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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sorry Mr. Franklin. We couldn't keep it after all.


In every story like this one, the master storyteller always builds suspense. The monumental threat looms ever higher over the hero's head. The suspense builds and builds. Before one problem is settled three more are dumped on our poor protagonist. If it's not problems it's terrors, and if not terrors, it's world shaking calamities! And if it's written well, it fairly makes the reader's hair stand on end and sends fantods of cold terror shivering down his spine! Just when it seems like the danger has been averted, just when it seems as though somehow our hero and his girl are going to tiptoe past the horror lurking in the dark...a skeletal hand lunges from the leaf-strewn soil and closes on a delicate ankle pulling the victim down into the grave...

Maybe you don't believe in fairy tales. You're a straight non-fiction no-nonsense kind of guy. If there's one thing everyone should believe, it's that nobody tolerates the intolerable for very long. They always do one of two things—fight or flight. And when flight is impossible at some point, there's definitely going to be a fight. Let's look at the facts: we who work for a living pay half of our money—sometimes quite a bit more—in taxes. Those taxes have various names: Federal, state, and local income taxes, social security and medicare taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, excise taxes, and then of course there are all those indirect taxes which either increase the price of goods and services, or lessen the amount of wages our employers are able to pay us. An example of an indirect tax is the employer's matching 7.65% contribution to an employee's Social Security and Medicare payroll tax contribution. We spend at least four or five hours every day of our working lives so that those who never worked a day in their lives also have homes and food on their tables.

This sounds to me like a classic Cinderella story. You know how it goes: a family of fat evil piglets gets to lord it over the one pure, kind, and good person who for some reason is forced to work and slave so that the fat piglets never have to lift a finger or do anything but sit self-righteously on their fat asses watching the Tee-Vee. The plot usually has a magical fairy godmother who comes along and sets everything to rights. Every delighted child knows that this intolerable Cinderella situation can't just continue on like this forever. Eventually Cinderella—lacking a fairy-godmother—is going to run or she's going to fight back.

Sadly, our fairy god-mother didn't show up last night. Perhaps she was off smoking a doobie in Colorado or maybe getting married to someone else's fairy god-mother in Maine. Fight or flight? There's nowhere to run to. Everywhere else is just as bad if not worse. We've already run down every road and finally across the ocean. Freedom the impossible dream that our forefathers made real is once more merely a dream. There's nowhere left to run. Fighting in the traditional way—revolution—is impossible. We can't fight back like our forefathers did against the English. That way is nothing but suicide.

Luckily the road forward is clearly laid out. When the mountain of crushing debt becomes too great to bear, our nation will print money. The Europeans would have already started doing that if it wasn't for the Germans. Well, they've got their problems and we've got ours. Turn on those printing presses! Let's print some money. Once our debt has been eliminated by this time-tested last resort, there will be quite a bit of famine to deal with. No doctors, nurses or medicine to treat famine or disease though. No sanitation workers to remove garbage from overflowing waste-bins. No engineers to repair stopped up sewers and broken roads. No military to throw back the mongol horde. On the bright side, no debt either! It turns out the way forward lies straight through the grave and out the other side. This sounds like a harrowing journey full of suspense and mystery. It also sounds like the kind of story I'd rather enjoy reading about than living through.

America, yesterday you made your bed. Now it's time to climb in and close the lid. Let's all get on the hyper-inflation train and ride it down to Mordor. When we getses there, we can throws the Constitution into the fires of Mount Doom. And oh yes, about that Republic, Mr. Franklin? Sorry sir, it turns out we couldn't keep it after all.

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