Charlie's Blog: Bron-Y-Aur Stomp


Bron-Y-Aur Stomp

Well, if the sun shines so bright, or our way is darkest night,
The road we choose is always right, so fine.
Ah, can a love be so strong when so many loves go wrong?
Will our love go on and on, and on, and on, and on, and on?
LED ZEPPELIN, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp

Bron-Yr-Aur is the Welsh name of a cottage where Led Zeppelin spent time writing their third album. The name was misspelled on the album, and I keep the misspelling. The song itself is about Robert Plant's dog Strider named after the Aragorn character in Lord of the Rings. The song is part of Zep's acoustic set. I'm not a big fan of the song.

As I write this, I am at the end of my day off from the day job. I write things and schedule them to be published on the blog later. My goal is to have a fresh post each and every day of the week, but that is not always possible. Part of that difficulty comes from time. The other part comes from a simple lack of material. But I do have an antidote to the lack of material thing. This antidote would be an epic project. For instance, I have wanted to do a series on the cardinal virtues, the decalogue, the mysteries of the rosary, the way of the cross, and the epistle of James. I have procrastinated on them because they are ambitious.

My thoughts lately have been on God's providence. I believe God controls everything and nothing happens to you that He does not allow and foreordain. I used to be a Calvinist which is the heresy that God's providence negates human free will. We have free will, but this free will can never thwart God's plans.

The reason I think so much about providence is because of the fact that things don't seem to be going my way. This isn't to say that my prayers go unanswered. I am amazed that my prayers do get answered. I prayed for someone to get a much needed job, and he did. I prayed for a family member with a newborn, and he got a promotion. Meanwhile, I am stuck in the straitjacket I have been in since 2007.

Life after 2007

The reason for my troubles is fundamentally economic. I want to buy a piece of real estate in a reinflated housing bubble. My goal is to buy/build a homestead that will be largely self-sufficient and able to go off the grid if needed. There are plenty of properties I could buy if I was willing to live in a suburban neighborhood and get a mortgage. But this defeats the purpose of what I wish to do. I remember reading about a Catholic fellow who decided to "go back to the land" with a farm. He financed, and it was a failure. This is a lesson that the Catholic Amish should learn from the real Amish. Avoid debt like a dreaded disease.

Debt is how the upper classes rape and exploit the lower classes. It could be the old plantation store, the company store, the credit card, the payday lender, the title loan place, the finance company, the used car dealer, or the subprime mortgage. All of these things are ways those with money exploit those without money. Debt is the trick where working people labor to make rich people richer.

When it comes to property, I don't believe in just buying a place to live at but a place that also provides a living. I need land to grow crops on and with no restrictions when it comes to building things like a greenhouse and a solar array. Many of the homes today have barely enough land to grow a lawn, and you can't even change the color of your home without prior approval of the HOA. This is little better than renting an apartment.

The biggest frustration we encounter are sellers who want more for their property than what the property is actually worth. The websites give a history of the sales of the property, and owners expect to receive anywhere from 50% over to double what they paid for the property just a few years ago. This might be reasonable if they had improved the property dramatically, but they haven't. Often, the property is worse than when they bought it. But somehow, they feel entitled to some mega return on their "investment."

All of this madness is courtesy of the Federal Reserve and the government that went out of its way to prop up the overblown real estate market pre-2007. When the collapse occurred, the market started to clear out the malinvestment, and prices began their return to sanity. Then, it got propped back up again. The result has been an inflated but stagnant market. Prices remain where they are, but homes do not sell.

I follow the markets pretty closely, and I keep up with finance and economics. This story is a nationwide thing. Basically, we are mired in Keynesian stagnation. The result is an economy frozen in cement as debt piles upon debt. Recent stories are telling us that central banks have now resorted to buying bonds and equities in companies. It was madness when they were buying government debt with QE, but it is triple madness when they are buying corporate debt and stock. Inevitably, the central banks will own everything--governments, corporations, real estate, etc. The entire world will be indebted to central banks. How is this possible?

JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES: The Economic Antichrist
We are in new territory with this Keynesian experiment. Nothing like this has ever been done before in the history of the world. It can't end well for us. It is economic insanity on an exponential level. Yet, it is happening.

When sanity returns, I believe I will have no problem buying a suitable piece of property. The problem is that sanity is nowhere in sight. Austrian economists predict collapse because it has always collapsed before. They overlook one simple fact. The thing that popped the Fed created bubbles has been a Fed rate hike. It is doubtful the Fed will ever raise rates. And if they do, they will simply drop them to zero or even go negative should another collapse occur.

I am at an impasse on this matter. I already know what the future holds. I believe we will have a currency crisis. I believe Social Security and Medicare will go bankrupt. I also believe many of the pensions funds will also go belly up. Real estate prices will crater. The stock market will crash like never before and remain there for at least a decade or more. I believe that we are headed for an economic apocalypse like nothing the world has ever seen before. And it will have been created by central banking.

The misery in Greece and Venezuela is a preview of coming attractions. I have no doubts that this will come to the rest of Europe and the USA as the Keynesian madness comes to its bitter end. I wish this didn't have to happen, but the world is stupid. The homestead is my survival tool for riding out this apocalypse.

Most of the people who read this are doomed to suffer. They have credit card debt, student loan debt, and housing debt. Others are looking to pensions and Social Security. All of this is going to blow up on you. The numbers and the demographics point to an inevitable collapse. Basically, mom and dad's retirement depends upon the fortunes of that pot smoking son in the basement playing video games and ignoring the calls to make payments on his student loans.

When debts cannot be repaid, they are not repaid. Or, as they say, you can't get blood from a turnip. Birth rates are down and declining. The young are heavily indebted, unemployed, and unemployable. And there is the naive belief that migrants will somehow fill this demographic hole. Instead, they are becoming a new class of welfare recipients. Basically, the ship is sinking, and they are inviting more people to get on the boat.

My goal is to get off the boat. This is why I subscribe to Distributism. I see it as a way of creating your own economy. I still follow an Austrian playbook on economic matters, but we have to admit that no one in control of our economy reads Mises or Hayek. I suspect that the truth would be a synthesis of those two schools of thought.

I don't know why God allows us to go through this. If the goal is to bring about detachment to worldly things, I am already there. If everyone lived as we do, the system would collapse very rapidly but in a good way. The fundamental problem is that people live beyond their means instead of living below their means. The system needs working people dependent upon debt to keep itself going. And that is the crux of it all right there. Usury is a sin. Debt is an evil. The lending of money at interest is the source of all the misery that will befall us. Usury is what is making the central bankers of the world the kings of this world. God help us all.