The presidential dust has settled and America has a new leader. The fighting and bickering is over (well, kind of) and now it’s time to get our hands dirty and look ahead to what has to be done.

The first matter of business on President-elect Barack Obama’s calendar seems to be the economy. It is arguable that it was the economy that tipped the electoral college scale in his favor, so now the pressure is on him to come out with an economic plan that will make us all rich and put us back on our little socialist feet.

But no matter what plan comes out, I have a feeling it will fall flat. The real problem lies not in the economy but in how our entire system has been functioning for years. We introduced something into our economic system years ago, and ever since that one sole thing has been introduced, we have seen nothing but problems.

That one thing is money.

Oh, but without money, how will we have an economy? How will we buy the new Taylor Swift album or pay for our tickets to ‘High School Musical 3?”

The answer is simple. We need to put the reigns on our economy. We need to revert to an economic system that was around for thousands of years before money was ever introduced.

The barter system.

It’s simple. There were no credit loans or money woes in the barter system. It was perfect for years before money was introduced. I mean, come on, in reality, money is fake. It’s paper. Nothing more than that. The only difference between Monopoly money and real money is that monopoly money has cooler colors (at least compared to American money; other countries get cool colors that our presses never mint).

It is a novel idea, though, isn’t it? Imagine having to actually have something in order to get something else. You wouldn’t be able to buy a grain house if you didn’t have its equivalence in grain. That car you wanted might run a mere 50,000,000 coconuts, but if you didn’t have them, you aren’t getting that car. The hottest new iPod might run you 20 pairs of shoes that you don’t wear anymore. Or a DVD might cost you several sweaters that you might have to hand knit. Imagine that, using your hands to work something besides what your credit card passes through on its way to buy your second HD television on a salary of peanuts (literal peanuts, that is).

It would immediately answer one of our nation’s biggest problems: jobs. People would need to learn crafts again in order to survive. That would pretty much overnight give 100 percent of Americans jobs again. And last time I checked, Obama’s plan only gave 95 percent of Americans their jobs. I’ll raise you that other five percent, president-elect.

It would also bring jobs back to American shores, which is another problem that we face as a country. Jobs going off shores has been a growing problem for years. But with a barter system, anybody could make anything they wanted and trade it freely. And they could make it here. In their own homes if they wanted.

As for me personally, I plan on starting a root beer brewery right in my dorm room. The going rate is three gallons of root beer traded every day to my neighbor for a gallon of gas that he pumps out of the well in his back yard. Not too bad if I say so myself.

Of course, this may not at once stop the big bad dependence on oil problem. But if we went to drilling our own oil and trading it within our own borders, it at least might last a little longer. But it’s not like I have to drive to Wal-Mart every week anymore now that I can get everything I need by trading with people on the street.

Now I know everybody is asking one big question here. ‘I don’t know how to make anything, so what am I supposed to do?” Well, you improvise, adapt and overcome. You are going to have to apply your brain to more than just credit card bills. For instance, people will have to figure out how to attain summer homes equal to 20,000 sea shells when they only harvest 10,000 sea shells a year.

I mean really, it seems like such a modest proposal. A return to the barter system would bring stability, accountability and security back to our financial sector.

And, just as an added note, as soon as somebody realizes how to make pants and video games, I have 20 tankards of homemade root beer with your name on it.

Clark is a member of the class of 2012.

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