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— From time to time I receive e-mail messages which truly are to the point and hit the nail on the head, so to speak. I don’t usually forward them to everyone in my address book, but on occasion I may reprint them here for all to enjoy and consider.

What follows showed up in my inbox just last week from a friend in Oklahoma. It was labeled a joke, but it is more true than any of us may realize. I hope you’ll stop and think about it.

“It’s a slow day in a little East Texas town. The sun is beating down, and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt and everybody lives on credit....

“On this particular day a rich tourist from back east is driving through town. He stops at the hotel and lays a $100 bill on the desk, saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one in which to spend the night.

“As soon as the man walks upstairs, the owner grabs the bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takesthe $100 and heads off to pay his bill at the supplier of feed and fuel. The guy at the farmers’ co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local lady of the night, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her “services” on credit. The lady of the night rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner. The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the rich traveler will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, picks up the $100 bill, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money and leaves town.

“No one produced anything. No one earned anything. Nothing of real value changed hands during the brief series of business transactions. However, the whole town is now out of debt and looks to the future with a lot more optimism.

“And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the United States Government is conducting business today.”

Isn’t this the truth? Our nation is in an economic mess and people can’t pay their bills. To solve the problem, the government prints more debt notes and puts them into circulation. They pass from person to person and business to business to pay off debt, and the government takes them back again in taxes so that it can purchase more labor and goods from the people. When the system works, everyone is happy. When it doesn’t, the government floats a few more bills to make folks happy again.

I suppose that means I work for the government. No, I’m not listed on the government payroll. I work for aprivate corporation, but I’m paid in government debt notes which say the government owes me a certain number of dollars for my labor and product.

Of course, the government will not and cannot exchange those debt notes for anything of real value because they are not backed by anything of real value anymore. If you don’t believe me, try going to your national bank and exchanging your dollars for constitutional ones made out of real gold and silver. All I can do is hope those debt notes I receive for my labor hold enough value to trade them for the goods and services I need - something which becomes less and less likely as the government prints more and more of them. And to make things worse, the government also takes a huge percentage of those debt notes away from me in the form of taxes so that it can obtain more goods and services for the common good of - well, most of the time, someone else.

And so it’s true. I work for the government and get paid nothing but government debt for my work. I’m just glad other folks will still let me trade that government debt for food, clothes and the other things I need. But, of course, as government debt grows and the value of government debt notes decline, folks could just decide government debt isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Then where will we be?

If you come across any like stories or illustrations in your inbox which are worthy of consideration, pass them on to me at randym @ I just may share them.

Opinion, Pages 5 on 12/09/2009

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