|“Democracy is the road to socialism.” ~Karl Marx||
March 7th, 2014
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in the world of BITCOIN.
"Shave and a haircut - - two bitcoin"..? Hardly. Not even at the inflated prices of haircuts today, but the antique term "bit" with respect to money has an interesting origin.
Before the U.S. dollar was established in the Coinage Act of 1792 the silver Spanish milled dollar commonly circulated in the U.S. colonies. It's value was 8 reales to the dollar, and the coin was sometimes actually chopped into pieces (bits) to expedite common transactions. Half a dollar = equaled 4 reales. A quarter dollar was 2 reales, or "bits". Thus we know that the price of a shave and haircut in bygone days was a quarter dollar.
Bits of coins in those long-ago days got their value from their precious metal content. Bitcoin today gets its imaginary value from its so-called "scarcity" in the vast world of electronic digits. Bitcoin represents nothing in the way of intrinsic value as the original U.S. dollar and its predecessor, the Spanish milled dollar used to do.
For that matter the present Federal Reserve note has no intrinsic value, either! Prior to 1963 it never pretended to be "a dollar". Each Federal Reserve note bore the phrase "Redeemable in lawful money." With the present currency system on an accelerating track to chaos it's past time for a national conversation on the question "WHAT IS A DOLLAR?"
ARE YOU 85 OLDER?
If you're 85 or older and still pay the 6 percent S.C. sales tax you're throwing away $1.00 on every $100.00 you spend on taxable goods and services. Unless you love paying taxes you're not required to, download the image at left and carry it with you. It is a notice that was revised only last November and it reminds retailers they are supposed to post this notice informing elderly consumers that they pay 5 percent, not 6 percent.
Don't expect every cashier to ask you your age just because you have gray hair and wrinkles. You must ASK for the 5 percent tax and show legal ID proving you are 85 or older. You also cannot become the designated grocery shopper for an army of relatives, as attractive as the 1 percent tax reduction may be! The law allows you to purchase at the lower rate only on items for your personal use.
How this exemption occurred is too complicated to explain in this space, but it has been in operation for years. Since few retailers call it to shoppers' attention and not many oldtimers even know about it, millions of additional tax dollars are flowing into the Department of Revenue coffers.
There is another factor benefiting the state tax collector. It requires some effort and many older shoppers are willing to pay the extra one percent in order to avoid any hassle.
This tax exemption is a pain in the butt, to be sure. But saving $1.00 on every $100.00 in purchases of taxable goods and services is worth the effort, in our view. Spend $10,000.00 over a year's time? Save $100.00.
Not much of a reward for being an oldtimer, but it's the law. Might as well accept it.
|"The only reason Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are not prosecuted for filing fraudulent accounting statements is the beltway fiction that they are 'off-budget'. This convenient scam was first invented by Lyndon Johnson to magically shrink his 'guns and butter' fiscal deficits, but it has since metastasized into a giant business fairy tale—namely, that behind the imposing brick façade of Fannie Mae there is a real company generating value-added services that are the source of its reported profits and current multi-billion pink sheet valuation. In fact, there is nothing behind those walls except a stamping machine that embosses the signature of the American taxpayer on every billion dollar package of securitized mortgages it guarantees and on all the bonds it issues to fund a giant portfolio of mortgages and securities from which it strips the interest." Bogus Bombast||< We
know we're wasting time and space printing tidbits like this, but
David Stockman (once Ronald Reagan's Office of Management
and Budget Director) writes about the complicated machinations of
the Washington money machine in a way we common folk can
With discussions heating up concerning the 2025 federal budget it's helpful to be reminded that an enormous federal fiscal obligation lies OFF the budget. Add the huge 'unfunded obligations' and it's clear we-the-people are on the hook for more than we will ever be able to pay....particularly with the growing number of citizens who are tax takers, not payers.
Sadly, we are a nation divided - with one half living out of the pockets of the other half, and, through spiraling debt, the pockets of future generations.
Calculated your net worth lately? Ben Franklin once advised, "Pay what you owe and you'll know what you own." It's not complicated. One can get a rough figure of his/her net worth just be adding up the debt total and subtracting it from the market value of everything owned.
Michael Milken points out today in the Wall Street Journal that "the median net worth of American adults is one of the lowest among developed nations...less than $45,000.00. That compares with $220,000.00 in Australia, $142,000.00 in France, and $54,000.00 in Greece. Almost a third of American adults have a net worth of less than $10,000.00."
Yikes! This surely is not an indicator the Great American Dream is unfolding for Joe and Jane Twelvepack quite as promised in all those campaign speeches over the years.
Speaking of dreams. . . we taxpayers in South Carolina's capital city (Columbia) are about to be waylaid again by a city council that is in the process of approving a multi-million dollar baseball stadium. THREE members of the 7-member council want to put on the brakes on the proposal until they learn more about it, but the mayor and three others have voted fast-track approval, having swallowed the promoters' happy promise of riches hook, line, and sinker.
Writing in the Columbia STATE newspaper yesterday, Walda Wildman makes some solid points against the financing scheme:
"City officials want to create a new entity to borrow $60 million using a creative type of bond that bypasses the city’s debt limit. Payment will be guaranteed by the city’s pledge to issue more bonded debt as existing debt is retired. This is like buying a house and using your credit card to make the monthly payments.
"Another $30 million would come from issuing bonds pledging restaurant-tax revenue for repayment. The city already has debt tied to restaurant money, so we would pay interest only on the new debt until the old debt is gone. The problem is that Columbia restaurants would have to sell $71 million more in taxable meals annually to accommodate just the interest on that debt. (More.)
Government can never bestow freedom.
But it sure as hell can take it away.
| "The prosecution
of Dinesh D’Souza for contributing $20,000 to a political
candidate, supposedly in violation of the many campaign finance
laws, is a classic case of selective prosecution.
"Thugs who stationed themselves outside a polling place in Philadelphia to intimidate white voters were given a pass, and others accused of campaign finance violations were charged with misdemeanors, but Dinesh D’Souza has been charged with felonies that carry penalties of years in federal prison.
"All of this is over a campaign contribution that is chicken feed, compared to what can be raised inside of an hour at a political fundraising breakfast or lunch." Freedom is not free.
| < Professor
Thomas Sowell may be in his 80s, but his mind is clicking along in
good order. He puts the plight of Dinesh D'Souza under the
spotlight for consideration of the federal government's methods of
selective treatment of its percieved enemies.
He titled his remarks "Freedom is Not Free." A great many Americans believe freedom bestows a right to raid the national treasury for whatever is thought necessary to live the good life. American voters seem split right down the middle on that opinion. Hence the constant bickering between the so-called liberal left and the mean-spirited selfish right.
Sages through the ages have pointed out that freedom cannot be created by government. It can only be taken away. Consequently, the bigger the government the less free are its citizens. (See bumper sticker below.)
We highly recommend this one!
Almost everyone has an opinion about gold. They may hate the idea of using it in its historic role as money but they love it as decoration. (Jewelry.) They may have a vague notion of its ancient role as a replacement for inefficient barter but wouldn't want to take a written test on it.
GoldSeek.com has commissioned a five part series on gold which is not one of those awful sales pieces riddled with myth. It's straightforward, accurate, and well done. . .at least judging from chapter one. Elementary school teachers could get plenty of classroom mileage from this single chapter, if only school administrators would allow some fundamental economics to be taught in the lower grades,
The question of returning gold (and silver) to their historic roles as sound money is unavoidable. Governments through all of written history have tried time and again to replace money with printed paper and other substitutes, but when they eventually fail (they always do) the precious metals return to their ancient role media for exchanges of goods and services and for storing wealth over time. Most Sought Metal