Another: Make Up Your Own Mind On This One..........

John A. Quayle blueoval57 at VERIZON.NET
Sat Oct 6 23:36:50 MDT 2007


Downfall of America
By Don Stott

Part Nine

As the presses rolled and the dollar supply increased, those in 
charge of the Treasury, Federal Reserve, and in general those 
politicians who knew, but didn't want to admit it, refused to confess 
that inflation is, as the dictionary says it is, "an increase in the 
money supply."  Inflation continued, and prices rose slowly but 
steadily.  It was sort of like the frog in a kettle of water, with 
the flame being gradually turned up.  The temperature rises so 
slowly, that the frog is cooked, and never knew what hit him.  As 
prices go up, usually they go up in one sector at a time, and price 
increases can always be blamed on the weather, or some innocuous 
thing, which had nothing to do with the fact that the increase of 
dollars in circulation is the cause of prices going up.

Prices going up has several things happening at the same time.  As 
prices go up, obviously it costs more to live, because life's 
necessities cost more.  This means that in order for one to stay even 
in one's lifestyle, income must go up.  If someone's income goes up 
and they're in business, they must raise prices.  If one has a job, 
the employer's prices must go up so as to increase wages.  Either 
that, or one's lifestyle must go down while having the same 
income.  Or, merchandise, food, cars, etc. might just come from 
abroad, where wages are lower and lifestyles are lower also.  This 
will allow a family with no increase in wages or income to stay even 
in lifestyle.  Another thing which can happen, and did, is mass 
marketing through super markets, discount stores, and the 
like.  Merchandise, foods, and clothing can be bought cheaper because 
there are no fancy displays, virtually no advertising, lush store 
appurtenances, and expensive, well trained employees.  Examples are 
Sam's Club, Costco, Home Depot, and the like.  How many attendants 
does one see when one needs help at one of these places?  Continuing 
with the decline of America; obviously mass, cheap merchandising has 
cost the jobs of sales people, window decorators and the like, of 
department stores, specialty shops, and mostly downtown shopping has 
declined.  Quality goods consumption has also declined, as these 
things have become un-affordable.

In Washington D.C. where I grew up, the Woodward & Lothrup department 
store was wonderful.  Located on F St, N.W. it was the place to shop 
and be entertained.  "Woodies," as was it was nick-named,  had a big 
pipe organ, and concerts were featured every day.  They had a 
wonderful lunchroom, gorgeous fixtures, carpeting, and lights. At 
Christmas, "Woodies" as well as Hechts, Lansburghs, Kanns, 
Garfinkles, and other department stores, all had wonderful animated 
Christmas windows, and Santa Claus took kids' orders for 
presents.  Stores were sumptuously decorated for Christmas.  Downtown 
D.C. had movie palaces on every block on F St, plus grand shoe 
stores, restaurants, clothing stores, jewelers, and specialty 
shops.  Reeves restaurant had the best strawberry pie I have ever 
tasted.  The Capitol Theatre had a full stage, mighty Wurlitzer, 2500 
seats, orchestra pit, and was beautiful.  It's all gone now.  A 
casualty of degrading dollars, lower incomes, white flight, and inflation.

Was that bad for America?  Of course, and that was only the 
beginning.  My Mom used to take the Plymouth for a wash on 
Connecticut Ave N.W. and I'd watch the endless chain pull the car 
through while it was washed, and then hand dried.  Those neat car 
washes with their employees were replaced by the "quarter car wash," 
Nine quarters now?  You put a quarter in and did it yourself, but it 
didn't clean nearly as good.  A casualty of inflation, pinched 
incomes, and America attempting to stay afloat or maintain a life 
style.  Self service filling stations replaced full service ones 
where your windshield was washed, oil and water checked, and one 
never had to leave the car.  Those stations had employees, and in 
order to stay in business, they had to cut costs because of 
inflation, and they did.  More out of work people, but with 
unemployment insurance, one could live for many weeks and still get a 
stipend from government.  This only made the situation worse, because 
the dollars kept on being printed.  Just in this part nine, tens if 
not hundreds of thousands of people had lost their jobs on a gradual 
basis, downtowns had become empty and were decaying, and thousands of 
businesses were gone.

Major cities had marvelous trolley systems which created no 
pollution.  They carried residents to work and shopping, and back 
home with no parking problems.  With urban sprawl and white flight, 
these systems went bankrupt, causing a loss of taxes and franchise 
fees paid by these systems.  Now, light rail as it is now called, is 
making a come-back, but is run by cities at huge losses, made up by 
taxpayers.  More dollars printed.  Understand, it isn't necessarily 
printed dollars, but checkbook dollars, federal grant dollars, food 
stamp dollars, welfare check dollars, subsidy dollars, and the 
like.  All fulfill the dictionary definition of inflation.  While we 
are on the subject of trolleys, they were manned by two men almost 
till the end.  A conductor and a motorman.  In the name of economy, 
the cars were converted into one man cars, with the motorman 
collecting the fares, running the car, and opening and closing the 
doors.  More layoffs in the name of economy.  Everyone tries to do 
the best they can with what they have, and that includes businesses, 
homeowners, and citizens as a whole.

In the name of economy, buildings with elevators converted them into 
self-service, to save money and maintain a profit status with 
inflation on all sides.  Young people can't remember elevators being 
run by operators, but I certainly can.  Economy for the sake of 
efficiency is fine, but when it is done to just break even because of 
inflation, it is sad and symptomatic of a slowly failing system or 
nation.  While these things were happening to try to stay afloat and 
maintain a life style, government was telling everyone that prices 
were going up because of 'greedy businessmen and corporations.'  When 
government causes problems, it's never their fault.  Who prints the 
dollars?  Not me,  nor you either.  You decide who was at fault when 
downtown shopping centers went, neighborhoods decayed, and everything 
else mentioned so far occurred.

While America was trying to stay afloat by economizing on everything, 
and trying to keep employed with stores closing, downtowns decaying, 
and even automotive washing and fueling laying off employees, another 
thing began to happen.  Japan had begun to really thrive off of 
America's largess.  In 1947, in America, Bell Labs invented the 
transistor.  The transistor would eventually replace the vacuum 
tube.  It used tiny amounts of current, created no heat, and lasted a 
long time.  In 1954, the "Regency I" transistor radio was invented 
and put on the market at a price of $49.95.  It was made in 
Indianapolis Indiana, obviously by Americans in an American 
factory.  While the Japanese were recovering nicely, their wage 
scales were way below America's, and it is easy to profit from 
another's invention if one can make it cheaply and avoid paying 
patent royalties.  In 1957, the first Japanese transistor radio went 
on the market in America for $30, made in Japan, with Japanese 
workers.  Those who beheaded and tortured American troops nine short 
years earlier, were now sending their cheaply made copies to America, 
and Americans were buying them.  The process had begun.

America had begun to import what it made, and eventually import what 
it "used to make," because the wages of American employees had gotten 
so high because of inflation, that they couldn't compete, at least in 
radios in 1957.  Honda's first car was made in 1970.  In 1972, it 
imported its first into the US.  It was a piece of junk with a 600 CC 
2 cylinder engine, and really pitiful.  Beginning in 1959, the 
Germans had begun importing the Volkswagen, which was a superior car 
with superb German engineering.  Both came in because they were cheap 
to run, and America was trying to save money in any way 
possible.  The 1973 OPEC gas shortages hadn't hit yet, but Americans 
were still trying to save a few bucks.  Before we go any further, 
let's examine the gas 'shortages' which drove America insane with 
long lines, 'no gas' signs, and the like.  There was no gas 
shortage.  The reason there was no gas available, was because 
President Nixon had instituted price controls on oil and petroleum 
products.  The Arabs had increased their prices above Nixon's price 
controls, so there wasn't any gas!  There will never be a shortage of 
anything, unless government controls its price.  Shortage of water in 
the desert?  Not if you want to pay for it.  Shortage of anything 
without price controls?  Never.

Already, in the 1950's, inflation had begun to do more harm than 
cause the birth of discount stores, self service gas stations, 
quarter car washes, desecrated neighborhoods, and blighted 
downtowns.  Sure, self service elevators were always around in small 
buildings, but not in large office buildings and department 
stores.  Single truck "Birney" trolley cars were always one man 
because of their size, and all retailers regularly had sales, giving 
discounts for old, out of season, or slow moving merchandise.  That 
had nothing to do with inflation, but rather normal efficiency. Now, 
much lower priced labor in foreign lands were making merchandise and 
importing it into America, and American labor had risen so much 
because of inflation, that it was becoming  too expensive to be 
competitive. Robotics? Automation? More Monday.

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