Saturday, October 9, 2010

Money for nothing

Saturday, October 09, 2010

We’ve had sun and gorgeous weather this week, highs in the low 80’s, morning lows in the 50’s. Martin and the boys have been cutting and baling hay, putting most but not all in round bales. Our barns are full to the rafters of small squares and we have stockpiles of rolled hay stacked on the closest thing to hills South Texas brush and river country offers. We also started shredding grass and weeds in pecan bottoms, preparing for harvest, which should begin in a couple of weeks.

I’ve been watching economic and political news warily, waiting for the next shoe to fall. Perhaps this is a sort of self-torture—there’s nothing I can do to change the course of events on any large scale—but I don’t operate in a vacuum and what goes on in the world around can and will affect the real world in which I live. So I try to stay informed.

As usual, I waited until the last possible minute to prepare my tax forms. Wait. Let me reword that. I waited until the last possible minute to beg Leah to prepare our tax forms. We have already given the IRS the money we owed, this year a large amount due to a once-in-a-lifetime windfall event, the maximum by percentage allowed by law, (36.5%, I believe), ignoring, I am sure, possible deductions and strategies we could have used if I was one of those rich fucks accustomed to making this kind of money, but the motherfuckers want more from me. How many cows you got? How many died? How many bulls? How old are they? Are your horses riding or breeding animals? A hobby or a legitimate business? How many bales of hay did you make? How many did you sell? What does this check say? Was that wheat you sold on such and such a date? Your writing is illegible. Where are your receipts for the goods you bought? Every fucking move I make has to be recorded and documented, with the very real threat of a gun in the face, confiscation of property or jail time as a consequence if I don’t comply.

OK. I will comply. Kind of. Barely. Under protest.

To the IRS: Fuck you cock-sucking, slime-sucking, motherless, goddamned bleating sons of whores. I resent the hell out of you prying into my life. I paid my taxes. More than I probably owed if I’d hired an accountant. Now, leave me the fuck alone.

All right. Got that off my chest. Feel a bit better for having done so, too.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, we’re nearing time for planting of winter crops which for us means broccoli, cabbage, turnips, beets, carrots, spinach, onions, garlic and perhaps a few more things that don’t come to mind. I planted snow peas to see if they’ll survive our mild winters as an experiment.

Oats are coming up in the fields and we’ve been plowing corn stubble under.

I haven’t yet sold my corn crop. While I did submit a sample to a grain company that specializes in corn for tortillas, they haven’t gotten back to me. The price of corn has fluctuated wildly over the past couple of months, starting in the low $3 range and ending at about $5.30 a bushel. Last week corn fell from the $5.30 price to a low around $4.60 and then climbed back to $5.30 by the end of the week, going up or down as much as 30 cents in a single day. Obviously the price is not determined by real supply and demand issues and those buying or selling real corn rather than the fake corn traded on paper don’t know what price they should pay or accept as payment.

While no one seems to mind the IRS calling us to task for every move we make, the Fed continues to create electronic dollars out of thin air and gives them to their buddies at the big banks and corporations without any real oversight. These motherfuckers got a money for nothing machine going. I wonder when the day comes that confidence in the US dollar is lost.

For me, that day is here. I feel better with a bin full of corn than a fist full of paper. I’ll end up selling the corn for dollars, because the tax man will accept nothing else. But I will do my best to turn those dollars back into something real as soon as possible.

The day will come when the veil is lifted and people see. When that happens, things are going to get nasty.

We’ve been had.

PS. Manfred Max Neef offers an economics lesson well worth your time.

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