Time, Money, and Government
by TOM MCLAUGHLIN
November 9, 2011
Government should stay away from regulating time, just as it should most other things. It bugs me that I have to set all my clocks back in the fall and ahead again in the spring. Even though I figured out how to change the time on my pickup truck clock last spring, that doesn’t mean I remember how to do it again this fall. Six months is too short an interval for the procedure to stick in my feeble brain. The procedure is different in my little car and in my wife’s car of course. I can’t remember them either and I’m sometimes driving while I fidget with various buttons in my effort to remember how it’s done. Not a good thing. Most of us are perfectly capable of screwing things up all by ourselves without government complicating things further.
Time zones were not invented by government. It was private business - particularly railroads - first in England, then in other countries. People didn’t have to comply with those zones if they didn’t want to, but most eventually discovered it was advantageous to do so. Government doesn’t have to be involved then and doesn’t now either, but it is of course. Benjamin Franklin had lots of good ideas, but Daylight Saving Time wasn’t one of them. Some people think it’s wonderful to “get an extra hour of daylight” as if they really did. Neither do I change the batteries in my smoke detectors at this annoying interval either. I wait until I keep hearing that irritating beep for a day or two before I start searching around for another nine-volt battery.
There are mechanical clocks and digital clocks and body clocks. My body clock sets itself it adjusts to the gradual diminishing of sunlight in fall and the gradual increase of it in spring. It gets me up before dawn and puts me to bed after sunset, except during winter when I say up a few hours after the sun goes to bed. I don’t like it when government interferes with that process twice a year and I have to rely on alarm clocks to wake me. Though some government-lovers may think it really can control the sun, it only pretends to. Barack Obama can’t control the ocean levels either no matter what liberals may believe.
Speaking of things government screws up, President Obama announced that Fannie Mae will now refinance people with mortgages under water up to 25%. Government should get out of the housing business altogether. The “troubled assets” still plaguing our economy were caused by the same sort of thing: government forcing banks to lend to people those banks considered bad risks, and then taking over and guaranteeing those sub-prime mortgages through Fannie Mae. That put taxpayers on the hook - not only by bailing out Fannie Mae, but also banks and insurance companies who invested in various forms of those shaky mortgages - now called troubled assets. These assets were troubled by giving mortgages to people who never should have gotten them. Further tinkering of the type Obama announced last week won’t fix it.
Government intervention in the form of artificially low interest rates set by the Federal Reserve and then making mortgage guarantees it couldn’t afford to make has caused the bubble in housing prices. That bubble needs to deflate entirely. Prices have to bottom out if the housing market is ever going to recover. Long-postponed foreclosures must be processed. All that foolish spending by people and banks must wash out eventually so let’s just get it over with. Lots of people are waiting for that before they invest in real estate again. Last-minute Obama-bandaids only postpone the inevitable and cost taxpayers further billions as government tries to fix what it screwed up in the first place. Government has always controlled our money. The Constitution gave Congress power to coin it - which means print it, or create it digitally, or in whatever other forms it may take - but has chosen to give over that power to the Federal Reserve. Its chairman - bald, bearded Ben Bernanke - has been creating trillions of dollars out of thin air and buying Treasury bonds nobody else wants. That makes the dollars in our wallets and in our bank accounts worth less and less. Government, through him, is stealing our wealth. That’s why so people many are buying gold - they don’t trust the Federal Reserve or Congress, and who can blame them?
Ben Franklin was right about at least one thing when he said: “Time is money.” My wish is for my government to stop messing around with either one. We’d be better off making our own decisions about such fundamental things and dealing with those consequences as individuals.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Tom McLaughlin is a (now retired) history teacher and a regular weekly columnist for newspapers in Maine and New Hampshire. He writes about political and social issues, history, family, education and Radical Islam. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.