patreon. A $1 pledge really helps!


Transcript of Cartoon

This cartoon has four panels.

PANEL 1

Two women, a dark-haired woman with glasses (who I was thinking of as Latina when I drew her, but looking at the finished drawing I have to admit she looks racially ambiguous) and a blonde white woman in a polka-dot skirt, are standing outside, talking on a sidewalk. Glasses is saying something enthusiastically; Polka is listening with a hand on her chin.

GLASSES: No regular person can afford a million dollars in medical bills if their kid is in an accident. So we’d ALL be helped by Medicare For All.

POLKA: That makes sense.

PANEL 2

The two are walking as they talk.

GLASSES: We need food stamps  and rent subsidies. Because no one in a rich country should be hungry or homeless.

POLKA: I hear you.

PANEL 3

GLASSES: And maybe we need some sort of federal job guarantee, so everyone who wants to work, can.

POLKA: That would have helped me a lot last year.

PANEL 4

Glasses continues to talk happily, hands outspread in a “it’s all so reasonable” gesture, but Polka is angrily yelling, pointing one finger into the air.

GLASSES: Plus, these programs can do a lot for groups like the Black-

POLKA: THESE IDEAS ARE SOCIALISM AND I’LL HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM!


This cartoon on Patreon.

Posted in Economic cartoons, Racism & Racists |

Doctor Austerity

Cartoon by Barry


Help me keep drawing cartoons! Support my Patreon! A $1 pledge really matters to me.


Austerity – the policy of cutting government social spending in order to appease fiscal hawks (and investors and creditors) – is arguably the most harmful economic policy in the world. The economist Paul Krugman describes what was going on in 2010:

…elites all across the western world were gripped by austerity fever, a strange malady that combined extravagant fear with blithe optimism. Every country running significant budget deficits – as nearly all were in the aftermath of the financial crisis – was deemed at imminent risk of becoming another Greece unless it immediately began cutting spending and raising taxes. Concerns that imposing such austerity in already depressed economies would deepen their depression and delay recovery were airily dismissed; fiscal probity, we were assured, would inspire business-boosting confidence, and all would be well. …

Since the global turn to austerity in 2010, every country that introduced significant austerity has seen its economy suffer, with the depth of the suffering closely related to the harshness of the austerity.

And it’s important to understand that even countries that wouldn’t choose austerity policies for themselves, can have those policies forced on them. (This thought is what inspired my cartoon). Creditors from larger, more powerful economies can insist on austerity policies. Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, regarding the economic disaster in Greece, wrote:

Of course, the economics behind the program that the “troika” (the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) foisted on Greece five years ago has been abysmal, resulting in a 25 percent decline in the country’s GDP. I can think of no depression, ever, that has been so deliberate and had such catastrophic consequences: Greece’s rate of youth unemployment, for example, now exceeds 60 percent.

It is startling that the troika has refused to accept responsibility for any of this or admit how bad its forecasts and models have been. But what is even more surprising is that Europe’s leaders have not even learned. The troika is still demanding that Greece achieve a primary budget surplus (excluding interest payments) of 3.5 percent of GDP by 2018.

I think the reason austerity policies have such a hold on certain economic elites (turns and glares at Germany), as well as on many ordinary citizens, is that it tells a story which makes intuitive sense to us. Austerity is a morality play: If a country’s economy is bad, it’s because that country has been spending too much. So the solution is to starve for a while. Tighten your belt, Greece!

But at a country level, belt-tightening is the very worst thing a country can do in a recession. When governments slash spending, that means less people have work; when less people have work, they spend less, and recessions become worse. And if the recession getting worse leads to creditors demanding further cuts, a country can get caught in a vicious cycle.

In the Krugman article I linked to, written in 2015, Krugman wrote that no one believes in austerity anymore. But the idea – or, rather, the ideology – hasn’t gone away, and is currently causing great suffering in the UK.

In the U.S., any time the economy takes a downturn, the austerity ideologues emerge and call for cuts, cuts and more cuts. The more influence they have the next time we’re in a recession, the longer it’ll take us to recover.

In his article “How Austerity Ripped The World Apart,” Umair Haque takes a big-picture view, arguing that austerity is ultimately derived from economic thinking developed in slave-owning America. I don’t agree with everything Haque says, but his definition of austerity really struck me.

Austerity simply means a lack of investment by societies in themselves, in people, in public goods. Things like healthcare, education, transport, energy, retirement, decent jobs, incomes, savings. The problem is that all those things are what underpin the stability of societies, by ensuring that prosperity is something that is realized by all — not just something greedily seized by a tiny few.

 


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. All four panels are set in a doctor’s office. There are three people in each panel. The first is an extremely wealthy looking man – he looks like a stereotypical banker – in a three-piece suit, smoking a pipe. The second man is the patient, a disheveled and emaciated man in boxer shorts and a sleeveless shirt. The third man is Doctor Austerity. Doctor Austerity wears a white doctor’s coat, a stethoscope, and a head mirror. (That’s what they’re called, honest!). Doctor Austerity is a huge, hulking, powerful looking man, with large hands and deep-set eyes.

A caption at the bottom of the cartoon says “DOCTOR AUSTERITY.”

PANEL 1

The Banker and Doctor Austerity talk. Both are patting the Patient on the shoulder. The Patient is sitting on the examination table.

BANKER: Doctor Austerity, my friend’s economy is weak. Could you give him your treatment?

DOCTOR AUSTERITY: Of course! My treatment never fails!

PANEL 2

Doctor Austerity has his hands around the patients neck, squeezing hard, and has lifted the patient right off the examination table. The patient has wide eyes and his tongue is sticking out of his mouth.

PATIENT: Choke! Ack!

DOCTOR AUSTERITY: Soon he’ll be completely better!

PANEL 3

Doctor Austerity has let go of the patient; the patient is bent over, panting and gasping for air. The Banker peers at the patient; Doctor Austerity thinks hard, with one hand on his chin.

BANKER: That’s odd… He’s getting worse.

DOCTOR AUSTERITY: Hmnn!

PANEL 4

Doctor Austerity and the Banker smile at each other, chatting, while the doctor resumes choking the patient to death.

BANKER: Better apply more treatment.

DOCTOR AUSTERITY: Good plan!

Posted in Economic cartoons |

Inheriting the Economy

Cartoon by Barry

This cartoon was drawn by Becky Hawkins. who I’ve collaborated with several times before.


Help me make more cartoons: Support my patreon! A $1 pledge really helps.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

There are four panels in this cartoon.

PANEL 1

Two youngish adults, a man and a woman, are thrilled as they look at a yellow sports car with a big red bow wrapped around it. Their clothes and hairdos both suggest the 1970s.

MAN: Wow! What a GREAT economy we’ve inherited.

PANEL 2

The two of them are speeding along in the car, going so fast that the car is several feet above the ground. A rabbit flees in terror. He is grinning; she is throwing a fist into the air.

MAN: Zoom! ZOOM!

WOMAN: Whoopie!

PANEL 3

The same man and woman, but now looking in their 60s (and with updated wardrobe and hair), are standing by the now completely wrecked and smoking car. They’ve put a red bow on the wreckage, and they look very cheerful, maybe even proud. There’s a young man and a young woman, looking like they’re in shock. The older man holds out car keys to the young man.

MAN: Okay, kids, take the keys! It’s all yours now!

PANEL 4

The older man and woman talk to each other. In the background, the yellow sports car wreckage has burst into flames; the young woman looks shocked, and the young man, unnoticed by the older couple, is giving them the finger.

MAN: Why don’t they drive like we did?

WOMAN: Millennials are so lazy.

 

Posted in Becky Hawkins collaborations, Economic cartoons |

If Taxation Really WERE Just Like Theft

Cartoon by Barry


Help me make more cartoons: Support my patreon! A $1 pledge really means a lot.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has six panels, with a caption underneath the bottom of the strip.

PANEL 1
Two women pull back in shock from a mugger holding a gun pointed at them. They are all on a sidewalk; there’s a cracked wall behind them, covered with graffiti. The mugger is dressed like a very stereotypical criminal: Black knit cap, dark sweatshirt, and even a domino mask.

MUGGER: Hand over your money!

PANEL 2
The mugger walks down a sidewalk, cheerfully talking to himself and holding a wad of cash. There’s some grassy hills and trees next to the sidewalk; it might be a park.

MUGGER: Phew! That was a long day of stealing! Now to go use this money!

PANEL 3
The mugger is handing a wad of cash to a workman; the workman is carrying a shovel and wearing a hardhat. They are on a city street, with a sidewalk and alleyway behind them; there are a few large potholes visible on the sidewalk. Both are smiling.

MUGGER: Here’s some money. So you’ll fill in these potholes?
WORKMAN: That’s the job!

PANEL 4
In a supermarket, a mom, pushing a nearly empty shopping cart, is talking to her son. The mugger is nearby, holding out a wad of money to her.

MOM: I don’t know how we’ll afford groceries this month, sweetie.
MUGGER: Pardon me, I’m your mugger. Here’s some money for food.

PANEL 5
The mugger and a businessman in a suit are in a boardroom type place. The mugger is leaning forward on the table to look intently at a big diagram of a missile; there’s also a stack of papers on the table next to him. The businessman is speaking, with a slightly predatory smile on his face, raising a forefinger as if making a point. Both mugger and businessman are seating in plush chairs. There’s a huge window behind them, with a view of the cityscape beyond.

BUSINESSMAN: We have drone missiles that can flatten a city block from half a world away.
MUGGER: Impressive. I’ll buy ten thousand.

PANEL 6
The mugger (still wearing his domino mask, as he has been the entire strip) is standing on A little stage platform in a park. Next to him is a man wearing a hoodie and a ski mask. Both are speaking into microphones; a little crowd is listening to them. The ski mask guy is holding out a hand dramatically; the mugger is holding a hand to his chest in an “I’m just a regular guy” sort of gesture.

SKI MASK DUDE: I’ve got the experience to be your next mugger!
MUGGER: Which mugger would you rather have a beer with? Me!

Below the entire strip is a caption. The caption says: IF TAXATION WERE JUST LIKE THEFT.

Posted in Barry's favorites, Economic cartoons |

Debate THIS, Libtards! (Or, The Difference Between Effective and Marginal Tax Rates)

Cartoon by Barry


If you enjoy my cartoons, please help me make more by supporting my Patreon! A $1 pledge really matters to me.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels, plus an extra fifth “kicker” panel, with much smaller artwork, below the bottom of the strip.

Panel 1

Two people, a man and a woman, are standing inside some sort of building, talking. He has neatly combed and blow-dried blonde hair, and is wearing a polo shirt. She has dark hair combed back into a bun, and is wearing a simple pale dress with a dark belt. He is grinning in a somewhat mocking way; she is responding seriously, arms spread a bit.

POLO: I hear liberals want to raise income taxes to 70 percent! How stupid can you guys be?

BUN: I know it sounds strange, but top tax rats of 70 percent or higher were normal until the 1980s.

Panel 2

A close-up of Bun, with a bit of the back of Polo’s head in the foreground. Bun is smiling and holding one palm up in an “explaining” gesture.

BUN: The 70 percent rate we’re talking about would only apply to the ultra-rich. And even the ultra-rich would pay much less than that on their first 10 million dollars of income!

Panel 3

Another closeup on Bun, who is still talking with her hands, and now has a serious expression.

BUN: When top tax rates were at 70 percent – or even 90 percent – the rich didn’t stop working or flee the country. Anyhow, shouldn’t billionaires start paying their fair share?

Panel 4

A shot of Polo and Bun. Polo is laughing. A third man, wearing a necktie, has come in and is talking to Polo while pointing at his watch. Bun is startled by what Necktie says.

POLO: Ordinary workers can’t live on 30 percent of their income! You’re stupid!

NECKTIE: Congressman, sorry to interrupt, but you’re due on Fox News in ten minutes.

Kicker panel below the bottom of the strip

Bun speaks to Polo.

BUN: I should go, too. I’m getting “do not engage” tattooed inside my eyelids.

Posted in Economic cartoons |

Is Marriage A Magic Wand?

Cartoon by Barry

If you enjoy these cartoons, please support them on my Patreon. A $1 pledge really matters.

TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

Panel 1
This panel shows a reporter standing in a back yard, taking notes in a little pad, as a woman in a lawn chair speaks to him.

WOMAN: Marriage wasn’t a magic wand that got me out of poverty. I worked really hard, and I lucked into a good job. I didn’t get married until after all that.

Panel 2
The same reporter, now standing in an academic office (we can tell it’s academic because there’s a bookcase in the background). A woman wearing glasses and holding up some papers is talking to him.

WOMAN 2: As a social scientist, I know marriage isn’t a magic wand. Evidence shows that what matters most is having a full-time job, and that’s not always under people’s control.

Panel 3
The same reporter is talking to a man wearing a suit and tie; they’re standing in front of an office building in a city.
MAN: At our think tank, we don’t have real-world experience, or the best evidence. But we do have a simple narrative that blames poverty on single mothers.

Panel 4
This panel only shows a newspaper’s front page. The newspaper, which is called “Daily Opiate,” has a big headline, a sub headline, and a photo of the man from panel 3, with a pull-quote next to the photo.
BIG HEADLINE: RESEARCH: MARRIAGE IS A MAGIC WAND!
SUB HEADLINE: SINGLE MOTHERS ARE POOR BECAUSE THEY’RE FLOOZIES!
PHOTO PULL-QUOTE: “It’s just common sense!”

Posted in Economic cartoons, Sexism & Misogyny |

Cartoon: Wealthfare vs Welfare

Cartoon by Barry

If you enjoy these cartoons, and can spare it, please support my Patreon! A $1 pledge really matters.


Another collaboration with Rachel Swirsky!

A special thanks on the sidebar to patron N.K. Jemisin, who – among many other accomplishments – recently won the Hugo Award for “best novel” two years running. Rachel and I are both big fans of N.K.’s novels, and you should check out her website.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

At the top of the cartoon, in large letters, is the title “WELFARE vs WEALTHFARE.”

Below that, the cartoon is divided into three columns. The columns on the left and right show regular cartoon images; the middle column only contains a caption for each row. The left column is underneath the word “Welfare” in the title; the right-hand column is underneath the word “Wealthfare” in the title.

ROW 1: HANDOUTS

Welfare Panel: A man holding a grocery bag is startled by an angry man in a necktie yelling at him.
NECKTIE MAN: Let me see those groceries! You better not have spent your food stamps on anything nice!

Wealthfare Panel: A well-off looking man in a jacket and tie stands looking aloof, with his arms crossed and his nose up in the air. Behind him, a man wearing a tie is kneeling on the ground and begging.
KNEELING MAN: PLEEEEASE let us buy you a new stadium! We’ll give you $200 million dollars!

ROW 2: HOUSING

Welfare Panel: A woman stands at a pay phone, the phone held to her ear. She has luggage with her, and an anxious looking ten year old son.
VOICE FROM PHONE: Sure, we can help with housing. Looks like we’ll have space for you in… Four years.

Wealthfare Panel: A wealthy-looking older couple, wearing sunglasses and casual-nice clothes, stands in front of an enormous yacht.
WOMAN: We legally declared our million-dollar yacht our second home.
MAN: So now we deduct its mortgage from our taxes!

ROW 3: CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

Welfare Panel: A building with a sign, which says “welfare office.” Voices come from inside the building.
FIRST VOICE: Pee into this cup.
SECOND VOICE: But I don’t use drugs!
FIRST VOICE: Exactly what a druggie would say!

Wealthfare Panel: A wealthy looking businessman sits in a large executive chair, reading some papers. Behind him, two younger, slightly nerdy looking people talk to his back, looking anxious.
NERD 1: Look at all these crimes! I’m sorry, but you’ll have to pay a modest fine.
NERD 2: But you can deduct it from your taxes!
BUSINESSMAN (unconcerned, barely paying attention): Uh-huh.

ROW 4: BANKRUPTCY

Welfare Panel: A security guard in a brown uniform lounges in front of a house, leaning on a sign that says “For Sale By Bank.” A father holding an infant, and his young daughter at his side, look aghast.
GUARD: The bank says “thanks for the swell house!”

Wealthfare Panel: Another businessman, seated behyind an enormous desk; the desktop is mostly empty, although he does have a laptop and a desk calendar. Behind him is a big window with a cityscape view.
BUSINESSMAN: Hello, government? I gambled away billions of my bank’s assets. Give me my bailout in thousand dollar bills.

ROW 5:THE BOTTOM LINE

Welfare Panel: Uncle Sam has his back turned towards a mother carrying an infant. His expression shows contempt. He holds out a tiny check to her like it’s a dead fish. A line from the check points to a little ¢ symbol.
UNCLE SAM: Take your welfare, MOOCHER.

Wealthfare Panel: A smiling wealthy man looks on as a smiling Uncle Sam brings in a wheelbarrow overflowing with piles and bags of cash.
UNCLE SAM: Here’s this month’s delivery, sir!

Kicker panel at bottom of strip
We see the necktie man and the food stamps user from the first panel. The necktie man is yelling again.
NECKTIE MAN: You have a refrigerator AND a cell phone? What are you, Beyonce?

Posted in Economic cartoons, Rachel Swirsky collaborations, Social Justice |

Minimum Evidence and the Minimum Wage

Cartoon by Barry

If you enjoy these cartoons, please support them on Patreon! Each $1 pledge matters a lot.

Transcript of cartoon
PANEL 1
The panel shows a scholarly-looking man, wearing a tie, a vest, and glasses, holding up a finger as he makes a point. He’s speaking directly to the readers.
VEST DUDE: Study after study has found that the minimum wage does not increase unemployment. But no study is 100% certain. Virtually all the empirical studies could be wrong!

PANEL 2
The man continues talking to the reader, but is interrupted by beeping from his cell phone, which he lifts to look at.
VEST GUY: We have to be cautious not to jump to any… Excuse me a moment… There’s some news.

PANEL 3
He looks at his cell phone as he speaks, grinning with delight.
VEST GUY: Wow! A new study says the minimum wage causses a big increase in unemployment! This is GREAT! … I mean….

PANEL 4
He is now yelling directly at the reader, arms waving above his head, looking righteously angered.
VEST GUY: HOW DARE THE BIASED LEFT IGNORE THIS IRONCLAD EVIDENCE?!?

KICKER PANEL
In a tiny panel below the bottom of the strip, Vest Guy is speaking to Barry Deutsch (the cartoonist).
VEST GUY: Once again, objective science PROVES whatever I want to believe!

Posted in Economic cartoons |

Ten Reasons We Want To Kick Out The Dreamers

Cartoon by Barry

If you like these cartoons, please support them at Patreon! A $1 pledge really matters to me.

Title: TEN REASONS WE WANT TO KICK OUT THE DREAMERS

Panel 1
This panels shows a white man and woman, who look like a married suburban couple, standing behind a picket fence. The man is speaking angrily.
MAN: Because someone who spends the first year of their life abroad and 20 years here has no real connection to the U.S.!

Panel 2
A white man in a black jacket stands flipping frantically through a book.
MAN: Because the Bible tells us to treat our neighbors like shit! Especially the least well off! (It’s in here somewhere…)

Panel 3
A white woman stands behind a counter with a cash register on it. She is shrugging. Dollar bills are fluttering through the air around her.
WOMAN: Because I have no use for the money dreamers spend at my store! (What’s this stuff even for?)

Panel 4
A white man with a tidy beard stands in a park, giving the viewer the finger.
MAN: Because pissing off the libtards is reason enough!

Panel 5
A white man with hair sticking straight out and huge eyes is yelling, sweat flying from his face, in an extreme close-up.
MAN: Because people born in other countries are evil! EEEVVILLLLL!

Panel 6
Donald Trump, wearing a suit and tie and holding a pen up, speaks.
TRUMP: It’s all about the rule of law! Now excuse me while I pardon Joe Arpaio!

Panel 7
An alien, with inhumanly red skin, four arms, and a triangle shaped head with no nose or ears and only one eye, speaks cheerily. The alien is giving a thumbs up with one hand and holding a coffee mug with a smily face design in the other. The alien’s hands have eight fingers each.
ALIEN: Because like most evil aliens from Neptune, I thrive on the needless suffering of others!

Panel 8
A white woman with a knit hat and a blue shirt stands on a residential street of a city.
WOMAN: Because by adding $400 billion to the economy, they’re leaching off of REAL Americans!

Panel 9
A nice office, with an American flag on a pole, a large desk, and an executive style chair. A bald white man is hiding behind the desk; all we can see of him is his eyes and upper head, peeking out from behind the desk. He’s talking quietly.
MAN: Because my voters frighten me.

Panel 10
Two white men wearing white robes are speaking. One is middle-aged and balding; the other is young and has read hair. Both are trying to hide KKK hoods behind their back.
MAN 1: It’s definitely NOT because most Dreamers are brown!
MAN 2: GOSH no!

Posted in Economic cartoons, Immigration, Racism & Racists |

Treadmill

Cartoon by Barry

TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

Panel 1
A toddler runs on a full-sized treadmill, carrying a teddy bear in one hand. A woman in a tight black dress squats, smiling, to address the toddler.
WOMAN: A teddy bear? You need better toys! Or else the other kids won’t like you!

Panel 2
The same scene, but the toddler is now a child, and no longer holding a teddy bear. The woman, who is now standing and facing away from the child with a dismissive air, has not aged.
WOMAN: If you don’t have cool clothes and a cool phone, then you’re a loser!

Panel 3
Same scene. The runner is now a young woman. The other woman exhorts the runner on.
WOMAN: You’ve got a mountain of college debt! Run! RUN!

Panel 4
The runner is now a bit older – 40s? – and a desk has been set up on the treadmill, with a laptop. The woman types on the laptop with one hand; her other arm is holding an infant. The woman has gotten more intense, waving her arms and yelling.
WOMAN: Your kid is DOOMED if you don’t get a big house near a good school!

Panel 5
The runner is now considerably older, her hair turning white. She’s running hard, sweating, both hands typing on the laptop.
WOMAN: Now pay for a decent college, or your kid will be POOR her whole life!

Panel 6
The runner, now older still, has collapsed and lies dead on the treadmill. The woman in the black dress leans over the treadmill, cheerily addressing the corpse.
WOMAN: You should invest in the deluxe casket.

Posted in Economic cartoons, Labor rights & Unions |

The Two Party System

Cartoon by Barry

Transcript of cartoon

Title at the top of the cartoon: The Two Party System

Panel 1
A woman is standing in front of a little booth with a sign that says “DEMOCRATS.” The booth is in the style of Lucy’s psychiatry booth from the comic strip “Peanuts.” Seated behind the booth is an older white man, leaning his face on his hands; he doesn’t look very energetic.

WOMAN: Poverty is a national disgrace!

Panel 2
A close-up of the Democrat dude.
DEMOCRAT: That’s why we Democrats want to expand the earned income tax credit.
WOMAN: Okay, good. And?

Panel 3
A shot of the two of them. His head is still leaning on his hands; she’s waving her arms angrily.
DEMOCRAT: And there’s some other technical fixes we could do…
WOMAN: Tiny technical changes aren’t enough!

Panel 4
A close-up of the woman. She’s talking angrily and checking off things on her fingers.
WOMAN: What’s needed is single payer! Or child care! Or a real game-changer, like a universal basic income!

Panel 5
The woman stomps away from the booth. The Democrat doesn’t even lift his head out of his hands.
WOMAN: Forget it! I’m out of here!
DEMOCRAT: You’ll be back.

Panel 6
The woman angrily walks to the right; in the background there’s a stone wall, and beyond that a hillside with trees on it.

Panel 7
The woman has arrived at a similar booth to the Democrat’s booth, but this one is labeled “GOP.” She talks to the middle-aged white an at the booth. The man behind the booth reacts angrily, grabbing the booth with one hand and leaning very far forward, thrusting his other hand out in a “STOP!” gesture.
WOMAN: I’m concerned about poverty. What will Republicans do for-
GOP MAN (very large letters): NO!

Panel 8
A close-up on the GOP man. He is yelling, eyes bulging, spittle flying.
GOP MAN: Not MY fault you’re a lazy welfare queen DEPENDENT wallowing in false victimhood! Take responsibility for your own life, LOSER!

Panel 9
The woman, visibly deflated and shaken, hugging herself, is stumbling back to the Democrat’s booth.
DEMOCRAT: Told ya.

Posted in Economic cartoons, Elections |

The Wage Gap and How Much Women Work

Cartoon by Barry

wage-gap-working-more-1200

This cartoon is by Barry Deutsch and Becky Hawkins.

Transcript:

Panel 1
In the foreground, a middle-aged man types on his laptop. Behind him, a yelling child is calling to the man, while the child’s mother, holding an infant, shushes him. A caption shows us what the man is typing.
JUNIOR: Dad! Dad! DAD!
MOTHER: Junior, let your father work.
CAPTION: “The ‘wage gap’…”

Panel 2
Same scene. The boy has calmed down, and the mother is bringing him along by the shoulder as she exits. The mother looks exhausted, and the baby is pulling on her hair.
MOTHER: I’m going out – I have to meet with Junior’s teacher and do groceries and pick up your dry cleaning and…
CAPTION: “…mostly disappears….”

Panel 3
The mom has departed, but the man, still typing, turns his head to call out after her.
MAN: Oh, the nursing home left a message about my mother… Would you take care of that?
CAPTION: “…when you control for the fact…”

Panel 4
The man turns back to typing.
MAN (thought balloon): Hope she makes stew for dinner tonight.
CAPTION: “…that women work far fewer hours than men.”

Posted in Becky Hawkins collaborations, Economic cartoons, Sexism & Misogyny |

Wall Street And Political Corruption

Cartoon by Barry

wall-st-water-1100

Transcript:

Two white people, both dressed in business wear, are talking. We’ll call the man on the left “Senator” and the woman on the right “WS.” WS is carrying a huge industrial hose, out of which water is pouring.

Panel 1
WS: Hi, Senator! I’m from Wall Street, and I’d like to give your campaign some water!
Senator: Forget it! I don’t sell my votes.

Panel 2
A close up of WS, smiling reassuringly.
WS: Don’t worry. We only want to give you water and talk to you about our point of view.

Panel 3
WS: Over time, we’ll keep providing water and you’ll keep listening to our views.

Panel 4
WS: At first because you need the water, but then because we’re just so smart and sensible.

Panel 5
WS: And when complex economic bills come up, we’ll be glad to offer advice. We are the experts, after all!

Panel 6
We back away from the close-ups and see a full body view of both people. They are now completely submerged in the water that’s been coming out of WS’s hose.
Senator: I guess there’s nothing corrupt about that…
WS: Nothing at all!

Posted in Economic cartoons |

Equal Opportunity

Cartoon by Barry

equal-opporunity-1200

The cartoon shows two men. The first man, a young man wearing a suit and tie, is clean-shaven with short hair, and is standing near a park bench, talking on his cell phone. Seated on the park bench is the second man, a bit older in appearance, with stubble and a van dyke beard. He is wearing a knit cap, a hoodie, and sweatpants.

PANEL 1
SUIT: We need equal opportunities, not equal outcomes. No free lunches for anyone! You can’t get more egalitarian than that.
SWEATS (cheerfully): There’s no such thing as “equal opportunity.”

PANEL 2
Suit removes his phone from his ear and turns to face Sweats.
SUIT: Excuse me?
SWEATS: Someone who’s tall has a better shot at being a basketball star. Someone with rich parents is born with a big advantage. “Opportunities” are never really equal.

PANEL 3
A close shot of Sweats, as he gestures to indicate himself.
SWEATS: And what about someone like me? I’ve never been able to hold down a job… would you say I deserve starvation and homelessness?

PANEL 4
Suit looks abashed.
SUIT: Well… not to your face.
SWEATS: Mighty egalitarian of you.

Posted in Economic cartoons |

It’s Great To See Such Diverse Job Applicants

Cartoon by Barry

job-applicants-800

Transcript of cartoon:

Panel 1 shows four executives sitting at a desk. We can only see the backs of their heads; they all have the same height and haircut. The four executives are facing a large group of people dressed up for a job application. There are a similar number of women and men, who appear to be of a range of ages, races, sizes, and ethnic backgrounds. One applicant is using crutches to stand.
EXEC 2: It’s great to see such diverse job applicants! Rest assured, our firm does not discriminate against women or minorities.

Panel 2. We are now looking at the four executives from the front. They are all identical white men in business suits.
EXEC 1: But we can’t hire everybody, so… Anyone who didn’t graduate from the “right” kind of college, please leave.

Panel 3
EXEC 2: Anyone with family responsibilities that could interfere with work, please leave.

Panel 4
EXEC 3: Anyone without a recommendation from someone already in the field, please leave.

Panel 5
EXEC 4: Anyone whose accent or look or gender presentation wouldn’t be a “fit” for our firm’s existing culture, please leave.

Panel 6 shows the applicants again; only one is left. Other than being younger, he looks precisely like the four executives.
EXEC 4: Gentleman, we’ve found our new hire!

Posted in Economic cartoons, Labor rights & Unions, Racism & Racists, Sexism & Misogyny |

Maternity Leave vs Profit

Cartoon by Barry

maternity_leave_2

This cartoon was done in collaboration with my friend Becky Hawkins. I did the writing and lettering with Becky’s help, Becky did the drawing with me helping on layouts, and I did the gray tones.

Transcript:

Panel 1
A woman in a collared shirt and black pants is talking to a businessman in a fancy suit.
WOMAN: Businesses oppose paid maternity leave because you put money above women’s health!
BUSINESSMAN: We care deeply about women! We’re against paid leave because it’s bad for women!

Panel 2
The businessman has pulled a mother, holding a crying newborn, into the panel.
WOMAN: Women need time off to recover after giving birth.
BUSINESSMAN: Nonsense! Just look at Tiana here… She can’t wait to get back to work. It’s patronizing of you to say otherwise!
TIANA: So tired….

Panel 3
BUSINESSMAN: Paid maternity leave makes hiring women more expensive – and that means companies will discriminate against hiring them! Have a heart!

Panel 4
The businessman violently shoves Tiana off-panel.
WOMAN: So we’ll give paid leave to new mothers AND new fathers!
BUSINESSMAN: But that would cost MONEY!

Posted in Becky Hawkins collaborations, Economic cartoons, Health care, Labor rights & Unions, Sexism & Misogyny |