When I started writing this blog, I did so for a number of reasons. At the top of the list is probably the way it feels to discover a profound deception. At that moment in time, it doesn’t matter how or why the deception came about. What matters is that it did. It’s the curve ball that changes us forever because we cannot unlearn or unknow what we’ve learned or unbreak the egg no matter how much we would wish for it. All we can do from that moment on is move forward adjusting to the new circumstances, but never forgetting who we are.
I’ve never forgotten who I am no matter how difficult life became. Witnessing extreme hardship on the part of others around me gave me the courage to stand up while showing me that no matter how bad things might have been for me while dealing with my own extended bout of unemployment, it could always have been much worse. The heartache strengthened me; and having known real fear, probably for the first time in my life, I had nothing to fear from telling the story as I saw it – the bad and the ugly – dispensing with the watering down of reality generally buried under technical jargon in the course of civil debate and saying what needed to be said in a way that only someone with my experience can.
The terms being charitable and being civil mean something entirely different to me now than they did six years ago, as well as my notion of who is entitled to being treated with them. For one, I don’t believe using headline inflation measures in the conduct of monetary policy in an inflation targeting regime is either charitable or civil toward anyone. People who live inside a university, in the stuffy halls of government, or inside a musty bank probably don’t understand that. But then they weren’t watching helplessly as close friends went without food, or evading the gas man who wants to turn off their heat, or waiting with baited breath for news about a mortgage modification while at the same time packing and preparing to say good-by to their home, or wondering if they can afford groceries that week, trying to stretch the last bag of flour a little farther.
Those are the things I see in the graph of the NC unemployment experiment of 2013. Those are the things I hear when I listen to inflation nutters talk about any inflation being theft. I’ve seen and tasted the real theft of severe and sudden disinflation and it certainly is far worse that any kind of inflationary periods I have lived through. And the bubble hysteria, at least to me, seems entirely irrational given what we know about the effects of disinflation and deflation. There is simply no logical place for it without first dealing with those undeniable facts that have proven themselves again and again all throughout the 19th century and well into the 20th. Abraham Lincoln wrote a speech describing the effects of deflation in 1839, yet the modern economics profession is pathetically clueless about what it looks like! The effects of deflation were the primary reason the Federal Reserve was created, to provide an elastic currency in order to smooth out the road – not to exacerbate it!
I look at the bubble hysteria and rattlings on about ensuring financial stability (I was born at night but not last night and know that means keeping monetary policy tight permanently) as entirely anti-capitalistic and pro economic oppression, only spun to the right instead of the left. It is neither helpful nor beneficial to rebuilding the economic world most of us would like to live in with apple opportunity to expand our horizons, and I am not talking just about employment. By embracing financial oppression today, we are saying no to prosperity in the future. For every investment shunned today via tight money, we might prevent some losses, but we will also prevent important gains that we cannot even dream of today. Just think about the positive things that came out of the dot.com era that would not exist if risk-taking had been seriously constrained then. Amazon.com is a good example among many others. Sure shaking out the good from the bad was hard on nearly everyone – but that is what capitalism and freedom are all about – getting to the good and valuable through creative destruction. But these hard righties think they’ve seen enough of that business and want to take us to a much different place where, without necessarily telling us what a good investment is, they will just prevent most of them by starving the capital markets – can’t waste good money you will never have. Thought you could take a second mortgage to start that business you’ve always dreamed of having? Think again – because that is where it will hit. It won’t hit the big boys – they have enough reserves and capital at their disposal already. No, it will hit the little guy struggling to get ahead, struggling to compete. And we all thought Obama and his democrats wanted to level the playing field… Maybe in his next life, perhaps? They sure missed that boat with Dodd-Frank and the less than charming hesitation to give Janet Yellen her monetary policy team.
Since most of us have faced the non-stop screwing of the century without so much as even a purely superficially plausible explanation for it all, it seems to me that the rules of usage of the terms being charitable and being civil should be redefined as I do not and have not felt that I have been offered that in order to reciprocate.