What Did My Parents Ever Do to the Federal Reserve?

Posted on March 14, 2015 by Dr. Shawn Ritenour


In September 1993, President Bill Clinton reassured his radio audience that “if you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll be rewarded with a good life for yourself and a better chance for your children.” Picking up that theme over 18 years later, President Barack Obama affirmed that “Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that does the same.” The trouble is neither the government nor the financial system backed by the Federal Reserve rewards people like my parents, who have worked hard and played by the rules their entire lives, only to have their savings wither away.

Instead, Federal Reserve officials and the intelligentsia who support them are continuously working to make their lives more difficult, frightening the masses of what shoppers look for every day—lower prices. Price deflation, the cry, is disastrous for the economy. They worry that lower prices will reduce profits, leading to shutdowns and lay-offs and that lower prices make it harder for people to pay their debts. Sound economic theory and history, however, both indicate that price deflation is nothing the social economy needs to fear. If prices fall because the economy is more productive, this is unambiguously positive. However, if prices fall because people spend less, their desire is for larger real cash balances. Falling prices help them achieve their goal, which precisely is the purpose of economic activity.

Lower prices and wages can make it harder to pay fixed debt. This, however, serves as an excellent incentive to stay out of debt in the first place, as my parents have done as a result of significant sacrifice. Before creating even more money out of thin are to ward off lower overall prices, we should at least consider some of the ethical issues involved.

Many men from my father’s generation are not unlike John Adams who wrote to his wife that he “must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.” My father embarked for 20 years of hard labor in a meat packing plant providing for his family until he lost his job due to his union pricing him and his fellow workers out of a job. When his plant closed in the mid-1980s, he embarked on a second successful career with my mother operating their own barbecue business for another 20-plus years. I saw firsthand the challenges they faced trying to keep quality up and costs down, while producing top-drawer barbecue meat and sandwiches for a demand that was always uncertain. I saw the stress on my mother’s face one week in the early days when they netted a mere $15 before taxes. My father indeed “studied” meat packing and barbecue, in part, so I could go to college and become an economist and college professor.

Additionally, mom and dad had the foresight and character to make the sacrifices necessary to stay out of debt. Indeed, they are Paul Krugman’s worst nightmare—a family determined not to live beyond their means. Now retired, like many in their generation they are enjoying life the best they can on an almost fixed income. Because they have no debt, they have been able to live without tremendous economic hardship thus far. The Federal Reserve’s inflationism, however, increasingly makes life for them more difficult as steady price inflation daily chips away at their livelihood. Since 2009, for example, the Consumer Price Index has increased over nine percent. This masks, however, significantly larger price increases for important necessities. Prices of dairy products are up almost 17 percent since 2009. Gasoline prices are up almost 11 percent despite the recent decline. Prices for meat, poultry, fish, and eggs have increased a whopping 26 percent since 2009. Higher overall prices do not help people like my parents at all. They instead act as a thief, snatching wealth away from them in the form of diminished purchasing power. What they long for is to see the value of their savings increase. Far from creating economic hardship for them, lower overall prices would be a boon.

Both sound economics and ethics, therefore, demand that we give up the anti-deflation rhetoric and the inflation it fuels. Charity demands that we cease striking fear into the hearts of the masses, softening them up for ever higher prices. The Federal Reserve should stop punishing people like my parents who have worked hard and played by the rules their whole lives. After all, what did they ever do to Greenspan, Bernanke, and Yellen?

24 responses to “What Did My Parents Ever Do to the Federal Reserve?”

  1. W Smith says:

    The problem with classic articles like this is that people don't understand the causes and effects of federal and exo-federal agencies. The Federal Reserve is not part of the federal government. It's an agency sanctioned by president Woodrow Wilson in the early 20th century. Wilson regretted that he was duped by the globalists. Thank you for a street side view of a honest hard working family. These stories should be at the top of every TV newscast. I've already forwarded the article to a few appreciative friends.

    • Daniel says:

      "…should be at the top of every TV newscast." When one thinks of what TV could be and isn't, and what it is and ought not to be, it stresses the mind to imagine.

  2. Kevan Rowlee says:

    I shared this article to my Facebook wall.

  3. The Fed exists for one main purpose, to pad the pockets of the elite. People who save their hard-earned money find their savings confiscated through ridiculously (artificially) low interest rates. Even if the individual doesn't save for a rainy day, he sees his purchasing power diminished. Will the day come, when we see the disappearance of the middle class?

  4. Jon says:

    The difficult aspect for average person to understand and accept is that the Federal Reserve is intentionally inflating our money supply. They do so at the behest of the Federal Government. Why? So that politicians can spend ever-beyond the limits that collected taxes would otherwise permit. It's not politically expedient to raise taxes but inflation is a hidden tax about which most folks just grumble. Milk and bread don't cost more; the dollar simply buy buys less of them as the number of dollars in circulation increase beyond reason.

    The Federal Reserve was signed into law in 1913 in the dead-of-night just before Christmas. Hardly anyone knew about it at the time (read the book "Creature from Jekyll Island"). At the time, the USA was on the gold standard and the government was limited accordingly. Gold prevented politicians from overspending. That didn't "buy votes" so FDR had to "do something." He confiscated everyone's gold at approximately $20 per ounce and shortly afterwards decreed gold to now be worth $35 per ounce. That act alone literally stole $15 per ounce from the average person so the government could "pay" for their excess spending during the early years of the Great Depression.

    In 1964, LBJ then debased our coinage when he took out all the real silver content and left us with the virtually worthless clad-coins we still use today. On August 15, 1971, Tricky Dick Nixon administered the final blow by closing the dollar-redemption (in exchange for gold) window to all of the USA's foreign creditor-countries. Politicians now had free reign to spend like drunken sailors but with no blow-back (absolutely no insult to drunken sailors is intended or implied here – sailors spend their own money which is totally moral).

    That was then. This is now. This "experiment" with totally FIAT money has now lasted 43.5 years and is on the verge of total collapse. The US got away with this fraud because the dollar was accepted as an unchallenged World-Reserve currency all these years. Lately, China in particular is now promoting their RMB/yuan thus challenging the dollar for reserve currency supremacy. It won't happen overnight but it will happen.

    Why? One major reason. China will back their currency with gold, meaning they will exchange their currency for an equivalent amount of gold at the request of any holder of RMB/yuan. You have noted, have you not, that China has been buying and amassing gold at an accelerated rate for years?

    Politicians don't like gold because it cramps their spending-spree desires. Gold isn't perfect but is has survived 5000 years of humanity unlike any government-issue fiat you'd care to name.

    So yes, those of us who are retired are especially vulnerable because we saved relatively-valuable dollars from years past but must now make-do with much-less-valuable dollars today when we compete to purchase milk and bread. Meanwhile, the politicians continue to recklessly spend money we really do not have. Can you say "$18.2 Trillion?"

    • Jim Hallett says:

      Jon, you and a couple other responders here, understand the Federal Reserve and what an evil system it is, created to assist the criminal parasites in govt. and the elite scumbags like the Rothschilds, Rockefellers et al. It has destroyed America, but has been a boon to the "progressives" and all the filth of their agenda. Creeps like Wilson, FDR, LBJ, etc. could not have ransacked the treasury without the Fed. When Ron Paul demanded an audit, the mainstream politicians fought hard and the media shills attacked and ridiculed him. As long as public education, a "progressive" media, and liar politicians continue to brainwash the masses, there is likely no remedy other than a total collapse . . . and that is coming. The fiat dollar has lost 96% of its purchasing power since the Fed was created on Christmas Eve 1913, and btw, that was the same tactic that scumbags like Nancy Pelosi used to get ObummerCare rammed down our throats on Christmas Eve 3 years ago. And so the madness, coercion and theft continues!! R.I.P., Amerika!

    • W Smith says:

      What I love about this website and what Mr. Ringer has built is the intellgent discourse. Your post is spot on. Thanks for writing it.

  5. boundedfunction says:

    Now my second cousin
    His name was Callaway
    He died when he'd barely turned two
    It was peanut butter and jelly that did it
    The help she didn't know what to do
    She just stood there and watched him turn blue

    And we're all gonna be here forever
    So Mama don't you make such a stir
    Just put down that camera
    And come on and join up
    The last of the family reserve

    And my friend Brian Temple
    He thought he could make it
    So from the third story he jumped
    He missed the swimming pool
    Only by inches
    And everyone said he was drunk

    Now there was great Uncle Julius
    And Aunt Annie Mueller
    And Mary and Granddaddy Paul
    And there was Hanna and Ella
    And Alvin and Alec
    He owned his own funeral hall

    And there are more I remember
    And more I could mention
    Than words I could write in a song
    But I feel them watching
    And I see them laughing
    And I hear them singing along

    We're all gonna be here forever
    So Mama don't you make such a stir
    Just put down that camera
    And come on and join up
    The last of the family reserve

    ~a bit of “family reserve”, lyle lovett

    • boundedfunction says:

      Michael: The Corleone family is thinking of giving up all of its interest in the olive oil business, settling out here. Now Moe Greene will sell us his share of the hotel and the casino so that it can be completely owned by the family. Tom.

      [Hagen hands Michael some papers]

      Fredo: Hey, Mike, are you sure about that? I mean, Moe, loves the business. He never said anything to me about sellin'.

      Michael: I'll make him an offer he can't refuse. You see, Johnny, we feel that entertainment is going to be a big factor in drawing gamblers into the casinos. We're hoping that you'll sign a contract agreeing to appear 5 times a year. Perhaps convince some of your friends in the movies to do the same. We're counting on you, Johnny.

      Johnny Fontane: Sure, Mike, I'll do anything for my Godfather. You know that.

      Michael: Good.

      • boundedfunction says:

        “I said I knew a very wise man so much of Sir Christopher's sentiment, that he believed if a man were permitted to make all the ballads he need not care who should make the laws of a nation, and we find that most of the ancient legislators thought that they could not well reform the manners of any city without the help of a lyric, and sometimes of a dramatic poet.” ~ Andrew Fletcher

        "Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws." ~ some rothschild. maybe.

        • boundedfunction says:

          fed reserves. family reserves. reservations full of subdivided reserves. gangsters. that’s the oldest professional form of prostitution. & “socializing”. & while it’s easy to point to the biggest, baddest, worst gang, the one that’s got at least a piece of everyone’s lunch – if not all of it – guess what, snowflakes? almost all of you are in Mandelbrot sets, meatpackers’ unions – gangs – of smaller or larger fractal. pogo possum called it. & possumism, which may be the quantum substrate of optimism, is a hard animal to kill. the effort is ongoing, however. one of these days, the ballad’ll end.

    • RealitySeeker says:

      Federal reserve notes have actually caused massive deflation. For example, dollars exchanged for Chinese goods have deflated prices in almost every good that the ignorant masses purchase in every Mall throughout America. Americans never had it so good as they load up on the goods: America has the richest ( and the fattest) "poor" in the world thanks to credit expansion ( i.e., trillions of thin-air dollars) and manufactured financial instruments which are exchanged for tangible imports and distributed through government welfare programs. The Fed isn't holding anybody back nearly as much as Washington is……

      Capital flowing into particular asset classes is driving up the stock market and creating a massive bond bubble. But this type of inflation has no real negative affect on mom and pop at the present time. That won't happen until a currency collapse. In fact, mom and pop often benefit from high stock prices and low interest rates. But the Kairotic turning point is coming just as sure as the sun rises and sets. So enjoy the song, dance and party while it lasts. The Federal Reserve has given tens of millions of Americans a free ride, party, free booze and all you can eat ever since the Roaring Twenties, but like all wickedly fun times the hangover is a bitch.

      Those who think they have it bad now don't know what bad looks and feels like. You ain't seen nothing yet, not until the denouement. Washington shall then be revealed as the real monster to worry about. And it shall be nice for those of us who are prepared to watch as Washington consumes the Fed.

      For now, take advantage of deflated gold and silver prices. This decade might be the last chance you get to trade a "strong" dollar for a tangible, liquid medium of exchange like gold, silver, diamonds etc… The gold bugs are getting stomped real hard ( just like I said they would) so it's now once again time for the wise money to begin scaling into gold, oil, coffee, sugar, etc. Soon, an opportunity of a lifetime shall occur to short German bonds. Just as I wrote three years ago, those who get the timing right on the bond bubble shall have a windfall like no other………

      • boundedfunction says:

        read "go down together" recently. about clyde & bonnie, others, intersect the great depression. which came after a period of "never had it so good", not "being held back", but the contrary – sucked, if not stampeded, into the malinvestment coriolis. the negative effects on mom&pop are not broadly acute yet, but chronic. & real. acute is surely comin' round again, tho.

        frank hamer led the posse that ambushed c&b. fussell records, in one of his books, the common attitudes of combat soldiers – just those, not rear echelons – towards the folks back home, & their sanitized & saccharine spoon feeds about the war:

        "The visiting of violent and if possible painful death upon the complacent, patriotic, uncomprehending, fatuous civilians at home was a favorite fantasy indulged by the troops.
        …would like to see them crushed to death by a tank in one of their silly patriotic music halls, and in “Fight to the Finish” he enacts a similar fantasy. The war over, the army is marching through London in a Victory Parade, cheered by the “Yellow-Pressmen” along the way. Suddenly the soldiers fix bayonets and turn on the crowd: At last the boys found a cushy job.

        They hated the smiling women on the streets. They loathed the old men….They desired that profiteers should die by poison-gas. They prayed God to get the Germans to send Zeppelins to England – to make the people know what war meant."

        homeland security apparatus is filled with combat vets. william grigg has written bunches of object essays on those vets bringing the war home to the "mundanes" – & it ain't even ham(m)er time yet……

        blowin' air up a "bull's" arse is like a dog whistle. for bears. claws-trophobia! & the hypothermia model? liquidity rushing back to the american core, in "the body's" last ditch attempt to preserve life? even if thawing out's theoretically, or probabilistically, possible, there's any number of critters, on land & in the sea, ready willing & able to make meals out of icy pops, & moms, & feds, & bankers, &……

        • RealitySeeker says:

          "the negative effects on mom&pop are not broadly acute yet, but chronic. & real".

          Spoken like a true Austrian.

          Adam Smith's invisible hand was handcuffed by the Fed long ago; and the fingers disjointed, one by one, by central planners in Washington and London as the ignorant masses look on and cheered. So there is no free-market economy. Anybody who says there is is a fool or a liar. And there are no "rules" based on "Natural Law". What there is is redistribution, i.e., theft.

          “Americans who work hard and play by the rules [(sic)] every day deserve a government and a financial system that does the same” is merely an affirmation repeated again and again to placate mom and pop and any other sucker who believes in such rhetorical bullshit. Americans long ago traded away rule of law for rule by men. There are no "rules" which "reward" lovers of a free market. Thieves and bullshit artists run Washington and the Fed. Their rules only reward cartel members and welfare cases.

          Here and now is what a "planned economy" looks like at its best for the ignorant masses and welfare cases. The fat asses and dumb asses are flourishing. It is high times for them.

          Without the invisible hand there is no price discovery. Without price discovery the business cycle steepens and booms are bigger and the busts are acute. Without price discovery the producers and free-market entrepreneurs suffer theft (taxation and monetary inflation) until the majority of them are completely dispirited and put out of business. The only survivors are those who learn how to profit from a planned economy and/or suck off of the government tit.. Robert Kiyosaki ( "Rich Dad Poor Dad" ) is a good example of a natural born thief who partners with other thieves in government and banking guilds. Kiyosaki teaches how to play by central-planning "rules". The government hand feeds and entertains the ignorant masses in return for votes; and the profit is made by the Kiyosaki(s) who provide food, shelter and entertainment via credit expansion. Kiyosaki's "poor dad" was a sucker just like Dr. Shawn Ritenour's dad. The author or the above article obviously had (has?) a dad who's either sucker who buys into government propaganda or a sucker for punishment who doesn't understand how to profit from a planned economy.

          Most of the mom and pops out there have turned their backs on the invisible hand and voted for the planned economy without understanding ( or caring) what the long-term ramifications are. Just watch how the freak-out when the real crash occurs.

          For the last hundred years ( and even before that) the dumb asses, who failed to spend the necessary time it takes to learn basic economics, also suffered under Adam Smith's invisible hand. The hand punishes dumb-asses and rewards those who are able to adapt and innovate. Dumb asses don't like those rules. The dumb-asses don't like change. They'd rather keep their jobs at the buggy-whip factory ( or keep their small business feeding buggy whip factory employees) then adapt to a world without need of buggy whips and without need of their dumb-ass genes. These people always turn to the government hand so they can get fed. What they get is a Fed and a planned economy— and the rest of us get it, too. Then the government hand points at the dumb asses and motions them to the bank. The dumb asses obey like trained dogs—dogs who whine and bark, if they don't get a rewarded with a bone now and then.

          Right now is as good as it gets. And anybody who is brain-dead will put their savings into a bank and collect what? —-.22 interest? In Euroland it's negative interest. Talk about suckers for punishment. Good thing these people have the government to fed them because they'd starve to death and be removed from the gene pool if they had to live or die under Adam Smith's free market.

          But the gene pool also has a cycle. Malthus incorrectly theorized about it, but at least he pointed out that the cycle exists. But that's a discussion best left for our private exchanges……….

          Those of us who both remember and understand the past are doomed to watch as the dumb asses repeat it.

          • boundedfunction says:

            good piece, rs. lyle’s lyrics were intro to a similar score, but i was singsong & danced out of context.

            i started out in 70’s south (i’ve read that it took the south until the early 60’s just to get back to where it was, economically, before it was invaded), was introduced to rand by a factory co-worker there – but had already moved on to (the) chicago (school), began peeling away milton’s layers until he eventually disappeared into what he really was, then hopped a freighter to austria…which, like the milton onion, was really a process of un-freighting. we go where our compulsions can get scratched, & relieved.

            other images: caltrops, monkey fist inside a coconut, gulliver-threading liliputians, chinese finger traps, an olden days – & horrific – bear trap: a barrel, bait in the back, rings of inverted spikes in front (couldn’t find pics or what it used to be called, but link is similar concept

            “natural law”, the one we, or I, can win every argument & debate with – but no fights, real ones – is a construct dependent upon a construct, an environment w/o predators, & the prey who love them. THAT natural law would be more accurately called “ideal law”, just another platonic form. the real natural law is just the law of the jungle. which some or many use to justify going along to get along. for me, going away to get away, or trying to, is the course.

            “deserve”, i’ve argued, is a word that should probably be struck from the language. “I don’t deserve this…”

            but it was never “traded away”…rule of law, like natural law, was just as unnaturally natural then as it is now. rule of legality is the accurate, true, term. & legality is just papier mache…& how the piñatas get filled to bursting with “goodies” – plunder.

            “planned economy” has this significant component: planned obsolescence. there are too many cogs-people, from the wielders’ perspective. tech is displacing them, at ever increasing rates. & the wielders are not going to pay the bread & circuses bill forever. or, don’t intend to, anyway. but, their plans are not a lock any more than anyone elses are. even if, if not especially because, they have nukes, etc. daedalus & icarus have “progressed”: the sun is now push-button.

            like clyde & bonnie knew, & said, “the laws always win, in the end”. but which lawyers? not a speculation that interests me, beyond the show. & the tune.

            I turn on the tube and what do I see
            A whole lotta people cryin' "Don't blame me"
            They point their crooked little fingers at everybody else
            Spend all their time feelin' sorry for themselves
            Victim of this, victim of that
            Your momma's too thin; your daddy's too fat

            Get over it
            Get over it
            All this whinin' and cryin' and pitchin' a fit
            Get over it, get over it

            You say you haven't been the same since you had your little crash
            But you might feel better if I gave you some cash
            The more I think about it, Old Billy was right
            Let's kill all the lawyers, kill 'em tonight
            You don't want to work, you want to live like a king
            But the big, bad world doesn't owe you a thing

            ~ snip of “get over it”, the eagles

          • RealitySeeker says:

            "THAT natural law would be more accurately called 'ideal law'…………the real natural law is just the law of the jungle".

            Yes, so true, this statement of yours, and an argument that I myself have made many times with myself until coming to the very same logical conclusion you have also reached . Like you, I came to the conclusion that "nature's law" is what is generally practiced and natural law ( "ideal law") is what is preached.

            But ideal law requires ideal men who are at least willing ( perhaps eager) to abide by and self-govern themselves; absent aggression yet bubbling with voluntary cooperation. Humans have just not evolved to that level yet, and perhaps they never shall. Humans are still a species requiring Medici, a Papacy, Washington and a colosseum. Their blood courses through their veins as the their tribe cheers for a sports star, rock star, religious star or a political star. Play some patriotic music and the masses become goose-fleshed. Ask them a question about Lysander Spooner and they look at you like you're a Martian. Even good guys like Gary Johnson, I remember asking him in person, once, when he was the governor of New Mexico, about his views on Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek, and it was like I just asked him about some nobody who he never heard about…… this is the caliber of people who are running the shit show. And that's why the only chance mankind has right now is if they can somehow muddle through.

            There is some hope. Technology is about to obsolete the world as we know it. Big changes are just over the horizon. And those who can adapt shall flourish unless an apocalyptic event extinguishes life as we know it.

            "It Is Not the Strongest of the Species that Survives But the Most Adaptable"~ Charles Darwin

            Muddling through is what most of mankind does. The masses are slow to adapt, so they muddle. But the rules of Nature's Law allow a better future for those of us who can quickly adapt.

            Digital money is just over the horizon. Can you adapt or will you be one of the stomped on gold bugs?

            Robotics and technological advancements shall obsolete millions of low-skilled and thousands of skilled jobs. Can you adapt?

            The markets are going to be insanely volatile. Can you adapt?

            Wars shall be waged. How are you positioned? And can you adapt?

            When the sovereign-bond bubble finally bursts, and hundreds of millions of people are freaking out, can you adapt?

            When martial law of the concrete jungle has been declared by Washington, and Washington's soldier ants march to your city, will you be able to adapt?

            These kind of questions are what every American should be asking of themselves.

  6. Helen Roberts says:

    Seems to me hard-working parents, those wonderful strong people, are becoming a thing
    of the past. My parents were also hard=working, making so many sacrifices – does the
    current generation even have any hard=working parents? There must be some around but
    today's generation of kids for the most part, is an embarrassment.

  7. Phil says:

    I read this in light of an unexpected job offer my wife has just received from a company doing business in New Zealand. Auckland, to be exact. Maybe it is simply time to go. For good.

  8. Phil says:

    Well, we work our butts off. But i understand your perception.

    • psychicmindvandervoort231 says:

      All depends on one's values and priorities… I could list so many instances of those that determined my choices during a long life. May your choices and decisions bring you and yours a good sense of fulfillment . Looking back on my life, I see the patterns that emerge, and have come to believe in the "Silver Lining" theory. What seems like a risk at the time may be worth taking… or not. We all hope we are using good judgment as we approach our decisions. But, we can't not decide, one way or the other.

  9. psychicmindvandervoort231 says:

    Where is H.L. Mencken now? He would have a ball these days!

  10. offshoreguy says:

    We can begin to secede from this system. We can begin to transact in gold and silver. Rather than putting money into a bank that is too big to fail, we can keep our money in a local bank or credit union.