It’s ALWAYS about the economy, stupid.

As James Carville said back in 1992 to help Bill Clinton (D) prevail over George H.W. Bush (R) in what now, looking back, seems like a downright quaint presidential election during much simpler times – “it’s the economy, stupid”.

That part still hasn’t changed much. What may have changed since then is how much more faith people seem to be putting in (D)s and (R)s to help shape their destiny, solve all their problems, and determine their ability to lead a more fulfilling life going forward. It’s as if everyone’s looking for a deity (or a scapegoat), and few can think of more than two places where they might find it.

We’re going to keep this simple (well, sorta).

For all the horrors taking place in Minneapolis this week, the shamefully unfortunate circumstances in NYC’s Central Park, the role of “Jack vs. Zuck” in determining who should be allowed to say what, and of course our ongoing response to COVID-19 (and the renewed symbolism of the “face mask”), it’s clear that we all have a tendency to get caught up (and probably too easily) in the emotion-driven “political” themes of the moment that pit one against another, diametrically. Whether it’s black vs. white, rich vs. poor, male vs. female, cisgender vs. transgender – you name it, it’s cool to pick a side. At least, it seems comforting. Once you know which side you’re on, you then know which side to blame, which then makes it easier to let your anger out because you have somewhere you can direct it. And letting your anger out feels good, because lord knows there’s plenty to be angry about these days.

The problem? Painting the world in such simple colors is ultimately a recipe for mass misunderstanding, and a world plagued by mass misunderstanding is much more likely to focus on all the wrong problems – or at least, be distracted from the ones that might actually matter most if we could solve them.

Is “mass misunderstanding” just an unfortunate by-product of an inherently complex world clashing with the inevitable limitations of human nature, or is it a conscious policy and a deliberate attempt to mislead and misdirect? We’re not sure, but Fed Chairman Jay Powell seemed to offer an inadvertent perspective (by accident?) during his briefing earlier this morning that at least has to get you thinking: Why all the misunderstanding? Because you have better things to do…

To diminish nothing of the very real scourges of racism, sexism, and other “isms” that affect some of us more than others (as we once talked about here), it seems there’s at least a remotely legitimate chance that some people might be trying to keep you from focusing too much on at least one particularly universal scourge (or at the very least they don’t seem to mind if your mind wanders a bit), and it’s the one scourge that at least indirectly touches and influences almost all of the others, whether we realize it or not. That, of course, would be any such scourge that denies or prevents the concept of “value” itself being related to the things you actually value.

Or, in other words – who’s in charge of the “value” of the very dollars you get paid in for your work (love or hate what you do), that you use to buy things (whether you need them or not), that you use to sell things (whether you wanted to or not), that you use in any transactions that help you pursue your own hopes and dreams (whatever they may be), and that you probably use to calculate your very own personal “net worth”, however high or low? Hint: It’s not you, it’s not your parents, it’s not your employer, it’s not your employer’s CEO, it’s probably not your “rich” neighbor, it’s probably not even just a specific race or gender (apparent correlations aside), and it’s usually not even your President (though some presidents end up having a little more influence than others). Nor is it even the God you might pray to, even if your God is Plutus or Mammon. Nope, it’s even simpler than that.

It’s a single, private, central bank.

Wondering who determines the value of your life savings if you saved it in dollars? Them. Wondering who ultimately determines how much a given “need or want” – whether it a be a house, a car, a vacation (especially one you took out a loan for) – or a donation to your favorite cause – or the very food on your table – could be worth relative to your life’s work and the values you stand for? Yup, them too. Now, we’re not here to debate whether their intentions are nefarious or not (we’ll leave that to the genuine conspiracy theorists whose theories we have no way of proving or disproving on this blog). We’re just here to call attention to the fact that they are, well, central. And if something is central and you haven’t been invited to have a seat at the table (not unlike that whole “Jack vs. Zuck” thing?) that means you don’t have a say either way.

There’s an old quote attributed to Mayer Amschel Rothschild (that, admittedly, no one seems to know for sure if he actually said or not)…

“Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws”

Maybe good ol’ Mayer Amschel (or at least whoever quoted him) was just trying to make a point? You know, just a little 18th-century snark?

In any case, it doesn’t seem like we’ve learned much since then. And it doesn’t sound like our friend Jay Powell is particularly interested in seeing us start now.

All the while, arguments like #DemocratsTheEnemyWithin vs. #RepublicansAreDestroyingAmerica keep getting more attention than things like #debt vs. #savings, #SoundMoney vs. #UBI, and other things that actually matter.

It’s ALWAYS about the economy, stupid. Especially when you realize that most of the things we fight over have to do with our ability, as individuals, to live out our values – whatever they are, and however we got them.

Or are you happy to keep sitting at the kids’ table arguing over your favorite colors while the “grownups” at the central table decide what you get to eat for dinner? (if you get to eat at all…)

Another possibility: We need more tables?

We have quoted “Tweets” from select “Twitter Users” in this story because we thought the views & opinions expressed by those “Twitter Users” were relevant to the topics being discussed in this story. These “Twitter Users” have no affiliation with the Economorals blog, and we make no assumptions about any particular political, religious, or other affiliations of any kind that may or may not be held by any of the “Twitter Users” quoted, nor the specific validity or credibility of what they say. Again, we just thought a few “Twitter Users” had some genuinely interesting words & ideas to share in the context of this story’s main themes, and since they’ve already shared those words & ideas in the public domain, we wanted to share them again here too. Because if there’s one “market” we can all hopefully agree on, it’s the “marketplace of ideas”.

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UBI & Bitcoin = perfect together? (or is anything really perfect?)

We live in interesting times, to say the least. No one can really agree on anything, yet everyone seems to expect everyone else to agree with them. We may never be able to fully solve that quirk of human nature (and even if we thought we could, should we really even be trying?) but one thing almost everbody seems to agree with these days is that something seems to be broken with the economy. Like really broken. Not even just broken like – will I be able to find a job, will I be able to put food on the table, have I saved enough to weather the hard times kinda broken; no, we’re talking broken like – fundamentally flawed, ready for a reset, let’s just tear the whole thing down and start over kinda broken. When enough people are thinking like that – from all different sides of the political spectrum – it might be time to start paying attention.

One particular “dichotomy” (which may not actually be as much of a dichotomy as you think) is between the Universal Basic Income (or #UBI) camp — those who think everyone should be entitled to a minimum monthly public payment to meet basic needs, regardless of means or contributions to society, and that such is essentially a basic “human” right — and the Sound Money camp — basically, people who really don’t love the idea of “printing” money for any purpose, tend to dislike debt and governments in general, believe strongly in free markets, and feel “liberty” itself is very much contingent upon all three.

Enter the cryptocurrency craze which got its nascent start in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis (likely not a coincidence) and it’s leading brand – Bitcoin ($BTC).

One of the rallying calls for $BTC has been the way it might serve as a “stealth” means of transferring wealth from those who have wronged us in the past (think “Boomers” what with their penchant for Fed bailouts, asset-price inflation, increased inequality, and the like) to those tech-savvy, purpose-seeking “Millennials” who will lead us to a more noble and ever-more-virtuous future. The $USD has been so badly manipulated and bastardized by centralized monetary-policy-makers in recent years they say (and we can’t really argue with that) that it’s time to throw the baby out with the bathwater and move to a new “standard” – one that, like $GOLD in years past (but now easier to carry in your “wallet“) – is free from centralized government control (and thereby all the opportunities for corruption and cronyism) and governed only by the natural laws of math. Hard to argue, right?

Well, it may depend on what argument you’re trying to make.

If a more “noble future” is what you seek (who wouldn’t?) and $BTC is your solution, then of course, that makes the assumption that Bitcoin holders (or hodlers) are all well-intentioned, ultimately selfless stewards of the “greater good” who will, at every opportunity, seek to use their newfound $BTC-denominated wealth to further causes that benefit all. Right?

Kind of like these guys, maybe?

“The rise of cryptocurrency is changing the philanthropic world by causing the redistribution of wealth from old money to visionary innovators and early tech adopters. The new crypto rich invest their donations by supporting scientific research in groundbreaking fields that may one day enable humanity to cure aging, reverse death and completely change the relationship between work and income.”

Or, not to complicate things further, but…

What if I happened to be a right-leaning “free-market libertarian” with contemporarily “conservative” (but maybe classically liberal?) views & values that include my right to believe in an almighty yet unknowable God with at least some kind of method behind his or her (or its?) divine madness? (yes, some believe all these can perhaps even co-exist together!) Might I then suppose that $BTC holders need not necessarily “always be thinking about the greater good” in order to achieve a greater good, because as long as they (just like I) are using decentralized sound money (21 million cap for life!) to further whatever economic activities & causes are of value to them (whether it be trying to reverse death, or simpler things like producing and consuming goods & services with people in their community who are fine with just one go-around if done well), the “greater good” is being served by default through their exercising of individual sovereignty & liberty?

And continuing with the complications…

What if I happened to be more of a left-leaning “humanist” with contemporarily “liberal” values, a tendency to appreciate at least some form of “socialist/collectivist” thinking, and a belief that all humankind has a natural right to the assets of the planet that bore them (a reasonable & logical view, if slightly dogmatic in its own way) because as far as we know, “we’re all part of the same compost heap“, so why should some (pieces of organic matter?) get a man-made head start right out of the gate? Might I then suppose that $BTC holders are just replacing “old” arbitrary aristocracy with “new” arbitrary aristocracy – winning the battle of generations maybe, but doing little to put to bed the perpetual war between haves and have-nots? What would one who believes we have a right to “natural inheritance” say about how Satoshi Nakamoto himself obtained his first 980,000 BTC (even if he wanted to spend it on cryogenics) and whether he should pass it on to his children and grandchildren after he’s gone? (well, again, that is, if the whole “eternal life through freezing” thing doesn’t work out)

Once again, we don’t assume any easy answers to any of these not-so-easy questions. We’re not totally sure if the questions even make sense – and you might be wondering the same thing. But we’re pretty sure they do get to a larger point, if even in a dreadfully roundabout way.

Sound money (in some form or another) is a big step in the right direction, probably. The #UBI-ers have a point, too.

The #UBI-ers basically want a “reset” to a fairer baseline, while the #soundmoney camp wants the right to preserve the risk-adjusted relative value of what they feel they’ve earned (and might seek to earn in the future) while playing by the rules of a system they were born into.

Could the two ideas somehow be combined to make a greater percentage of the world “happy” at least in relative terms? It seems like whenever we try to force the dialogues apart, we end up with stupid results like this one. There’s got to be a better way.

Ever hear the saying “when the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing” or vice versa? Hint: There’s a double (maybe even triple) meaning, both of which might be relevant here.

Another possibility: We don’t really know right from left in the first place anymore (another case of potential double meaning). And it might be in our interest to forget that we ever did. Although, that’s not to say we should all just start moving in the same single direction either – that would be boring, if nothing else.

In continual search of the system that works the least badly…

Or maybe we’re all still just missing that larger (and probably simpler) point?

We have quoted “Tweets” from select “Twitter Users” in this story because we thought the views & opinions expressed by those “Twitter Users” were relevant to the topics being discussed in this story. These “Twitter Users” have no affiliation with the Economorals blog, and we make no assumptions about any particular political, religious, or other affiliations of any kind that may or may not be held by any of the “Twitter Users” quoted, nor the specific validity or credibility of what they say. Again, we just thought a few “Twitter Users” had some genuinely interesting words & ideas to share in the context of this story’s main themes, and since they’ve already shared those words & ideas in the public domain, we wanted to share them again here too. Because if there’s one “market” we can all hopefully agree on, it’s the “marketplace of ideas”.

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Imagine if baseball worked like monetary policy?

What if baseball worked like monetary policy?

Forget guys like Rob Manfred, Bud Selig, Fay Vincent. What if we put someone like Ben Bernanke in charge? Or Janet Yellen? Or Tim Geithner? Or Hank Paulson? It might go something like this…

A tale of two teams – the Savers and the Debtors.

It’s been a tough year for the Savers. Heck, it’s been a tough couple of years. They’ve been bringing up the rear of their division since they got into the league. They don’t get a ton of respect from other teams that have been around the block a few times, but they kept their heads up high all year long, working their asses off, and somehow they find themselves with a shot to make the playoffs on the last day of the regular season.

The Debtors know what it’s like to live large. They’ve been hanging around the top of the league for years now, with a few championship runs under their belt. They’re a bunch of venerable, if slightly washed-up all-stars, with great brand-name recognition who know where they belong – in the World Series. The regular season is sometimes a tough slog. Mentally, it’s hard to get up for every game when it’s “been there, done that”. There’s a certain sense of entitlement that comes with being perennial fan-favorites who know their way around the league, and the celebrity circuit, for that matter.

The Savers are the underdog team to say the least – you know, that group of rag-tag go-getters that no one expected would even make it this far. They’ve never been to the playoffs before. They know this is their chance. They leave it all on the table. They knock it out of the park. They silence the home crowd (because they’re the visiting team for this game) with a lead-off home run, and they never look back. They pile on the hits. They pile on the runs. It’s 1-0, then it’s 2-0, then it’s 4-0, then 5, then 6. The crowd is stunned. “That sorry group of losers is going to embarrass us on our home turf!” say the Debtor fans.

It’s the top of the ninth inning, and the Savers add another couple of runs just for good measure. They’ve got a 10-0 lead now. It’s in the bag, they’d figure, and well deserved at that. The Savers will roll out their closer for the bottom of the ninth and he’ll shut ’em down, it’s just a formality. Heck, worst that can happen is he’ll give up a few hits – and the Savers have runs to spare. It’s been that kind of night. The Savers have done everything they needed to do. They’ve done everything right. This is finally going to be their year.

The Debtors come to bat in the bottom of the ninth. Before stepping into the batter’s box, the Debtors’ manager pops out of the dugout and runs over to have a chat with the home plate umpire. They talk, and talk, and talk some more. Something’s not right, it seems. Maybe there’s an issue with the field conditions? Everything looks fine, the Savers think to themselves. Maybe the umpires are concerned about an impending rain delay? Skies seem perfectly clear for now. Then, all of a sudden, the umpire and the manager shake hands – and the manager heads promptly back to his dugout, calling his players over with him. No one’s entirely sure what’s happening. Next, the home plate umpire heads over to the scorer’s booth to have a chat. Hmm, what’s going on, the Savers think to themselves. Their closing pitcher is all warmed up. They just want to get this overwith already. They’re ready to put the finishing touches on a great night and enjoy a well-deserved (and long-time-coming) celebration – they’re finally going to get to the next step, experience a taste of how the “other half” lives (you know, those who get to play in the post-season). Then, finally, the PA announcer’s voice comes over the stadium loudspeaker:

“Attention everyone, attention! The Debtors have been granted permission to borrow 11 runs from a future game (yet to be determined which one??) to apply to tonight’s score! Congratulations Debtors! The Debtors win, 11-10!!”

And the crowd goes wild!! What a comeback, they say!! One for the ages!! One for the record books!! You might just say, the greatest recovery since…

Sound familiar? (ok, enough with the hokiness, of course it sounds familiar, that’s the point).

Needless to say, such is the plight of the “Savers” of the past 10-15 years who have seen the fruits of their hard work & prudence be routinely disrespected and devalued, while the “Debtors” celebrate victory after victory of unearned spoils. Whether Wall Street bankers retaining bonuses for driving their companies into bankruptcy, or next-door neighbors getting to live for free in their no-money-down mansions that banks still haven’t bothered trying to foreclose on after all these years because buyers had no skin in the game in the first place (or because they’re afraid that by dumping all those foreclosures back on the market, prices across the board might actually start to reset to a fair – ahem, lower – value).

As it turns out, baseball may bear more semblance to how a fair, just, and moral economy should operate than the economy itself.

A ninth-inning comeback doesn’t usually happen because the home team decides to change the rules in the bottom of the ninth inning. It happens because of hard work, perseverance, a little luck, and sometimes the complacency of the team that previously held the lead. That very capability – for the “rag-taggers” to engineer a hard-fought victory against the entrenched & entitled – is critical to preserve if we are to have a dynamic economy that produces greater wealth & opportunity for all, as a by-product of allowing individual strivers to fairly and justly compete to constantly move the line of the status quo.

For the Savers, recessions are just like those tough long seasons as underdogs. Savers won’t be deterred. They just might surprise you. They just might put together a 9th-inning comeback of their own when you least expect it. As long as we give them the opportunity to keep playing – and to give them a chance to win fair and square.

If Ben, Janet, Tim or Hank take us up on our suggestion to throw one of their hats in the ring for MLB commissioner, maybe we can ask Rob or Bud to switch places and take their spot atop the Fed or the Treasury?

For the love of the game.

10 things I might have done differently if I knew paying my mortgage would become optional

10 things I might have done differently over the past decade or two if I knew paying my mortgage would become optional:

  1. Buy a house before I had a steady job, with the small amount of money I had saved for a down payment (or maybe none at all – if they would give me the loan)
  2. Buy a bigger house than I could afford (if they would give me the loan)
  3. Buy a house in a fancy neighborhood I couldn’t really afford (if they would give me the loan)
  4. Take extra vacations with the money I didn’t have to spend on my mortgage if I stopped paying it, while living in the bigger house in the fancier neighborhood I couldn’t really afford
  5. Buy extra toys with the money I didn’t have to spend on my mortgage if I stopped paying it, while living in the bigger house in the fancier neighborhood I couldn’t really afford
  6. Buy a second house (if they would give me the loan)
  7. Buy a third house (if they would give me the loan)
  8. Borrow against houses 2 & 3 (if they would give me the loan) to take additional extra vacations with the money I didn’t have to spend on my 2nd and 3rd mortgages if I stopped paying them
  9. Borrow against houses 2 & 3 (if they would give me the loan) to buy additional extra toys with the money I didn’t have to spend on my 2nd and 3rd mortgages if I stopped paying them
  10. Rinse and repeat items 1-9?

In the “old normal” some of the steps above (especially #1) might have been considered “taking a risk”. You know, good old fashioned capitalism, and trying to get ahead. I’d work my ass off to make sure I could get ahead of those payments one way or another, and get on the track to building equity in my home, and eventually, to having a solid piece of wealth I could call my own, and potentially use as collateral or capital for future investments or living expenses. I’ll chalk up that mistake to being timid – I should have jumped in early either way.

In the “new normal” all the steps above (especially #2 – #9) have apparently been backstopped and guaranteed by the Federal Reserve (through QE and zero-interest rate policy) and our government. Who would’ve known you could do all those things with no intention of actually having to pay for them, and without having to take on any risk of losing money?

Apparently other people knew it, just not me. Imagine not having to work for a living – just buy a house and get paid to live in it. It almost sounds too easy. Silly me – always imagining things to be more difficult than they really are. Now I get it. Buying a house (or any levered asset for that matter) with debt isn’t about establishing a budget or a business plan for how you’ll actually pay for it – it’s about banking on a bailout. The idea of paying down debt and using your own judgment on your ability to pay down a mortgage based on savings/income (including allowing for periods of unemployment) while weighing against supply/demand factors (assuming others are using their own similar, rational judgment) as a basis for pricing and valuing an asset? How quaint.

Now I understand why prices keep getting bid up – it’s easy to offer “any price” when you have almost no skin in the game, no intention of making payments when times get tough, and no real sense of obligation to actually pay back the loan balance. In that case, I’ll offer $5 million sir, for your shack, and I’ll pay you next Tuesday.

Some examples of this:

Millions Of Homeowners Have Not Made Mortgage Payments In Years
(June 9, 2011 – The Consumerist)

Should We All Just Stop Paying the Mortgage?
(October 16, 2008 –

Some homeowners may get a free house: No payments? No problem!
(November 6, 2015 –

“mortgage modifications…to distressed borrowers, many of whom have not made mortgage payments in two years.”
(May 17, 2016 – NY Times)

I’m a compassionate guy, generally speaking. You have to feel for folks who genuinely got in over their heads and didn’t anticipate the hardships of making those payments every month. It gets harder to stay compassionate when you realize the reason you keep getting outbid for properties is because so many of these “delinquent” owners are sitting in their homes, not making payments, thereby keeping supply off the market, which is in turn helping to re-inflate prices to artificial levels for legitimate would-be buyers with hard-earned savings, down payments, and incomes to bring to the table.

Combine these factors with the residual “moral hazard” effect from the post-2008 bailout era, and you have buyers with minimal down payments further bidding up prices, knowing in the back of their minds it doesn’t really matter what they pay because they’ll be bailed out eventually (or allowed to live mortgage-free like those who came before them) and have little to lose. How do you compete with that if you’ve worked hard for your money? Why should you have to compete with that? Why should you ever want to? What’s the point of having a home “price” anyway if you take the market forces out of the equation? At a certain point, might as well just go full-on communism and simply assign people places to live based on their rank & status. Sure beats the waste of time spent on artificial “bidding wars” in a so-called “market” – and worse, actually “working” for the privilege.

For those who have come to know the “tea party” as a brand-name for those silly deplorables who know nothing of what they speak, lest we forget the modern incarnation of this phrase was actually first coined by CNBC’s Rick Santelli back in 2008, essentially in response to this very topic of housing market folly (and had little to do with the sentiment that seemed to hijack the movement later on):

For guys like me and Rick, some will say “sour grapes”. In reality, I’ll be just fine personally (as will Rick), one way or the other. But for a system that supposedly espouses the virtues of hard work, independence, perseverance, and equal opportunity, there certainly appears to be an ongoing layer of hypocrisy in our approach to the housing market, which still hasn’t really changed a whole lot since the dark days of 2004-2008.

My “equal opportunity” to buy a house at a fair price based on my moral understanding of the obligation to pay back debt certainly can’t be considered “equal” when competing with buyers who clearly don’t share that sense of obligation. Relatively speaking, this is a major economic “fail”.

A new pro-choice movement? Or, how to put the real “choice” back in “pro-choice”.

I’ll start by saying: I love women. Racism sucks. Sexism sucks. Bigotry sucks. Inequality sucks. I mean it.

Now, for starters, please read this article:

Then consider the below…

Imagine if all that time, effort, and energy were directed at something tangible and actionable? For example:


  • Years of artificially low interest rates tricking women into taking on unsustainable levels of personal debt (i.e. overpaying for things like college, housing, and other goods purchased on cheap credit)
  • QE & money printing by the Fed devaluing women’s labor and stealing their hard-earned savings to pay for the irresponsible choices of others (whether investment bankers who took too much risk, or your friendly next-door neighbor who bought a huge house or SUV knowing that he or she couldn’t really afford it)
  • Asset price inflation stealing future investment returns from our daughters, granddaughters, great granddaughters, etc… to pay for the debt binges of their parents, neighbors, and politicians


  • Higher interest rates = more savings for women = less debt for women = more freedom for women to pursue their dreams!
  • Equal pay for equal work (i.e. opportunity to profit from actual productive work vs. debt-fueled speculation & financial skimming), and the right for women to retain the value of their labor while saving and investing in their own independent futures!
  • Market equilibrium that offers a level playing field for women to invest, acquire assets, start businesses and/or otherwise pursue financial independence via productive risk-taking (and perhaps the choice to stop working if they so choose?)

If a woman’s right to choose is important to you (and there are many choices to make in life), wouldn’t it make sense to tackle the underlying issues that tend to govern any individual’s true freedom to make choices – i.e. economic & financial freedom? Wouldn’t it be easier if we had a system that simply provided more fair & equitable opportunities for women to work, save, and invest (without having to take on excessive levels of debt) so they could be free to make their own life choices, without having to involve the government (and other taxpayers) in their decisions (moral or otherwise) in the first place?

Replace “women” (or any other gender references) in any of the aforementioned points, and you’ll see that most of the real issues we face as a society (it’s the economy, stupid) affect women as well as every other “identity” group just about the same.

By the way, just a reminder: I love women. Racism sucks. Sexism sucks. Bigotry sucks. Inequality sucks.

So remind me exactly what all these people were marching for again?

What do you value most?

What do you value most? Family? Friends? Independence? Intellect? Wealth? Achievement? Power? Beauty? Charity? Purpose? Justice?

The sooner we realize we don’t all have same answers to the previous question, the sooner we can all start to make sense of the current political environment we live in, and perhaps, start tackling the real underlying issues that govern our ability to pursue whatever it is we value most – and that usually starts with economics.

An economy without a shared morality is destined to fail, in relative terms. Failure is relative to one’s definition of success. And one’s definition of success tends to be relative to one’s values. Likewise, one’s morals tend to be derived from one’s values, and those values are often a by-product of one’s upbringing & life experiences – and can include diverse influences along the lines of religion, culture, community, and circumstance. So, you start to see (hopefully) how a crazy mixed-up concoction of deep-rooted tensions emerges (and all the misunderstandings that come with it) leading to the political chaos we have today. For starters, perhaps considering everyone’s deep-rooted perspectives above your own, for just a sec, might help you make sense of it all? And that applies to all sides of the political, cultural, and socioeconomic spectrum.

For this particular writer, a sense of personal responsibility and the opportunity to control one’s own destiny in pursuit of one’s own version of happiness by leveraging god-given (or natural-born) talents & circumstances to the best of one’s abilities, taking calculated sacrifices and risks along the way, are important values & virtues. I also tend to believe that applying these values at large ultimately give a greater percentage of the population a chance to pursue whatever is important to them, more so than any other system of governing and distributing wealth & opportunity.

To accomplish this vision of individual sovereignty with equal opportunity (allowing for potentially unequal results) requires an economic system where we all play by the same rules, and respect the game, as well as the rights & aspirations of others. It’s when some individuals – whether for purposes of self-gain, or ill-advised attempts to solve others’ problems for them, or simply due to unrealistic expectations – start to bend the rules that “equal opportunity” turns into a fool’s game, fraught with moral hazard. It becomes a game not worth playing – and in a game not worth playing, nobody wins.

To some, eliminating the game altogether – a world where there are no winners or losers – is something of a utopian vision to aspire to. To me, nothing could sound more dystopian. In the game of life, there are always winners and losers, and the point where it suddenly starts to feel like there’s no longer a difference, is the point where you lost the game, without realizing you were playing.

It all comes back to values. Are you in the game? Or perhaps there’s a different game you’d rather be playing altogether?

Why economorals?

“An economy without a shared morality is destined to fail (in relative terms, of course).”

(you know, applying the whole “moral relativism” thing… yeah, you get it…)

The classical definition of an “economy” refers to:

  • The management of scarce & finite resources.
  • The production, distribution and consumption of goods and services within a community.
  • A system designed to meet the needs and wants of its people.

So, with that said…

Who gets to define “need”? Who gets to define “want”?

  • Ask not (yet) what your economy can do for you.
  • Ask not (yet) what you can do for your economy.
  • Ask first: What purpose does your economic system serve in the first place?
  • Ask then: How closely aligned are the views & values of popular economists to your own, as they relate to the previous question?
  • Then come back and read the rest of our blog.
  • Then figure out whether your economy is succeeding or failing (in relative terms, of course).

How this blog started.

NOTE: This is a post I began to draft way back on March 4, 2014 when the thought of starting this blog first crossed my mind (actually the thoughts & views behind it started much sooner, but the idea of expressing those views on a blog took a certain “aha” moment).

In any case, life and a slightly scattered mind prevented me from actually getting around to launching this blog until now, in 2017, shortly after the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as 45th president of the United States.

What’s interesting is the uncanny resemblance of this now-nearly-three-year-old draft post to the very platform that Trump ended up running on, and essentially got elected on.

What’s equally uncanny is the fact that I never considered myself much of a conservative, or a republican, or a right-winger, or anything like that. If anything, I’ve always been quite liberal & progressive in my thinking, though skeptical of “liberal” policies themselves. Perhaps you could call me a “post-liberal”. Some might say my views start to skew a bit libertarian. It doesn’t really matter what you label me or my views. What matters is, there’s a dialogue about the root causes of our divisions, our political chaos, our economic challenges, our cultural rifts, and the erosion of our social fabric that needs to continue – now more so than ever. Bringing the left and the right and everyone in between together to take a hard (sometimes really hard – sometimes brutally hard) look at some of the underlying economic & moral issues we all face collectively, to hopefully bring us together in support of real solutions and new perspectives, was and is the ultimate purpose of launching this blog.

Some topics and posts will reflect my own personal views & values (because like you, I’m only human, after all). Some posts may come from other individuals whom are invited to share their own specific perspectives, either in contrast or in support. Some posts will be more provocative than practical – you know, with a touch of hyperbole just to get you thinking. Other posts will simply be a call to look at the bigger picture, to help keep ourselves honest either way. As viewpoints go, the more the merrier.

Oh, and yes, a common theme will be the idea that economics trumps politics, and that many of the problems we call on the latter to help solve for us could perhaps be better understood & addressed by taking a more critical look at the former.

Drafted March 4, 2014:

Some of the articles on this blog, at first glance, may come off as a tad self-righteous. You may find statements that seem a bit out of touch, maybe a tad exaggerated, often popularly unpopular, or at least politically inconvenient.

It will quickly become evident that we’re actually speaking on behalf of a large majority of “old school” working and middle class Americans whose voices, values, and virtues have been marginalized or even silenced in this “Everyone’s entitled to a free lunch” (and that means everyone, top and bottom) era of no-money-down mortgages, Wall Street bailouts, QE-infinity, and the moral hazard it’s wreaking on our system.

You’ll find no hatred or scorn against the genuinely underprivileged here (many of us come from families whose ancestors are not far removed from similar circumstances). No twinges of racism, sexism, or any other “isms” that others would like you to believe are automatically associated with our beliefs (nope, we’ve got folks of all colors, shapes and sizes here).

In fact, our ultimate gripe is not with any particular individuals or persons who are (rightfully or wrongfully) taking advantage of a system that’s been put in place before them. Our gripe is with the system itself and those who enable it (and those who fail to see the need to disable it – or at least revamp it).

It’s not the 99% vs. the 1%. It’s the 100% against itself.