The man didn’t look like he was from Mar-a-Lago – very gaunt, sort of green, parts of him having fallen off.
But, of course, Marley the accountant had returned from the grave.
“How did you get in here?” asked Donald Trump.
“How did you become president?” asked Marley. “Some things have no earthly explanation.”
“Ah, but you’re wrong. I can explain it. I staged a historic landslide.”
“And I’m Twiggy,” said Marley.
“I’m calling security,” said Trump. “Ivanka!”
“Don’t bother,” said Marley. “This is between you and me.”
“State your business,” said the president, quivering in pink satin.
“I’m here to show you the error of your ways,” said Marley.
“And I’m Audrey Hepburn. But Russia is not why I’ve come. I’m here to tell you the stupidity of cutting taxes on people like yourself and on multinational corporations, and boosting the deficit by more than a trillion dollars.”
“Believe me, it’s not going to benefit me at all.”
“Yes, and I’m Tippi Hedren.”
“And besides that, tremendous economic growth will pay for it. Believe me.”
“I believe you. And I’m Rosemary Clooney.”
Marley extended a pale, elongated finger at something over the president’s shoulder. Trump turned, and suddenly he and Marley were in a misty graveyard.
A grotesque corpse was doing the zombie crawl in their direction.
“I’m the ghost of tax cuts past in Kansas,” said the specter. “Gov. Brownback signed me with great fanfare in 2012. It was a disaster. The touted economic boost didn’t happen. Neither did the jobs. And lost revenue crippled state services. Lawmakers rolled me back this year.”
“Unfair comparison,” said Trump dismissively, shivering in pink.
“That’s right,” said Marley. “Unfair. The tax cuts you propose at the federal level are considerably more draconian than what Kansas did.”
With an icy cold “whoosh,” Kansas was supplanted by another moldy specter.
“I’m the ghost of tax cuts past in North Carolina,” it said.
“North Carolina. Crooked Hillary said she’d win North Carolina.”
Trump was silent.
“North Carolina faces a $1.2 billion budget shortfall in 2019, with schools on the chopping block.”
“Happened here in Texas, too,” said another mildewed corpse. “Schools especially suffered when the national economy went in the crapper — and that was after the Bush tax cuts in Washington. Yes, we shared W. and his tax policies with everyone. Apologies.”
Suddenly, Trump flinched to see a ghost that towered over the others.
“I am the ghost of Reaganomics,” it said. “I am the architect of the deficits that have haunted this nation for decades. We knew the math didn’t make sense. ‘Voodoo’ it was. It was as much about asphyxiating the federal government as about making things add up. It was our mission, our strategy. It was cynical. It verged on criminal. It was deficits by design.
“Like you, I convinced enough people that all this black magic would pay for itself. I trotted out ‘rosy scenarios’ and sprinkled my budget with ‘magic asterisks’ that left this nation in red ink up to our elbows.”
“This is what I wanted you to see,” said Marley the accountant. “You said you’d never cut Medicare or Social Security. But just last week Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio said new tax policies will necessitate exactly that.”
“Enough,” said Trump. “Take me home. I’ve got work to do – tee time with Tiger.
“You are wrong about my tax policies. They’re going to be tremendous, so tremendous. They’re going to benefit everyone — everyone except me. They’re going to create jobs — so, so many jobs. And they’re going to pay for themselves. No added debt. Believe me. I hate debt.”
“And I’m Gina Lollobrigida.”
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.