Saturday, December 13, 2008

$100 Toilet Paper Bills

There are many issues that peeve me in today's chaotic world, but the recent wave of economic disasters have gone far beyond the minor worries of yesteryear. There are bail outs for the super-rich, bail outs for the banks, bail outs for the crooks who spent our tax dollars on lavish bouts of prostitutes and murderous rampages (otherwise known as the War on Terror), and bail outs for everyone except the people who work for a living and generate the taxes.

And none of these bail outs will really work. Why? Because the problem isn't like a boat that is taking on a little water, where bailing out the water will keep the boat from sinking. These bail outs are like pumping gasoline into a fire, expecting to put out the flames. Or spraying the crops with herbicide to kill the weeds, but killing all the crops along with them.

We are spending money that isn't real, wasn't real and never will be real. It is fake money, made by printing presses, with fancy lettering and counterfeit-proofing and the signatures of government officials. But it is no more real than Monopoly money. It is just a certificate of value, but is based on nothing but promises. The same promises that politicians repeat to get elected, but never keep. The same promises that party boys use to get into the pants of young ladies.

But there are real things in the world -- food, medicine, houses, cars, computers and lots of other things. Those things have real value, but only relative to each other. Let me trade so many potatoes for a bottle of blood pressure pills. This computer that I'm typing this on must be worth at least as much as a set of tires for my car. And my car is worth at least a years rent in an average apartment.

But in terms of dollar bills? I have no idea what this computer is worth. Someone might pay $100, someone might pay $500. I don't really know what it is really worth in dollars, because I don't know what a dollar is worth. It keeps changing. It might be that today's dollars are about the value of a dime when I was a child. Maybe only a nickel. I don't even use pennies anymore -- they are a nuisance when shopping. I suppose if you saved enough of them they might be worth their weight in watermelons.

Yet, a penny is really worth more than a dollar bill. That is because I can pound a penny into some shape, like a strip or a wire, and it will conduct electricity. I can use the zinc or copper in the penny for some chemical purpose. About the only thing I could do with the dollar bill (or even a hundred dollar bill) would be to roll it up into a tube and snort something with it. Or I could burn it and keep my hands warm for about 10 seconds.

But, just recently, there was a wall street guy who admitted that he was a crook, and that his $50 Billion business was only a Ponzi scheme. Just a pyramid ripoff. The only good thing about that is that mostly rich assholes were burned by that guy. I certainly don't make enough with my software jobs to invest in that kind of stuff. Lucky for me. I may be poor, relative to those jokers, but if you got nothing, you can't lose much. Imagine losing like $7 Billion, or "only" $100 million. What does that feel like?

I will die soon enough -- I'll live another a decade or two at the very most. But my grandchildren will probably die of old age before our debts (created by the rich assholes that are stealing us blind today) are ever paid off. They may never be paid off. But even if they are paid, someday, it will only be in those worthless scraps of paper anyway. Go ahead, roll off another billion sheets of those hundreds, guys. And pay off the Saudis and Chinese with that stuff.

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