“Facilis descensus Averno.” – Virgil
Delivering Tomorrow’s Curses
Roman poet Virgil penned these words in his epic, The Aeneid, roughly a generation before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. They can be loosely translated to, “the descent to hell is easy.” Those who’ve traversed this passage can attest to the veracity of this axiom.
Though not apparent in the milieu of Virgil’s poem, for our purposes today, we’ll extend its application to the insidious progression of currency debasement. What short utterance more aptly characterizes the steady degradation, as currently practiced by today’s church of state?
Yesterday [Thursday], for example, the House acted with untroubled ease to further America’s descent to hell. With little resistance, federal spending was increased and the debt ceiling was suspended for two years. Having delivered tomorrow’s curses, the nation’s Representatives can skip town without missing a moment of summer recess. Continue reading
According to Finagle’s corollary to Murphy’s law, “Anything that can go wrong, will—at the worst possible moment.” Taken a degree further, per O’Toole’s corollary of Finagle’s law, and the second law of thermodynamics, “The perversity of the Universe tends towards a maximum.”
No doubt, the perverse effect of central planning on the economy is tending towards a maximum. This tendency can be traced back well over a century, with the advent of the Fed and the federal income tax in 1913. Our purpose today, however, is to look back a mere decade. This offers an adequate sampling of O’Toole’s corollary of Finagle’s law in action.
For example, on June 1, 2009, General Motors filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection; the fourth largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. Of course, GM didn’t vanish from the face of the earth. Instead, Washington took 60 percent ownership and nationalized the company with a $50 billion taxpayer bailout. President Obama remarked at the time:
“We are acting as reluctant shareholders because that is the only way to help GM succeed.” Continue reading
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there,” is a quote that’s oft misattributed to Lewis Carrol. The fact that there’s ambiguity about who’s behind this quote on ambiguity seems fitting.
For our purposes today, the spirit of the quote is what we’re after. We think it may help elucidate the strange and confusing world of fake money in which we all travel.
For example, the monetary policy outlook immediately following last month’s FOMC meeting was as clear as a flawless (FL grade) diamond. The principal message, if you recall, was that inflation was muted and the Fed, after suffering an overt beating from President Trump, would soon be shaving basis points off the federal funds rate. You could darn near take it to the bank.
Wall Street took the news and acted upon it with conviction. Investors piled into stocks and bonds without pausing to take a closer look for imperfections. Why worry when fortune favors the bold? Continue reading
The days are long and hot in the Northern Hemisphere when real American patriots raise the stars and stripes. Today the free and brave, with duty and self-sacrifice, begrudgingly accept federal holiday pay to stand tall upon their own two feet. Rugged individualism and uncompromising independence are essential to their character.
With purpose and intent, they assemble as merry mobs along the shoreline to celebrate American Independence. Freedom lovers – descendants of Daniel Boone – gather to eat hotdogs and pitch horseshoes while downing tipples of corn syrup and fermented grain. When the sun slips beyond the western horizon and the stars twinkle bright, they hoot and holler at the brilliance of fireworks and sparkling pyrotechnics.
These festivities certify that, even in an era of big government, there remains a time and place to revel in the virtues of representative self-rule. All are welcome, of course, so long as their vehicles are registered, they’ve paid their income taxes, and have proper documentation. Continue reading