Taxing the Poor. “Income taxes aren’t the only way for the government to take your money: If you put $1,000 in your piggy bank in 1960 and took it out to spend in 2000, you would discover that your money had, over time, lost 80 percent of its value.” Yeah, but it’s the tax few people understand because you need math to do so. Inflation takes from the math-challenged and gives to the math-abled, under the cover of “helping.” Politics is the world’s biggest con game.

{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Sidekick December 11, 2012 at 4:36 pm

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The fact that this needs to be spelled out (and most people won’t get it anyway) is just as disturbing as the legal plunder that occurs everyday due to our totally screwed up monetary policy. Especially when we listen to politicians on both sides talk about being all for the middle class and working poor.

poppajoe49 December 12, 2012 at 6:43 am

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While they print more monopoly money for them to spend, devaluing our hard earned dollars.

MGAP December 12, 2012 at 6:53 am

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The clear solution is for the government to take some of our 401k money and invest it in a 401k for those on welfare to counter inflationary “tax.”

Alien December 12, 2012 at 8:39 am

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inflation is a flat tax that also destroys savings and triggers panicky consumption, like an economic horror

My problem with analysis of inflation is myopic focus on government as the sole culprit. The Fed is ruled by banking. The quantity theory of money breaks down when it doesn’t incorporate credit in the model of money supply. Fractional reserve banking, unregulated credit/debt markets, and financial instruments contribute to an exploding money supply. We’ve been protected from a lot of consumer inflation by offshoring of manufacturing to cheaper labor markets abroad, but this cannot last (and it seems that process is grinding out).. But the explosion over decades has been evident in asset prices, healthcare & education costs, insurance.. all the things that now squeeze middle class

Kip Hooker December 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm

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”My problem with analysis of inflation is myopic focus on government as the sole culprit. The Fed is ruled by banking.”

I rather think it is the fed that runs banking and it is the government that has enabled the fed. In a free market no entity would have the power of the fed. The fed would be effectively neutered because those not wanting to participate could simply opt out or rather more importantly not have to join in the first place. As it is now the government has granted the fed powers no private (or really even government) entity should have and has mandated all of our participation in a monopoly of their own construction.

”The quantity theory of money breaks down when it
doesn’t incorporate credit in the model of money supply.”

As credit are you referring to what is lent to individuals by banks and financial institutions or credit as in . . . well what our money really is?

If it is the first then we must also consider it as a deflationary instrument. If more is borrowed than can be paid back then at some point the bubble bursts, several people are left taking a bath and the free market responds by raising the cost of borrowing credit (through higher interests rates to offset the higher risk to the lenders) limiting the free flow of money, encouraging savings, austerity and thrift until such a point at which savings account and the value of money returns to a level that the market feels comfortable with.

Of course this function is obliterated when the fed and the federals get involved. In times when credit must be tamed by higher interest rates the fed slashes them. When the people have no savings and can make no down payments on properties they want to purchase the government makes it nearly impossible to extend loans to people that cannot possibly pay them back. Cheap money is chased by even cheaper money and they use the mechanisms they demanded in order to restore balance to the market is used instead drive it to full tilt consumption at a time when capitalism would demand thrift and fiscal responsibility.
As for the other possible meaning . . . well I don’t know how they would separate the two at this point. I would guess though that the vast majority of our money supply represented a debt to someone somewhere.

And as for theories I am all for them! But theories exist to explain things that are, even if they cannot explain them perfectly. The neoclassical theory of money supply holds that money, in the long term, is neutral. This is not so. We know this is not so by the same reason Newton knew why the apple fell from the tree even though Newton was not aware of the phenomenon being brought about by either particle exchanges or objects of density warping time/space around them.

So I would suggest (IMHO) that if notions of quantity are not sufficient to describe inflation because they are structured to ignore some of the increase then what we are assuming is not an invalid method but rather an unsound result (rather like multiplying the wrong numbers . . . the method is still correct even if the results are skewed) that has been biased in the direction of the optimistic.

”Fractional reserve banking”

I agree that this practice is one of the worst things ever. If I had my way anybody that ever had a bank account through a bank borrowing money from the fed reserve would be able to bring criminal charges against the fed.

”unregulated credit/debt markets,”

I am all for regulating credit. When risk is up those lending money will set their interest rates higher. When the risk is low those lending money will set their rates lower. Those lenders that fail to properly handle the resources they have been given will fail, be flushed from the system and the next guy will either learn from their mistakes and free up room for better talent. A regulation by the invisible hand is far better than the regulation of men who have hands that are not so invisibly raiding out pockets.

and financial instruments contribute to an exploding money supply.

Those loaning the money are themselves borrowing it from somewhere in the first place. That place is the federal reserve. Without the federal government granting this power the whole enterprise becomes criminal. Worse than that they were given this power largely to regulate the value of money to avoid this very sort of thing. But what they have instead done with it is make money so cheap that in a time when the market would be encouraging savings the fed is encouraging insane spending and a credit bubble that you (have rightly identified) as disastrous.

To keep this money cheap they borrow or print ever more of it (believing of course that the supply has no bearing on the value) and slip it into the system. I don’t know for sure but my suspicion is this is the real purpose of fractional reserve banking. Allowing five hundred dollars to return for a hundred dollars borrowed from an unsuspecting bank account is a great way to hide extra money being slipped into the general supply.

”We’ve been protected from a lot of consumer inflation by offshoring of manufacturing to cheaper labor markets abroad, but this cannot last (and it seems that process is grinding out).. But the explosion over decades has been evident in asset prices, healthcare & education costs, insurance.. all the things that now squeeze middle class

I agree. A lot of the devaluation of the currency has been hidden by goods that have been made artificially cheap by what is essentially slave labor. Not to mention the fact that the country providing this cheap labor is also providing the cheap money (or had been) with a policy of buying up t-bills the promise of payment of which is the basis of what the Federal Reserve prints and hands out as money. This is a situation that could not exist on the money end without the Federal Reserve and would likely exist on the production end if it were not for them subsidizing us to subsidize them. I also agree this cannot last.

As for the rise of healthcare, education and insurance costs . . . what can I say, government manipulation has had the same effect there that it has had on the money supply, the value of our labor and just about everything else it touches. That is to say it drives up cost while it drives down quality.

Ps- Thumb up for excellent comment that made me think a whole lot!

Sidekick December 20, 2012 at 6:31 pm

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In all seriousness that is nice work, Kip. Friedman especially would agree with your positions. Sowell too. The Fed truly is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Every other monetary and fiscal malpractice is cuing off of its actions. Especially Treaury and its complete malfeasance in how it operates within the administration. Not demanding or at least envouraging spending cuts to help balance the budget is criminal at worst and grossly negligent at best. Geightner knows well that Bernanke will continue to monetize debt and otherwise increase the money supply, which according to them will inflate our way out of debt. I think we know how this movie will end.

poppajoe49 December 20, 2012 at 8:25 pm

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All we can hope for at this point is an early and painless death.

Kip Hooker December 21, 2012 at 4:43 am

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@PJ49

I just hope that after we go over the fiscal cliff (the real one that no amount of their planning can stop) that all that is wrong with the economy will be purged and we will come back better than ever.

Sidekick December 21, 2012 at 4:45 am

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Man, I hope you’re right….the alternative is bondage if you believe the Tytler Cycle.

poppajoe49 December 21, 2012 at 5:43 am

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Kip, is hitting the reset button an option?
My thinking is that if we were to declare BK as a country, and discharge all the debt, then we would be unable to borrow any money for 7-11 years, we would be forced to live within our means, and it would crash the Dems spending spree. With that timeframe, we could get a conservative government instituted, and start repairing the mess we’re in. Recipients would be forced to be productive, because the money to support them wouldn’t be there. Pork projects like the Cowboy Poetry Festival would have to be privately supported, and we wouldn’t have the money to send welfare to other countrys.
I kinda like this scenario, but haven’t completely thought it out. Any ideas/insight?

sa_rose December 21, 2012 at 8:59 am

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Seems to me that not sending a ton of money overseas would be the 1st change. THe theory was that we would make friends by doing so, and that clearly hasn’t worked out. So eliminate that unsuccessful program. plow that money into debt reduction. I don’tknow that we could get a conservative government in place in that time frame, or we would have done it already. I am concerned about how to handle the truly needy, the ill and elderly, young children etc. Perhaps as a transition we could quit funding healthy, able bodied people with cash payments. Set it up like the CCC and pay them for working. At least tthe government could get some benefit from all the cash they are handing out.

Kip Hooker December 21, 2012 at 4:42 am

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@Sidekick

TY! :)

Sidekick December 21, 2012 at 4:47 am

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My pleasure. I always enjoy reading your posts.

Alien December 21, 2012 at 9:14 am

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I will need to engage in several acts of extreme erudition to properly respond to your post. Well done, there’s a lot to chew on here (but I should be working and only have time for my typical lazy acts of glibness at the moment)

I will start by reviewing the origins of that beast which slouched out of Jekyll Island

Trickie December 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm

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Trickle up poverty

PsychoDad December 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm

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That does tend to cut both ways, though, as William Jennings Bryant explained in his famous “Cross of Gold” speech.If you owe the bank $5000 for a car loan, think how easy that would be to pay off if, through the miracle of modern inflation, next year $5000 is your weekly paycheck. There certainly are some very short-term advantages to inflation, for the one who gets himself set up right to take that advantage, but obviously it isn’t a viable long-term strategy — you end up with those billion-Reichsmark notes that will buy a loaf of bread IF you get to the store fast enough.

Kip Hooker December 11, 2012 at 7:11 pm

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There is a converse to that as well. With deflation anything you bought with a weaker dollar (on time) would suddenly cost more once the dollar was stronger. For most of us that means we would be paying more for our cars and houses. Personally though . . . I think I’d rather take a free market and the deflation. With as much as 60 percent of my income going to some tax, proxy tax, fee, regulation or inflation I think that if I were to have the majority back of what is taken I could get along fine paying my mortgage back with stronger dollars than the ones I borrowed.

poppajoe49 December 12, 2012 at 6:45 am

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Considering the interest rates are higher than the inflation rate, we lose no matter what.

Alien December 12, 2012 at 8:41 am

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too much deflation kills consumption though? People hang on waiting for a better deal

Kip Hooker December 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm

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Personally I think consumption should be curbed if the people don’t have savings in the bank and the value of their labor is steadily dropping because of inflation. It is a necessary part of the cycle to purge the market of those that in business that are being wasteful and poor stewards of finite resources.

sa_rose December 21, 2012 at 9:04 am

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This is something I have felt for some time. Her in SA they are CONSTANTLY building new malls, strip malls and shopping centers, cause I guess we don’t buy 5 times more than we need already. That is a weekend outing here. Everyone gets together and shops! Mostly on credit, so that makes it worse. And you can’t buy a decent house in a decent neighborhood on a 1 salary household. Even smallish 1 story homes with postage stamp yard, built right on the property line are hundred of thousands of dollars. And our housing is considered cheal by most standards!

PsychoDad December 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm

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Oh, as for Sowell’s article, I’m not sure I understand the premise he’s making that value taken away by inflation necessarily ends up in someone else’s pockets, especially the government’s; I’m not sure economics works like physics so that value, like matter & energy, is neither created not destroyed but only changed from one form to another. If that $1000 only has 20% of the buying power it had in 1960, I’m not sure that means that the other $800 ended up with Mitt Romney and the Koch Brothers somehow.

On the other hand,wait long enough and that money will become valuable again. Any idea how valuable a half-dollar coin from the early 1800s is these days?

Oh, a final apology — if I’m disagreeing to any degree with Dr. Sowell, does that mean I’m a RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACIST?

Sidekick December 11, 2012 at 6:14 pm

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I took it to mean that theft occurs through inflation but the money (or it’s purchasing power) is what is actually stolen. Not into another’s pocket but simply vanishes.

Kip Hooker December 11, 2012 at 7:07 pm

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I think the issue comes in that suddenly there are more dollars competing for a static amount of wealth. This re-indexes things so that in the exchange rate of dollars for wealth (including goods and services) more are required as certain consumers can outbid others with the more money that is in existence, not to mention the need for these goods and services to be priced higher to forestall the scarcity that would ensure if purchasing power increased faster than the cumulative amounts of goods and services as well as the new price of production and replacement in a world where the cost of everything else has risen as well.

Now if all these new dollars were equally distributed it would be a wash. The cost of living would go up, but everybody would have more money to afford it. Unfortunately the newly created money does not get sent around evenly. It goes to the corporatist friends of Obama and it goes to the Obama voters. So while they have more money enough to spend on all the goods and services and at their new rates the people that didn’t get any handouts from this batch of newly created money are forced eat the cost of living increases out of wages and savings that have not increased at all. And that is, IMHO, the place where the theft occurs at.

flashingscotsman December 11, 2012 at 9:28 pm

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With the U.S. Government being the biggest borrower on the planet, and printing money to pay off the debt,…man, I’m not good at saying what I’m thinking financially. The dollar figure of the debt stays the same, but the dollars used to pay it are worth less. (worthless) So yes, the money stolen out of our pockets IS going into government’s pockets. The thievin’ bastards.

RobertW December 12, 2012 at 7:51 am

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thanks taxpayers, workers paying into SocSecurity.
I attempt to live frugally, i’m not the sanest plane in the tool shed, if ya know what I mean…

i’m much obliged to y’all, and i reckon i’ve not thanked y’all before about it, so: Thanks, I’m very much obliged, and grateful to all y’all Americans.

GhostntheMachine December 12, 2012 at 7:56 am

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What? You’re not the sanest pla… But, but, that means if I agree with you part of the time, and you make me laugh at times… Then, that makes me… Ah, man!

jcrowley1985 December 11, 2012 at 7:08 pm

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Not if that $1000 was silver. Metals will always beat out fiat currency.

Sidekick December 11, 2012 at 7:10 pm

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Yeah……and?

Kip Hooker December 11, 2012 at 7:16 pm

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What John fails to realize is that without fiat currency the welfare state would be even more unsustainable than it is now . . . and he’d have to go out and find a job. The government gets richer off the backs of the middle class . . . and all in the name of looters like John.

Sidekick December 11, 2012 at 7:23 pm

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True. Imagine trying to pay for Utopia with commodity backed currency. The dream would end very quickly as scarcity of everything became the norm. As oppose to the slow bleed that we are experiencing now.

jcrowley1985 December 11, 2012 at 7:23 pm

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Why do you think they took us off the gold standard?
Why did they remove silver from quarters and dimes after 1965?
Why did pennies lose their copper after 1982?

All efforts by Corporate Greed with the help of the corrupt Federal Reserve to rob the country’s wealth.

Sidekick December 11, 2012 at 7:26 pm

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So what are you doing to be a part of the solution, john? You are living off of my back. As far as I’m concerned, you shouldn’t even be able to vote until you actually help pay for the cost of running the government. You are a whiny tax eater who spouts on about things that you really don’t understand.

jcrowley1985 December 11, 2012 at 7:28 pm

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Of course Corporate Greed wouldn’t want people who know the truth like me to vote.

Sidekick December 11, 2012 at 7:31 pm

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You don’t have a clue!

Kip Hooker December 11, 2012 at 7:28 pm

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@Sidekick

WIN!

Kip Hooker December 11, 2012 at 7:27 pm

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@John

They did it so that they could print enough money to buy votes from looters like you. You are the excuse by which the corporatist system maintains the command/control system of economy that makes it possible. All the rest of us here are those suffering to pay for your greed.

jcrowley1985 December 11, 2012 at 7:31 pm

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And Corporate Greed want’s a country dependent on government so they can control them. That is why they export jobs over seas. Not only because it’s cheaper, but because they want to keep people unemployed and non self sustainable.

And the icing on the cake is a currency that has no real value that they can manipulate to keep the poor, poor.

Kip Hooker December 11, 2012 at 7:33 pm

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Yeah but the thing is you’re the one that is dependent on government. And by choice. Get a job. Pay your fair share. Stop leaching off the tax slave and giving the government an excuse to rig the system.

Sidekick December 11, 2012 at 7:40 pm

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John has no sense of irony.

flashingscotsman December 11, 2012 at 9:30 pm

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To understand irony, you must first understand what is being said.

poppajoe49 December 12, 2012 at 6:54 am

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John has no sense of irony.

John has no sense.

sa_rose December 13, 2012 at 10:59 am

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John has no sense!

Sidekick December 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm

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And the government especially the leftists don’t want dependency? How dumb are you, john? “Corporate Greed” is as meaningless a term as “Hope and Change”. Try drilling down to the real issues here. The tax, as Sowell puts it, is a direct result of the progressive goal of flattening every citizen economically with the exception of the ruling elites. Read Woodrow Wilson. He went on about that for 30 years. FDR worked for him and LBJ was a New Dealer. Get it? Obama is simply accelerating everything while he can. He is governed by the internationalists who need this country out of the way. Debauchng the currency is the surest way to do that as Lenin said.

jcrowley1985 December 11, 2012 at 7:55 pm

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is a direct result of the progressive goal of flattening every citizen economically with the exception of the ruling elites.

——————

Exactly, Corporate Greed. Globalist corporations are the “ruling elites”.

Sidekick December 11, 2012 at 8:03 pm

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Chicken or the egg. The corporatists are in bed with the progressives….go along to get along. If the government didn’t rig the game, then we’d have our free enterprise system. Only an idiot (you) would indict the entire business world for practices that are by no means universal. As Kip rightly points out, YOU are part of the problem and all of the other mildew covered sloths who contribute nothing to the running of the legitimate
functions of government.

sa_rose December 13, 2012 at 10:59 am

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Corproate America doesn’t handle the money. Our retarded Department of the Treasury does that. And they are dumber than sticks. Go bitch at the government. Those are the real thieves. But you would rather vote for someone who hasn’t a chance in hell of being elected than to vote for a viable candidate that could make some changes happen. You’re an idiot!

jcrowley1985 December 13, 2012 at 11:08 am

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The privately run Federal Reserve Bank is not a government entity despite its name. We have let Corporate Greed hijack our country’s wealth.

jcrowley1985 December 13, 2012 at 11:38 am

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Go ahead and hide the truth. It just proves that I was right about Corporate Greed.

RobertW December 13, 2012 at 11:53 am

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The privately run Federal Reserve Bank is not a government entity despite its name. We have let Corporate Greed hijack our country’s wealth.
It just proves that I was right about Corporate Greed.
yes
corporate benevolence on the other hand, is often overlooked and un reported, as should be.

I grant you this, now let me ask when, if, you give, is it because you want something back, or is it because you want to help someone along the way?

oh, and do me a favor, gimme some credit for what i’ve done for my country, including you.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23quTgBBDYo

for infantry insert artillery, for queen, insert King.

Sidekick December 11, 2012 at 7:32 pm

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Exactly. Paying for the welfare state requires a bottomless pit of money.

flashingscotsman December 11, 2012 at 9:32 pm

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Now, think about it, guys. You just spent all that time explaining common sense ideas to someone who is not even the tiniest bit smarter now than he was before you started.

TD,…………………MO.

RobertW December 12, 2012 at 8:02 am

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flash, a least he found a topical forum at least here he has opportunity to explain his views and receive intelligent discourse, thus allowing ppl of my ilk the opportunity to learn.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObEwBDOm17Y

and kick wins!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=XkJgqVQt4QM&feature=fvwp

flashingscotsman December 12, 2012 at 9:33 am

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Yes, I see your point. I learn a lot here also. I’m just saying that Crowley doesn’t learn a damn thing.

RobertW December 12, 2012 at 10:07 am

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lucky for us. he he he

kick him again! hurrah!

(edit) what did sensei Sun Tzu say?

GhostntheMachine December 12, 2012 at 3:22 am

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Damn, and here I always thought they did it because the amount of copper used to make a penny was worth more by weight than .01¢, to keep weasels like you from melting them down for the copper to sell to buy Colt45. But that’s just me.

poppajoe49 December 12, 2012 at 6:58 am

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That’s why I save all the pre zinc pennies and pre copper silver.
They are worth more by weight than their face value. They also have a numismatic value, which is higher still.
Sorry joan, you will have to look up numismatic, I’m not doing it for you.

flashingscotsman December 12, 2012 at 9:34 am

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I used to have a car with a numismatic transmission. But I prefer a stick.

poppajoe49 December 12, 2012 at 6:50 am

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Why did they remove silver from quarters and dimes after 1965?

Well, I guess you are kind of right, since 1965 IS AFTER 1964, which was the last year of all silver dimes, quarters, half dollars, and dollars.
So they removed silver from the coins after 1964.

Neo-7 December 11, 2012 at 7:11 pm

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This may be your first meaningful post on this board .

Always remember though , that even a broken clock is right twice a day .

RobertW December 12, 2012 at 8:16 am

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depends how broken that clock is.

flashingscotsman December 12, 2012 at 9:36 am

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If it’s not right at least twice a day, you need to break it some more.

RobertW December 12, 2012 at 10:11 am

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zing pow!

scorch. LOL

GhostntheMachine December 12, 2012 at 10:24 am

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What? This past Saturday was when I was supposed to re-set the clocks? Damn.

drb December 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm

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You own a clock?

GhostntheMachine December 12, 2012 at 5:57 pm

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It came with the computer. And I just had to check it to see what day it is and whether it was AM or PM. What circadian rythm.

drb December 12, 2012 at 5:58 pm
poppajoe49 December 12, 2012 at 4:42 pm

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Unless it’s a military 24 hour clock.

RobertW December 12, 2012 at 4:44 pm

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took your butt long enough to get here. you doin’ alright??

flashingscotsman December 12, 2012 at 5:23 pm

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If it’s a military clock, it’s right exactly half as often.

poppajoe49 December 12, 2012 at 6:05 pm

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Yea, I’m ok.

KimmyQueen December 12, 2012 at 9:47 am

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What is this the 1930′s…? Oh wait that is when Ron Paul became senator right?

sa_rose December 13, 2012 at 10:52 am

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Who sold you THAT line of bullshit? If you have no money, you have no money. Our money used to have gold and silver backing every bill and coin. In Roman times, money was salt; hence the term SALary. The coins and bills and checks and everything else is merely a representation of money. Silver has been offered up repeatedly as an investment and its value has never increased. So your entire statement makes not sense. Did you really go to school? Or are you just joshin’ us?

DefHarryMelon December 13, 2012 at 11:01 am

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Far be it from me to back up anything the whistle has to say here ever, but I have some old U.S. coins from the era of silver content that I paid approximately 4 times the face value for quite a while ago. I have acquired several more over the years at varying prices. While the silver in them remains constant, the value has increased rather dramatically in the past several years. Could I be missing something in your statement regarding this?

sa_rose December 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm

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Your coins value has increased as the value of the dollars that paid for them has decreased. Also, in the case of coins, much of the value is in the collectability of said coins and the desire of the collectors to obtain that particular coin.

DefHarryMelon December 13, 2012 at 1:04 pm

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‘Junk silver’ coins are of no collector value. The price of silver fluctuates daily, coined or not. Junk silver is valued for its silver content only. It has been as high as 30 times face value in the past year. It used to be tied directly to the price of gold, but that hasn’t been the case for some time. While its worth in industrial applications is indisputable and its used in lots of stuff, its value isn’t directly tied to the fluctuation of the dollar’s value. Its another commodity, but one whose intrinsic value will never be zero, while its numismatic premium could drop to zero, leaving it at its intrinsic.

When the Hunt brothers raced to corner the silver market in the 70s and people were selling their most valuable possessions for old US coins, ultimately losing their behinds when it leveled off at about 8 times face, where it stayed basically for well over a decade. The economic instability plays the biggest part, but the value of the dollar versus silver is not a direct relationship.

flashingscotsman December 21, 2012 at 9:48 am

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It’s a great antibiotic, but it’s used in such small quantities for that, I haven’t bought any in ten years.

KimmyQueen December 12, 2012 at 9:44 am

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I keep saying it… five years or so ago $200 bought me a house full of stuff and not only food. Now $200 buys me if I am lucky a quarter of what I used to buy. Now the dollar stores are selling products at Walmart prices 5 or so years ago and Walmart is now selling product at supermarket chains 5 or so years ago and now supermarket chains may as well be located in Beverly Hills for their prices. I am seriously considering couponing. This is ridiculous. I think that Bush has a lot of fault, and whatever but this is Obama’s economy. He could have made things better instead he made them worst. Inflation is indeed a tax and it does affect everyone.

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