An article about a biography of Phil Ochs reminded me of this bit of my past I should share. It is interesting to me the hypocrisy of the anti Trump crowd as he, at least, brings some of our people home from other peoples’ conflicts. When power declines a new villain will be conjured up. Watch as folks become immune to the “virus.” The new president will need a reason to violate our natural rights… China, Russia, Mexico? Because we common folk are not as smart as Biden, Harris or Trump?
Today is Thanksgiving Day. For many years we would pick the kids up from school on Wednesday afternoon and drive to Lincoln, Nebraska to spend a couple days with my dad and his third wife and family. He scored well on the third try, by the way.
I rang the bell for the Salvation Army at Fareway last night instead of traveling to Lincoln, but that’s okay. I pity the poor souls that don’t get to experience ringing the bell. I saw so many old friends and acquaintances to catch up with and I met a few people who read this column and encouraged me to keep it up.
As I always have running through my mind ways to improve the lives of my fellow man, it’s wandered to Ayn Rand. Rand is famous for selfishness. She contended that altruism is evil. At first this seems counter-intuitive. But look at someone like Mother Theresa. She lived a life of squalor in the slums of Calcutta doing charity work. Mother Theresa would not have been as effective in helping people if she did it as a self-righteous show of sacrifice instead of with a deep seated passion.
Rand was correct on so many levels. In a situation where honesty would simplify our relationships with others, altruism wastes time and material things. How many times have people sharing a family dinner said, “Oh no, I’m fine. You take it.” Then a scrap of food is given to the dog because no one was honest enough to take that last delicious portion. I appreciate the honesty of dogs.
The scheming and assumptions that come with trying to speculate relationships are like the welfare state compared to private charity. I remember back in the days after I quit college and an example of some roommates who moved from Boston to Oakland. They said, “Go get food stamps.” So I go down to this office. There’s this pile of papers pushed in front of my face and a somber bureaucrat says, “Just fill these out.”
Then there’s the other end of the process. Whether the money is printed (therefore devaluing the savings of anyone who has had the foresight to save) or taxed, the circuitous route taken to produce the funds for the food stamps is vastly more complex and expensive than personal help or a donation to a charity whose purpose is to help the down and out.
All across the political spectrum few will admit that government (thus coerced) funding for charity isn’t needed. I have to think that this is because people are generally more generous with other peoples’ money, which is sad. There’s even more joy on the giving end to be had than the receiving end. The unseen costs of the welfare state also form good arguments for its phasing out. The waste mentioned above is compounded by the replacement of the traditional family unit that is obviously responsible for a huge portion of crime. Charity from a faceless government agency robs the receiver of that charity of the gratitude that inspires a drive to succeed.
The gratitude we feel at Thanksgiving should be directed to return us to an honest economy before the money runs out.
For the good of small businesses across the country, let’s hope the media is correct. Can you imagine the riots if the press is wrong? As evidenced in Minneapolis in May, law enforcement is either inadequate or called off. If private citizens step up, they are called “far right,” or “white supremacists,” or “fascists.” Capitalism has created so much wealth that these babies have the luxury of promoting its demise. It’s amazing that a country can be held hostage by such a tiny group that we all fear a successful court challenge by the “Trump Team.”
I was in Fareway to get some Swiss cheese. The price had gone from $6 to $7.50 per pound. A friend with a body shop, when I asked how business was going in deer damage season, said most hits were totaled because parts are too high priced to repair a car.
I had a Fiat 124 sedan as a teenager. It cost $1,875 (and weighed that same number in pounds). A lady slammed on her brakes for a left turn with no turn signal. I swerved but still creased the side of the car from headlight to tail light. It was repairable. Consider all the mini computers and electric motors, ten-way adjustable seats and so forth in a modern car. A headlight for a Cadillac my friend was fixing cost $2,800.
The $600 unemployment subsidy drove countless workers to choose not to work. The additional $1,200 cash payment in the works today is claimed to be essential by Democrats and Republicans. Any denier is branded as heartless. Republicans who brand themselves as fiscal conservatives denounce Democrats for delaying stimulus payments. The “forgivable” loans in the Paycheck Protection Program are hilarious. Do people really consider them loans?
If you are a farmer and have corn to sell, you watch the markets for clues when to sell. If the USDA comes out with a report with surprisingly high corn supplies, the price goes down. This story illustrates what is going on with the prices consumers are paying today. There are two factors that determine price. The value of the product and the value of the money. Supplies of either one impact price.
The Fed has increased the number of dollars in circulation 27.8% in the last eight months. That means the value of the money we have has gone down by that much.
If we were talking about the corn market, that decrease in value would equate to a price drop from $3.50 per bushel to $2.53 per bushel. A corn farmer would lose a lot of sleep over that.
If you add the increased costs associated with borrowing money we don’t need simply because of artificially low interest rates, the waste in our economy is accentuated along with the devaluation of our savings.
While the losses to riots were a rallying call for Trump supporters, those losses were tiny compared to the damage done by money printing and bailouts as a means to bribe voters.
Government doesn’t look at the world like a family trying to make ends meet. It looks at us like the goose that laid the golden egg. They will keep us alive to fund the projects they convince us are essential as a way to preserve their jobs and luxurious lifestyles. Our drop in actual income is fuel for Marxist evolution.