Saying Sooth—Predicting the Obvious

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

When soothsayers predict that the end of the world is near, we tend to yawn. When I predict the end of the world economy as we know it, people tend to laugh. When esteemed economists warn us of the same thing, perhaps we should take note.

I’m not a rocket scientist, not an economist, not even good at picking winning teams in sports. I can, however, do simple arithmetic and get the right answer. The simple arithmetic involves this: Spending more money than one has is not a good idea. Borrowing more than one can repay is a very bad idea. Printing counterfeit money to pay for unsustainable spending and borrowing is a horrible idea. Combining all three of these into one—a national economic policy—results not merely in catastrophe, but in a disaster that is so easy to predict that even I can do it. This is exactly the present policy of the United States.

Great minds think alike. I am now joined in my dire prediction of doom and gloom by at least one highly esteemed economist, Grady Means. Means has managed multi-billion dollar firms, is a former economist at the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and was advisor to Nelson Rockefeller. He does not walk around on the sidewalk with a poster that reads, “Doom and Gloom.” What he did do, was to write a commentary that was published in the Washington Times in October of 2012, in which he predicted that “America’s fall will take global economies [down] with it.”

Whether this will happen soon I cannot say one way or the other. According to Means, it may happen around March 4, before you ever get a chance to read this, in which case I am predicting the past.

It is natural to ask, if a policy is so seriously flawed as that of the US, why do not more people see it? Why is it allowed to be enacted? Why does no one stop it? It is natural to conclude, then, that such a policy might not be doomed to failure after all, at least not catastrophic failure. Surely, surely, someone would step in and stop it.

History is replete with examples of fools leaping before they look, fools ignoring the obvious, fools leading nations to ruin, despite ample warnings. Admiral Yamamoto warned the Japanese against attacking the US in 1941. He accurately predicted that the course of such a war would lead to inevitable defeat for the Japanese. He was ignored, and his prediction proved true. In Europe, Japan’s ally, Nazi Germany, embarked on military blunders so serious that a few German generals attempted to assassinate Hitler with a bomb in a briefcase. They failed, but only because they were afraid to do the obvious—simply pull out a gun and shoot. Afterward, even as Berlin burned, even as the Fuehrer bunker was being overrun, German commanders were executing German soldiers for desertion.

There is no easy way to prevent obvious catastrophe when powerful leaders are in charge of the policies leading to that disaster. I myself personally discovered this, on a small scale, when I tried to prevent a government building from being painted the very day before it was scheduled for demolition. Once a policy is in place, no matter how insane, it becomes like a machine that has been set in motion with no method in place to stop it. The result of my failure was a freshly painted pile of rubble.

If you sometimes get the feeling that you live in a madhouse, it may be more than just a feeling.

Here are two links if you are interested in knowing more.

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