Slope of Hope Blog Posts

Slope initially began as a blog, so this is where most of the website’s content resides. Here we have tens of thousands of posts dating back over a decade. These are listed in reverse chronological order. Click on any category icon below to see posts tagged with that particular subject, or click on a word in the category cloud on the right side of the screen for more specific choices.

That Ship Sailed

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About a week ago, someone here pointed my attention to a new book called A Fiscal Cliff. I am absolutely loving it – – can hardly put it down – – and I’m sure to write a long review/summary of it once I’m finished with its 400+ pages. As a side note, even though the book is pretty much hot off the presses, its data is made out-of-date thanks to Covid. For one thing, it mentions how in ten years we might pass the record Debt-to-GDP level of 107% set back in 1946. Well, folks, put down your pencils. We have roared right past that level massively………….we’re up to where the CBO projected we’d be in the year 2060 already.

Ages of Discord

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Recently, long-time Sloper LZ suggested in the comments section that I pick up a book called Ages of Discord (which you can buy here) so I did so right away. I read it cover to cover over the course of a couple of days.

The book is a combination of two of my favorite things – – – historical graphs and economic/political trends – – and, in the spirit of The Fourth Turning, pretty much says we are heading for some seriously dark times.

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Revolution No. 9 (Part 2)

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Preamble: this is certainly not the first time the United States has gone berserk printing money in order to address its present woes. This habit dates back to the nation’s founding. Here is an excerpt from my Panic, Prosperity, and Progress book on one such instance. You can find the first part here.

As prosperous as the colonies were, the government itself had very little in the way of assets. The public was not inclined to a strong government, particularly given the behavior of the British crown, and it was agreed by the colonial leaders that the issuance of paper money would be more palatable than the creation of a tax to fund the war. The colonists were, after all, already weary of taxes.

The new currency, a Continental dollar, was carefully designed to be difficult to counterfeit, and initially a prudent issuance of $19 million was distributed, with one Continental dollar being on par with one gold dollar. General Washington intended to fight a war of attrition, counting on the British to eventually grow weary of the war, but it would be years before peace would finally be at hand. Thus, there were many years of substantial expenditures forthcoming, and the temptation to simply print up more Continentals to pay the soldiers and suppliers was hard to resist.

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Revolution No. 9 (Part 1)

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Preamble: this is certainly not the first time the United States has gone berserk printing money in order to address its present woes. This habit dates back to the nation’s founding. Here is an excerpt from my Panic, Prosperity, and Progress book on one such instance:

When most American citizens are asked about the revolutionary war, they probably conjure up images of a freedom-loving populace striving to unchain themselves from their distant British overlords. In popular folklore, the year 1776 is the kicking-off point of a great political struggle which, led by the founding fathers, ultimately gave birth to our Constitution and a new land.

This is largely true, of course, but the American Revolution was as much about commerce and taxes as it was about political philosophy. The currency problems that the young nation grappled with during this period shaped the framework of our country, and the motivations behind the founding fathers’ fight against Britain was not always as pure as has been taught to schoolchildren for centuries.

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