Reading of the Will,  By Otto Erdmann,  1886        An uncle has died. You and your relatives gather to hear the lawyer read the will. There is nervous anticipation. It is rumored the uncle inherited a sizable estate from his father and his father's father. The lawyer quickly puts that hope to rest. There is but a single item to be bequeathed - and you are the beneficiary! He reaches beneath the table, lifts up a dusty, sealed shoebox, signed by your great grandfather, and hands it to you. Surprised, and not wanting to reveal its contents to your stunned relatives, you leave to open it in private.      At home you open the box. Inside are one hundred, crisp $100 bills, all dated 1913. The $10,000 is not nothing, but not what you hoped for. What you do not know is that the day he sealed the box over one hundred years ago, that $10,000 could buy a very fine house in a lovely, safe neighborhood. Having recently decided to move out of your city that


           Source: David Stockman          In  a moment of unexpected candor, Jerome Powell, Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Bank,  recently said the US "was on an unsustainable fiscal path," that "we are borrowing from future generations," and efforts must be undertaken to address this problem, "the sooner the better." Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin told Bloomberg that the US is "in a terrible place." Jamie Dimon, Chairman of JP Morgan said that the US was heading for a fiscal cliff "at 60 mph."       Following such dire warnings, Americans would expect Congress to be urgently focusing on this looming disaster. Instead, their elected representatives are fixated on: 1) what should be done about the nation's southern border where millions of immigrants have been perfunctorily waved into the country by the "Border Patrol," and 2) how many more tens of billions of dollars in aid and war materiel to give to Ukraine


      Nearly all Americans have heard of the infamous Charles Ponzi but they may not know much more than he perpetrated a fraud. Ponzi was born in Italy in 1882, educated in Rome and came to the US as a young man with $2 in his pocket. After taking and being terminated from many menial jobs (often for theft), starting numerous failed business ventures, and serving a period of imprisonment in Montreal for theft, he returned to Boston and concocted his namesake fraud. As with most frauds, his was founded on the premise that greed will induce people to be taken in by a story that, in hindsight, was obviously too good to be true.       He claimed that he could profit from arbitraging the difference in "international reply coupons" - a type of voucher used at that time to purchase postage. He organized a company called Securities Exchange Company and sold interests in it to investors promising 50% returns in just 45 days or 100% in 90 days. He took in an astonishing $15 million (o