In Jim Cook's Archive

The Paper Caper

Once upon a time immigrants to America had a hard row to hoe. The land of opportunity offered only that. If you worked hard, you could make a decent life for yourself. America became a land of “rugged individualists.” In those days, Americans asked for nothing more than freedom and the chance to strive for a better life.

There was no subsidized housing, no food stamps or other benefits to make life easier. When you got sick, the government didn’t pay your doctor bill. That’s all changed. Most of today’s immigrants get subsidies of one sort or another. Naturally, if you get food stamps and free housing, that’s an incentive to come here.

My mother was born in Buffalo, New York. She traced her lineage back to colonial times. When she was a young girl, her widowed father was transferred by his company to Canada. There she met my Dad. After I was born they decided to try and emigrate to the U.S. They went through a lot of paperwork and finally got us admitted.

My father was coming to the U.S. to take a job in the insurance business. No subsidies of any kind awaited. In fact, there was a stigma attached to any kind of government handout. At that time, welfare was doled out to a small segment of the populace and they were looked down on. A black mark was attached to welfare or unemployment compensation, and nobody with any gumption would consider these options.

In 50 years, all of that has changed. An army of the entitled (the government’s term) works the system for maximum benefit. The politicians bend over to give them more freebies. The subsidized even have their own lobbyist to make sure the handouts keep coming. The line at the government trough grows longer by the day, as new programs give away more and more.

In order to pay for this spend-fest, the government has to print money to cover its deficits. This inflation of the purchasing media is a necessary requisite to fund the numerous socialist schemes that have overtaken the land of rugged individualists. This watering down of the currency pays for the subsidies that have rendered so many people dependent, dishonest and helpless. It’s a social mess that only the government could engineer.

Whenever I write about the social schemes that are breaking the budget, I get angry e-mails and letters from people who say I’m forgetting the cost of war. Yes, inflationary purchasing media also pays for the war. That’s why the Libertarians call it the welfare-warfare state. Whatever the reason for these vast expenditures, the currency is being debased. You can’t have socialism and foreign adventures with a sound currency. You have to have printing press money and credit inflation to pay for it.

Now the credit binge initiated by the U.S. has spread globally. Everybody’s doing it. As Richard Russell points out, “The world fiat money situation has existed for only 35 years, and already under the care of the world’s central banks, it’s out of control – or as a teenager might express it, its ‘money gone wild.’”

Years ago the economic thinker and author, Henry Hazlitt, warned, “Once the idea is accepted that money is something those supply is determined simply by the printing press, it becomes impossible for the politicians in power to resist the constant demand for further inflation….If the welfarist-socialist-inflationist-trend of recent years continues in this country, the outlook is dark.”

Nobody knows when any of this will happen. However, as long as you have a place in your brain that recognizes that spending excesses, subsidies and runaway social schemes can never be paid for without watering down the money, you will make allowances for it. One of the best ways to protect your assets, and even benefit in a monetary storm, is with silver. You need to own assets that keep up with inflation, and even surpass it. No matter what the sorry future of paper money, the future of silver appears bright.

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