“Facilis descensus Averno.” – Virgil (Publius Vergilius Maro)
Delivering Tomorrow’s Curses
Roman poet Virgil penned these words in his epic, The Aeneid, roughly a generation before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. They can be loosely translated to, “the descent to hell is easy.” Those who’ve traversed this passage can attest to the veracity of this axiom.
Virgil reading the Aeneid to Augustus, Octavia and Livia. Contrary to what one might think at first blush, Octavia didn’t fall asleep because she was bored by it – rather, when Virgil recited Book Six, she fainted (the veracity of this account is not undisputed, but it’s a good story anyway). A little side note: Virgil caught a fever while returning from to Rome from Greece and died in Brundisium in 19 BC. It was Virgil’s wish that the poem be burned, but Augustus ordered his literary executors to preserve it and publish it with as few editorial changes as possible. Thus Augustus rescued the Aeneid for posterity. [PT]
Though not apparent in the milieu of Virgil’s poem, for our purposes today, we will extend its application to the insidious progression of currency debasement. What short utterance more aptly characterizes the steady degradation, as currently practiced by today’s church of state?
On Thursday, for example, the House acted with untroubled ease to further America’s descent to hell. With little resistance, federal spending was increased and the debt ceiling was suspended for two years. Having delivered tomorrow’s curses, the nation’s Representatives can skip town without missing a moment of summer recess.
As you can see, the allure of getting something for nothing is far too enticing for even the most honest politician to pass up. And with an endless supply of fake money behind you, why stick your neck out and get clobbered? The public debt encumbered is already well beyond honest repayment. But that’s a problem for tomorrow; not today.
Total US credit market debt (~USD 73 trillion), total federal debt (~USD 22 trillion) and GDP (~USD 19 trillion).