Weekend notes

Detlev Schlichter is on typically forceful (and, yes, depressing) form over at Paper Money Collapse.

We should accept that deleveraging is ultimately unavoidable. If it comes with a period of deflation – so be it. But we will get neither. The system will be sustained at this stage of arrested collapse for as long as policymakers can get away with it. My outlook is that we will get even bigger central bank balance sheets (forget exit strategies! There is no exit!), we will get no sustained growth but inflation will creep higher.

The noisy advocates of easy money and of government stimulus always pretend to care for Europe’s unemployed youth. It is today’s youth that would have most to gain from a cleansing correction now, and it is those who already made their money and who sit on inflated assets and overstretched balance sheets that have most to gain from the central bank’s policy of extend and pretend. That is, until the whole thing goes pop anyway. Which won’t take too long.

In the meantime, the debasement of paper money continues.

Have you read his book yet? If not, get your copy here.


Charles Murray's new book 'Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010' seems to be stirring up a lot of debate. His thesis, as I understand it, is that the gap between a new upper class and new lower class of Americans is growing, but that it has far more to do with diverging values, cultures and behaviours than economics. I haven't read it yet, but David Brooks says he'll be "shocked if there’s another book this year as important". For now, I just like Murray's comment to the FT on the race for the Republican nomination:

I am really unhappy with Obama. I really think he's terrible, but Romney and Santorum as the alternatives? Don't even think about Newt… I'm in despair. I mean, I'm a libertarian. I will take Romney over Santorum. And both of them over Newt. That's not a ringing endorsement, I know, but what can you say about such a field?


On the other hand, for all his flaws (and they are many) Mitt Romney has at least said something exciting about tax - he plans to cut marginal rates by 20 percent across the board. As Fraser Nelson wrote in the Telegraph last week, Britain's Conservatives should take note. They won't win the next election by chasing opinion polls and running scared from the Left's renewed class warfare. They need to craft an aspirational agenda that is worth getting out of bed to vote for. As it is, all the Tory leadership is talking about is which taxes to raise to provide cover for scrapping the 50p tax rate (which isn't actually raising money anyway). They blame the Liberal Democrats, of course, but the real problem is that they are themselves completely unprincipled.


In happier news, I was delighted to see the Wall Street Journal's Mary Anastasia O'Grady endorse the legalisation of cannabis on Fox News. Ever so gradually, the tide of opinion is turning against America's deadly, destructive, disastrous war on drugs. There is even talk that Colorado voters will approve a ballot initiative to legalise and regulate the production, sale and consumption of cannabis this November. Now there's something I could bring myself to vote for.