Excerpt from Nock's Memoirs of a Superfluous Man
The general preoccupation with money led to several curious beliefs which are now so firmly rooted that one hardly sees how anything short of a collapse of our whole economic system can displace it. One such belief is that commodities--goods and services--can be paid for with money. This is not so. Money does not pay for anything, never has, never will. It is an economic axiom as old as the hills that goods and services can be paid for only with goods and services; but twenty years ago this axiom vanished from everyone's reckoning, and has never reappeared. No one has seemed in the least aware that everything which is paid for must be paid for out of production, for there is no mother source of payment.
Another strange notion pervading whole peoples is that the State has money of its own; and nowehere is this absurdity more firmly fixed than in America. The State has no money. It produces nothing. Its existence is purely parasitic, maintained by taxation; that is to say, by forced levies on the production of others. "Government money," of which one hears so much nowadays, does not exist; there is no such thing. One is especially amused at seeing how largely a native ignorance of this fact underlies the pernicious measures of "social security" which have been foisted on the American people. In various schemes of pensioning, of insurance against sickness, accident, unemployment and what-not, one notices that the goverment is supposed to pay so-much into the fund, the employer so-much, and the workman so-much. Only the other day I read that some paperassie in the Administration at Washington,--or no, on second thought I believe it was a paperassière,-- had forged out a great new comprehensive scheme on this principle, to be put into effect after the war. But the government pays nothing, for it has nothing to pay with. What such schemes actually come to is athat the workman pays his own share outright; he pays the employer's share in the enhanced price of commodities; and he pays the government's share in taxation. He pays the whole bill; and when one counts in the unconscionably swollen costs of bureaucratic brokerage and paperasserie, one sees that what the worksman-beneficiary gets out of the arrangement is about the most expensive form of insurance that could be devised consistently with keeping its promoters out of gaol.
The sum of my observations was that during the last twenty years money has been largely diverted from its function as a mere convenience, a medium of exchange, a sort of general claim-check on production, and has been slily knaved into an instrument of political power. It is now part of an illisionist's apparatus to do tricks with on the political stage--to aid the performer in the obsenities incident to the successful conduct of his loathsome profession. The inevitable consquences are easily foreseen; one need not speak of them; but the politician, like the stockbroker, can not afford to take the long-time point of view on anything. The jobholder, be he president or be he prince, dares not look beyond the moment. All the concern he dares have with the future is summed up in the saying, Après moi le deluge.