I enjoy conversations with "the old folks." Some of the stories they tell are hard to believe. What I appreciate most is the knowledge they've acquired over the years from experience. It's an educational window on wisdom.
My wife's 94-year-old father is such a man and loves to tell his stories. He married his childhood sweetheart in 1939 and had been married for 71 years when his beloved wife passed away. I asked him what it was like when they were dating. He said, "We usually went to a movie and then we'd stop for a hamburger and a malt." I asked how much that cost. "The movie was 25 cents, a hamburger cost five cents and malts were a dime." Eighty cents for a date? "Well," he said, 'gas was about 17 cents a gallon, I earned 10 cents an hour, so a date cost me a whole day's wages.'"
Movies, hamburgers, malts and gasoline, all for a buck ... without taxes.
Growing up, my dad often reminded me to "put your thinking cap on." With the thinking caps on here it goes: The price of gasoline is still the same as it was in 1939. Gasoline for only 20 cents a gallon? How can this be?
In 1939 the U.S. dollar was backed by something of value: gold and silver. Our government rescinded the gold standard and then quietly plated coinage with silver after having them made with less expensive metals. Paper money went from a "silver certificate" to a "Federal Reserve Note." An IOU. Would you like to get a gallon of gasoline for two thin dimes? You can. Just get two 1939 dimes, cash them for their silver value, about $4, and, wah-lah -- one gallon of gas.
It's been probably 70 years since we've heard any politician talk about the value of the U.S. dollar. It's always about taxes, the economy, the unemployed and, yes, the price of gas. Our government is wringing its hands over China manipulating their currency while it has totally destroyed the value of the U.S. dollar.
Principles. That's where it starts, with a standard that gives Americans confidence in a government worthy of trust. With very few exceptions, our government is rife with selfish, crooked, greedy, career-seeking bottom feeders. These are not the ways established by our founders. Our government can spend a trillion dollars within hours but can't reign in spending or balance a budget in less than 20 years.
Don't stand in defiance and yell at the oil company, the supermarket or the farmer. Don't march on manufacturing towns. "We the People" need to occupy Washington, D.C. Democrats and Republicans alike have mismanaged our currency to the point of making it worthless.
That, my friends, is treason against the American people and our prosperity. Those politicians need to be turned out and term limits put into place ... and those having profited monetarily by their position should be investigated, properly prosecuted and sentenced to life with Bernie Madoff.
When's the next revolution? Will anyone of value be left or shall we all just fiddle while the house burns down? If nothing else, remember this -- every dollar in your pocket is only worth five cents and every time they print more, the value of the ones you have goes down. "Stuff" isn't worth more these days -- our money is worth less.
Ah, yes. The good old days, when a dollar was actually a dollar and a man's word was his bond. What? Did anyone notice that our current president hasn't backed up a single word of his constant campaign rhetoric? Well, yes he has. He's transforming America and it's broke.
Note: I sincerely apologize to all Sierra Star readers. Alan Cheah, in his April 26 column, is correct regarding my April 19 column on Social Security. I used information which I did not verify. I promise to ensure this never happens again. The facts that Mr. Cheah cannot refute are that Social Security, as we know it today, is a gross distortion of what was originally intended. Millions are sent to people never intended to be beneficiaries of the retirement program. The government's misuse of the funds collected for retirement has virtually sealed its fate. Socialism punishes success.