"Inflation cannot go on endlessly."

   ~Ludwig von Mises

 A curmudgeonly survey of monetary trends and other strange happenings.
(Caveat Emptor)

News and opinion from all over the political universe. 

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

November 18th, 2019

   Email:  Wrisley.com
‘No One Believes Anything’: Voters Worn Out by a Fog of Political News  ~N.Y. Times
    Paying attention to the impeachment inquiry and other developments means having to figure out what is true, false or spin. Many Americans are throwing up their hands and tuning it all out, reports the New York Times. 

    Although we look askance at the leftist slant of the Times' opinions and reporting we don't disagree with the above observation.  We're confident the barrage of media political coverage will increase to a suffocating level over the next 12 months.  Moderators and their guests will chatter as fast as vocal apparatus will let them in the assumption listeners hang on to and absorb every word...every opinion.  (We can only guess what Edward R. Murrow would say if he heard a liberal chatterbox on NPR ask an obscure guest from academia or  liberal think-tank "So...what's your opinion of how the impeachment inquiry will play out?"  Since when does the exchange of liberal opion pass as 'news coverage'?)

    We'll survive.  We're not so sure the growing number of media outlets will...particularly newspapers.  We note our local paper will cease publication of a Saturday print edition on Saturdays commencing in January. 

  Pensioners have  reason to worry about the stability of their income stream. it rarely seems to live up to the illusion of a cushy retirement we imagined when we were young. Even indexing the payout to the Consumer Price Index does not seem to erase the erosive effect of a falling dollar.

  The late economist Ludwig von Mises wrote this in February, 1950:

    "Today a pension of $100 a month means a rather substantial allowance.  What will it mean in 1980 or 1990?  Today the Welfare Commissioner of New York City has shown 52 cents can buy all the food a person needs to meet the daily caloric and protein requirements.  How much will 52 cents buy in 1980?"

   Nearly 70 years have passed since Mises raised the issue of the depreciating dollar. Fifty two cents today won't even buy a cup of coffee let alone supply one's daily caloric and protein needs. And what will the dollar buy thirty years hence? No person on earth has a clue.

   So what does a bloke or blokess do about it?

   Restricting outlays to NEEDS and postponing certain wants is a good starting place. Those 7 year car loans are crazy. So is the pricey house bought in the belief the price will always go up.

   And quit trying to buy happiness with credit cards. Happiness is elusive.  Finding contentment is hard enough and it, too, is elusive when a tower of debt hangs over one's head. 

 "The US Dollar will collapse soon," declared Russia's Vladimir Putin. 

 What calumny is THIS?  Everybody knows the U.S. dollar became the world's reserve currency with the adoption of the Bretton Woods Agreement at the end of World War 2.  What could possibly dislodge the Almighty Dollar from its lofty position?  Why, the world prices almost everything used in international trade in U.S. dollars.  What could possibly take its place?

   This graph shows  the game changes over several hundred years:

    Portugal was King of the Hill in the 15th century, followed by Spain.  Traces of the Spanish "Piece of Eight" appear in the U.S. Monetary Act of 1792 when the size and weight of the new U.S. dollar were copied from the old Spanish milled dollar which was popular  in Colonial America.  (This silver coin was valued at eight reales, or bits. "Shave and a haircut, two bits.")

    Netherlands currency rose to the top spot in international trade for a time, followed by dominance of France in the 18th century.  Great Britain ran the show during late 18th century, through the 19th century and into the 20th.  After WW1 the U.S. muscled its way to dominance to fill the increasing vacuum caused by the weakening British pound.  Bretton Woods confirmed monetary trends and the dollar as been the world's reserve currency ever since.

      Now comes Vladimir Putin to say the U.S. is using the dollar as a political weapon, imposing sanctions and what not.  He thinks this is causing countries around the world to seek a different currency to serve the reserve function. 

      So, whose turn next? The European Union? Russia? China?  Bitcoin?

        Why not GOLD?  Almost all central banks have some stowed in their vaults.  Each troy ounce consists of 480 grains of pure gold and the measure is not about to change.  Individual nations can calculate their money units in fractions of the troy ounce and get on with business, letting the markplace calculate prices based on the age-old laws of supply and demand.

The U.S. has been leaning to the political left for nearly 90 years.

In the 2020 election voters may be tempted to jump into Socialism in a really big way!

   Thanks to the strong leftist tilt in popular media and a high percentage of colleges and universities, easily beguiled American youth hear the siren call of Socialism and may march to the polls a year from now to vote for it. 

    In an editorial on the subject the New York Post writes: "Last year, Brooklyn College’s Mitchell Langbert found that, among 51 top-tier colleges, 78% of the departments had zero, or almost zero, Republicans. Democratic profs outnumbered GOPers in every single field at every school. The overall ratio: 10.4 Dems per Republican. At Wellesley and Williams, it topped 130-1."


Of Money Muddles and Modern Times
  The question of the money muddle is still on the minds of a small group of worriers who think debauching the currency was a bad idea and is leading to financial chaos. It was summed up on the Internet in a comment by an anonymous citizen who signed his name "Fred." 

"Two choices:  inflate the debt out of existence or go back to hard money.  Which do you expect?  :- ) 

"The dollar has already lost 98+ percent of its buying power since the advent of The Fed after being stable for 100+ years.  No way the bankers who run the world can go back to sound, hard money after working for 150 years to destroy it.  ~ Fred"

  Fred gets an "A" for being brief.  And he's right to suspect that bankers will not be at all interested in returning to the discipline of a dollar defined, as it is by Constitutional mandate, as a certain amount of silver and its equivalent in gold.  These were the monies of the U.S. Constitution and they've been abandoned.  The mandate concerning money was not Constitutionally AMENDED...it was merely abondoned in a manner of which the general public was not aware. 

    So, the general expection seems to be that monetary inflation will continue to rule.  We believe this will continue to be the course politicians and bankers will follow, but it will fail.  There has never in all of history been an episode of money inflation that did not end in pain and frustration. 

     Old-time economists like Von Mises, Hazlitt, Hayek, Rothbard, and many more wrote convincingly in favor of sound money but they were not able to catch on with the general public .  Inflalting the money supply is believed to somehow wipe out poverty.  It never has.

Opinions from the left - opinions from the right.
Mix them all together to create an awesome plight.
Is compromise the answer? Do cool heads still prevail?
Or, do the texting masses just prefer to rant and rail.

The Fed cannot admit it.  There's little it can do.
Quantitative Easing was only helpful to a few.
It wants inflation higher. It will "make things come alive."
But the Fed is strangely  failing no matter how it may strive. 

We'd like to see sound money return to save the day
With long forgotten lessons  coming into play.
It's contrary to the experts. They tell us "take on debt!"
But we suggest the opposite. Stay solvent and you're set.

Pay no attention to the windbags when they  speak.
No debt and some  savings is what we all should seek.
Let's erase all this confusion. Let's bring back  common sense.
Restore the Constitution and  celebrate its eloquence. 


Why are the people so restless?

   "Chile is the most stable and wealthy country in South America. Catalonia is the most prosperous part of Spain. Paris is hardly a hellhole of repression. And Hong Kong is the freest city of China. If the beneficiaries of freedoms and democratic rights come to regard them as insufficient to produce the political, economic and social results they demand, what does that portend for democracy’s future?"  ~Pat Buchanan

   Pat Buchanan surely recalls the tale of Benjamin Franklin's response to a person who asked what kind of government the Founders had created in that hot ummer of 1787.

    A republic," he responded.  "If you can keep it." 

     Now - a republic is not the same thing as a democracy.  Since the late 18th century the United State of America (a phrase coined by an Englishman, Thomas Paine,) morphed from a representative republic into a democracy with all the trimmings of quasi-socialism.   As John Adams and other early U.S. Statesmen knew very well experiments with democracy always led to turmoil and collapse.  They were well aware of Scot professor Alexander Tytler's "Cycle of Democracy." Drawing from the history of the Athenian Republic he concluded that democracies had a life span of little more than 200 years.  He described the cycle as a circular illustration.

   Starting at the top and working in a clockwise direction the Cycle of Democracy progresses from bondage to liberty and abundance. From there it runs on to apathy and dependence, a condition one can  sense in the present world.
     For more on the Cycle of Democracy Google Alexander Tytler.  (Mind the second "T".)