For All Debts, Public and Private

As a young man with few dollars, I used to spend some time admiring the engraving on those few I had. I’ve long been struck by the phrase printed on Federal Reserve Notes: “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.”

It is somewhat odd that some think dollars, or other currency, has value in and of itself, when the value the currency has is only in relation to the demand of others for it. By others, we mean primarily the entity printing the currency: They demand it in taxes.

Consider a schoolyard bully who is satisfied with anything I have in my pockets. Any of those things may be used to pay for his protection. But suppose that one day he decides that he will only accept Hershey’s chocolates. This gives Hershey’s chocolates a special value in the schoolyard, and trade of those chocolates between children may result. Further suppose that the bully gives his friends special tokens of affection, and will not pummel those who hold them. These tokens would also have value, and may be exchanged for Hershey’s chocolates, or for other goods. In time, the bully may decide that he no longer likes chocolate, and will only protect those who have his favors.

Economic Stimulus Package: No Taxes

The bank just sent a summary statement of the escrow account we use to pay the local and school property taxes. One achieves a certain distance from the taxation by letting someone else manage it for you. It was a big number, but not as big as the amounts I’m paying in other taxes.

If the Federal government finds it necessary to spend money to stimulate aggregate demand, and doesn’t want to just hand me the $1 million previously suggested, then I would appreciate a tax holiday. That would increase our available cash by quite a bit.