For a century America has believed in belief. This is possibly best expressed by the master of make-believe, Walt Disney, in his signature song: “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Our country is now under the management of a generation that has had this song as its anthem.
One foundational fiction of the era is the Federal Reserve System. They began singing kumbaya (Gullah for “come by here”) before kumbaya was cool. Come by here and get the money to create the real-estate bubble, the education bubble, the medical-care bubble.
In bad times the Fed followed the doctrines of orthodox Keynesian belief and “opened the Fed window” to a nation of lotus eaters. Lately, it is a window that never closes; indeed, it can’t.
Never mind that this has destroyed the value of the currency. If your parents or grandparents were prudent and saved a dollar 60 years ago, that same dollar would have the 1951 buying power of $.025 today. There is another doctrine summarized in 10 simple rules that calls this theft.
As long as everyone sang along with the Fed, things seemed to work. But, as always happens when other people’s substance is being redistributed, the chorus started going overboard. Now, we are all not only overboard, we are under water.
We hear the Keynesians soothing us with calming assurances that the Japanese have lived for 20 years without growth. The Fed is prophesying only two years of a flat economy.
We are supposed to be happy with this. But the prognosticators are comparing American leadership with Japanese leadership when they predict even this terrible path ahead.
We are not like the Japanese. Their ethos, developed over centuries of samurai morality, is based on the principle that the honorable reaction of leadership to failure is seppuku. When our leaders fail, as they have miserably and often over the past 100 years, they hold symposia and lecture their victims about “lessons learned.”
C. Ward Bond