David Hines
The investor crass
By David Hines
November 25, 2008

It's almost unanimous: voters agree that we are stupid, silly, and profligate.

Roughly 98% of the electorate cast votes for candidates who said as much. The resemblance to the number who don't qualify for Mensa is purely coincidental.

Voters bought one theory or the other that government knows much better than you do how your money should be invested and spent. Both candidates cast their Senate votes according to that theory. They elected to invest your money in some of the most poorly-run businesses in the nation.

You pay for not buying a car. Too few were willing to pay what GM, Ford, and Chrysler demanded, so the auto makers got tax money a couple months ago and are expecting to get more. Since you're now an investor, it'll take you a bit longer to afford that new car.

Perhaps you are one of those foolish people who think it's good to pay your bills and save money. Government is determined to teach you the error of your ways. You'll pay for people who don't pay their bills. Your savings will be eroded by bailout-induced inflation. These days it's profitable to be a deadbeat and a borrower.

Both candidates thought this topsy-turvy economic paradigm exactly right. Ninety-eight percent of voters agreed with them. What you subsidize you get more of. So we can expect fewer savers and fewer bill payers, fewer money-making companies and more careless management.

This has been made possible because money has been separated from value. The disconnect began almost a century ago with the creation of the Fed. It became complete a third of a century ago when Nixon abrogated Bretton Woods, separating the dollar completely from gold.

With money divorced from real assets, the notion has become ubiquitous that wealth can be created by printing more money. This is the heart of Keynesian economics, a failed and failing theory that nonetheless currently enjoys a large following. It's a nice fantasy. Counterfeiting money takes little real effort; if it really created wealth, wouldn't it be wonderful?

Our founders knew better. The Constitution says that the states can recognize only gold and silver as money; the Federal Reserve Note is neither, but the states and people are mandated to accept it as money — a clear violation. Presidents routinely ignore their oath to uphold the Constitution in this respect. Kennedy made a small attempt to restore sound money by executive order, authorizing a limited number of silver certificates. The certificates were quietly withdrawn after his assassination.

There are those who say the Constitution is outdated. These folks believe that the document can be ignored in the interest of modernity. But since the document is what grants the president his authority, according to this view our leader is without any legitimate authority. What gives him the right, then, to dictate how you shall live your life? And what right to reward profligacy with your earnings? And to invest your money for you?

Ninety-eight percent believe that the government is a good investment adviser. I suppose that makes some sense. Since it is now a major investor and bank owner, it can gear economic activity to its own advantage. Though Jefferson would be horrified at this turn of events, Hamilton would be proud.

Don't expect to buy that new car with your investment dividends. There won't be any.

© David Hines


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David Hines

Born in a mill town, David Hines has seen work as a furniture mover, computer programmer/analyst, and professional musician... (more)


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