Author Archive for Steven Waechter

Mr. Waechter is an attorney and a recent graduate of Drake University.

Detroit: Coming Your Way

Detroit BankruptSunday potluck with the extended family. It turns out I am the ‘Detroit’ of the family; the lost age of promise still lingers in the wreckage.

Detroit was the place that epitomized the whole “American Dream” sales pitch, where anybody could scrape up a second chance and win a decent living for yourself and your family. The landless, the uneducated, the minor hooligans, and even people so stupid that they wasted their youthful years chasing graduate degrees could get a fresh start in work that mattered and be rewarded their efforts. Detroit got there first.

It ended long ago, but a car can still roll on for a while after engine cuts out. It is now grinding to a halt; the final halt.

All the


David Stockman is Right, and We Should Probably Be Afraid

Iowa Politics Money Chess TaxesFormer Michigan Congressman and Reagan Budget Director David Stockman’s new book “The Great Deformation” provoked a flurry of insult and ridicule when it first came out back in April. I’m late to the party because as a law school graduate I spend all of my spare cash on liquor; in fact, I have not yet read the book. Fortunately for me, book tour promotional speeches are readily available on Youtube, and Stockman has no instinct for holding back.

Here is the gist; the Bretton Woods Conference made the dollar the reserve currency of the world, it was gold-based until 1971 when Nixon decided to let it float free, allowing the US to run endless trade deficits with mercantilist, export-led industrializing countries in East Asia. Along …


The Conflict of the Generations

gen gap cartoonA recent story from CNBC is claiming that young job seekers are flunking job interviews because they don’t know enough to avoid sending text messages during the actual interview.

Personally I think that the story was largely propaganda to cover up the dreadful employment prospects of recent college graduates, but for the sake of argument let us assume that it is true.

Let us say that we take children from their parents at the age of four or five, lock them up for thirteen years in K-12 public school, sucker them into blowing another half-decade under the instruction of college professors, and when they can’t find jobs when they graduate it is because they don’t know how to act, and that it is their fault.…


Die Law Schools, Die!

law schools 2Law school applications are declining sharply according to the New York Times, which is reporting a projected 38 percent decline from 2010 application levels.

When they failed to find jobs, law graduates took to the internet in droves to spread the word about their predicament, and finally the American Bar Association demanded more employment information from law schools. Before that, schools could count a graduate working part-time as a janitor as “employed,” and could thus report a 91 percent employment rate for their law school graduates.

No longer. The ABA now demands information regarding the type of employment; full-time or part-time, practicing law or not, law-related or not, and the numbers are terrible.

In response, law schools have shown about as much sympathy as one …


Think College is Critical? Bureau of Labor Statistics Projections Suggest Otherwise

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has on its site information on the 30 occupations where the most jobs are expected to be added between 2010 and 2020. (See Table 6. The 30 occupations with the largest projected employment growth, 2010-20, or click here to see the table.)

The BLS projects that these 30 occupations will add approximately 9.3 million new positions by 2020. These positions would be completely new additions to the existing workforce and not dependent on attrition of the current workers.

They are listed in order of the number of new posts expected, with the top spot being registered nurse, which is no surprise, with an expected growth of almost 712,000 new positions. At the bottom of the list is medical assistant, with …


The US is in Pre-Recession

The Commerce Department has released GDP data for the fourth quarter of 2012, and these numbers indicate a contraction of an annualized .1 percent, which wasn’t exactly a crash, but it was a contraction nonetheless.

If you read my work, you already know that I don’t think there was a real economic recovery, and that we are in a significant economic depression. If you pretend that people settling for part-time work when they used to have full-time work is indicative of job growth; and think the Fed ’s buying $40 billion per month in bonds with thin-air fun bucks is good; and ignore the college graduates who can’t find jobs because they hadn’t entered the “workforce” yet and were thus not officially unemployed – then …


Predictions For The Next Four Years (Part 2 of 2)

(This is Part 2 of a 2 Part Series– To Start With Part 1 Click Here)

Dollar Under Strain

There are so many dollars floating around out there, and so little American production for those dollars to chase, eventually foreign central banks will get wise and look to divest. At some point, that trickle could turn into a flood, and result in a dollar run. If that happens, life in America will be rather bleak for a time.

Police State

Obama has consistently lied about his civil liberties stances; campaigning against the Patriot Act and then supporting the renewal, and promising to veto the National Defense Authorization Act, and then signing it. There is no reason to believe he will change course now.

A …


Predictions for the Next Four Years (Part 1 of 2)

Well, Barack Obama will be President for a second term. It is now time to take a look around, and prepare for what is likely to happen next. Based on my observations and what I’ve learned over the years, these are my predictions:

No Housing Recovery

Commentators have been calling the bottom of the housing market – and screaming with increasing urgency that it was time to buy – since 2007. The Fed has cut interest rates to nearly zero, and through quantitative easing has flooded the financial system with new money. This will continue for the near future, especially since QE-infinity was announced earlier this year. There remains no recovery in the housing market, and there won’t be a recovery.

Bad monetary policy has …


Waechter’s Final Pre-Election Weigh In: No Matter How You Vote, the Economy Will Not Improve

I cast my ballot early. I didn’t vote third-party and therefore my vote isn’t being wasted. It also isn’t going to matter.

Since 1990, the United States has run aggregate trade deficits above $8 trillion. This is funny, because in 1990 the M2 metric of currency supply was only $3 trillion. There should be nothing but dust coming out of the ATM machines. We have purchased entire merchant-fleets full of foreign goods, and paid for it by quite literally printing money.

Foreign countries, being more blatant about their currency devaluation policies, have been willing to go along with this arrangement. The result is this dynamic: The US prints dollars to buy goods from China, and the Chinese central bank prints yuan to buy the dollars. …


Completely Pointless and Utterly Absurd

First, some chemistry; iodine turns black when exposed to starch. So, a lighter ink which contains iodine will turn black when it comes into contact with starch, which is included in the manufacturing process of standard copy paper. When the ink is used on paper that doesn’t contain starch (such as most paper made with cotton fiber instead of wood pulp) the ink will maintain a sort of brownish-yellow color.

If you pay for gasoline with a fifty dollar bill, chances are the cashier will make a mark on it with a counterfeit detector pen. American currency, made of cotton fiber and not including starch, will leave the ink that lighter color. Counterfeit currency printed on regular paper will make the ink turn black.

Interestingly …