“So, I understand you own stocks.”
“Yes, they represent a significant portion of my income.”
“Can I see them?”
“…I’m sorry, what?”
“Your stocks. Can I see them? I’m not even sure what they’re made out of.”
“Well, I mean, I don’t actually HAVE them. They’re just pieces of paper representing ownership of a company- I don’t need them in my house to own them.”
“But the actual, physical pieces of paper exist?”
“They used to. It’s all done on computers nowadays- a few keystrokes, and you can transfer from one account to another.”
“So how do you buy these stocks?”
“My broker goes and trades them on the market.”
“So your broker is the one who actually buys the nonexistent paper?”
“Yes.”
“What’s this person’s name?”
“I, uh, don’t know the actual name of the person who does the trading. I just contract with a brokerage, and they put their best people to work for me.”
“And what do the stocks… do? Like how do they actually work?”
“When I buy the stocks, it puts money into the company so they can grow, and then they send some of the newly-grown profits my way!”
“And you buy- excuse me, your broker buys- these stocks directly from the company?”
“Sometimes! Mostly I buy ’em from other stock traders.”
“And do you do anything else for the companies you own shares in?”
“What do you mean?”
“Like, do you ever stop by and help balance the books or sweep the floors or anything?”
“I sometimes say their names out loud. That seems to help.”
“Is there a list of companies you own?”
“Probably somewhere. But I can’t give it to you.”
“And how did you get the money to get into this stock-buying hobby?”
“Inheritance.”
“So let me get this straight: a person you can’t name uses money you didn’t earn to buy paper that doesn’t exist representing companies you ALSO can’t name who got money- ONCE- from someone NOBODY could name, and they send you money on a regular basis for doing no work at all?”
“Pretty sweet, huh?”
“One more question: how do you feel about Universal Basic Income?”
“What, you mean having the government just send people money for nothing? The economy would collapse in a heartbeat!”
*sigh* “Thank you for your time, Mr. President.”