" One day we will own nothing; have no privacy, and will be happy. And the way they will make it happen, it is said, is through destroying the value of money."

     ~Alastair Macleod

Seeking Answers in an Upside Down World.
Established - 1994

(Caveat Emptor)

News and opinion from all over the political universe. 

Much of it to be taken with several grains of salt.

 Email > Wrisley.com

December 1st, 2021
A resounding chorus in Europe - Austria, France, Germany, and Greece -  have each put the compulsory vaccination of adult citizens to the forefront of their policy making priorities.
U.S. officials are itching to do this, too, but they are prohibited by the Constitution. At the moment, at least.

     Greece has announced an arbitrary fine on senior citizens over 60 who refuse the COVID inoculation.  There are approximately 520,000 people in Greece over 60 who remain unvaccinated who would be subject to the punitive measure supported by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

    Here in the U.S. we have a federal administration and a supporting "news" media doing everything it can think of to cajole, insult, and shame folks who are hesitant about getting inoculated with a hstily approved chemical substance.  Think what an uproar would occur if the government mandated flu shots.   (By the way - where are the data on flu cases this year?)

     These are murky times for individual freedom.  Heads up!

  ďWe are not in Florida going to allow any media-driven hysteria to do anything to infringe peopleís individual freedoms when it comes to any types of COVID variants.Ē   ~Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

   If Governor DeSantis has his eye on a future run for the U.S. White House his fiesty stand against federal management of his state is noteworthy.  At a news conference he said, ďIn Florida, we will not let (the federal government) lock you down. We will not let them take your jobs. We will not let them harm your businesses. We will not let them close your schools."

    Most states have fallen into the habit of believing they are mere subdivisions of a swollen federal government and have misplaced their copies of the U.S. Constitution which clearly outlines the powers retained by the states and their citizens.  DeSantis seems to be an exception and is willing to stand up to media hysteria and federal government hamfisted directives aiming at mangement of individuals. 

    Speaking of media hysteria - many polls indicate a growing fraction of Americans are beginning to take some of the breathless, repetitive "news" with a grain of salt.  That, to us, is a babystep in a sensible direction.

"Put on a Happy Face!"
"Dont be so dour," our critics say. "Look on the bright side."

     We pretty much agee with Charles Hugh Smith, the sage from Hawaii quoted in the upper left-hand box.  He's always pointing out hazards in the present scheme of government operatons.

     Being a realist doesn 't neccessarily imply a negative personality.  For example, if one becomes aware that a local bridge is in such disrepair that it feally should be closed to traffic he or she may choose to go two or three miles out of the way to avoid the danger of being the driver whose vehicle  plunges into the stream below. 

     A  voting majority may be attracted to a socialist method of governance. There's a lot about Socialism that 's  appealing  - particularly the promise of  welfare  support from the  public  treasury.  Unfortunately, even a casual study of history reveals that Socialism never succeeds for the long run. 

        Granted, many of the noisier "glood and doom" promoters are in it for money.  They always have books or newsletter subscriptions for sale.  Jim Rickards is an example. Doug Casey is another.  Peter Schiff, Egon von Greyerz, et al, add their dire predictions on a regular basis.  Even the above mentioned Hawaii sage rattles his tin cup on a regular basis.  Reader donations keep him financnially afloat. 

     To us "gloom and doom" is not yearning for disaster.  It's a form of realism and awareness of bad choices by the voting majority oftern prodded by  liberal news media and socialist pundits. 

       Be cautious.  Milton Friedman was right when he said "There is no such thing as a FREE lunch!"


The possibility of a stock market crash.
It will be unnerving when it happens. It always is.
    The liberal voting majority seems to think the federal government can keep creating dollars and running price inflation to the moon.  It can't and has never succeeded without suffering a sharp setback.  There is always the slight chance we can retrieve the U.S. Constitution from the trash can and return to its tenents, but neither liberals nor conservatives want to go that far.  They all have faith in the cleverness of modern humans to invent new ways of dealing with natural human and corporate greed

          We have all been carefully taught for generations that we are each entitled to live out of the pockets of others the moment we are inconvenienced by adversity of any kind.  It's the social mistake that has ruined many a civilization through the ages.  The collapse of Athens and the fall of Rome come to mind. 

        last night's swoon of stock price  futures was an attention getter.  The official Plunge Protection Team is certain tobe  swinging into action.  The reason for the collapse is said to be the frightening news out of South Africa of new virus strains for which there are no vaccines.  That, coupled by the rumor the Fed is really going to start raising interest rates a little is shaking things up today,  Black Friday.

             What's done is done and the bill is coming due.   Debt is doing us in.  It must be paid by a sharply lower standard of living.  Period.

What Makes Modern Economic Depressions Different
There is a general confidence the government can fix it.

    The pesky rising rate of price inflation is annoying, to be sure, and it is generating a level of fear among lower income people who worry they may not be able to make ends meet.  On the other hand there's a belief the federal government will ride to the rescue and keep the wide variety of social safety nets intact.      

      That was not the feeling in America when the 1930s depression sent a shivver of fear across the land.  In previous depressions had had no tools to rescue failing banks, railroads, and other "too big to fail" enterprises.  If a bank could not meet its liabilities (bank deposits) it was forced to close its doors and liquidate.  The depositor went away empty handed or got some puny fraction of his/her money.  It was never government policy to borrow money and bail out big businesses.  Therefore, as FDR took office Americans had every right to be worried.  Fearful, even.

    Now, of course, everyone is aware of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and its guarantee of up to $250,000 coverage of individual accounts.  And if the FDIC runs low Congress can always borrow whatever trillions it takes to make good on the guarantee.  (!?!?)  
    In 1933 there was no FDIC, no Social Security, no Medicare, not much in the way of public charity at all.  Charity sprang from private sources,  including churches and the Salvation Army, Morgan Memorial, and many  others.   We depression era kids got used to wearing hand-me-downs and waiting what seemed like years before we sat upon our own used bicycle with balloon tires.  We paid $5.00 for our first one and painted it a flat blue. 

     Harnessing price inflation  is a nearly impossible task .  It's officially quite low.  The CPI is quoted in October as 6.2 percent.  We export a great deal of our inflation because the dollar still enjoys popularity all over the globe.  Foreigners eagerly hoard it.  One can buy a euro today for a fraction more than $1.12.  It was not that long ago one paid $1.34 for a euro.  Yet the Federal Reserve must continue to buy up government bonds with freshly created low-interest dollars.  The Fed is trapped between the proverbial rock and hard place!

     So it's easy to understand why the "fear level" is a different critter in 2021 than it was in 1933.  Concern not fear may be the more appropriate word.   One thing that ought to keep us on our toes and watchful is the fact that NO INFLATION IN HISTORY HAS NOT COME TO AN END.  Almost always a painful one.

Bank of Poland President Adam Glapiński said recently his central bank plans to add 100 tons of gold to its reserves in 2022.

   Gold and silver futures (paper) plummeted Frirday on the news President Biden planned to reappoint Fed Chief Jerome Powell to a second term.  This is thought to be good for the stock market bubble and the U.S. dollar flexed its muscles.  One can buy a euro this morning for only  $1.125! 

    But the primary qustion here is why are the world's central banks adding to their physical hoards of gold?  Hasn't it been settled that gold is old hat and totally out of step with modern concepts of "money"?  Cryptocurrency is the modern trend and even the U.S. Federal Reserve System is rumored to be working dilligently on creating an official Fed cryptocurrency that would eliminate most of the need for pocket cash.  Credit and debit cards already function as conveyers of digital currency. 

      Who will step forward and explain the actions of world central banks in amassing metric tons of gold? 

Admitting we don't know what's coming.
Eric Peters shrugs his shoulders in uncertainty.
     "What I really donít know is how markets start to behave when there are so many things that people donít know. Naturally, there are always many uncertainties when it comes to such things. But the new set of unknowns we face today arise from the reappearance of inflation after many decades of dormancy. And because the economy is vastly different from when we
 last endured an inflation, while our financial markets are wildly more complex and interconnected, those of us who are being honest truly donít know. Nor does anyone else. "   DON'T KNOW

At last, Diogenes, we have found the honest man.  Mr. Peters has looked at the warped economy and cannot guess how it will develop.  Droves of prognosticators write columns and books declaring that economic  doom lies ahead . Most  of us, they say, will wind up in the poorhouse. 

      The wizards of Washington are gleefully adding to the public debt and we surely will surpass the official $30 trillion mark in 2022.  That's a far cry from the debt the administration amassed  in the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Public Debt doesn't  include the massive unfunded liabilities that await to hound our posterity.  Think in terms of the growing Medicare deficit - millions of Baby Boomers and their offspring counting on Social Security. 

       One great way to handle such gargantuan debt is, of course, by continuing to let price inflation roar out of control.  But is extinguishing   altogether the buying power of the dollar an answer?  The writers of the U.S. Constitution didn't think so and specifically prohibited debasing the dollar.  Sadly, the money clauses have been abandoneed.  Since the creation of the Federal Reserve system - which began operation in 1914 - the once mighty U.S. dollar has dropped to 3 or 4 cents in buying power.  Shameful, in our view.


Americans of old are nowhere to be found. What has become of what they believed?

    "What is running in the news? What is the longest and most exciting serial story in the daily press?  It is the story of the ceaseless, unseemly struggle at the door of the public treasury; classes and groups of citizens contending there with one another and threatening the government all saying they have the right to help themselves because formerly the brigands of the skyscrapers [Wall Street] had indirect and subtle access to it."   ~Garet Garrett, March 28, 1936.

   Happened upon this passage from a Saturday Evening Post of 1936. The commentary carried an eerie echo of modern America with the entire world lined up at the treasury door with palms up seeking alms. There is no question in the minds of most Americans that if push comes to shove the government will provide. In fact, in the national election a year ago the voting majority chose the beguiling socialist-liberal path and now reaps the rewards of soaring prices, supply shortages, and an unpayable public debt.

    Is there a way of avoiding an economic calamity? There is if you are young and relatively healthy - and are willing to face facts and do what's needed to remain solvent. Getting off the revolving debt merry-go-round is important. Quit buying things you don't really need with money you don't have. If you have a good job hang on to it.

     For older people, especially the frail elderly, prospects are not very good. They were taught to pack spare cash away in savings and that's a losing proposition these days. Consider the bloke who opened  a "High Yield Savings Account" that paid 2.1 percent per year.  Price inflation was running at barely 1 percent at the time so he was netting about a 1 percent yield. Today that account pays 0.40 percent while official inflation has surged to 6.2 percent and is poised to run much higher thanks to loose government budget deficits. He obviously needs to close out that account and put the money into something more inflation resistant.

     When all is said and done we think Walt Kelly's swamp critter, the loveable "Pogo" had it about right when he remarked, "We have met the enemy. And he is us!"

     Garet Garrett was right, too, when he observed in 1936 that old-time Americans had vanished from the scene. They are still MIA.

"What if no one living today has consented to the federal government?"
Hmmm.  Provocative question, is it not?
     We're not sure when the memorial service for the U.S. Constitution took place.  The dismantling became evident with the advent of the New Deal in 1933.  We were too young to understand or care.  We have a childish memory of someone with the complicated name of "Roosevelt" replacing Herbert Hoover on March 4th, 1933 and much shushing around the living room radio when the evening news came on.  There was a sense of urgent despair in the atmosphere as the Great Depression dug in.  But it didn't make any sense to a 4 year old.

      We have a vague recollection of being taught the fundamentals of the Constituton in middle and high school, but there was too much going on in the 1940s to absorb facts about a musty 1789 founding document.  It was the coin switch of the mid-1960s that caught our attention.  President Johnson announced the 1965 dime and quarter-dollar would be minted from copper with a thin veneer of nickel to give the appearance of the dimes and quarter-dollatrs in circulation.  He warned Americans not to hoard the old silver - "they will circulate with equal purchasing power ." 

They didn't.  By the end of 1965 eager hoarders were paying 7 percnt over face value for all the silver coins they could get. 
      Notes:  The Kennedy half-dollar remained the old silver alloy in 1965.  It was reduced fo 40 percent silver for a while and is now the standard alloy of copper/nickel.  

                        In 1986 the mint introduced a 1 troy ounce silver bullion coin called "a dollar."  It's face value is $1.00 and it's available from coin dealers for about $34.00.

                        The U.S. dollar was finally severed from all Constitutional mandates on August 15th, 1971.  The results of adopting an irredeemable fiat currency are seen all around us. 

      Andrew Napolitano is an expert on the Constitutuion.  His "What if?" essay is worth consideration.  NAPOLITANO

Price inflation is (officially) 6.2 percent.  Our savings account yields only 0.40 percent, annually.
     We plan to observe the spirit of the season - - we will sing the songs of the season - - may even hang a wreath on our door.  Also, we may publish one more edition of our annual Christmas Letter although the number of far flung family and friends has sharply diminished in recent years owing to the passing of time and "natural causes."  It's the human condition from which no one escapes.

     "Come on, don' tbe  a Scrooge," says the holiday shopper.  "Use one of your credit cards."

      Sorry.  Going into debt to provide profit for mostly Chinese manufacturers is something we choose not  to do.  The federal government has shown us what damage can be done by spending trillions of dollars it does not have and and we dread the uproar from our posterity when they discover the damage to their living standard caused by years of fiscal sloppiness by both the socialist liberals and the semi-socialist conservatives.  Everyone, everywhere, is convinced there IS such a thing as a "free lunch."   That's why the voting majority  has chosen  Marxism. 

Perhaps Jim Rickards got up on the wrong side of the bed.

    "Economists debate whether this recent rise in inflation is temporary or here to stay, but in the short run it doesnít matter. Inflation is here today and your purchasing power is going down.

      "Itís hopeless to expect the government to cut down on deficit spending or money printing anytime soon. Itís all they know how to do."  ~James Rickards, The Daily Reckoning

           Everyone knows that Jim Rickards has made a comfortable living writing gloom-and-doom books. That is, books  predicting a perilous economic outcome from the spending spree triggered by the COVID19 epidemic. With Friday night's Congressional passage of Biden's $1.2 "infrastructure" spending bill he's convinced a hard depression awaits us. Doug Casey, David Stockman, Peter Schiff and plenthy of other commentators are are predicting deep economic trouble, too. Mr. Biden seems to be oblivious to the reality of the moment, and - like the good shiip captain he pretends to be, he will go down with his ship.

      Not all of us find s sinking Ship of State agreeable. Especially those of us with some recollection of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

      So forgive for scrambling for a berth in a lifeboat, or at least grasping for a life preserver as the weight of unpayable government debt sinks a once thriving economy.  ~JW

"The destruction of the dollar is  writ large: there is no alternative.
The only way to keep the status quo from imploding is to print as many trillions as are needed, and this inevitably devalues the currency to the point of worthlessness."   
~Charles Hugh Smith

    Hawaii's conservative sage is right. The die is cast. There is no turning back to the "good old days." Unless, of course, you thought the inflation eruption of the 1970s was fun! Remember? Price inflation soared. The only course new Fed Chairman Paul Volcker could take was to RAISE INTEREST RATES INTO DOUBLE DIGITS THEREBY SLAMMING THE BRAKES ON MONEY CREATION. iT WORKED! Presently the Federal Reserve is doing the reverse. It floods the economy with low (near zero inerest loans)and President Biden is insisting the Fed create trillions of new dollars to "lift the economy" and create jobs. Then, after demanding heavy money inflating by the Fed he strides to the public lecturn and pledges to fight rising prices. He does not see the connection between inflating the money supply and the resulting RISING PRICES. He claims it's all a problem in the "supply chain." 

"The gold coin in your sock drawer."

The Krugerrand came on the scene in the 1970s selling for less than $500.

   And there it sits, under the argyles,  presently retailing for just under $2,000. ($1,954.50)  Earns no interest. Sits there doing nothing, going nowhere. 

    Have you thought of selling it for U.S. dollars and buying cryptocurrency with the proceeds?  THAT's where the action is, we're told. Or, buy stocks.  They're rising to new highs  every  week. (!)  After all, your assets need to be working for you not just sitting idly by.

    But wait.  How did the value of that Kruggerrand get from less than $500.00 to just under  $2,000.00 merely sitting in a bureau drawer?  And how come the modern  U.S. silver dollar, first issued by the U.S. Mint at around $10.00 in 1986, increase its value to more than $34.00, retail, today?

     And why did the late banker John Pierpont Morgan flatly say that "Gold is money.  Nothing else?"  He meant that none of the so-called financial instruments - bonds, cash, even your bank deposits, can maintain purchasing power over time like scarce precious metals.  Following the terrible inflation of the Continental dollar in the 18th century the writers of th U.S. Constitution carefully inserted a mandate that the new U.S. dollar be a strict measure of silver or gold.  The document has never been changed, although it was tossed into the trash can generations ago.  We're suffering the consequences right now.

    So, what is this mystical property of gold that makes it true money?  Because it meets three tests:  1/ A troy ounce if it is 480 grains of an extremely durable metal and therefore is a good measuring stick with which to calculate the exchange of goods and services.  Therefore, it is (#1/) a means of exchange for goods and services.

      #2, its scarcity enables it to convey value over time.  A troy ounce of gold buys roughly the same number of loaves of good quality bread that it did more than 90 years ago. 
      #3.  A standard of measure.  Don't forget that 480 grains of gold constitutes a troy ounce.  Even the U.S. Congress can't change that.  Note, also, that the world's central banks are hoarding as much gold as they can.  One wonders why? 

     We think holding on to your Krugerrands and other gold bullion coins such as U.S. Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs, et al, may provide a safety net when price inflation seriously  bubbles.   ~JW