We’re all doomed!Posted: Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I’m having a heck of a time getting pictures off of my phone, so this post will be uninteresting. Furthermore, a big impetus for my knocking out a post right now is largely just so every month I will have been in Italy will have posts. Though something interesting did happen today, so let’s see how this goes.
I will be leaving Italy on June 20, in three weeks. My work is going well, but I will likely still be tying up loose ends after I get back to America. Luckily, what I create is measured in kilobytes, and they ship for free. I’m supposed to be teaching an Italian undergrad how my stuff works, so she can carry on my work after I’ve become enveloped in schoolwork once again at WVU. I’ve spent more time teaching her how MATLAB works, so we’ll see how that goes.
I still haven’t been paid, besides one €500 down payment, for my work. So I’ve been spending my dad’s money since probably late October. The paperwork issues that my employer has faced have evidently been massive. And speaking generally, I’d be kind of okay with this situation. Not many undergrads have multiple cogenerating machines to play with. And, as much as I would rather pay my own way, my dad doesn’t have a problem with helping me out. But I was supposed to get paid. And then there is the Euro Crisis. And what a crisis it is!
I’ve been watching the euro/USD exchange rate the whole time I have been over here. You can check it out in the right sidebar, if you want. That’s the price in dollars for one euro, which makes the guy who decided on their naming convention look retarded. Anyway, a euro has been worth anywhere between $1.40 and $1.30 the whole time I have been over here. Except for right now. In the last week or two, it seems to have dropped a good little bit.
Why do I care, you might ask? Well, I’m supposedly getting paid in euros, in an amount I won’t be able to spend in the span of three weeks, and I wouldn’t have been spending the whole sum over here, regardless. And every time the US dollar gains against the euro, I lose purchasing power in America. So, every week I still don’t get paid, I get to look at my pay essentially draining away. And there is so much stuff I want to buy!
I could pester you with my mediocre grasp of Austrian Economics, which you almost certainly don’t care about. Instead, I’m going to tell you that what the politicians and central bankers are doing isn’t going to do anything besides delaying the inevitable painful correction, and making it more painful. The politicians throughout the West have basically tried the same things over and over again, with no long-term positive effect on the economy or national budgets. America’s purported growth in gross domestic product is far outstripped by the dollar’s rate of inflation. Everything you buy is getting more expensive, and your wages aren’t increasing. Some recovery! As for Europe, my favorite part is the one about balanced national budgets being called “austerity.” And the response to this “austerity,” at least in France and Greece, has been for the populace to elect more socialists to tell them fairy tales about solving debt by making more of it.
“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”
– Thomas Jefferson to A.L.C. Destutt de Tracy, 1820
Anyway, I’ll be doing exactly what these tools evidently want and spending a bunch of money on hard goods pretty much as soon as I can. Hard goods may depreciate over time, but at least I get to use them for something in the meantime. When you are at the point where the interest rate on that nice five-year CD is lower than the rate of inflation, you have to think harder about your options.
There was a small demonstration in front of a government building across the corner from my bank this afternoon. There was a jazz band playing some songs, all in English, and a bunch of people with signs calling for lower taxes. Whoopee. Saxes and trombones outclass drum circles any day of the week, though. I’ll give them props for that. Plus, they didn’t camp out there for half a year expecting their presence to collapse the banking sector.
Honestly, I can’t wait until I’m back in America. I’ve met some great people out here, but people come and go wherever you are. I’ve got a lot of hamburgers and jerky to eat, and some freedoms to enjoy. Italy got the food and the scenery right, but it isn’t America.
And finally, have some of that sweet, sweet America: