Friday, September 8, 2023

Crankenomics 103

Haves, Sub-haves, and Some-haves, and systemic inflation
Image by 1820796 from Pixabay

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted.  

Trigger Warning: This column rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in debilitating psychological trauma.  



Featuring Dana:
Persistent auditory hallucination and charming literary device

"There are no solutions. Only trade-offs." -Thomas Sowell

Dear Stickies and Gentlereaders,

 Our story thus far. This is the third and final column of a series about...

{Wait-wait-wait. You said, that "Cheat Sheets are a sort of distillation of all the stuff I would like to mention, or reiterate, to the Stickies and my daughter and son-in-law in the event of my sudden demise." So how did we wind up with a three-column series?}

Well... my columns feature "the wit and wisdom of a garrulous geezer." Also, it ain't easy squeezing a commentary on economics into three columns of no more than a thousand words each.

{I thought the limit was 750 words?}

Nowadays I strive for 700 to 1,000 because... Well, it's not that interesting really. Can we move on, please?

{Absabalutely, far be it from me! Tell us, Your Garrulousness, how do we resolve what appears to be an impending class war before the shooting starts?}

That's a vast oversimplification of...

{C'mon Sparky, this is the last column in the series. How do we fix this?}

I don't know.

{Aw geez. Then why...}

We've lost the thread, the beat, and our place <pause> and now we're lost in space.

I'm told, much to my surprise, that hip-hop is now officially 50 years old. I'm trying to find a way to get on the gravy train since it looks like real rock 'n' roll is fading as fast as we Boomers. I wonder what sort of music our current president and minority leader of the Senate prefer to listen to?

{Cute... Hey, how about raising the taxes of the rich?}

Despite what you may have heard, we already heavily tax the rich. Regardless, they're ain't nearly enough of them. The sub-haves, and the some-haves are paying most of the bills. The same people whose taxes would go through the roof to fund a socialist paradise by the way, but I drift.

But seriously, folks, I really don't know how to fix the problem, not without a radical restructuring of The Fedrl Gummit and the economy.

Don't hold your breath.

What I do know is that some people have taken to pointing out that we've painted our way into a financial corner that has little to nothing to do with critical this, queer that, systemic racism, and pasty patriarchs. Me for example.

America's most pressing problem, in my semi-humble opinion, is that we're slowly devolving into the postmodern version of a feudal society that will make most of us serfs. The gap between the haves and the have-somes keeps getting larger.

Many of us have-somes aren't willing to go along. But unlike the lunatic fringe, we don't want to burn down the palace (literally or figuratively) and start from scratch. We don't want a new deal, but we'd like a better one.

When the factories and the mills started shutting down back in the late 70s we were told not to worry, that this was merely the same creative destruction that made us a rich country in the first place, an unavoidable side-effect of the free market.
If it's much cheaper to make whatever, wherever, American consumers will reap the rewards at the cash register. Yes, jobs will be lost, some permanently. But new jobs will be created and former employees associates can learn to do them.

Keep growing or die, or at the very least, stagnate. We got this, we've been here before, what could go wrong?

The market is still functioning the way it's supposed to in that there are plenty of jobs to be had, at the moment at least, and labor shortages and "transitory" inflation have resulted in higher wages.

Big BUT.

The haves...

The unimaginably rich who have more money and power than the "Robber Barons" could've dreamed of,

And the sub-haves...

{What's a sub-have?}

Sub-haves are individuals fortunate enough to have enough cheese in the fridge to enable them to feel like their lives rest on a (more or less) solid financial foundation. For example, they find our current transitory inflation to be vexing, not a potential existential crisis.

The haves and the sub-haves aren't being victimized by the decades of systemic inflation and money printing that have slowly and stealthily devalued our currency. They have enough money coming in (or wealth accumulated) to cover the decline of their dollars, at least for now.

The have-somes, on the other hand, are getting it in the neck. Decades of slow but steady inflation of the price of big-ticket items (e.g. houses and cars, and college) plus regular bursts of ("transitory") inflation in the prices of everyday necessities prove the adage that inflation is a secret regressive tax on everything and everyone.

The following quote is from a great article by Richard W. Rahn in The Washington Times that explains simply, briefly, and clearly, why the Inflation Dragon is eating the country alive:

The U.S. government has been slowly destroying the value of the dollar through inflation ever since it created the Federal Reserve (whose job, in part, is to protect the value of the dollar) in 1913. The U.S. dollar is now worth about one-30th of its value in 1914 — which means it takes on average $30 to buy the same amount of goods and services that one dollar bought.

I firmly believe that too many years of The Fedrl Gummit spending more than it takes in, to buy votes without raising taxes, is the primary problem.

{Howsabout a concrete example of something that illustrates the difference between the lives of the haves and the sub-haves from the lives of the have-somes?}

Sure. Anyone who's been around the block a time or three, and for various reasons absolutely can't get by without a car (or two) is amazed at the average price of new ($50,000) and used ($40,000) cars. 

Have-somes, the 60% of us who limp from paycheck to paycheck while always looking over our shoulders, are inclined to have a panic attack when it becomes obvious we need to buy a car since further repairs on old Bessie would require a bank loan. 

Of course, there's always Cousin Eddie's semi-abandoned 24-year-old Ford. He's selling it 'cause he found out he can easily get at least 5k. Runs good, check it out. 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Scroll down to share my work/access oldies. Tip me, or Join Cranky's Coffee Club (and access my condensed History of the World), here   

Comments? I post links to my columns on Facebook and Twitter so you can love me, hate me, or try to have me canceled on either site.   

No comments:

Post a Comment

Don't demonize, compromise