Elena Campbell, guest opinion: My kind of insurance
April 18, 2011
Most of us write checks annually for our home, car, and health insurance. Consider a different kind of insurance: Keeping a generator, stored food with extended shelf life, water purification capability, and a few things to trade/barter.
Just as we hope for the best that we won’t have to call on our insurance if we wreck the family car, so too do we hope for the best that our stored provisions won’t be needed. We prepare, nonetheless, just in case. We take individual responsibility.
Why stored provisions? For starters, we live in the mountains. Mama Nature occasionally does her thing. Despite our road and utility crews’ most heroic efforts, transport and utility services can and do get interrupted. However, the most pressing reason to be prepared today is that our nation and our states are on a financial precipice.
We’re living on borrowed time, made possible only by the fact that the U.S. dollar has been the reserve currency of the world since the Bretton Woods conference of the 1940s, and when that failed, since the petrodollar arrangements of the 1970s.
Today, that reserve status of the U.S. dollar appears to be coming to an end. Nations such as China are dramatically reducing their purchases of U.S. debt, spending down their stores of U.S. dollars before they become far less valuable, and entering into bilateral agreements so that trade will be conducted in currencies other than the dollar. Demand for the dollar is going down while the supply of dollars is on a near vertical climb, exacerbating inflation trends that already exist.
Meanwhile, member of Congress on both sides of the aisle give us non-solutions to out-of-control spending: They’ve agreed to $39 billion in “spending cuts.” Let’s analyze this.
The federal government spends $10 billion per day. They borrow $4 billion of that per day. So their “cut” represents a mere four days worth of spending or 10 days worth of borrowing by the federal government.
As foreign propensity to hold U.S. debt declines, who is left to buy the debt – that $4 billion per day? Answer: The Federal Reserve (the Fed), erroneously called “the lender of last resort.” Where does the Fed get the money to purchase the debt? Here’s the magic: With a couple of keystrokes on a computer, the Fed simply creates the money. In exchange for a little piece of paper called a T-Bill, the money is created and put in the government’s bank account where it is spent into the economy. Here’s the kicker: The T-Bill gets placed on the Fed’s books as an asset. After all, the principal and interest of this new creation are now owed to the Fed by the American public, the true lender of last resort.
What does this bit of trickery do to our money supply? It increases it, not just by a factor of one, but by a factor of up to 10 – that is a fractional reserve system at work. And how does the increase in money supply affect all of us? It reduces our purchasing power, a phenomenon known to us as price inflation, the most insidious form of taxation.
Inflation harms all of us, particularly those who rely on fixed incomes, and those who save. The average working family is paying more at the pump, more in the grocery store, and more for utilities and services, all while their average salaries have stayed stagnant or declined, if they are so lucky as to still have gainful employment at all.
If I could recommend just one book for Americans to read, it would be G. Edward Griffin’s “The Creature from Jekyll Island, A Second Look at the Federal Reserve.” It rocked my world 10 years ago, but it enabled me to make sense out of the nonsensical.
The dollar’s loss of more than 95 percent of its purchasing power since the Fed began operations in 1914 truly makes sense when we understand how the monetary system works. The Federal Reserve is a private, for-profit cartel given a monopoly over our money supply, which is of huge benefit to the owners of the cartel.
The system satisfies the federal government’s insatiable spending habits whereby money can be easily created out of nothing with no accountability to the people. You see, if the government had to come to us for more tax revenue with each bump in spending, there would have been a revolt long ago. How convenient is the system where they can simply create an IOU on a nice piece of paper to fund their adventures. And how nice it is for the private, for-profit cartel to create these funds on which they are owed re-payment of principal plus interest by the American public. Read the book. You’ll understand.
In the meantime, one cannot expect real solutions from our federal politicians. With few exceptions, they either don’t understand the system, or they are far too beholden to the status quo to call for true reform, which entails a return to a free market monetary system.
Their inaction means that this debt and inflation spiral is going to get a whole lot worse. Kicking in as much provision insurance as we can now will make for a much calmer and safer transition in our community.
When we write checks for our car, home, and health insurance, the benefit disappears during the year if it is not used. It must be renewed with more written checks. In contrast, our procurement now of basic necessities with dollars that still have some purchasing power will not have to be renewed at year’s end. When we put provisions on our shelves, they are there, ready to be used next year or the next. Now, that is my kind of insurance.