George Bailey, distraught, is leaning over the edge of the bridge leading out of Bedford Falls.
GEORGE: That’s it for me. I don’t have the money to pay back Mr. Potter. My house is falling apart. I have four children. It’s hopeless.
CLARENCE: No, it’s not!
GEORGE: What? Who said that?
CLARENCE: My name is Clarence Odbody, and I’m your guardian angel.
GEORGE: Oh, you’re my guardian angel, you say? Don’t suppose you happen to have $8,000 on you?
CLARENCE: No, I don’t have any money. We don’t need it up there.
GEORGE: Of course not. Well, then, I don’t know how you’re going to help me, Clarence. You should’ve guarded me earlier, or at a minimum brought me the missing money.
CLARENCE: Hm, minimum. That’s a good idea.
Clarence snaps his fingers.
GEORGE: What was that?
CLARENCE: I just made it so that the minimum wage has been raised alongside inflation.
GEORGE: Oh really? So you’re the secretary of commerce too now?
CLARENCE: George, your money problems are a result of corporate interests stifling the economic mobility of the working class so that you cannot take power away from them.
GEORGE: Are you drunk?
CLARENCE: Only a little. But hey, that’s not a bad idea. Let’s go to Martini’s.
GEORGE: That’s the first thing you’ve said that’s made any sense.
George and Clarence enter a crowded bar, packed shoulder to shoulder with patrons.
GEORGE: What happened to Martini’s?
CLARENCE: An increased minimum wage allowed for increased consumer spending, and therefore small businesses benefited. It turns out that when people have more money, they tend to spend it!
They approach the bar to find Mr. Martini himself working.
MR. MARTINI: George Bailey! Welcome back, friend.
GEORGE: Martini! Why, you look ten years younger.
MR. MARTINI: I just got back from Sicily.
GEORGE: Ah, so you were finally able to make it back. Good for you!
MR. MARTINI: Finally? George, I go every year! I’ll bring you your usual.
CLARENCE: And a flaming rum punch for me!
Martini, clearly weirded out, walks away.
GEORGE: I’ve known Martini for twenty years, and he’s never been able to go back to Italy.
CLARENCE: With business doing so well, Martini is more financially secure than ever. He was even able to open a second bar in Syracuse.
GEORGE: How did he do that?
CLARENCE: Because that’s what happens when you adjust wages for inflation. Lower employee turnover, higher productivity, a stronger local economy. Good for business owners, good for consumers.
GEORGE: I had no idea.
CLARENCE: But don’t you work in the financial sector?
From across the bar, Mary Hatch flirtatiously waves at George.
MARY: Hi, George! When you’re done with your friend, I’ll be over here.
GEORGE: Hey, that’s my wife! Wait a second, where’s her wedding ring? I couldn’t afford a wedding ring even with raised wages for inflation?
CLARENCE: No, you could afford one, but due to the increased minimum wage, women have more economic autonomy. Mary didn’t marry you at nineteen because she had to. She’ll marry you at twenty-eight because she wants to.
GEORGE: Phew! I was worried she’d turn into an old maid or something. So she still fancies old George Bailey, huh?
CLARENCE: Now, before you run off to canoodle with the missus, you should know—that $8,000 you owe Potter? Adjusted for inflation, that figure is now $120,000.
GEORGE: Where’s that bridge again? Or better yet, I’ll drive my car into that tree one more time, see if that does the trick.
CLARENCE: You should also know that your house is now worth $2.5 million.
GEORGE: Now that’s what I’m talking about! Clarence, I gotta go see my house right now.
CLARENCE: Guess I’m taking my drink to go. Off we go!
Clarence and George exit Martini’s and find Bert and Ernie outside.
ERNIE: Hey, George! Want me to take you to Harry’s?
GEORGE: Harry’s? Why, what’s going on at Harry’s?
BERT: He’s throwing that party tonight, isn’t he?
GEORGE: Yeah, okay, sure. But Ernie, drive by my place first.
ERNIE: Whatever you say, George.
They all get in the car. George marvels at the businesses in town, flourishing under such progressive socioeconomic policies.
GEORGE: The movie theater! It looks spectacular! And the emporium—wow, they really classed up the joint. And is that—
A glistening, shimmering building stands with George’s name on it, a tribute to the job growth and success of the labor movement.
GEORGE: Hot dog! That’s the Building and Loan! That’s my building!
BERT: Yeah, we know. Are you all right, George?
GEORGE: I’m more than fine, Bert! Let’s go see my house!
They drive up to George’s house, a gargantuan Greek Revival home. He leans out of the window, marveling at his improved living situation.
GEORGE: My house! Look at my house! It’s not falling apart at all! It’s practically a mansion.
CLARENCE: The wonders of equal wealth distribution.
GEORGE: Harry, I gotta go see my brother, Harry. Ernie, take me to his house!
They drive to Harry’s, a well-kept colonial with obvious curb appeal and immense market value. A lively party takes place inside.
GEORGE: Harry! Oh, Harry, you old son of a gun! Have you seen my house?
HARRY: Have I? I was over there yesterday.
GEORGE: Isn’t it great, Harry?
HARRY: Why George, you know this, you’ve got the nicest home in Bedford Falls. Hey everyone! A toast. To my big brother George: the richest man in town!
“Auld Lang Syne” plays as everybody celebrates George’s newfound economic stability due to the change in financial policies, rather than relying on the generosity of his already struggling neighbors. Take that, the magic of Christmas!