"Our Constitution is in actual operation; everything appears to promise that it will last; but nothing is certain but death and taxes." ~Benj. Franklin




Curmudgeon's Archive.

A good word for Deflation
Reythia gets it wrong.
Swapping Skiff for Krugerrands
Bailout Blues
IOU-nothings
Américains crédules 
The Party is Ending
God and Public Schools
Commitment to Posterity


Money Magic
Twittering to Death
Posterity's Debt To Me
B-B-C.

Honest Money
Coping with Deflation

Heavenly Sex

FDR & History
Chicken Little Convention  
Lead us not into temptation
My Obituary
 Legislature and Embryos  
Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive
What Fools, We WeMortals


Unvarnished Truth
End-of-everything Blues
My Immigrant Relative
The Eloquent Pogo
Nesta's Complaint
Unionize School Children
Hucksterism Gone Wild
Unmanageable Religion


Columbia  Weather


 


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March 30th, 2015


  The Irascible Fred Reed sees Secession on the Horizon.
    "The country is not a happy place," writes the curmudgeonly Fred Reed.  "Today it is more consciously and resentfully divided, politically, regionally, racially and by sex and class than perhaps ever before. The rich prosper and the middle class sink. Three major racial blocs eye each other with fear and hostility. The hard left controls the media and government against the desires of much of the country, enforcing social engineering that is deeply disliked. Feminists make war on men, and destroy the schools and universities. Washington is widely loathed. Rules, laws, and regulations never voted on grow ever more burdensome and intrusive. Many quietly want out. The question is how to get there."  THE UNTHINKABLE IS THUNK.

   Mr. Reed will surely generate a computer full of email with his comments on the influx of illegals to the United States and the possibility of secession of some states.  He quotes the New York Times: "California is challenging the historic status of American citizenship with measures to permit noncitizens to sit on juries...and to open the practice of law even to those here illegally. It is the leading edge of a national trend that includes granting drivers’ licenses and in-state tuition to illegal immigrants in some states ….”

  He's quite right.  For instance - despite the fact that marijuana possession is a
"no-no" under federal law some states have thumbed their noses at Washington and made it legal to possess in limited amounts.  The feds can't do much about it.



  

 (Reporter to passerby)  "Ma'am, a survey question:  Are you concerned about the financial

                                                                                         burdens society is placing on posterity?" 

         (Passerby)                    "Heavens, no!  Posterity has never done a damned thing for ME!"  

         (To 2nd passerby)         "Sir, what about the financial burdens society places  on posterity?"

         (Man)                           "Nobody should put a burden on prosperity, especially government.    
                                         Government should guarantee our prosperity."

         (Reporter)                     "No, we're talking about POSTERITY."

         (Man)                            "Oh.   Umm....what's a posterity?

   "So, how did citizens of the present acquire permission to run up bills to satisfy their current wants and send the tab far into the future for today's children and the unborn to pay?  Individually, we can not do that.  One cannot, for instance, borrow large amounts of money and force his or her descendants to be personally liable for that debt.  Unpaid debt will be subtracted from the assets of one's estate, which will have a negative effect on the proceeds going to immediate heirs, but one's personal debt does not linger beyond the probate court.  If the estate can't pay it the creditors must absorb it."  COMMITMENT TO POSTERITY

   Our staff curmudgeon has more than twenty direct descendants whose future concern him greatly.  He wrote the above lament in 2006 and has watched the economic burden the present generation is dumping on the future grow to stupendous levels. 

   While news presenters are occupied with whether or not there is discrimination against homesexuals and whether or not Iran will develop a nuclear bomb, a debt implosion casts its shadow over unsuspecting American youth. 

We may be headed for implosion, not explosion.

    "Central banks’ multi-trillion-dollar monetary injections, zero-interest-rate policies, negative interest rates, negative bond yields, and the colossal scale of cheap money that artificially pumped up equity markets and fueled the investment capital/private equity group/hedge fund gambling binge, are unprecedented in the History of the World. And, when the Greatest Speculative Bubble on Earth bursts, it will be the shock heard and felt throughout the world — for generations." ~Gerald Celente

     Why do commentators like Gerald Celente expect some cataclysmic event to upset the economic applecart?  Probably because 50 years of sleight-of-hand by politicians have led the once mighty USA into a money trap that is showing clear signs of snapping shut. 

       Consider:  2015 is the 50th anniversary of the introduction of base-metal coins into circulation in the U.S. In 1965 common silver coins vanished from circulation in only a matter of months.  The Public Debt was $317 billion.  The federal government was habitually running budget deficits. 

       Consider:  By 1971 foreign nations were redeeming dollars for gold to such an extent President Nixon was forced to stop the outflow of precious metals that summer and the dollar was officially afloat as a fiat currency - unbacked by anything for trust and hope. 

       Consider:  The federal spending spree pushed borrowing to unprecedented heights.  The Treasury Department reported the public had topped ONE TRILLION DOLLARS in 1982.

       Consider:  By the time President Obama  took office the  accumulated  public debt had reached $11.3 trillion!  In February, 2014, Congress raised the debt ceiling to $17.2 trillion.  (Borrowing now exceeds $18 trillion  and Congress is overdue in raising the official ceiling.)

       The grossly outsized debt is so staggering that no one wants to talk about it.  Running deficits of about a trillion dollars a year is a now entrenched habit of the administration and Congress and it's a horrid burden that must be shouldered by future generations....likely as a sharply reduced standard of living.

        Bottom line:  The present generations are living high on the hog and sending the bill to their kids.  They'll be angry when they catch on.  




We admire silver. . .not only for its beauty and its historical role as money, but also for its medicinal properties. 

  Some years ago we were bitten on the leg by a large dog and the wound would not heal. The family doctor applied all manner of compounds but the wound persisted for weeks.  Not only was it not healing it seemed to be worsening. 

  Finally, he sent us off to a wound specialist.  After closely examining the tissue the wound expert determined that a treatment of silver nitrate was required.  And it worked splendidly.  The open wound closed quickly.

  We already knew that silver had the ability to kill bad bugs.  In an emergency, for instance, merely running questionable water through a bag of silver coins two or three times will destroy fungi and other dangerous organisms.  We also use coloidial silver soap which contains traces of pure silver. It's a bit pricey and skeptics say it doesn't do anything a bar of cheap soap won't do.  We think the jury is still out on that.


Near the end of the 1st quarter of 2015
And still looking for economic improvement.

    "2015 was supposed to be the year in which all the strands came together to create a real recovery, an environment in which rate hikes would be a certainty. But anyone who looks past the rosy rhetoric can see that the economy is currently in one of its weakest periods in years.  The first few months of 2015 have seen more missed economic forecasts than any other comparable period since the depths of the Great Recession. Industrial production, retail sales, housing starts, just to name a few, are all continually weakening according to data from Reuters Polls, 3/18/15. In fact, the Atlanta Fed’s much talked about “GDPNow” data set, which was supposed to provide a fresh real-time look at the economy, is showing that the economy is growing at a paltry .3% annualized rate. While many people are blaming the result on the winter weather, much as they did last year, it is worthwhile to note that ice and snow in winter is not a new phenomenon."  The Old Razzle Dazzle

   Peter Schiff is usually lumped in with other doom-and-gloomers, but it can't be denied that recovery from the Great Recession has been tediously slow.  Looming over the entire scene is a phenomenal level of debt plus the Federal Reserve's long-running policy of creating abundant supplies of noney.  However, most of the fresh cash does not make it to Main Street, USA.  It's driving up prices in Wall Street instead.

    The world's monetary uncertainty must be resolved before the election rhetoric gets into full gear in the summer of 2016.  Politicians are uncomfortable debating monetary uncertainties.  They're not familiar with the fundamentals nor is the electorate, except when it comes to pitting the poor against the rich.  The age-old notion of the deserving poor and the evil rich is the basis of socialist ideas.  This is why the Robin Hood method of governance is so popular.



Modern Democracy is not what the Founders had in mind.
They opted for a representative republic.

   The reason Democracy turns out to be a flop is that it's based on the idea of majority rule.  The will of the majority of voters is generally believed to be "fair" even if they have been misled by millions of dollars worth of carefully contrived and highly persuasive propaganda. 

    The Founding Fathers knew all about the danger of democracy and chose to set up a republic, which lessened the probability of the masses being pressed down by a monarchy or dictatorship. 

    Professor Walter Williams reminds us the word "democracy" does not appear in any of the founding documents of the USA. What's Gone Wrong with Democracy?

 


   Nearly half of American households don't save any of their money, according to Deutsche Bank's Torsten Sløk.


    The implications are discouraging.  People who don't save won't have any buffer should the economy turn south again  and they lose their jobs. Longer term, people who don't save won't have the capacity to retire.

     Defenders of the status quo will be quick to say "The economy is not bad.  It's merely taking a little more time to get back on track after the last recession.  Besides, the data Deutsche Bank cites is from 2013,  Employment has picked up since then."

      The study was not citing employment figures.  It was reporting on the savings rate of American households.  Data show that living paycheck to paycheck is more prevalent than generally believed.  That's akin to skating on thin ice!



Sloppy Speech; The Barrier to Meaningful Communication

      If the purpose of human speech is to convey information and ideas why won't public schools spend a little time teaching children how to speak articulately?

   "Oh, no you don't!" say the guardians of various cultural habits of speech. "My children are perfectly understood by their family and friends and we don't want them changed."

   Does it occur to anyone that America would not tolerate a news anchor who spoke with the nearly unintelligible Ebonics accent or with the heavy accent of Spanish, Russian, or Asian tongues?  

   Have you ever thought of all the things a voice can do?  It can amuse, arouse, beseech, cares, comfort, convince, coax define, describe, enlighten, inspire, persuade, sell, soothe, and teach.  But it can do very few of these things if speech is masked by mumbling and heavy accents. 

    This is not a call to impose "white speech" on minorities. It's a method of opening doors of opportunity to persons of any verbal background who want to be understood by larger audiences.  



   Maybe our guess is wrong.  Perhaps the Federal Reserve WON'T raise the Federal Funds rate in June.   Mr. Rex Nutting's arguments are persuasive.

   "The caution comes from much weaker-than-expected growth in the first three months of the year. Perhaps it’s just the transitory effects of bad weather, the stronger dollar, and the collapse in investment in the oil patch. But maybe the headwinds will strengthen.

   "Before it raises rates, the Fed wants to be certain that the improvement in the unemployment rate will continue, and that the inflation rate will head back toward its 2% goal.

   "The big takeaway for the markets from this meeting is that the Fed will need more time to be sure. That means the first rate hike won’t come until September, most likely. It could be later."  THE FED TODAY.

   Nutting may be right.  After all, the Fed has set no date for an increase in the near zero basic rate.  Observers predicting a rise in June are merely guessing.  If price inflation doesn't get traction and reach 2 percent or higher, and if unemployment ticks up once more, the Fed must keep its foot on the inflation accelerator and hope its policies will lead to the desired result.

   Since the future cannot be known for certain it makes sense to tread cautiously through the weeks and months to come.  The Fed is having trouble achieving its goals and that's sorrisome for anyone who is trying to hang on to his/her nest egg.



SEARCHING FOR THE UNVARNISHED TRUTH.

         "The expression "unvarnished truth" appeared in a column by one of the gazillion commentators on the Internet and it caused me  to wonder where it came from.  Who coined the phrase? Emerson? Ruskin? Shelley?  I looked it up. 

        "The credit goes to Euripides, the Greek tragic dramatist who lived from 485 to 405 B.C.   Reference to truth being plain and unvarnished appears in his 411 B.C. play The Phoenissae."

'Men set most store by wealth, and of all things in the wide world it hath the greatest power. Plain and unvarnished are the words of truth.''

         "He was aptly expressing the unvarnished truth when he observed that wealth has great power.  It did then and does now, except it was measured differently more than 2,400 years ago.  Today we count paper promises as actual wealth and list countless IOUs as part of our net wealth.  They hadn't stumbled into that neat trick in Euripides's day.   Actual wealth and anticipated wealth were two different things." UNVARNISHED TRUTH

         Our staff curmudgeon penned this in 2007 in an effort to show that not much has changed in more than two millennia.  He further quotes Euripides as writing  "There are three classes of citizens.,The first are the rich, who are indolent yet always crave more.  The second are the poor, who have nothing, hate the rich, and are easily led by demagogues.  Between the two extremes lie those who make the state secure and uphold the laws."    (420 B.C.)