A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
Let me be clear. I am not an economist. Heck, I'm not even a CPA. Frankly, I know squat about finance short of running a business and having the good sense to hire someone to handle the financial end of the business -- extremely well.
Here, at the Longstreet Manor, My lovely and gracious (and long-suffering!) spouse is the financier. She is my "Personal Banker." No, I MEAN IT! She has kept me out of jail, debtor's prison, or wherever they place men like me (who spend all the money they can lay their hands on.)
See, I view money as having been made for one purpose -- to spend! And yes, I have been told all my life that one cannot take it with them when one departs this world. Although, I did meet a hearse once, out on the interstate, towing a U-Haul trailer behind it. I remarked to my wife at the time, that, perhaps, someone HAD figured out a way to take it with them, after all!
I distinctly remember a member of my board of directors insisting once, many years ago, that if he couldn't take it with him, the he wasn't going! Today's he's gone -- and so is his money. Oh, he didn't take it with him. No, after he passed from the scene, the family spent the heck out of it until, it, too, was gone!
This may seem strange and even alien to some of you, but I never sought wealth. It was never important to me. Having ample funds to stay fed, clothed, housed, and out of jail was sufficient. So far, I have managed to do that.
I think an aunt made such an impression on me, as a child, that it bent me in a way one might even describe as fear of wealth.
See, my aunt ,was the daughter of a share cropper. (I'm the first generation off the farm, myself.) She was fortunate. She married a man on the way up in one of the most powerful labor unions in the country at the time. They became wealthy. But it affected my aunt in a strange way. She was always afraid -- afraid of losing her wealth and returning, I suppose, to the poverty she knew growing up as a hard scrabble sharecropper. She invested wisely, had plenty of money, real estate, stocks, bonds, all of it. But what she lacked was happiness.
I decided then and there, I did not want that. I chose an occupation that I loved, was, indeed, suited for and I stayed with it for thirty years.
Now that I have established my bona fides -- which is to say that I am dumb as a post when it comes to high finance, I am about to tell you why Ben Bernanke blew the US economy to hell recently with QE-3.
In a word: INFLATION.
The money you had before QE-3 is now worth less -- and the more money Ben and his cronies order printed -- the less your money will be worth.
Bernanke, a Jew and a Republican, was born in Augusta, Georgia and raised just thirty miles, or so, from where I sit as I write this piece. It's a small country town in the coastal plain of South Carolina. So, we are both "Sandlappers." And as much as I would like to agree with, and support, a fellow son of the Palmetto State, and a fellow Republican, I cannot. He's wrong on this and, unfortunately, all Americans are going to pay for it, dearly, in the not too distant future.
See? Politics ain't all that hard, now, is it?
Seriously, inflation brings the mighty low... quickly! To get a better understanding of what inflation, especially hyperinflation can do to a country just Google "Weimar Republic" or "Hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic."
During the Gerald Ford Administration the US had a fight with inflation. I can still see, in my mind's eye those big red WIN buttons -- "Whip Inflation Now!" It took a toll on the country that lasted the remainder of Ford's Administration, through the Carter Administration, and right up until Ronald Reagan came into office. It was an anvil around the neck of the US economy.
As I said, I don't know diddly-squat about high finance so I can't dazzle you with great gobs of numbers with dollar signs and percentage signs, etc., but take it from a guy who was trying to run a business during those years and believe me when I tell you it was "hunker down" and "tread water" time during those years. Reagan tossed the country a life-preserver and we got through it -- vowing never to make the same mistake again.
But Americans have extremely short memories. As a result, we are making the same mistakes over and we are inflicting unnecessary pain on ourselves.
The MSM was touting the skyrocket in the stock markets after Bernanke made the announcement. And, yes, it DID look good. But, believe me -- it is a bubble and IT WILL BURST -- and we will be far worse for it in the end.
J. D. Longstreet