Sunday, September 13, 2020

Stimulus may be last nail for dollar

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for August 12, 2020)

Government actions have consequences.

Some people were happy with the so-called stimulus checks they got from the federal government. Most of them are excited about the prospects of getting another one.

One such fan of stimulus checks was complaining to me a while ago after realizing prices on some necessary items have gone up a noticeable amount.

Instead of keeping my mouth shut, I said "Remember the stimulus check you were so thrilled to get a couple of months ago? You're starting to pay for it."

I could have added, "Expect it to get worse".

The more dollars created, the less each individual dollar is worth. When a dollar is worth less, it takes more of them to buy things.

Look at the recent price of gold, silver, and Bitcoin. As the U.S. dollar loses value, their prices go up.

It's called "inflation", but most people get it backwards. It doesn't mean things are getting more expensive; it means dollars are getting cheaper. Inflation means you can get more dollars for a roll of toilet paper than before.

People who are unaware of this economic fact might complain about the wrong things and blame the other victims-- manufacturers and retailers-- instead of the guilty party. Government will do almost anything to keep the people from realizing who's to blame.

Don't expect the trend to be a straight line. The value of a dollar will be unstable, going up and down over the short term. Prices will rise and fall because the value of a dollar isn't the only thing affecting prices. Supply, demand, and innovation also affect what things cost. This is why, even though the dollar's value is fading, prices don't always only get higher.

In the long term, the dollar is doomed. It was probably already doomed, having lost over ninety-six percent of its value since the Federal Reserve was created. A dollar today is worth less than four cents compared to a dollar before government policy began its destruction.

The Covid-19 spending, conjuring dollars out of thin air, might be the final nail in the coffin. Or, people may continue to tolerate a "dollar" worth a few cents if enough of them imagine it's worth more. You can't predict what people will do. I never believed anyone would tolerate having the economy shut down and being forced to wear masks, but here we are.

Has anyone told you recently we are living in interesting times?

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Dangerous followers

I don't need a president, so I don't support presidential candidates. However, from observation, I have a suspicion about the future based on how I expect the followers of those candidates to behave in case of a loss. Or a "win".

I believe a Trump win in the upcoming election would be safer for me, personally, than a Biden win. It's just based on feelings and I could well be wrong. I hope I'm not since I also believe Trump will win.

Notice I said I "believe" all the above, not "think" or know".

I believe if Trump wins, the "other side" will riot and do its best to destroy everything it can, as fast as it can. Since I am far from any big cities, with their largely disarmed populations (at least, among the less aggressive residents) I am not scared for my own safety if/when this happens. I also believe the riots will be quashed by armed suburbanites before they could reach me. And since I'm in a backwater, off any beaten path, it would be hard for them to get to me unless it was intentional.

I see in the anti-Trumpers a mob with a willingness to hurt and kill people they don't believe are fully on "their side". And I'm not.

On the other hand, I don't believe Trump supporters would burn cities if Kamala Harris, in the person of Joe Biden, wins. They'll probably be angry and claim it wasn't a legitimate election (as if that's even a thing). If Harris'/Biden's more radical supporters are able to influence them-- and they must believe they'll be able to-- I'll be personally harmed by the anti-gun legislation they'll push through-- more so than Trump's anti-gun legislation (as evil as it was) managed to hurt me. 

I don't see a willingness among Trump supporters to attack people who aren't loudly siding with the others and getting in their faces, so I don't believe they would be much of a threat to me. Even if they know I'm not on their side. I have sat through the Pledge to Holy Pole Quilt without participating, and although I got a few dirty looks, no one threatened me as I've seen (on video) happen to people who were ordered by an angry mob to raise a fist and declare "black lives matter". So, again, I feel safer with a Trump win than with a Biden win.

It could just be my bias speaking. I've spent more of my life around "conservatives", and even when they disagree with me it hasn't gone as badly as the few times I've disagreed with "progressives" to their faces. 

I don't believe I was the critical variable, even though I admit I usually feel more sympathy toward misguided "Right-Statists" than I do for equally misguided "Left-Statists".

I don't feel as strongly about the election this time around, since I haven't had decades of personal loathing for Joe Biden like I had for Hillary Clinton. And even then I didn't "prefer Trump" enough to v*te against Hillary.

Of course, if the "social unrest" gets bad enough, whoever the anointed ruler turns out to be, none of us will be immune. How much damage we'll sustain remains to be seen. Interesting times, fuels by politics (which makes people stupid).


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