The old judge just finished reading THOMAS JEFFERSON: THE ART OF POWER, by historian John Meacham.
One quote from Jefferson stuck in my craw:
I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government; I mean an additional article taking from the Federal Government the power of borrowing.
It’s an idea that should be taken seriously. The national debt of the United States is now more than 18 TRILLION dollars and is increasing at the rate of two million dollars a minute.
Article I, Section B, of our federal Constitution contains two interesting and related provisions. It says that Congress shall have the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States. It also says that Congress shall have the power to coin money, and regulate the value thereof.
I have scratched my head over those two provisions for a long time. What else is the power to “coin money” than the power to manufacture a medium of exchange? The Constitution doesn’t restrict coinage to gold or silver, or indeed any other metal. The word ‘coin’ is used as a verb, and it simply means to make or create.
Now let me ask you this question: If you had a machine in your basement that manufactures money; real money, not counterfeit money; not Monopoly money, but real, honest-to-God spendable Yankee dollars; if you could go downstairs and turn the crank to get all the moola you and the Mrs. could possible want…
Why in the name of all that is holy would you ever borrow money?
Oh, you say that you wouldn’t want to spend any of that money you manufacture? You would do what? Sell it? You’d sell your money? Who would you sell it to? Your brother in law?
You’re kidding. How will your brother in law pay you? He’d do what? Pay you a little tiny bit of the money you just sold him? You can’t be serious. You sell him a million dollars of perfectly good USD and he pays you a buck and a half?
He must be supporting your sister in style. He doesn’t? Then what does he do with the money? He loans it to his friends? At a low interest rate?
Oh, you say the interest rate is not always low. Sometimes he charges more interest so his friends won’t borrow so much.
That’s very interesting, but now let me ask you this: instead of selling the money you manufacture in the basement to your brother in law, why don’t you use it to pay off the mortgage on your house? And when the mortgage on the house is paid off, why not use it to send the kids to college or buy gramma a new set of dentures?
And by the way, since you are giving your brother in law such a bargain, selling him your money for a fraction of its value, what has he ever done for you? What does he do for you ?
He what? He helps you borrow money? You can’t be serious. Why in the world do you have to borrow money anyway? Oh yeah, you have to borrow money because you don’t have any, and you don’t have any because you sold it all to your brother in law.
Seems a little circuitous, doesn’t it? By the way, what is your bother in law’s name?
Fred Earl Reserve? Funny name.
Funny, indeed. Maybe it’s time to dust off Thomas Jefferson’s suggestion and find a better way to put the money our government manufactures into circulation.
And a better way to find stewards of our common wealth than to entrust it to partisan career politicians chosen in artificial gerrymandered districts.