Maybe we should start charging a few sprinkles of gold dust for these pearls of wisdom but for now we’ll hold firm at our bargain prices.
There have been many comments about a couple of the Supreme Court Justices recusing themselves from hearing the ultimate appeal of the Obamacare law because of perceived or real bias about the legislation. They focus on Thomas and Kagan. Him because they don’t like his wife being involved in the political debates of the day and her because she was an active member of the Justice department as the law was formulated and debated. Some have argued that the US code requires them to remove themselves and others say that mere prudence would demand it. There have even been calls for new legislation that would mandate (that word again) that Justices recuse themselves under defined circumstances and that the matter should be determined by an independent panel of “legal ethicists” ( real oxymoron if there ever was one) when a motion is filed to remove a Justice from a case. Those are all well and good but they all overlook one vital consideration–that our three branches of government are separate and equal. Just as the Supreme Court cannot tell the House or Senate how to run their affairs or pass legislation or demand that the White House institute a certain administrative order or policy, the Legislature cannot tell the Supreme Court how to conduct its business. The Supreme Court would never recognize any legislation regulating its internal affairs and would indeed find it unconstitutional. For good or ill we have to live with what we got and that is the Supremes determing their own eligibility to hear cases that come before them.
Is there anything more nostalgic and fun that watching that child or grandchild as they walk up the sidewalk to enter elementary school for the first time? They are a little tentative and have that huge backpack hanging down almost to their knees and those fresh new clothes mom bought for the occasion. You stand there wondering how those first 5 or 6 years flew by so quickly.
Just as you have to put up collateral sometimes if you want to borrow more money it appears the Greeks are running into the same demands from its creditors. You have to pledge your car or offer a second lien on your house and your unsecured creditors don’t like that if they know about it. Now Finland is demanding that Greece put up collateral in the form of cash or real estate for Finland to fork over its share of the bailout money from the Eurozone countries. Naturally the other Euro folks are howling. They think it undermines the overall effort to help Greece or more likely they are simply miffed that they didn’t think to ask for collateral themselves before they handed over the bailout funds. The next payment is due in September to stay tuned and let’s see how these negotiations work out.
Loneliness is one of the most powerful and depressing of our emotions. It is one thing to enjoy one’s privacy but quite another to be lonely. Atheists must be the loneliest people in the world.
The basics of economics always works even in the worst of times. After WWII in Germany every city of any size was virtually destroyed. You’ve seen those old newsreels of Berlin and the blocks and square miles of devastation. Nothing worked for a while. The bombing and the moving armies of the Allies and the Communists had leveled just about everything. There was no food in the cities, no water, no electricity and no means of transportation. Health care was very limited and the rape and pillaging was rampant in the Soviet areas. In the rural areas much of the crops for the 1945 harvest were very low because there weren’t enough workers to finish the harvests or the supplies to produce the crops were very limited. But of course there was food and even an excess in the countryside. Efforts were made to bring the food stocks into the cities but met initially with very limited success. The farmers needed to eat too and there were refugees running literally all over the countryside pillaging. But most important of all was the reluctance of the farmers to bring their harvest to the cities. After all what would they get in exchange for the crops? There was only the most crude of working economies and that dependent on the scrip and whim of the conquerors. Lastly, what was there to buy if they were given some kind of paper money? Nothing. Even if you had what passed for “money” in those dark days you really couldn’t exchange it for anything you wanted or needed. There weren’t any cars, washing machines, radios and cigarettes or alcohol except that pilfered from the conquering armies. A valuable lesson in both the demand concept and the medium of exchange idea.
So many people still get confused about how and when we went off the gold standard. Sometimes you hear it was Roosevelt and others talk about Nixon closing the gold window. There were two events that get conflated too often. Roosevelt confiscated the gold coins and outlawed the use of gold to settle debts in the US. You were required to turn in your gold coins for paper money and couldn’t have contracts requiring gold payment. It was internal to the US and its citizens. Even Roosevelt couldn’t control the entire world and much of the world continued to use a gold standard in one form or another. In ’71 Nixon finally said the US would not settle its international accounts with gold. Before the foreign countries could come here, and they often did, and trade in their dollars they had earned and exchange them for gold which we had to fork over. Nixon stopped paying in gold and would henceforth make payment only in other dollars or goods.
Some in power now echo the political philosophy of Louis XIV whether they acknowledge it or not. Louis famously said “It is legal because I wish it”….hmm. Sound ominously familiar. www.olcranky.wordpress.com