A New Gold Standard?

This occurred to me last year, but I didn’t write anything about it because it’s the sort of thing about which I don’t know enough to have an intelligent opinion.  The question is this:  If people around the world buy and sell gold and quote its price in paper currency, how different is this from a de facto gold standard?  Now along comes Dr. Marc Faber and says,

“I think we already have now a gold standard . . . created by the market place.”

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The Census

I received my census form the other day, and fortunately it was the short form.  That spared me from a lot of questions I wouldn’t dream of answering.  Unfortunately, it didn’t get me completely out of the woods.

As most readers probably know by now, Question 8 asks whether we are “of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?”  If we are, then we are invited to be more specific, distinguishing Mexican ancestry from Puerto Rican, Cuban, etc.  Question 9 then asks for each person’s race, offering us 14 specific options followed by “Some other race.”

I hate these questions.  For one thing, it seems to me there are now large numbers of people who have parents or grandparents in at least two of the Census Bureau’s 14 “race” boxes. What box are they supposed to check?  What box is President Obama going to check?  During the campaign, people used to write a lot of nonsense about whether he was too black, hardly black at all, not black enough, etc.  It was somewhere between unseemly and repugnant then, but now it seems the Census Bureau really wants an answer. Read the rest of this entry »

Where Are We Going? And What Are We Doing in this Handbasket?

On the theory that a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought perhaps I could use my latest bumper sticker purchases to substitute for commentary I haven’t been writing. Here’s a pretty good summary:


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The Case for Fundamental Tax Reform (Reposted)

The following was originally posted on April 15, 2008:

It’s April 15, and like many Americans I just finished spending much too long trying to figure out what I owe in federal and state income taxes. What better day could there be to consider the need for fundamental tax reform? Read the rest of this entry »

If Paul Krugman Hates It, How Bad Can It Be?

I probably don’t know enough to have an intelligent opinion about this, either, but I think the administration’s new version of cash for trash shows improvement.  I would prefer to see more funding from the private sector; indeed, I would prefer 100% private funding.  But if by hypothesis the government has to take the leading role, perhaps the small amount that will be required from private bidders under this program will work like economic pixie dust and make it all fly.

Paul Krugman hates it, and so does Joe Stiglitz.  And by  a freakish coincidence, I learned of their disapproval just after reading a section of Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent of Money that mentions them both. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Wrong with This Picture?


Re-evaluating Your Own Private Idaho

Is there no end to this chicanery?  Is there some fairly prominent recessive gene that just needs the right lighting, the right Pinot Noir, and the right blatantly faux promises of undying fidelity to surface in some inbred blueblood?


The footprint of these schemes is growing so wide that I think just about everyone knows at least one person directly affected by Ponzi schemes.  I have a good friend who lost a six-figure chunk of his savings to one of these charlatans.  (I feel like a victim myself, but it’s a bigger challenge to litigate when your grifter was a publicly-traded, federally-regulated financial services company.)

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