EMAIL US AT
October 22, 2016
CURMUDGEONS FOR TRUMP.
We and the Missus have applied for absentee ballots for the first time in our long lives together. We downloaded the application forms from the Internet and mailed 'em in. Our official excuse was a bit thin, we thought. We checked "Over 65" as our excuse for not going to the polling place on election day, although neither of us thinks the age of 65 should be the gateway into old age as it was in the 1930s when the U.S. Social Security system was set up. (The Missus broke a leg this summer and is not quite up to the trek to the polls.)
Germany's Otto von Bismark is said to have come up with age 65 in the late 19th century as a reasonable age to start pensioning the old folks. He had checked with the numbers crunchers and discovered that average folks in that day and time cashed in their chips at about that age, so it made good sense from a government point of view to set the retirement age at that level.
The U.S. copied many elements of the German system of caring for elders when it launched the Social Security system in 1935.
With apologies to our Baby Boomer offspring, two of whom are in their sixties, we just don't buy 65 as the doorway to old age any more. We think it ought to be bumped up to at least 70.
"Trump is nasty, but Clinton is dangerous."
"If you want to turn this country over to Clinton and her minions just because her opponent is a boor and a vulgarian, go ahead. You will probably have 20 years or more to live with the results." This wise observation is from the lead letter-to-the-editor in our local morning paper. It was written by Billy Rawl, a long-time acquaintance who has his hands full battling a health setback. However, the retired TWA flight captain keeps his finger on the pulse of the strange contest for the office of the U.S. presidency and offers an observation that makes abundant sense.
Here's his entire letter. THE STATE
Student Debt Tops $1
" f you're skimming $250,000 as under-assistant dean to the provost for student services (or equivalent) plus gold-plated benefits, higher education is working great. If you're a student burdened with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt who is receiving a low-quality, essentially worthless "education" from poorly paid graduate students ("adjuncts") and a handful of online courses that you could get for free or for a low cost outside the university cartel--the system is broken." Charles Hugh Smith
This is but one point Smith makes in his latest exploration of the growing split between the governing elite and the rest of us.
The ancient words of Publilius Cyrus ring in our ears : "All debt must be paid, either by the borrower or the lender." That is to say, if the borrower can't or won't pay back a loan the lender must count it as a loss. If government backs a loan it will be on the hook. Since government has no money it hasn't taxed from the pockets of its citizens, or borrowed in the marketplace on the promise it will pay it back later, today's student debt, public debt, unfunded promises, and what not, cast a very large shadow on the nation's financial future.
We were hoping the presidential candidates would offer solutions to the debt crisis, but they can't get away from their low class mud-=slinging. But the debt threat is real and it won't dissolve on its own.
A piddling increase in the Social
If price inflation rises to the Federal Reserve's goal of 2 percent in 2017 The average purchasing power of today's dollar will drop to 98 cents next year. For Social Security recipients, however, that will be offset by a whopping 3/10ths of a cent. WOW!
Officials estimate the average individual Social Security payment in 2017 will go up by $3.92 a month.
Presently, the Federal Reserve is fighting the specter of deflation with its near zero interest rates, but if the easy money policy leads to a sharp rise in price inflation (or worse, hyperinflation), people dependent on their Social Security checks will find themselves paddle-less and far up the creek.
"I am not going to add a single penny to the
national debt," says Hillary Clinton.
Old fashioned political double-talk. Promising to take from the rich and give to the poor is an ancient concept that appeals to poor and middle income voters. But we'll rarely hear how "wealthy" is defined, and never a definition of "fair share."
As for the Clinton promise not to add a penny to the public debt, that's hard to swallow. She has also promised free college tuition and plenty of other perks paid for from the public till and a sluggish economy can't bring in enough to pay all the bills, even if the super rich are shaken down to their last dime.
More light may be shed on this subject at Wednesday night's final TV "debate" between Clinton and her rival for the White House, Donald Trump. The format calls for 15 minutes to be devoted to the debt problem, although script may be tossed aside as the contest dissolves into mud-slinging.
Mr. Stephen MacLean reflects on the subject and points out: "Tackling the deficit is a requisite first step, by any one of these three policies: One, by cutting expenditures. Two, by raising taxes for a rise in revenues. Three, by lowering taxes for a rise in revenues. " CLINTON'S PLEDGE
Cutting expenditures? Who'll vote for THAT?
Raising taxes? Gov't revenue falls if raised too high.
Lowering taxes? Funny thing. The economy usually improves when people are allowed to keep more of their own money.
Political experts say a
3rd party will never have a chance in the USA.
Pogo said, "We
have met the enemy and he is us!"
We quoted Pogo in a short essay more
than 10 years ago. It could have been written today.
Gold expert Egon von Greyerz explains price manipulation.
The United States says it holds more physical gold than any other nation on earth, but is not willing to let the stash be audited/assayed. "Take our word for it," say officials.
While we don't subscribe to the rumor that Fort Knox is empty of its gold we wish it would nip the rumors by letting inspectors and cameras in for a look-see.
In the meantime we must rely on other sources for opinions on what's going on with the price of gold. One such source is Egon von Greyerz who is doubtful Western nations hold the amount of actual gold they claim, but sees the accumulation building sharply in the East, such as China. The above chart shows that China did not add to its physical gold stock for nearly thirty years, then started substantial acquisitions in the 21st century. VON GREYERZ ON GOLD
With the entire world absorbed in the Clinton-Trump contest for the White House there's little chance anyone in the news business is going to look into the rising and falling of gold prices, but the person with two or three Krugerrands (or other gold coins) in his/her underwear drawer the question might arise: "Should I buy another one? Or two? Or more?"
It all depends on whether general price inflation is set to rise sharply or dreaded DEFLATION takes hold. With nations like China and Russia hoarding gold it seems sensible for common folk to tuck away a gold coin or two. If another round of high price inflation lifts the cost of living sky high the price of gold will go up, too. If a flood of paper money fails to lift prices and deflation sets in the price of gold will go down, too. Small wonder so many people are anxious about the future.
If Mrs. Clinton wins the November 8th election it's a safe bet that increased deficit spending will occur and with it higher inflation. If Mr. Trump squeaks into office it MAY lead to a slowdown of debt accumulation by government. It could even lead to the creation of a commission to stufy the possibility of restoring a form of sound money. Ronald Reagan tried that in the early '80s. A return to an honest money system did not prevail, but it led to the minting of gold Eagle coins in 1 ounce, half-ounce, quarter ounce, and 1/10th ounce sizes.
The U.S. Mint reports steady sales of gold and silver coins. They are not all being bought by numismatists!
This week the presidential candidates will discuss the public debt.
The last of three "debates" takes place next week in Las Vegas. It'll run 90 minutes, 15 of which are scheduled to look into the candidates' view on how to handle the national debt.
It's likely, of course, the exchange will go awry like the first one at Hofstra University did and and the show will deteriorate into the now customary run of innuendo, name calling, and direct accusations of misfeacance. Lately "bimbo eruptions" of the sort often associated with Bill Clinton have been raised against Trump Trump's ungentlemanly behavior toward women is hot news at the moment, but we have not heard anyone accuse him of rape.
Before Mrs. Clinton announced she would run for the presidency the Missus told us that she would bet the Clintons would be back in the White House. She even wagered $25.00, although this is not the outcome she would prefer. Like many Americans she is disgusted by both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump.
At this moment it appears your faithful editor will be out $25.00. That would be a shame. It will mean the United States will continue its shuffle into bigger government, Socialism, and bankruptcy.
Mainstream News Media
Boldly Campaign for
The New York Sun editorial claims "...the press and the political elites have been trying, since the day Mr. Trump declared, to write off his candidacy as a folly. The airing of the recording of the future Republican nominee speaking of women in the most inappropriate terms would be, the press has been assuring us, the end of it. The Times declared him without hope. Yet in the wake of the showdown in St. Louis, it looks like that wonít be decided until the voters deal with it themselves." NEW YORK SUN
The editor of the NY Sun appears to believe the U.S. will not prosper by extending Obama liberalism another four years. He's not alone. But the mainstream news media are hell-bent on persuading American voters that Hillary Clinton is the better choice. Their support of her is more blatant than usual. Yesterday we overheard part of an interview on National Public Radio (NPR) in which an athlete assured the interviewer that Donald Trump was wrong in calling his taped earthy remarks with Billy Bush some eleven years ago "locker room talk." The take-away from the interview was that trashy sex talk was uncommon in locker rooms and Trump was wrong for labeling it as such.
Dirt digging and mud slinging is peculiarly rampant in this presidential election. Too bad, really. There are some really important issues the new administration must face. Our guess is Mrs. Clinton has the edge and the voting majority will choose to push the United States further down the road to Socialism. Why wouldn't they? More citizens are receiving government largess than ever before. They will surely vote for more of it, not less.
The Devil is in the
USA Today editorializes against Donald Trump, breaking its tradition of not overtly supporting either major presidential candidate. The Detroit News breaks its tradition of supporting Republican presidential candidates by endorsing Gary Johnson, the Libertarian. The Wall Street Journal's Dorothy Rabinowitz endorses Hillary Clinton, complaining that Trump would be "the most unstable, unfit president in history."d
Rabinowitz adds, "Some, among the anti-Hillary brigades, have decided - in deference to their exquisite sensibilities - to stay at home on Election Day rather than vote for Mrs. Clinton."
Who can blame the hapless voter for being bewildered? The tone of the campaign suggests the principal choices are a crook and a twerp. The media bias strongly proposes an experienced politician should be elected to continue the leftist trends in governance. After all, Americans have learned to live with it To chose an ad-libbing showman with no political experience is said to be insane.
We still have a bit more than five weeks of robo calls, junk email, political ads, "debates", frantic commentaries, dire warnings, and other distractions. Many worn-out voters will wait until the 11th hour before deciding which candidate is the "lesser of evils." Some will say, "Count me out. I choose not to vote for evil. Period." This will be followed by renewed calls for mandatory voting on the theory that they more people who vote the better will be the outcome. What they really mean is "If more people who think like I do voted, the better this nation would be."
The Reparations-For-Slavery Question is Back.