"It is the debtor that is ruined by hard times."
       ~Rutherford B. Hayes
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.

August 3rd, 2021

Yellen suspends certain "investments" in government retiree benefit funds.

WASHINGTON, Aug 2 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Monday took additional steps to preserve the federal government's borrowing capacity under a reinstated debt limit, suspending some investments in government employee retirement and health benefits funds.

In a letter to House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders, Yellen said she was suspending investments in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund and the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund that are not immediately required to pay beneficiarie

  Congress, caught up in rowdy political battles ,prepares to get out of town for a seven week vacation.  But it must eventually meet the requirement of either suspending the debt ceiling or eliminating it altogether.  October promises a showdown.

Personal note:  We  and the Missus were married 73 years ago this month.  Check the price levels of 1948 and compare them with what you pay today.  It clearly shows what damage inflation has done to the U.S. dollar.



    Ukraine is the latest nation to make an official move to CBDC.  Our own central bank, the Federal Reserve System, has said it is reviewing a digital currency operation with some urgency. 

   (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard on Friday laid out a range of reasons for "urgency" around the issue of developing a U.S. central bank digital currenc(CBDC)y, including the fact that other countries such as China are moving ahead with their own.

    "The dollar is very dominant in international payments, and if you have the other major jurisdictions in the world with a digital currency, a CBDC (central bank digital currency offering, and the U.S. doesn't have one, I just, I can't wrap my head around that," Brainard told the Aspen Institute Economic Strategy Group. "That just doesn't sound like a sustainable future to me."
Mainstream news media have not caught up with this topic yet, but they had better do their homework in a hurry because a federally operated digital currency system is on the way. 

   "Deciding what to put in our bodies is a basic human right. Unfortunately, a one-sided campaign of fear, misinformation, and suppression of alternate views has been waged upon us, making it very difficult to make a rational decision for ourselves."    ~Jeremy Parfitt

     We have no idea who the author of the above sentitment is, but we agree with him.  Not that our view will do anything to clear the tension that surrounds the question of getting inoculated with a substance whose side effects have not been tested by time. 

Nearly 50 years have passed since Nixon divorced the U.S. dollar from a partial backing in gold.
Can anyone deny the dollar has lost substantial purchasing power since Aug. 15, 1971?
    Kudos to Seth Lipsky and the New York Sun for creating a series of editorials on this subject. The talented Judy Shelton writes clearly on the topic and understands exactly why the authors of the U.S. Constitution placed the mandate on money in the section which also assigned Congress the responsibility of safeguarding weights and measures. N.Y.SUN
Must we always be at war?
Pat Buchanan resurrects JFK's 1963 "Peace Speech."

"During his speech at American University, Kennedy mentioned a crucial fact about the long history between Russia and America:

 " 'Almost unique among the major world powers, we have never been at war with each other.'

  "Maintaining that 230-year tradition should be at the apex of our concerns, not how Vladimir Putin rules what is, after all, his country."

  Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan raises an interesting point that may take our minds off the coronavirus issue for a few seconds.  It may hold a bit of hope for those among us who have yearned for less military involvemnt in a diversified political world.  The Peace Speech

    President Joe Biden is reported as saying that his ambition to pour $3.5 trillion of newly created currency into the U.S. econonomy was NOT inflationary.  Quite the reverse, according to Keynesian philosophy.  Increasing spending on national infrastructure would "make the economy more bouyant."

  He would see that flooding an economy with irredeemable currency leads inevitably to rising prices for goods and services.  When he wrote his influential book a one dollar bill would buy ten loaves of bread.  Todday that dollar will buy perhaps one-quarter of a loaf.  Keynes would  have understood  what happened.    

     Almost all of the problems afoot in the world can be traced to the reliance on debt based currency.  Debate on the matter is two or three generations overdue.

"Printing money and buying votes is not just a frivolous folly, but also an extremely costly exercise that without fail leads to the collapse of the economy and the currency." ~Egon von Greyers
    "OMG, Wrisley.com is posting more stuff by the Swiss gold bug, Egon von Greyerz. What gives?"
      Don't be alarmed. There is a growing chain of thought that believes reliance on sound money for the general society is better in the long run than declaring debt-based currency "legal tender" and digging the debt hole so deep it can never be repaid.  Von Greyerz is among the sound-money minority and so are we.
      His extensive article covers it all...including bitcoin and other "monetary inventions."  He also drops in some trivia about history  you may not have considered:
The longest surviving currency today is the British Pound which has been in existence since 1694. At that time one pound bought 12 ounces of silver (a troy pound). Today one British paper pound buys 0.05 oz. of silver. "

Even people opposed to the idea of honest money will find food for thought here. DOLLAR CRASH

"There is a risk of a more sustained rise in inflation or inflation expectations, which could potentially require an earlier-than-expected tightening of US monetary policy."
    So says International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva in a warning  of a “sustained” inflation rise in the United States.  With earthquakes in California, a presidential assassination in Haiti, withdrawal of U.S. troopd from Afghanistan, war talk about China, and myriad other concerns, not many will notice Ms. Georgieva's comments.  She seems to come to a different conclusion than Fed chairman Jerome Powell who insists the present U.S. inflation surge is only "transitory."

     We'll make a note of her view and come back in a few monthis to see if she was correct. 

       "And here, we need to acknowledge the 1,488-pound gorilla in the room: Folks on social media, left and reply to John Derbyshire. Race gets hits, race gets views. You think all those Salon, Slate, Vox, WaPo, and NYT pieces about how this is racist and that is racist and whites are bad because of this and whites are bad because of that occur in a vacuum? Not at all. Race op-eds get shares, from those who agree and—even more so—from those who don’t.  Race sells."
~David Cole

< For the umpteenth time we raise the famous line of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., about skin color not mattering as much as the content of one's character.   As David Cole notes, "race sells." 

         Name any individual of any skin color who had any choice in their shade of epidermis.  It is what it is and there's little we can do about it except bake in the sun if we feel we're too pale or sit in the shade if we consider our skin color too dark. 

         Let's bury the racist hatchet and start searching for opportunities for ALL.  People of all skin shades can make MUSIC together.  Why can't they succeed at other social enterprises as well?


      August 15, 1971

Keynesian friend of ours emailed a reminder recently  that next month marks the 50th anniversary of the end of a gold standard vestige.  Richard Nixon closed the practice of redeeming American dollars in gold to foreign holders on August 15th, 1971.  This effectively destroyed the famous Bretton Woods agreement of 1944 that established the U.S. dollar as the  world's reserve currency. 

     The U.S. dollar is still the money unit in which much of the world does business is done, but it is sadly  losing its grip on that role as direct trade in other money units increases - such as Chinese yuan. A well known Swiss gold bug explains what happened:

     "[Since] 1971, US federal and total debt as well as money supply has gone Exponentially Parabolic and the dollar, the world’s reserve currency, has lost 98%." ~Egon von Greyerz

   "Why do you constantly print such negative garbage?" asks a reader.

    Because we have lived long anough to detect a distinction between propaganda and reality.  Mr. Von Greyerz, writing from Switzerland, is predicting a realistic monetary/economic future based on the fact that all  bubbles eventualy burst.  We have reached the unfortunate stage where average people expect their government to hand them "free money" in order to stimulate a stagnating domestic economy.  The laws of nature rule and no government can endlessly produce paper and digital currency without creating an unsustainable bubble.  And bubbles eventualy burst. 

     The late economist Milton Friedman was not wrong when he coined the phrase. "There's no such thing as a free lunch."  Democracies always perish when a majority of voters discover they can vote themselves money out of the national treasury, and that's exactly what we've been doing for decades by borrowing trillions of fiat dollars to sustain the illusion of general wealth. 

      Here's the link to Mr. Greyerz's remarks:  EVERYTHING IS ON FIRE

'California here we come!'
Oops!  Strike that.  There's an exodus going on, and for good reason.
     Victor Davis Hanson writes, "Mention San Francisco to a Californian, and the same, monotonous warnings arise: don’t go there! And if you must, don’t park there—since smashing into a car and stealing its contents are viewed as understandable redistribution rather than criminal acts. Others advise to check constantly the soles of your shoes: human and animal excrement is ubiquitous as the city’s sanitation regresses to something resembling Old Cairo or medieval London."   COLLECTIVE MELTDOWN

      Hanson writes eloquently of life in modern-day California.  The left coast is suffering the consequences of everything from drought to liberal politics.  Why are mainstream news media saying little about it? 

       The promise to redeem in Lawful Money vanished from Federal Resere notes in November, 1963.
No one noticed.  They were following the assassination of a president.
       In 1963 the printed promise to redeem federal reserve notes in "lawful money" disappeared from the notes.  The first skidload of Fed notes sans the promise of redeemability in lawful money left the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in November, 1963, as the nation mourned its assassinated president.  Yet the last time we checked the U.S. Code - 2  Sect. 411, it said:
"Federal reserve notes, to be issued at the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for the purpose of making advances to Federal reserve banks through the Federal reserve agents as hereinafter set forth and for no other purpose, are authorized. The said notes shall be obligations of the United States and shall be receivable by all national and member banks and Federal reserve banks and for all taxes, customs, and other public dues. They shall be redeemed in lawful money on demand at the Treasury Department of the United States, in the city of Washington, District of Columbia, or at any Federal Reserve bank."
          So, why can't the money muddle be reveiwed in a national debate and settled once and for all?  "WHAT is a dollar?"

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

      The item below discusses an article written by the late Nebraska Congressman Howard Buffet in 1948. It contains lessons for today for those willing to take the time to listen to sensible voices from the past.

      Howard Buffett's wife once said her busband considered only one issue when deciding whether or not to vote for a bill: "Will this add to, or subtract from, human liberty?"

     Buffett served several terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from Nebraska.  His principal occupation was his investment business in Omaha, Buffett-Falk & Co., in which he worked until shortly before his death in 1964.   His son, Warren, became a world-famous billionaire through shrewd inestments.  He named a son for his father. 

      Rep. Buffett was quite out of step with the political times, adopting the libertarianism of his friend Murray Rothbard.  He was opposed to the U.S. military adventure in Korea and generally against the notion the U.S. was wealthy enough to impose its style of governmental  wherever it chose. 

     Our own admiration for Rep. Buffett is based on his stoic stand on honest money. His 1948 essay on the connection between freedom and redeemable currency was ignored at the time and probably cannot get much traction today.  A pity. 

      Said Buffett, "So far as I can discover paper money systems have always wound up with collapse and economic chaos." 

      He was right.  The historical record is pockmarked with human disaster caused by humankind's persistent reliance on bits of paper (or computer digits) that are no more than promises of wealth.  IOUs. (Read Buffet here: HUMAN FREEDOM )

        On one hand is his old fashioned idea that the medium of exchange ought to, itself, be wealth. On the other hand is the current belief that currency doesn't have to be true wealth. Commerce seems to function okay using promises of wealth (IOUs) as money.  Besides, the government declares currency to be Legal Tender and  accepts it for tax payments. 

        But how can a promise of wealth simultaneously BE wealth, which is the widely held notion in the world today?  For example, a fellow with $100,000.00 in a bank account is generally thought to be well off - especially if he has little or no debt and has sufficient income to meet his recurring expenses.  However, merely holding a six figure demand account at a bank doesn't constitute wealth.  It represents a PROMISE of wealth.  The only way to  acquire wealth is for the account owner to withdraw the sum and buy something tangible with it.  Owning a mortgage free $100,000.00 boat would be considered a sign of wealth.  A  paid for $50,000.00 car would signify wealth ownership.  But the most secure person of all is the debt free individual who owns a large tract of productive farmland and the knowledge and means to produce profitable crops. 

June 20th, 2021  (First posted some ten years ago.)