Category Archives: inflation

The Gold Standard: Protector of Individual Liberty and Economic Prosperity

goldstandard vs.    the-bill-of-rights

 

 

The idea of a constitution and/or written legislation to secure individual rights so beloved by conservatives and among many libertarians has proven to be a myth. The US Constitution and all those that have been written and ratified in its wake throughout the world have done little to protect individual liberties or keep a check on State largesse.  Instead, in the American case, the Constitution created a powerful central government which eliminated much of the sovereignty and independence that the individual states possessed under the Articles of Confederation.

While the US Constitution contains a “Bill of Rights,” the interpreter of those rights and protections thereof is the very entity which has enumerated them.  It is only natural that decisions on whether, or if such rights have been violated will be in favor of the state.  Moreover, nearly every amendment which has come in the wake of the Bill of Rights, has augmented federal power at the expense of the individual states and that of property owners.

History has shown the steady erosion of individual rights and the creation of “new rights” and entitlements (education, health care, employment, etc.) which have occurred under constitutional rule.  Instead of limitation on government power, constitutions have given cover for the vast expansion of taxation, regulation, debt, and money creation.

While taxation has always been a facet of constitutional governments, it has been the advent of central banking and with it the elimination of the gold standard which has provided the means for the state to become such an omnipresent force in everyday life.  Irredeemable fiat paper money issued by central banks has also led to the entrenchment of political parties which has allowed these elites to create and subsidize dependency groups which, in turn, repeatedly vote to keep the political class in office.

Without the ability to create money and credit, the many bureaucracies, regulations, and laws could neither be created or enforced.  This would mean that the vast and powerful security and surveillance agencies could not exist or would be far less intrusive than they currently are.  With commodity money, debt creation would have to be repaid in gold, not monetized as it is currently done through the issuance of paper currency.

Just as important, it would have been next to impossible for the two world wars to have been fought and carried to their unimaginable destructive ends.  None of the populations involved would have put up with the level of taxation necessary to wage such costly undertakings.  Few of the wars which followed (most of which have been instigated by the US) could have taken place without central banking.  Nor could the level of “defense” spending – currently at a whopping $717 billion for fiscal year 2018 – be financed if the US was on a commodity standard.*

Under a gold standard, governments would have to rely on taxation alone.  Since citizens directly feel the effects of taxation, there is a “natural level” that it can be raised.  Punitive tax rates usually lead to a backlash and potential social insurrection which strike fear in the hearts of political elites.

Recent projections by the Congressional Budget Office again demonstrate that constitutional government provides little restraint on spending.

If present trends continue, the federal government will spend more on its interest serving its debt than it spends on the military, Medicare, or children’s programs.  It is also expected that next year’s interest on the debt will be some $390 billion, up an astonishing 50 percent from 2017.** And, for the entire fiscal year of 2018, the gross national debt surged by $1.271 trillion, to a mind-boggling $21.52 trillion.***

At one time, economists used to speak of the pernicious effects that “crowding out” had on an economy.  Since the onset of the “bubble era,” talk about deficits has almost dropped out of financial discussions.  Yet, the reality remains the same: public spending and borrowing divert scarce resources away from private capital markets to unproductive wasteful government projects and endeavors.

For those who seek a reduction in State power, defense of individual rights, and economic prosperity, the re-establishment of a monetary order based on the precious metals is the most efficacious path to take.  Such a social system would not require elaborate legislation or fancy proclamations of man’s inalienable rights, but simply a return to honest money – gold!

*Amanda Macias, “Trump Gives $717 Billion Defense Bill a Green Light. Here’s What the Pentagon is Poised to Get.”  CNBC.com 14 August 2018. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/13/trump-signs-717-billion-defense-bill.html

**Nelson D. Schwartz, “As Debt Rises, the Government Will Soon Spend More on Interest Than on the Military.”  The New York Times. 25 September 2018 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/25/business/economy/us-government-debt-interest.html

***Tyler Durden, “US Gross National Debt Soars $1.27 Trillion in Fiscal 2018, Hits $21.5 Trillion.” Zero Hedge.  2 October 2018.   https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-10-02/us-gross-national-debt-soars-127-trillion-fiscal-2018-hits-215-trillion

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

The Fed’s “Inflation Target” is Impoverishing American Workers

Powell   Fed Chair Jerome Powell apparently doesn’t see the pernicious effects of inflation

At one time, the Federal Reserve’s sole mandate was to maintain stable prices and to “fight inflation.”  To the Fed, the financial press, and most everyone else “inflation” means rising prices instead of its original and true definition as an increase in the money supply.  Rising prices are a consequence – a very painful consequence – of money printing.

Naturally, the Fed and all other central bankers prefer the definition of inflation as a rise in prices which insidiously hides the fact that they, being the issuers of currency, are the real culprit for increased prices.

Be that as it may, the common understanding of inflation as rising prices has always been seen as pernicious and destructive to an economy and living standards.  In the perverted world of modern economics, however, the idea of inflation as an intrinsic evil has been turned on its head and monetary authorities the world over now have “inflation targets” which they hope to attain.

America’s central bank is right in line with this lunacy, as it has been reported that at the Fed’s “May minutes” it wants “a temporary period of inflation modestly above 2 percent [which] would be consistent with the Committee’s symmetric inflation objective.”* Translated into understandable verbiage, the Fed wants everyone to pay at least 2% higher prices for the goods they buy.

Yes, by some crazed thinking US monetary officials believe that consumers paying higher prices is somehow good for economic activity and standards of living!  Of course, anyone with a modicum of sense can see that this is absurd and that those who espouse such policy should be laughed at and summarily locked up in an asylum!  Yet, this is now standard policy, not just with the Fed, but with the ECU and other central banks.

The baneful consequence of this economic quackery is being felt by American workers as admitted by the Labor Department.  Instead of spurring expansion, inflation is eating into and depressing wages:

For workers in ‘production and

nonsupervisory” positions, the value

of the average paycheck has actually

declined in the past year.  For those

workers, average ‘real wages’ – a

measure of pay that takes inflation

into account fell – from $22.62 in

May 2017 to $22.59 in May of 2018.*

While the decline in nominal wages is not significant, the manner in which the government now calculates inflation has been skewed to understate its impact.  Under the previous calculation, the current US inflation rate is probably closer to 5%.

Wage stagnation is not new.  Average real wages peaked more than 40 years ago and have fallen in real terms ever since.  Not surprisingly, the drop in wages in real terms began soon after the US went off the last vestiges of the gold standard in 1971.

As sound theory has long ago demonstrated, the idea of economic growth through money printing is absurd.  Increases in living standards and real wages can only come about through savings, investment, and capital accumulation.  Workers who have superior tools and equipment are obviously more productive than those that do not. Yet, capital goods have to be produced and production takes place over time.  Savings allow for the production process.

The level of wages are also closely linked to savings.  The greater savings an economy has enables entrepreneurs to bid for workers and increase wage rates.  This is how wages rise – competition for labor among businessmen pushes up wage rates.  The more savings entrepreneurs have, the higher they can bid for employees.

How and why wage rates rise and how employment is created had been understood by economists of yesteryear.  Today, however, the profession is dominated by “inflationists” and monetary cranks who believe that nearly every economic problem can be solved by the printing press.  Anyone who holds such ideas cannot be taken seriously.

While the Federal Reserve may think an inflation target will create prosperity, the reality for real wages is quite the opposite.  The laws of economic science have not been repealed.  An inflation target will lead to the impoverishment of not just workers, but lower living standards for all.

inflation target.jpg

*Jeff Stein and Andrew van Dam, “For the Biggest Group of American Workers, Wages Aren’t Just Flat.  They’re Falling.”  The Washington Post.  16 June 2018 A10.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

“Strong Dollar,” “Weak Dollar,” What About a Gold-Backed Dollar?

gold backed dollar

The recent hullabaloo among President Trump’s top monetary officials about the Administration’s “dollar policy” is just the start of what will likely be the first of many contradictory pronoucements and reversals which will take place in the coming months/years as the world’s reserve currency continues to be compromised.  So far, the Greenback has had its worst start since 1987, the year of a major stock market reset.

The brief firestorm was set off by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who said in response to the dollar’s recent slide, “Obviously, a weaker dollar is good for us, it’s good because it has to do with trade and opportunities.”*  Mnuchin backtracked a bit as international financial leaders criticized the apparent shift in policy while Administration officials sought to clarify the Secretary’s remarks.  President Trump weighted in on the matter saying, “Ultimately, I want to see a strong dollar” and added that Mnuchin’s comments were “taken out of context.”

While President Trump sought to allay jittery currency markets that monetary policy had not changed, candidate Trump supported the Federal Reserve’s suppression of interest rates and did not want to see a rising dollar:

I must be honest, I’m a low interest rate

person.  If we raise rates and if the

dollar starts getting too strong, we’re going

to have some very major problems.**

Of course, the entire uproar about a strong dollar versus weak dollar is a sham. When the dollar (and for that matter all other national currencies) cannot be redeemed for either gold or silver, it is inherently “weak” and ultimately worthless.  That this obvious fact is not recognized by the Trump Administration, international monetary authorities, and the financial press demonstrates just how unstable the dollar and world currencies actually are.

If President Trump truly wants to see a strong dollar that will become a linchpin in “making America great again,” he should enact policies that will return the dollar to its original function – a warehouse receipt that can be redeemed for precious metals.  Just as important, an authentic strong dollar policy would mean that no dollar can be created that did not have “an equal amount” of gold/silver in bank vaults – in essence a 100% gold dollar.  These two acts would guarantee a strong dollar and insure that the dollar would remain the world’s reserve currency.    Moreover, a fully redeemable dollar would likely lead to other nations adopting similar measures.

A gold-backed dollar would also head off China’s not too subtle attempt at replacement of the Greenback with the Yuan as the world’s reserve currency.  Its “Belt & Road Initiative,” its massive accumulation of gold, and other actions are all aimed at making the Yuan the dominant world currency which, if successful, will have catastrophic financial repercussions for the US and Western Europe.

Gold-backed money will not only have positive international effects, but domestic benefits as well.  Crippling price inflation that has been intentionally under reported by government statistics will be a thing of the past.  Prices in a gold-backed currency will actually fall, raising living standards for everyone.

Without the ability of the Federal Reserve to create money out of thin air, the massive federal budget deficits would have to be dealt with.  And, without the Fed’s purchasing of US debt, the government would be forced to make cuts in spending.  Spending cuts would have to be deep and across the board.

Happily, under such a scenario, reduction in spending would mean a pull back in the American Empire.  The US would simply not have the resources to maintain bases abroad or involve itself in the countless conflicts and wars it is now engaged in.  It is more likely that when the American Empire comes to an end, it will not be because of a military defeat, but because it can no longer be sustained financially.

Sadly, under current ideological conditions, a return to gold money is not on the financial horizon.  It will most likely take a collapse of the irredeemable paper monetary system before commodity-backed money is re-established as a general medium of exchange.

It is clear from the recent exchange among Trump Administration financial officers that the same dollar policy will continue, which will lead to an inevitable dollar crisis and certain political disaster for the President.

* “Trump Wades Into the Currency Uproar, Favours ‘Strong Dollar,’ Government & Economy.”  Brit Asian News  26 January 2018.  http://britasiannews.com/en/2018/01/25/trump-wades-into-currency-uproar-favours-strong-dollar-government-economy/

**Inflation Alert: Trump Also favors Low Interest Rates, Weak Dollar.”  Weekly Market Wrap. 6 May 2016.  https://www.moneymetals.com/podcasts/2016/05/06/trump-supports-weak-dollar-000864

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

 

 

Bitcoin: A Tower of Monetary Babel

Bitcoin Fiat Currency

The promoters of crypto currencies have gushingly touted them as the mechanism by which the present central banking cabal and the system of nation states which derive much of their power from will be brought down and replaced by digital money.  Despite their meteoric rise as speculative “assets,” there are fundamental economic reasons why they will never act as a general medium of exchange despite the wild enthusiasm for them by the crypto-currency cultists.

Money – a general medium of exchange – is the most marketable (exchangeable) commodity in an economy.  As a good, money is not sought after for its direct use – to satisfy individual wants – but to satisfy wants indirectly through exchange for other goods.  Over time, one good becomes money since it possesses qualities superior to all other goods as a money.  When gold became demanded not for its “use value,” but for its “exchange value,” it became a general medium of exchange – money.

As a consumer good, gold possessed a value or a “price” prior to it becoming a money, as the eminent monetary theorist Murray Rothbard explains:

. . . embedded in the demand for money is knowledge

of the money-prices of the immediate past; in contrast

to directly-used consumers’ or producers’ goods, money

must have pre-existing prices on which to ground a demand.

But the only way this can happen is by beginning with a useful

commodity under barter, and then adding demand for a

medium to the previous demand for direct use (e.g., for

ornaments in the case of gold.)*

Thus, Bitcoin’s “price” is not in terms of its original commodity price, but its price is in terms of dollars, Euros, yuan, etc.  In the dollar’s case, it was at one time linked to gold, but has since been severed from it while Bitcoin has had no such relationship.

Once money is established, then prices are expressed in terms of it and thus economic calculation can rationally take place and the division of labor and specialization can be expanded.  Rothbard continues:

       The establishment of money conveys another great

benefit.  Since all exchanges are made in money, all the

exchange-ratios are expressed in money, and so people

can now compare the market worth of each good to that

of every other good.**

Once gold became money, the price of goods became expressed in gold not in other elements – nickel, zinc, lead, etc.  With the proliferation of crypto currencies, there will be a myriad of different price ratios for each good.  There will be a Bitcoin price for a car, an Ethereum price for a car, a Dogecoin price of a car, and so on.  This is the antithesis of the purpose of money – one unit of account that reflect prices for all commodities as Rothbard shows:

 

Because gold is a general medium it is most marketable,

it can be stored to serve as a medium in the future as well

as the present, and all prices are expressed in its terms.

Because gold is a commodity medium for all exchanges,

it can serve as a unit of account for present, and expected

future, prices.  It is important to realize that money cannot

be an abstract unit of account or claim, except insofar as it

serves as a medium of exchange.***  [my emphasis]

Crypto currencies, therefore, directly violate one of the main principles of monetary theory.  The vast array of digital money, all with unique price ratios (to say the least of their volatility), would make economic calculation and rational planning next to impossible.  In this sense, the current world of fiat dollars would be preferable to a Tower of Monetary Babel that digital currencies would create.

Central banks and governments do not fear crypto currency challengers to their monetary hegemony.  They, of course, jealously monitor the crypto market worried that any gains accrued may not be subject to tax.  Central banksters do fear gold for it remains, despite being demonetized, the last check on profligate central bank monetary expansion.  And, because countries who wisely understand gold’s importance and seek to get out from under the yoke of King Dollar (most notably China and Russia), continue to voraciously accumulate the yellow metal.

The return of true prosperity will only come about when gold is once again at the center of the monetary order and fiat currencies such as the dollar, Euro, and now Bitcoin are forgettable memories of a misguided and corrupt age.

*Murray N. Rothard, What Has Government Done to Our Money?  Novato, CA.: Libertarian Publishers, 8th printing, January 1981.

**Ibid., 4-5.

***Ibid., 5.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

The Ultimate Regulatory Reform: Abolish Fractional Reserve Banking!

fractional reserve banking II

The Trump Administration has presented the first part of its plan to overhaul a number of Wall Street financial regulations, many of which were enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.  The report is in response to Executive Order 13772 in which the US Treasury Department is to provide findings “examining the United States’ financial regulatory system and detailing executive actions and regulatory changes that can be immediately undertaken to provide much-needed relief.”*

In release of the first phase of the report, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin stated: “Properly structuring regulation of the U.S. financial system is critical to achieve the administration’s goal of sustained economic growth and to create opportunities for all Americans to benefit from a stronger economy.  We are focused on encouraging a market environment where consumers have more choices, access to capital and safe loan products – while ensuring taxpayer-funded bailouts are truly a thing of the past.”**

Some of its highlights include:

  • Community financial institutions – banks and credit unions – are critically important to serve many Americans
  • Capital, liquidity and leverage rules can be simplified to increase the flow of credit
  • We must ensure our banks are globally competitive
  • Improving market liquidity is critical for the U.S. economy
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau must be reformed
  • Regulations need to be better tailored, more efficient and effective
  • Congress should review the organization and mandates of the independent banking regulators to improve accountability***

 

Not surprisingly, most of the banking industry expressed support for the report, critics (mostly Democrats) pointed out that it would lead to the type of practices that produced the 2008 panic in the first place.  Both opponents and those in favor as well as the clueless financial press fail to grasp the underlying cause of not only the recent crisis, but the majority of those which have occurred for the past century.

Quite simply: the fundamental cause of the 2008 financial crisis was fractional-reserve banking (FRB).  FRB is the practice whereby banks keep a “fraction” of the funds deposited by customers in their vaults lending out the rest at interest and “profit.”  Banks are thus inherently unstable since if all depositors came at once and demanded their money (a “bank run”), banks could not be able to redeem their deposits.  Moreover, FRB encourages banks to engage in exceedingly speculative and risky behavior which creates unsustainable bubbles throughout the economy.

The nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve, was created by the banksters and politicos to enshrine this immoral and economically ruinous practice into the heart of the American financial landscape.  Any “reform” of Wall Street’s financial practices that does not address FRB by doing away with it and the institution (the Fed) which enables it to exist, is doomed.

The banks in collusion with the Fed are able to expand the money supply through this process while enriching the banksters’ balance sheet.  On the macro level, the creation of money through FRB is the genesis of the destructive boom-bust cycle.

This is why banks and the entire financial system are so prone to reoccurring crisis and no regulation, reform, or Treasury Department “findings,” can make such a system “stable.”  The only true reform is to abolish FRB and establish a monetary order that requires all financial institutions to keep 100% reserves of depositors’ assets.

The Treasury Department’s recommendations are mere window dressing by the very banksters whose opulent livelihoods are predicated on FRB.

The elimination of FRB would go beyond a beneficial financial revolution, but would affect the foreign policy of the USSA.  Without the ability to create money via FRB, the murderous American Empire could simply not exist, nor would the nation’s draconian domestic security state.

With his selection of crony capitalists and members of Goldman Sachs to his economic team, it is apparent that President Trump does not understand the true nature of the nation’s financial woes or what precipitated the last financial crisis and what will assuredly lead to a far bigger mess down the road.  If he did, his next Executive Order would be to implement steps and procedures to eliminate the scourge of fractional reserve banking forever.

*U.S. Department of the Treasury, “A Financial System That Creates Economic Opportunities.”  6 June 2017.  https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/sm0106.aspx

**Ibid.

***Ibid.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com

The American Empire and Economic Collapse

American Empire Collapse

Despite the widespread hope among libertarians, classical liberals, non-interventionists, progressive peaceniks, and all those opposed to the US Empire that it may have some of its murderous reins pulled in with the election of Donald Trump, it appears that such optimism has now been dashed.  While the hope for a less meddlesome US foreign policy is not completely extinguished and would never have existed had the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua been elected, a number of President Trump’s foreign policy actions, so far, have been little different than his recent predecessors.

President Trump’s biggest blunder was his acquiesce to the Deep State’s coup of General Michael Flynn, the most Russian friendly among Trump’s foreign policy entourage.  Since Flynn’s abrupt departure, there has been little talk of a rapprochement with Russia, but instead there has been continued saber rattling by the war mongers that Trump has, unfortunately, chosen to surround himself with.

The most recent Russian badgering has come from Secretary of Defense, James “Mad Dog” Mattis who wrongly accused it of “bad behavior:” “Russia’s violations of international law are now a matter of record from what happened with Crimea to other aspects of their behavior in mucking around other people’s elections and that sort of thing.”* Of course, the US has never tried to influence the outcomes of elections or “mucked around” in the affairs of sovereign countries, heaven forbid!

While candidate Trump correctly spoke of the Iraqi War as a disaster and US Middle Eastern policy as a failure, he has done little to alter course in the region, but continues to follow and has, in some instances, escalated tensions.  Some ominous examples:

Bombing raids of Mosul killing over 200 civilians

The deployment of another 1,000 ground troops to Syria

Additional US ground troops “expected” to be deployed to Afghanistan

Continuous threats to Iran – “put on notice”

In the Far East, President Trump has done little to alleviate hostilities.  In a belligerent March tweet during Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson’s trip to the region, he wrote: “North Korea is behaving very badly.  They have been ‘playing’ the United States for years.  China has done little to help.”**

A number of perceptive commentators think otherwise and have shown that it has been the US over the years that has acted disingenuously.  “Despite Western media demonization of North Korea as some kind of crazy rogue state,” Finian Cunningham points out, “the people there are not fools.  They know from family histories the atrocious cost of American war.  And they know that any nation perceived as weak by Washington will be bombed back to the Stone Age.”***

These trends, and the President’s unnecessary request for increased “defense spending,” all point to more of the same for US overseas relations.  In fact, there will most likely be continued military escalation if the likes of General “Mad Dog” Mattis get their way.

It is now apparent that the only way in which significant change will come about in American foreign affairs will be if there is a severe financial crisis which impairs the nation enough so that it can no longer bankroll its military adventurism.  History has a number of examples of this.

Great Britain, who the US Empire is largely patterned after, lost its empire when it became financially exhausted due, in large part, to its insane decision to enter the two World Wars of the past century.  To fight in those conflagrations drained Britain of its wealth and devastated it demographically which it, and the rest of Europe, has never recovered.

The US is heading down a similar path of decline as it has squandered its wealth and treasure in the maintenance of an overseas empire while it has expanded its welfare state at home, meaning less wealth which can be tapped from an increasingly unproductive and parasitic populace.  Couple this with an onerous tax burden, an inflationist monetary policy which has destroyed the purchasing power of the dollar, and gargantuan public debt and you have primed the country for a financial cataclysm.

Despite the dramatic fall in the standard of living and the immense social strife and unrest that an economic collapse would bring about, there is a silver lining.  Like Great Britain before it, a financial crisis and/or the loss of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency would force the US to abandon its overseas empire – closing bases, bringing troops home, and stopping intervention in the myriad of arenas across the planet.

A defunct US Empire would also be bad news and mean grisly retribution for all those lackeys and puppets who have been supported and propped up by American might: another positive aspect to the end of the Empire.

The collapse will mean America, too, will face reprisals from all those who have suffered under its hegemony.  The payback will come from both economic warfare as the US has used through its “Dollar Diplomacy” to control and manipulate foreign economies and by some sort of military humiliation.

The impact of an economic collapse could be mitigated somewhat if the US abandoned its role as global policeman as resources squandered abroad could be then available for the rebuilding of the domestic economy while, at the same time, hostility with America’s adversaries would be reduced.

Unless President Trump replaces the warmongers and interventionists which he has unwisely surrounded himself with and return to his wildly popular campaign promise of an American First foreign policy, the US Empire will remain the greatest threat to world peace that currently exists.  If things continue as such, it will only be through the comeuppance of Economic Mother Nature when She bursts the American bubble economy that the Empire upon which it rests will, at long last, come to a fitting and much needed end!

*Ellen Mitchell, “Mattis Says Response Coming Soon on Russia Arms Treaty Violation.”  The Hill.  31 March 2017.

**Pamela Engel, “Trump: North Korea is ‘Behaing Very Badly,’ and China ‘Has Done Little to Help.'”  Business Insider17 March 2017.

***Finian Cunningham, “Only a Fool Would Trust Rogue State USA.”  Sputnik Internaional.  19 March 2017.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/

 

Donald & the Dollar

donald-dollar

John Connally, President Nixon’s Secretary of the Treasury, once remarked to the consternation of Europe’s financial elites over America’s inflationary monetary policy, that the dollar “is our currency, but your problem.”  Times have certainly changed and it now appears that the dollar has become an American problem.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, the soon to be 45th President of the United States believes that the greenback’s strength – up some 25% against a broad basket of currencies since 2014 – is now “too strong,” “killing us,” and has hurt companies trying to compete overseas.* A top Trump economics advisor, Anthony Scaramucci, reinforced his boss’ sentiment adding that “we must be careful of a rising dollar.”

Apparently, making America great again does not include the nation’s monetary standard.  Trump’s belief that the dollar is too strong also shows a distinct lack of historical understanding.  Every great nation and empire (which Trump promises to restore America to) had a sound monetary system.  It is no coincidence that the pound sterling was the world’s “reserve currency” at the time when the British Empire was at its height.  Debasement of it to finance Britain’s insane decision to enter World War I led, in large part, to the eventual loss of its empire.  If Trump truly seeks to restore American greatness at home and its prestige throughout the world, devaluating the currency is not the way to go.

Nor does a weakened dollar benefit the middle class whom the president elect throughout the campaign has pledged to help.  In fact, it has been the fall in the purchasing power of the dollar due to the inflationary policies of the Federal Reserve which have decimated the living standard of the middle class.  And, while the proposed Trumpian middle class tax cuts will help, just as important is a sound monetary system if Middle America is to become a creditor class once again.

Pensioners and retirees, another group that Trump has promised to help, would continue to see their financial condition decline under a policy to weaken the dollar. A fall in the purchasing power of money would devastate the income stream of pensions and social security payments.

While a weaker dollar policy would hurt the middle class, retirees, and savers, it would benefit the most responsible for the continued economic doldrums of America – banksters and the government.  A weaker dollar would allow the government to continue to borrow and maintain its profligate spending.  Financial houses and the banksters would receive credit at nearly zero cost which would allow them to continue to blow bubbles in the asset markets.  Export firms, too, would benefit at least for a while, but would more than likely face retribution from foreign governments and central banks which would retaliate with their own devaluations sparking potential currency wars.

Talk of “currency manipulation,” “weakening the dollar,” “trade deals,” and the like do not address what lies at the heart of not only America, but the Western world’s economic problem – too much debt.  The reason why the West has been able to incur its current gargantuan level of debt is not because of a “weak” or a “strong” dollar, but because the dollar is a fiat currency not backed by any commodity.  A true gold standard, where each currency unit represents either gold or silver, provides monetary discipline which prevents politicians and banksters from incurring ruinous levels of debt.

Since money is the lifeblood of an economy, any hope that one can be turned around without a stable monetary order is, to say the least, delusional.  If president-elect Trump and his policy makers do not realize this, they will be severely disappointed in the years to come.  Sound money allows for the accumulation of savings and capital formation, the essential elements of the market economy and the only basis upon which real economic growth can occur.  More savings and capital are needed to boost production and create employment, not supposedly wiser and more competent international trade negotiators.

Talk of currency devaluation is what is typically heard from banana republics, it should not be advocated by those who have aspirations of making their country great again.

*Tyler Durden, “Dollar Tumbles After Trump Calls Currency ‘Too Strong,’ Slams Border-Adjustment Tax.”  Zero Hedge.  17 January 2017.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

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