"Freedom is not merely the opportunity to do as one pleases; neither is it merely the opportunity to choose between set alternatives. Freedom is, first of all, the chance to formulate the available choices, to argue over them -- and then, the opportunity to choose." ~ C. Wright Mills
Twas the Death of the Dollar, Part 2
October 31, 2008
'Twas the death of the dollar and all through the night
The ill wind that blew filled wise men with fright.
My children stay put, there's more to the tale
For what's coming next is beyond the sad pale.
Our friends and our foes could no longer abide
The beggar-thy-neighbor currency slide.
Three horsemen were needed to mount the last ride,
An apocalypse wave came in with the tide.
Trillions of bucks we had sent overseas
Came back with a vengeance no matter our pleas.
'Full faith and credit' were words in the wind,
All lies and no truth was proof that we sinned.
At one time they needed more paper and ink,
Pretending that banknotes had less of a stink.
They no longer used cash and saved a few trees,
Just numbers in space created with ease.
A book entry is fine no matter the claim,
All's fair in love and ledger-demain!
Tricks of accounting and deft sleight of hand
Repealed all the laws in Consequence Land !
With no questions asked nor answered at length
A low interest rate is the source of our strength.
What good is fake money if it sits on the shelf?
It must be loaned out to both giant and elf.
If there aren't many takers our plan will collapse,
This whole bloody mess shall fall into our laps!
We'll pass a few laws and twist tight a few arms,
Our wisdom and skill will protect us from harm.
The man of the hour arose from the ash,
He knew not the difference 'tween promise and cash.
An ownership class was the cure for all ills,
So McMansions of debt were built on the hills.
To keep the game going they lowered the bar,
A pulse was enough for a house and a car!
Home prices, like fevers, they only go up,
I've found the new secret ' a bottomless cup!
My house is a bank, I'll tap it again,
And spend like a sailor besotted with gin.
It matters not if it's condo or ranch
It's all sliced and diced and mortgaged by tranche.
They worked out the math and the risk was so low
It's equal to zero, 'Now on with the show!'
Had they bothered to search not far back in the books,
They'd learn this same error killed LTCM crooks.
No rules are needed that get in the way,
The risk is so slight that it just goes away!
Even better the fact is it's all sold in pieces,
No big bank gets hurt or covered with feces.
Just lots of small players will take a wee hit,
With losses so tiny they'll add up to spit!
A derivative here and swap over there
One piece of pie can be endlessly shared!
With commissions for you and a haircut for me
Our magic machine births prosperity!
Then one little hand arose from the pack
What happens, daddy, if they don't pay it back?
As they shoveled the risks right out the front door,
In through the back came a thousand times more!
An alphabet soup of 'assets' arose,
What they had in common was foul to the nose.
Stuffed in your Grandma's four-oh-one-kay.
These magical potions have now saved the day!
Everyone sought them and bought them in groups
'Follow our lead or you'll all look like dupes!'
Then captains of cash bought them all a-la-carte,
Bragging to others that they were so smart!
If this one goes up, the others go down,
We're perfectly hedged, there's no way to drown!
But titans of old, they crashed and they burned,
'Tis always the same when lessons aren't learned.
We studied the crash back in old '29,
The system collapsed when it should have been fine.
We won't follow that path by hoarding our cash
By power of law we'll make treasure from trash.
We'll open the floodgates of heaven above,
And pour down our paper on hawks and the doves.
Sealing the purse when tragedy strikes
Is like pulling our fingers from thousands of dikes!
With every fresh batch of fake money they gasped:
'Get back to business, the worst has now passed!'
But scarcely another day had gone by,
Another KABOOM, they didn't know why!
The Big Cheese in Charge appeared on TV
Belching bromides and nonsense for you and for me.
A mountebank here and a humbugger there,
Is all that you need for a really good scare!
When staring full frontal into the abyss
What if our target is wrong and we miss?
If we pull the trigger, we had better be sure,
But how in the world can the cause be the cure?
The vilest request 'ere made among men
Was packaged as gospel and balm for the sin!
A blank check and power to do as they please,
Free from all laws to spread their disease!
Even tyrants of old never dreamed of such rule,
The one who would grant it is the greater fool!
The sheeple were told there was no other way
No time to debate, we only have days!
They'll give us whatever we ask of them now,
We'll take all they have and leave them the Dow!
It's too hard to goose the NASDAQ my friend,
It's 5,000 point record remained to the end.
Then accountants were given permission to lie,
For speaking the truth would cause business to die!
We can't make it known what our assets are worth;
It'll bring down the heavens and burn up the earth!
It won't save the day and it wouldn't be nice,
To not pay the fools their full asking price!
What's that you say . . . The cost is too high?
We can't turn a profit before we all die!
The Jane and John Does were all knocked to the ground,
'We get none of the upside and all of the down!'
Then builders of cars ponied up to the bar,
We're here for our handouts, now give us what's ours!
We'll pretend it's for research and shiny new knobs,
Not that we're bankrupt and killing good jobs!
We wondered whoever was next in the line
Begging for cash claiming all was just fine.
The man on the street asked where was his slice
'Share some with me for some beans and some rice!' The lawmakers bristled and were visibly grieved,
We can't do it that way, it won't help out the thieves!
The sad truth was published and worthy of note:
'They gave us fat checks, but you only vote'!
We tried a tax 'rebate' a few months before,
You proletariat trash do always want more!
It's for your own good, you don't understand,
Don't stand in the way of the men with the plan!
Our Ivy League sheepskins prove that we are wise
Do you think they bestow them on ignorant guys?
We've fancy equations and college class talk,
You'll be OK, not outlined in chalk!
The law's on our side, we can do as we please,
Doubting is treason, you'll be forced on your knees.
They switched on the shredder and in went the doc,
That served us so well 'till our ship hit the rock.
There's no point in having a vote and a say
If Executive Order can take it away.
The phone calls and cables were sent by Big Ben:
'Get ready to act as the crisis begins!'
The playbook of old was again passed around,
Force up the buck and drive gold in the ground!
Gas up the choppers and proclaim the great news:
'All tricks in my toolbox I'll put to good use!'
So they painted a picture, a sore sight for the eye,
Oil dropping like stones and stocks a great buy!
The dollar is king, just look at her go!
A hundred point jump is the start of the show!
Gold and silver are junk, can't you see they're not wanted?
Their price action alone proves their rally is stunted!
At first it appeared that the scam was fine work,
Prophets and naysayers were labeled as jerks.
The venerable Dow jumped up on the news,
Then gave it all back, there was much more to lose!
Dizzying swings and swoons were the norm
No moments of peace in the eye of the storm.
The dollar went skyward, a synthetic short squeeze,
As Euro-land banks intervened as they pleased.
But then the Big Truth had outed the lie
There's nowhere to run and there's nowhere to hide!
Except to the relics of fame and renown,
The shiny cool stuff that is pulled from the ground!
All by itself it works like a charm,
Intended to shelter my children from harm!
Men with hard money, they had the last laugh,
But nothing is funny with the Dow cut in half!
Even those that still knew that gold was the king,
Sold off their bars for the cash it would bring.
To service their e-debt when brokers had called,
'Twas folly of margin that killed great and small!
They threw out their babies along with the bath,
And outside their closed banks they started a path!
Peering through windows and what did they see?
The cheap suits and hacks from the F-D-I-C!
If things are just fine, then why are you closed?
Even the dimmest now knew they were hosed!
With coal mines aplenty all filled with foul gas
The alarm system was broken by fiat at last.
The canaries all fled, they knew what was coming,
The Grim Reaper's afoot and he's skipping and humming!
He spoke not a word as he harvested kings,
He always appears at the end of bad things.
All who loved paper were gorging on debt,
Until at the last, their Maker they met.
'Why did you not use what I placed in the ground?'
Perfectly suited for trading around!
Born of My wisdom and hard to come by,
Unlike your paper, My money won't die!
For gold and for silver the price was so high,
A bittersweet truth when there's nothing to buy.
Unlike the bold Phoenix that rose from the ash
There's no way to fix such folly-backed cash.
The few that were standing saw clearly the means
To start over again with realistic dreams;
A return to the days when your word is your bond,
And money is good and no one is conned!