“Alea iacta est” …..My foot!!
The editorial in DNR on Friday July 29 sent me to my computer to discover the meaning of the Latin phrase of the day. After I read that Alea iacta est means: “The die is cast”, I had to smile. I had the editorialist right where I wanted him. You see, I am a dentist. I learned in dental school how to make gold crowns by casting a die. In dental school I had a casting that did not turn out the way I wanted. My instructor smiled and said, “Now you are ready to learn.” There are ways to fix a gold casting that is defective. Low fusing gold can be added, sharp edged rounded, porosities filled in. The die may be cast but the game ain’t over.
The editorialist went on to paint a gloomy picture of our future. The bottom line, he states, is our debt is so bad it will never be paid off.
The history of the United States is filled with solutions to insurmountable problems. Our economic troubles are not about the bottom line. As a business owner I have learned that all the other ‘lines’ on the balance sheet are important. Here are a couple of ideas for getting us out of this mess.
The United States used about 138 billion gallons of gasoline in 2010. (From Energy Information Administration web site) A friend who is an economist for the American Petroleum Institute tells me that about one dollar from each gallon is paid to the producer of the oil. Instead of paying producers in the Middle East or Africa, we should open sites in the United States. Open up Alaska’s North Slope, the Gulf of Mexico and even the Virginia Capes. Oil fields under study in North Dakota and Montana may have enough oil and natural gas to supply the United States for years. (Forbes Magazine July 18, 2011 page 18) Use the strictest drilling and safety standards to prevent spills and to contain them when they occur. When tax revenue starts pouring in maybe even California will permit limited drilling for oil. Keeping 138 billion dollars a year in our economy along with the thousands of good paying jobs created will be a shot in the arm for our country.
Need cleaner energy? Build nuclear power plants, maybe 4 or 5 in each state. France generates about 80% of their energy needs from nuclear energy. The costs for energy produced are very low and the construction and maintenance of these plants create more good paying jobs for Americans. As for the waste, if the folks in Nevada do not want spent fuel stored in the Yucca Mountains let’s look for a sites in the mountains of south west Virginia, West Virginia or Tennessee. Clean safe storage sites will provide good jobs and will pour new money into stressed economies.
Now, about the die and that gold; while there is talk about the cost of gold rising, the sad fact is that gold has not changed in value; the value of the DOLLAR has gone down. The Obama administration has pursued a policy through economic sleight of hand tricks like quantitative easing that has pumped lots of paper dollars into the system. As more money is dumped into the economy, the value of the dollar goes down and the price of everything goes up.
We need a stable value for the dollar. The economists who advise the president need to use the cost of commodities like gold as a guide for the money in circulation. During the Clinton and early in the Bush administration, gold was about $800 an ounce. The dollar was recognized as the world’s safest and most trusted currency and treasury bonds were a safe place to invest.
I wish I had been there with Suetonius on the banks of the Rubicon River. Maybe instead of his famous quote about the die being cast a line from a famous American philosopher would be recalled: “It ain’t over until it’s over.” Yogi Berra, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you….