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Print money?

The physics of money has changed. Currency looks fake. Every checkout counter is equipped with a yellow marker. If you’re a forger in these times, you have my blessing. With all of the holograms and fibers and office printers that automatically report a person trying to copy currency….I mean,  that’s a tough way to make a living. In the United States we have two entities that monitor financial stability. One is the Federal Reserve – think of that as a bank for banks – they control our monetary policy. They are the ‘doctor of our finances’ and keep us healthy. The other is the Treasury. They print money and mint coins. They put forgers out of business. Or do they?

Let’s step back. Forgers were a threat because back in the day, forgers could influence the value of currency – in a negative way. Very similar to the Roman tax collectors that ‘chipped away’ at gold coins. Forgers are bad. Roman tax collectors were bad. We get that. We learn from our mistakes, because history repeats itself.

So….we would never print money if we produced the same result as forgers or Roman tax collectors, right?  That’s a great question that spurns debate. But, why is there even a debate? Both results are bad. Let’s at least agree on that.

There needs to be a supreme governing body – minus politics, religion or lobbying groups. Weaken the finances and you weaken the country. The Romans called their tax policy ‘decimation’. There are no Romans anymore. There is a reason for that. They couldn’t control their finances.

Monetary policy can get complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. Let’s get blunt.

In the last 10 years, our taxpayer debt has doubled. The amount each taxpayer owes as part of the National Debt, has increased to $150K per taxpayer since 2004. That’s just REAL debt. That doesn’t include ‘future’ liabilities that no one talks about. Categories like Unfunded Pensions, Unfunded Social Security, Unfunded Prescriptions, etc. In four years, our Total Unfunded Liability will exceed $150 trillion or $1.2+ million – per taxpayer. Get to know these numbers. They will be headlines very soon – actually in the upcoming presidential election. (By the way, that started in November of 2012.)

We remember Mr. Irsay in The Titantic saying “She can’t sink. She’s unsinkable!”. To which the Engineer replied, “I assure you she can Sir. It’s a mathematical certainty.” I feel for anyone in politics today. The data is self-evident. Really important numbers are becoming a Titanic problem. Nothing is more constant, or real, or proven in life than mathematics. It was the first science we learned because of its importance and stability.

But we digress. Now back to the original lesson. Don’t print money. Don’t be a forger.

Mark Schuster, Partner

July 17, 2014

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