I did not watch the first presidential debate when it took place. I watched it two days later on a video replay. The first ten minutes, that is. That was all I could stomach. This country is at the biggest crossroads since its founding, and the candidates were given two- minute segments of time to address the most complex and dangerous issues. In some cases the candidates simply ignored the questions and used their time allotment to make a pre-scripted pitch directly to the voters, or to bandy about accusations and labels in sound bite form. And indeed, there wasn’t much time for anything else. It was the triumph of form over substance, as indeed is the entire electoral process. I think we could have learned as much from the candidates if we had turned the sound off and simply watched their mouths move.
Apparently it doesn’t matter all that much. The country is split down the middle ideologically, with a lot of hatred flowing both ways. The Democrats and Republicans will vote along party lines, and there’s about 5% of the electorate that is still undecided and could be swayed one way or the other in the final days before the election. No matter who wins, about one half of the country will be quite certain the wrong choice was made and will be wringing their hands and preparing for Armageddon. No matter who wins, very little of substance is going to change. Political debts will come due, and favors will be rendered. The spoils of victory will be parsed out. Our military-industrial complex will continue with its global adventures, the Fed will continue to expand the money supply, and the warfare/welfare state will continue in imitation of the universe itself—expanding ever outward.
Congress will pass another 600-700 new laws each year, most of which probably will be read in their entirety only by the congressional staffers who wrote them. Each of these laws will benefit a focused few that passionately pushed for passage, and will be ignored by the stupefied, confused, and disorganized masses. And no matter who wins, economists, like trained seals, will flip fantastic numbers back and forth like bright colored balls, orbs containing mostly hot air. But the delighted crowds will applaud and award prizes to those with the prettiest algorithms and formulas and prognostications. We will still have millions of unemployed we don’t
Mayer Amschel Rothschild, the godfather of modern banking, purportedly said “Give me control of a nations money supply and I care not who makes the laws.” What did he mean by that? Is it true? Since the Federal Reserve Bank controls the money supply of the United States as the world’s largest and most influential Central Bank, does this mean that this institution is more powerful than Congress, more powerful than the Executive Branch of the government, that it operates above and beyond the control of the Republicans or Democrats? Is the Federal Reserve above the law? Was Rothschild right? What exactly is the money supply, anyway?
All knowledge is hierarchical, which means we learn in layers, and each layer is built on what went before it. You have to learn the letters of the alphabet before you can grasp how they go together to make words, and you have to master the concept of words before you can formulate sentences. The same principle is true of economics or financial literacy. You have to master basic concepts before you can move on to more complex, higher intellectual planes. So let’s take a few baby steps here, and make sure everyone has a grasp of the fundamentals.
But before we begin, once again let’s deal with the issue of Why bother? Economics is generally considered to be the dismal science, and even the briefest mention of the subject causes the eyes of most people to glaze over in disinterest. Paradoxically, let them lack for money and they will riot in the streets, kill each other, and overthrow governments. We are so accustomed to technological progress, and we have become so certain of its inevitability that we become intellectually lazy and expect things to happen today and tomorrow as they did yesterday. We do not want to trouble our pretty little heads or interrupt our texting, youtubing, or endless chatter on social media to really learn what causes an economic chain of events. So we blithely throw around terms such as money, markets, investing, supply and demand, or wealth without any comprehension of what those terms mean.