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Wolf DeVoon

The Future

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Over the course of the past four decades, I've sketched scenarios of the future many times. All of it was animated by Atlas Shrugged. I read it in 1973. The personal consequences were profound. It very nearly cost me my life, and withall set the path of my ambition.

I have come to think of Atlas as polemic, rather than fine literature, a designation that I give gladly to The Fountainhead. The achievement of Atlas Shrugged was accurate prediction of America's trajectory. It is an illusion of the first order, a trick of mass hypnosis, that we claim to be a prosperous industrial society today. These words are being composed on a Chinese laptop. Our server farms are powered by an ocean of public and private debt, so deep that it cannot be measured without immediate accusation of macroeconomic ignorance. In private correspondence with Milton Friedman 33 years ago, I worried that the money supply had exceeded the ratio of World War II expenditure to real GDP. Friedman replied that the only thing that mattered was the rate of monetary growth. And so it has. The Fed blew a hot air balloon of toxic assets after GSE agency paper exempted mortgage originators from risk. Treasury debt, pensions, entitlements, bank capital, and paper equity have been racheted into the stratosphere by "financial repression." The EU central bank amped it up a notch farther, imposing negative interest rates and penalizing savers. Deutsche Bank is shedding tens of thousands of staff to delay bankruptcy. Ford and GM exited the EU car market.

Uber, Tesla, Snapchat, and shale frackers have never made a dime of profit. Without USPS subsidies, Amazon would have died an ugly death long ago. Facebook and Google are 100%dependent on advertising, the first thing to cut in a sustained recession. Apple and Nike are Chinese sweatshop phenomena, high priced luxury goods sold to debt junkies employed by government agencies, government contractors, finance companies, and a growing cohort of "health care" paper pushers. Gangbangers suffer the indignity of 3G Obamaphones, stolen Nikes, and EBT chump change for cigarettes and booze.

Education is brain dead, coast to coast, kindergarten to grad school.

So far, Atlas has not shrugged, but he's old and tired, sidelined by outsourcing, disgusted by fake news and a million U.S. soldiers and sailors overseas, a never ending commitment to defend foreigners who hate us and crave the pallets of Benjamins and high tech armaments that we toss around like confetti to prop up phony "allies" and secret police in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Bahrain, Qatar, South Korea, and Britain, plus the IMF, World Bank, and every charity operating in Africa. War with Iran? Sure. Blockade is an act of war, no different than invading Iraq and Afghanistan (Bush) and destroying Libya, Syria, and Venezuela (Obama).

The future? -- an Etch A Sketch shaken and erased by "climate change," hordes of illiterate immigrants sick with contagious diseases, tens of millions of Boomers and Gen Xers cashing out and shorting the stock market, Social Security and Medicare insolvent and unfixable. No doubt the Democratic Socialists will take over. Empty malls, martial law, and Eddie Willers attempting to restart an engine of motive power, a 737 MAX whose autostabilizer code forces it to crash and cannot be debugged, because it was co-authored by a virtual team in six time zones, most of whom scurried like rats to new virtual work groups in the Gig Economy, maybe self-driving commuter helicopters that no one can afford to purchase or insure.

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Nice rant, Wolfo, but there is no federal debt. All that "debt" is in spent dollars which are from a sovereign (fiat) currency. If your trillion buck T-bill has matured the US Treasury will give you another--roll it over--or credit your account with a trillion dollars. Just-by-pushing-a-button.

Because of inflation you don't preserve wealth in any fiat currency but in assets.

--Branto

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15 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

Nice rant, Wolfo, but there is no federal debt. All that "debt" is in spent dollars which are from a sovereign (fiat) currency. If your trillion buck T-bill has matured the US Treasury will give you another--roll it over--or credit your account with a trillion dollars. Just-by-pushing-a-button.

Because of inflation you don't preserve wealth in any fiat currency but in assets.

--Branto

So, would you advise to get out of stocks? What a roller coaster. It would stink if the money people put under their mattresses a decade ago is now worth half as much. Silver coins have kept their value. I know because a few years ago after asking my kids if they wanted my old coin collection they said no, and I sold it. I did all right. I still scoff at bitcoin. How is it doing?

Hollywood clichés like opening the old safe and seeing stacks of currency are still being filmed. Stacks of a hundred bucks from 1970 may still be worth enough to cause a gasp. What else is found? A bag of diamonds. Gold bricks and coins. I don't feel like lookin up inflation rates but the dollar is still sound.     

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