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Dollar Debasement as A Matter of Policy

This article originally appeared in the Economic Prism.

Michelle Mack thought she had it made.  The suburban mom was living the high life with her husband and kids in their $3 million mansion in northern San Diego County.

But that was before December 6, 2023.  This was the day police raided her home, put her in handcuffs, took her away in her PJs and slippers, and threw her in the pokey.

Now Mack’s facing 136 felony counts of grand theft, two counts of receiving stolen property, one count of conspiracy and one count of organized retail crime.  Her house, which includes a swimming pool, four-car garage and 31-acre vineyard, is listed for sale at $2.75 million.  This follows a $200,000 price cut.

Over a decade, Mack built an elaborate network of thieves, called the ‘California Girls.’  They shoplifted massive amounts of makeup from stores across America.  Mack then sold it on Amazon dot com for 50 percent off the actual retail price.  In doing so, she brought in $8 million since 2012, and nearly $2 million in 2022 alone.

“Thou shalt not steal,” commanded God to Moses at Mount Sinai.

If only Mack had followed this simple commandment.  She would have saved herself and her family from the great shame of this decade-long crime spree.  Instead, she’ll have to pay the piper for many decades to come.

Mack, for her part, was merely doing what her federal government has modeled.  Public and private theft and corruption runs rampant these days.  It doesn’t make it right, but the crimes Mack got popped for are smalltime when compared to the wild stuff going on in Washington.

For example, the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability has documented how President Biden met with Russian and Kazakhstani oligarchs, a Burisma executive, and Chinese nationals just prior to millions being wired to Biden family business accounts.  The critical insight is that bank records don’t lie.

Do you ever wonder what these foreign associates got from Biden in return for their millions?

Policies of Debasement

We recently observed how the ultimate debasement of society starts with the debasement of the currency.  Mack and Biden are two of many countless examples of society being debased by the debasement of the currency.

When the rewards of honesty and hard work are stolen through the inflation tax and other political means, opportunities for theft and grift become ever more enticing.  The more the currency is debased the more society drifts into deceit and decay.

National leaders and suburban moms alike are compelled to take part in the action.  They’re unable to resist the temptation that comes when presented with the prospect of getting something for nothing.

What’s remarkable is not so much that this is currently happening in America.  It has been going on here for a long, long time.  And it has happened in declining empires throughout the ages.

Rather, what’s remarkable is how the debasement of the currency and society is being managed and recorded as a matter of policy.

Consider the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report on consumer price inflation, as measured by the CPI, that was released this week.  These numbers are fabricated by the government bean counters to tell a story that’s much more palatable than reality.  Nonetheless, the story being served has a noticeably bitter taste.

The general findings of the latest CPI report were that consumer prices increased 0.4 percent in February and 3.2 percent over the last 12 months.  The 3.2 percent annual CPI increase reported for February was up from the 3.1 percent reported in January.

This upward tick prevented President Biden from making his gratuitous propaganda statement about how prices are coming down.

Prices Always Go Up

If you recall, in the early part of 2023, as the reported increase in the CPI each month was less than the prior month, Biden took pleasure in thumping his chest and telling Americans that prices were declining.  By now, most people have some inkling as to why this was all a great big lie.  Still, it’s a lie worth revisiting.

To be clear, an annual CPI inflation rate of 3.2 percent means consumer prices are rising at 3.2 percent per year.  Certainly, a 3.2 percent CPI reading is better than the 9.1 percent CPI reported for June 2022.

But just because 3.2 percent is smaller than 9.1 percent doesn’t mean consumer prices are coming down.  So long as the number is positive – and not negative – it means prices are going up.  In fact, prices have been going up a lot.

Month after month, year after year, rising consumer prices compound.  So, the 3.1 percent CPI increase comes on top of the much higher 9.1 percent CPI increase from several years ago.

Over the last four years, since the onset of the coronavirus lunacy, the CPI has increased from 258.678 to 310.326.  That’s a percent increase of 19.97.  In no time over this duration, or since Biden has been in office, have prices declined.  They’ve always gone up.

Moreover, February 2020 was the last month we’ll ever know before the economy was forcibly shut down and gobs of fake money were spewed into existence.  There really is no going back.  Prices will never, ever return to their pre-February 2020 levels.

Dollar Debasement as A Matter of Policy

To better understand the currency debasement that has taken place look no further than the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ own inflation calculator.  One dollar in February 2020 had the same purchasing power that $1.20 has today.  That means consumer prices are 20 percent more than they were just four years ago.

Did you get a 20 percent raise over the last four years?  If the answer is no, you’re not alone.  Most people didn’t.  Instead, most people fell behind.

Median household income in the U.S., adjusted for inflation, fell 2.3 percent between 2021 and 2022, from $76,330 to $74,580.  The government numbers for 2023 have yet to be reported.  Though, at best, households treaded water for the year – splashing and trashing about just to be able to breathe.

At some point this stagflationary environment – rising prices, stagnating growth – will transfer from the economy to financial markets.  But, in the meantime, for investors and speculators, it’s risk on.  Stocks, gold, and bitcoin hold near, or hit new highs each week.

Yet, for some reason, in the face of rising consumer prices, and much irrational exuberance, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell expects to cut interest rates in 2024.  That’s what he told the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee in last week’s testimony.

Thus, the debasement of the dollar and of society will continue as a matter of policy.  And presidents, congressional representatives, city council members, and suburban moms, will do whatever it takes to pirate their own stash of booty.

Little shame remains.