Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Pete Morin Editorial Review--Issue #42

Counterfeiting, Inflation & Fraud

Just about everyone I know would like to have more money. Why? Because it makes life a lot easier to handle. We can purchase whatever we need, go on vacation, enjoy life's many luxuries and just plain have a great time.

One of the ways to achieve these ends is to print our own money. Except-it's considered a crime and you can end up in prison for a very long stretch of time. Societies and governments do not treat counterfeiters kindly.

Exactly why is counterfeiting wrong? Think about it carefully. There are probably two reasons that come to mind.1) It's a form of self-enrichment not sanctioned by the state, 2) It debases the money supply; in other words, it causes all the authentic money in circulation to be of lesser value and this the government does not appreciate.

Next, we turn our attention to inflation. Just what is inflation? The official designation is "too much money chasing too few goods." We get too much money because government decides to print, or borrow additional currency. Many times in our past history we've seen government inflate the money supply for one reason or another usually with disastrous results. Some of the more egregious examples have been Brazil and Argentina very recently and Germany in the 1920's. Germany is a particularly striking example because it helped bring about the rise of Adolf Hitler and World War II.

The above examples show a similarity; creating more money makes the currency already in circulation less valuable. So a basic question begs to be answered. Why is it NOT criminal for governments to print excess money? What special consideration should government have for making all our money just a little less valuable. The ostensible reason, or purpose, is that the government is responding to a societal need; usually by people who have little resources, or money and, therefore, must relie on elected officials to procure funds for them. Consequently, we end up with programs that do nothing more than transfer wealth from one segment of society to another; theft by another name.

Wikipedia defines Counterfeit Money as "(c)urrency that is produced without legal sanction of the state or government to resemble some official form of currency closely enough that it may be confused for genuine currency. Producing or using counterfeit currency is a form of fraud." I contend that it makes no difference if there is a 'Sanction", or not, to the production of currency. When government intentionally devalues, or debases, the money supply it is committing a form of fraud. Essentially, it is reducing the value of money people have on hand. It reduces the value of pension funds, retirement funds and any other cash fund consumers, or savers, may have on hand. It considers it beneficial to pay obligations in cheapened dollars. To those owed the debt, however, it is nothing less than a disaster; their wealth reduced from what it was previously.

All this our government has done and is now doing at a frenetic clip. We will soon wake up to an inflation rate greatly increased and our purchasing power greatly reduced. It may already be too late to turn from this disastrous course, but the very least we can do is elect individuals to Congress who understand the implications of unsound money.

Counterfeiting, inflation and fraud are symptoms of a bankrupt nation, but more than this, they're symptoms of a nation in dire need of genuine leadership. Let's hope there are a few conscienscious citizens able to understand our predicament and a true leader emerge to bring sanity to a very precarious time in our history.

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