Saturday, March 10, 2012

Not sure when it will end, but I've got a good idea how

Two stories recently illustrated to me that the decline and fall of the great American experiment is moving along faster than I had imagined.

First, a young women testifies before Congress that she needs $3000 worth of birth control to get through 3 years of law school, and furthermore, that it's appalling that she doesn't get it free of charge. Now I don't actually believe that she has sex 3-6 times a day every day of every year, as her testimony would imply. I think she just pulled a number out of thin air and didn't expect anyone to actually do the math. The sad part is, there wasn't even an honest debate over the question of whether the government, and thereby the public at large, needs to all pitch in and cover everyone's birth control. It's been dubbed a women's health issue. If you're going to call birth control a women's health issue and something the taxpayer should cover, why are weights and gym equipment not equally men's health issues and covered by the taxpayer? Heck, food and shelter are health issues as well. Why should anyone pay for those?

Another story was about illegal immigrant detainees. Now you may not be aware that most people who are caught crossing the border illegally are simply given the option to get on a bus and go back to Mexico. Some refuse and are detained awaiting hearings. While they are detained they are provided free of charge, everything from dental care to abortions, to hormone therapy. Yes, if you're in Mexico and have a medical problem, or need a cavity filled, just sneak across the border, turn yourself in, and refuse to get on the bus. After that, Uncle Sam is responsible for all your health care needs.

Our entire political system has been contorted into a game to see who cares for what more. You prove how much you care by obtaining funding in its name. There are, of course, competing care camps for competing interests, but rarely are those who say "We really can't afford that." or "That's not really a role for government." portrayed in a pleasing light in the news or on the web. The health care law really raised the game to new heights. Now that the government is charged with ensuring everyone has health care, all you have to do to get goodies for your voters is connect it to health care. There are very few things and activities that can't, in some manner, be connected to health care.

Obviously, none of this is really free. Somebody has to do the work, and at least for now, work still requires money. The government doesn't actually earn money. They have two ways of obtaining it. They can print it, or they can take it. I suppose you could call borrowing a third way, but that's really just a delay on either printing or taking. Lately, they've been doing a bit of printing and a lot of delaying. It's becoming glaringly evident that taking is not going to fill the debt hole, unless entire generations are willing to live in slavery to their government. More likely, there will be a lot more printing going on at some point down the road.

It may seem like there's not a lot of money out there, but the reality is, there's tons of it in cold storage. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, Toyota, as well as governments like China, are sitting on mountains of dollar denominated cash hoards. If they see the U.S. Treasury start cranking out bills like there's no tomorrow it will spark a spending frenzy of Biblical proportions. The good news is, we'll all be millionaires. The bad news is, a loaf of bread will set you back $10,000.

I don't know where it goes from there. There are too many uncertainties. How the public at large will react to monetary chaos is anybody's guess. But I do know the notion that deficit spending is a financial burden upon our children and grandchildren is not exactly correct. There's no way they'd be willing or able to pay such a debt. That's not how it's going to go down. Inflation is the only remaining resolution. This isn't so much a warning as an observation. A warning only makes sense for something that can be prevented.

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