The “penny of freedom” is the perfect metaphor. A penny disappears in the hand of a man (pennies and other small bits of small coins come off his fingers as he pays you) and he can’t hold it to make a difference because no matter how hard he tries, he just can’t see it anymore.
The first time any penny was put into circulation, they took out a large coin. Then, coins were placed inside the new paper money (called “the dollar of freedom”) but this was a mistake. The “dollar of freedom” didn’t last very long and finally melted.
This is what we call “free cash.” But the dollar of freedom only lasted a few weeks, which was also the first time in history a central bank of any kind, including the Federal Reserve, printed a whole new government currency, the U.S. dollar. The dollar of freedom lasted far longer than the dollar of free cash, and even this, however, only really lasted a few weeks.
The problem with free cash is not the absence of a “dollar of freedom.” It is the absence of any monetary system or any other kind of control to control the money supply. This control, while necessary, does not give people a penny to hold in their hands. This is the “penny of freedom,” the perfect metaphor for currency inflation. This is also what I like to call “the dollar of inflation.”
There are many ways to illustrate this, but you’ll always find it hard to convey in words what this inflation is like: You cannot buy just one dollar; the dollar becomes worthless in the hands of an individual unless you buy them more dollar bills, or if there are a million dollar bills in circulation, you need to buy a million dollars of them (or, failing that, you’ll need to invest in U.S. Treasuries and buy a billion dollars of those if you are the ultimate owner of the dollars.) To avoid this inflation, people hoard their dollars and spend them, sometimes in ways that are obviously fraudulent.
Inflation doesn’t always increase the money supply (or even decrease the money supply). It often increases it for a very short amount of time. The most famous example is the Fed raising interest rates twice between 1980 and 1988 and then dropping them back down again. This happened just after the collapse of the dot com bubble.
This is what the Fed did. It tried to stimulate the economy and raise interest rates as the
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