Breakingviews doesn't want to be accused of a Scrooge-like mentality. In the spirit of the season, we've made a list and checked it twice – to find just the right would-be gifts for those that have been naughty, and maybe one or two for the nice. Here are a few suggestions of stocking-stuffers, all inspired by the financial travails of 2008. – Telegraph, UK
Barack Obama: A Lego set. Useful practice for the next four years of putting pieces back together.
Gordon Brown: A tricycle. The only way he'll learn how a genuine tripartite system works.
Ben Bernanke: The Fed's current leader – a fireproof asbestos suit. Necessary for future congressional hearings. Plus a new, high-powered helicopter.
Hank Paulson: Outgoing US Treasury Secretary – original cast recording of that Depression-era classic, Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
Dominant Social Theme: The financial crisis is funny, too.
Free-Market Analysis: Of course it's not. But the headline does give us the opportunity to reaffirm holiday wishes to our readers. For those who are not politically correct (most of our readers, no doubt) we wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Or a happy Hanukah. Or whatever you celebrate.
What do we hope for? How about a more enlightened leadership that understands the efficacy of free markets and the difficulties of fiat money. It is an ineluctable law in life that something cannot be derived from nothing; the ability to coin money from thin air is what has led to many of the world's current problems. The solution is likely just as simple: allow the market to operate. What would evolve would be a market-based silver and gold standard with or without private fractional banking – preferably without. A big improvement over the current mess.
Those leaders mentioned above really do not need stocking stuffers for Christmas. But what everyone needs is a little straight talk about the foundation of the world – our human world and civil society. Money underpins civilization, and when the money is wrong, civilization cannot long endure – at least not in its current incarnation. So here's a profound wish for our raddled, hopeful, tragic and magnificent planet and people: A little honesty to go with the sanctimony, a little straight talk alongside the doubletalk; a little compassion alongside the greed. Di immortales virtutem approbare, non adhibere debent.*
*We may expect the gods to approve virtue, but not to endow us with it.