"Democracy consists of choosing your dictators after they've told you what you think it is you want to hear." 
~Alan Coren  


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  December 9, 2016

    It's hard to imagine a 21st century high school history teacher recommending even a brief study of the voluminous writings of Thomas Jefferson.  But they should. Jefferson's letters and commentaries are filled with wise observations, many of which are as valid today as they were in the 18th and early 19th century when he wrote them.

        Public debt, for instance, was much on his mind.  He held debt based paper currency in very low regard, citing two monetary catastrophes in France in the 18th century and and the US disgrace when its Continental currency became worthless owing to inflation.

        Moreover, he thought the scheme of piling up national debt to be handed down to future generations was criminal. 

        It would be unthinkable today to require government to live within its means. The voting majority demands to be cared for by Mother Government, but howl like banshees when taxes are raised to pay for it, They are content to let Congress run massive budget deficits each year on the grounds "we only owe it to ourselves." .  The trouble is we owe some $20 trillion in the public debt, alone, and most of it we will not pay. It will slide down the road to be paid by our descendants.  

        Excessive debt has a knack of causing pain and suffering.  Not only to Joe Twelvepack, who took on high credit card debt, a lengthy auto loan, and a bigger house mortgage than he can afford for the long haul -  but also to entire nations which find they can limp along on borrowed money, constantly rolling over maturing bonds for new ones plus issuing new debt to flesh out the government's spending plans.

        In 1792 the U.S. government had a debt of $80 million.  By 1796 the government began running surpluses, working the public debt down to $48 million by 1800. Amazingly, the federal debt in 1834 and 1835 was $38 thousand!  

        To finance the Civil War the debt climbed over the billion dollar mark for the first time  It dipped to just under a billion dollars in 1892 and 1893 and never touched that low level again.

        The expenses of WW2 boosted the debt sharply.  By 1946 the debt was eating up more than 129 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

        Ronald Reagan was the first U.S. president to see the debt rise above the $1 trillion mark. Small potatoes, to be sure, when compared to today's debt; very nearly $20 trillion!  

        Jefferson understood the usefulness of borrowing money - provided you could pay it back.  He did NOT approve of borrowing money with the express intent of passing the indebtedness to a young generation, even the unborn.  He considered it a rather wicked thing to do.

One month ago India was shaken by a startling announcement.

ITEM:  "On November 08, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the demonetization of 500 ($7.5) and 1,000 ($15) rupee notes, which constitute more than 85% of the currency in circulation. These notes ceased to exist as legal tenders on the night of the announcement. People can deposit them in their bank accounts before December 30, but cannot withdraw more than $350 in a week." INDIA'S MONETARY ADVENTURE.   Indians have until December 30th to get their paper money big-bill hoards deposited in banks.  Questions are being asked if the amounts are large.  After that they will be of no value to anybody.  This is having quite an effect in India as some 86 percent of its economy runs principally on cash.  The Prime Minister makes a big point of the dramatic change being aimed against tax avoidance and criminal activity.  We'll hear that argument a lot as the "war on cash" escalates.  

        Can it happen here?  Of course. Will it?  The jury is still out on that.


. .  the fertile mind  of Ben Garrison.

     This cartoon has popped up on several blogs.  Original prints and other 'toons may be found at GRRRGRAPHICS.COM.  Ben Garrison has had a long battle with whacko Internet trolls who've portrayed him as so far to the political right that he is a dangerous influence.     

      He isn't.  He has the view that the denizens of Washington and Wall Street have grown too big and corrupt and he's trying to focus attention on it. We disagree, now and then, with certain points of his views on economics, but we're happy to stand with him against the trends toward socialism and tyranny.  He is, after all, our nephew. We're glad to have him in our family tree!                     


   Owning an automobile is considered a right, whether one can afford it or not. The most popular method of acquiring one is to pay as little down as possible, and agree to a mortgage on the vehicle for as many months as possible so as to make the monthly payment relatively painless.  No one considers the total cost of the vehicle from the standpoint of principal and interest paid.  

   Earlier this year balances on car loans in the U.S. topped one trillion dollars for the first time.  In the third uarter of 2016 they had grown to $1.055 trillion!  

   Here's another frightening statistic: the average used-car loan reached a record of $19,227.00 in the 3rd quarter of this year. 

         While reading about this an old song lyric popped into our mind....."Running wild - - lost control .  Running wild......" 


Destroying public and private property ought to earn considerable jail time.

    Angry protestors believe they are within the law to storm through city streets screaming their outrage, throwing rocks, smashing cars and store windows, and generally behaving like dangerously spoiled brats.  Forgotten is the American tradition of peaceable assembly to voice collective grievances.  It doesn't occur to liberal hotheads, augmented by rowdies who don't vote but enjoy  destroying other people's property, that there's no provision in the Bill of Rights that condones public demonstrations that lead to the destruction of public or private property.  

     We can't recall such carrying-on after Barach Obama beat John McCain and Mitt Romney.  If ticked off conservatives took  to the streets and beat up liberals we didn't hear of it.  Surely, the liberal media would have mentioned it.  

      The present atmosphere of angst, loathing, and outrage of Clinton supporters will eventually taper off and we can get back to worrying about something else, like erosion of the world's currencies and the uncertain future created by the biggest burden of debt the world has ever seen.  Somehow, the fundamental danger of constantly spending more than one's income must find its way into the national consciousness.  It applies to local, state, and national governments just as it does to individuals.  

       Perhaps one day we will see citizens in the street bearing signs citing the ancient remark of Publilius Cyrus:  "Debt is slavery of the free."