"We are an unserious nation, engaged in trivial pursuits, in
a deadly serious world." ~Pat Buhanan
December 11th, 2018
THE GRINCH AND CHRISTMAS IN WALL STREET.The Grinch may have decided that monkeying with Wall Street was the best way to ruin Christmas. The swoon in stock prices was continuing near noontime today, although they got a bit of a breather late Thursday when the Fed Chairman hinted that "maybe" the central bank would pause in its plan to continue to inch up interest rates in 2019.
The Friday unemployment numbers came in a tad under expectations, but the official unemployment rate remains at 3.7 percent. That's about as low as it has been in a half century. Why, then, is the stock market being so spastic?
Fear. Gamblers in the financial markets are on edge about the prospects for 2019. Evidence is beginning to build concerning the ability of the once mighty dollar to weather the strains of being the world's go-to currency. The federal government is having to go into the hole to the tune of nearly a trillion dollars a year to sustain its huge obligation to remain King of the Hill. How long, we wonder, before some hothead says "I know. Let's hold war to clear up this mess!"
Venezuela is currently going through a period of hyperinflation; IMF economists predict that the country's inflation rate will exceed 1,000,000% this year.
An annual inflation rate of a million percent?
The Guardian newspaper of Britain reports on the shocking downward spiral in Venezuela. As one observer said "It's like watching a building collapsing and not being able to do anything about it."
It's the classic result of a socialist government printing irredeemable currency and presuming to direct the affairs of its citizenry. The result is airport escalators that don't work, toilets that don't flush, and hoards of people picking through dumpsters looking for scraps of food. The Venezuelan crisis is giving socialism a well-deserved black eye. VENEZUELAN CATASTROPHE
World gasoline prices, quoted in U.S. Dollars.
Bear in mind the prices above are shown in U.S. dollars. It may look like gas at the pump in Venezuela is a huge bargain, but laying hands on twelve U.S. cents in Venezuela is not an easy task given the collapse of the country's own currency.
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THE 2019 SOCIAL SECURITY INCREASEIn January Social Security recipients will receive a cost-of-living raise. It'll boost the average Social Security check by about $39 per month. This increase will run to nearly $29 billion for all of 2019. (That's $1 million X 29,000 - - a considerable sum.)
The Social Security Administration is now predicting it's in a fiscally sound position until 2034. It should be remembered that in 1983 the SSA expected the system to remain solvent until 2058. Wha'happened?
There is not room in the present frantic news schedule for consideration of the long range finances of Social Security, Medicare, Medicade, SNAP and other support that pours from the government cornucopia, but there will be an eruption of interest as the overload of dependents sink the Ship of State to the gunwales and everyone starts looking for lifeboats.
"The media in America has become like the European Union: an enemy of the people, unelected and answering to no one."
"Night after night on television, hysterical women and irrational men call for civil unrest against the Trump machine. The democratic result of 2016 has to be reversed, is the message. And yet Trump has succeeded until now: The Islamic State is on the run, the economy is booming, unemployment is at an all-time low, new and better deals have been signed with Mexico, Canada, and South Korea, even the little rocket man has calmed down and is playing nice." OUTRAGE ALL AROUND
The Chicken Littles come out to bray.
Howard Kuntzler waves the caution flag.
"China, Euroland, and the USA canít possibly meet their tangled obligations, and are running out of tricks for rigging, gaming, and jacking the bond markets, where all those promises are vested. It boils down to a whole lot of people not getting paid, one way or the other ó and itís really bad for business.
"Given his chimerical personality, [President Trump] may try to put on an FDR mask ó perhaps even sit in a wheelchair ó and try a few grand-scale policy tricks to escape the vortex. But the net effect will surely be to make matters worse ó for instance, if he can hector the Federal Reserve to buy every bond that isnít nailed to some deadly derivative booby-trap. But then heíll only succeed in crashing the dollar. Remember, there are two main ways you can go broke: You can run out of money; or you can have plenty of worthless money." Holiday Undoings
Pat Buchanan remarked in a recent column, "Freedom of the press does not mean guaranteed immunity of the press from the same kind of abuse the press directs at the president." (The Soul of America)
We watched with interest a video clip in which a TV network tried to "prove" that the White House has doctored the altercation between CNN's Jim Acosta and a girl from the White House staff who was trying to retrieve a microphone he would not give up. She claimed Acosta had brushed against her bare arm in an uncomfortable way and the news purveyors tried to prove that he did not.
The verbal altercation between Acosta and President Trump is classic, rude, New York style street fighting. It's the style that sometimes leads to fisticuffs. High decibel tough talk seldom leads to any useful conclusion. It does little more than add fuel to the divisivness that has split America into two angry political camps.
Now that the Midterm Elections are over look for the animosity between left and right to increase to even higher levels of foolishness and rudeness.
Republic vs. Democracy
A trip through U.S. history will reveal that divisiveness within the general population is nothing new. Reduced to its basics it's usually the 'have-nots' versus the 'rich.' Politics is mostly a perpetual contest trying to control the distrubution of wealth. The party that proposes ways for the a large segment of the population to live out of the pockets of other people is the one that's victorious on election day.
L. Reichard White has come up with a lengthy discussion of the popular approach to democracy as opposed to the political framework the Founders built in the late 18th century....a republic. To this day we still pledge allegiance the the flag of the REPUBLIC for which it stands. We are also reminded of Ben Franklin's quip when asked what sort of government the 1787 convention created. "A REPUBLIC...if you can keep it," said he.
Does it matter the United States has morphed from a republic to a democracy? REPUBLIC vs.DEMOCRACY