March to Default

“May you live in interesting times,” says the ancient Chinese curse.  No doubt about it, we live in interesting times.  Hardly a day goes by that we’re not aghast and astounded by a series of grotesque caricatures of the world as at devolves towards vulgarity.

Just this week, for instance, U.S. Representative Maxine Waters tweeted, “Get ready for impeachment.”  We assume this was directed at President Trump.  But what Waters meant by this was sufficiently vague.  There was no guidance as to how President Trump should be getting ready.

Should he pack his bags?  Should he double knot his shoelaces?  Should he say a prayer?

Naturally, the specifics don’t matter in the darnedest.  Rather, these days, it’s style over substance in just about everything.  This is why Waters – a committed moron – rises to the top of class in the lost republic of the early 21st century.

At the same time, the individual has been displaced by the almighty aggregate.  Economists pencil out the unemployment rate, with certain omissions, as if it represents something meaningful.  Then lunkheads like Waters repeat it as if it’s the gospel truth. Continue reading

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The Long Run Economics of Debt Based Stimulus

Something both unwanted and unexpected has tormented western economies in the 21st century.  Gross domestic product (GDP) has moderated onward while government debt has spiked upward.  Orthodox economists continue to be flummoxed by what has transpired.

Here is the United States, since the turn of the new millennium (starting January 1, 2001) real GDP has increased from roughly $10.5 trillion to $18.6 trillion, or 77 percent.  Over this same time government debt has spiked nearly 250 percent from about $5.7 trillion to $19.9 trillion.  Obviously, some sort of reckoning’s in order to bring the books back into balance.

Throughout this extended episode of economic and financial discontinuity, the government’s solution to jumpstarting the economy has been to borrow money and spend it.  Thus far, these efforts have succeeded in digging a massive hole that the economy will somehow have to climb out of.  We’re doubtful such a feat will ever be attained.

In short, additions of government debt over this time have been at a diminishing return. Continue reading

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Off the Beaten Path in Mesoamerica

There’s an endearing quality to a steadfast rooster call at the crack of dawn when overheard from a warm country farmhouse.  There’s a reassuring charm that comes with the committed gallinaceous greeting of daybreak that’s particularly suited to a rural ambiance.  The allure of a morning cock-a-doodle-doo somehow falls flat in all other settings.

Early this morning we suffered a rude awakening from brash, dedicated rooster crowing.  The calls, however, weren’t emanating from a barnyard henhouse.  Rather, they came from rooftop chicken coops sitting atop the staggered flats of a highly urbanized Mexico City borough.

To be exact, we are presently at Calle Norte 86, in Colonia La Malinche, of the Gustavo A. Madero borough, of the Distrito Federal (Mexico City).  What it is we’re doing here is less exact.  Still, we’ve narrowed it down to two main intents.

First, we’re visiting numerous in-laws – and several outlaws – who live here.  Second, we’re conducting field research on your behalf.  Specifically, we’re investigating the chronic effects of what happens when a government spends too much borrowed money, and then attempts to lighten its debt burden by inflating its currency. Continue reading

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A 30 Year Mess in the Making

“We have assembled a best-in-class team of policy advisors to drive President Trump’s bold plan for job creation and economic growth.” Gary Cohn, Chief Economic Advisor to President Trump

Promises of Slop

The art and science of spending other people’s money is not an occupation suited to just anyone.  Rather, it’s a skill reserved for the professional world-improver.  To be successful, one must act with a zealous devotion to uplifting the down and out, no matter the cost.

Lawyers, bankers, economists, and government philosophers with fancy resumes, whom attended fancy schools.  These are the devoted fellows who comprise President Trump’s team of economic policy advisors.  Moreover, these are the chosen associates who are charged with bringing Trump’s economic vision to fruition.  Are they up to the task?

Only time will tell.  But, already, it’s quite evident that Trump’s economic policy advisors have their work cut out for them.  During Trumps speech to Congress on Tuesday night, he called for more jobs, more education, more military, and more affordable health insurance. Continue reading

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