Pub. 9 2021 Issue 1 2 T he B ottom L ine Howard Headlee President and CEO Utah Bankers Association O ver the last few years, we’ve all heard various theories, some more elaborate than others, about certain events and actions that would contribute to the demise of the world as we know it. They are incubated on both sides of the polit- ical spectrum. Most often, they are developed to pro- mote a certain political ideology rather than a serious effort to explain some actual phenomena or event. The media refers to them as “conspiracy theories,” Depending upon one’s entertainment/news channel’s philosophical alignment, some theories are promoted as truth, and others are criticized and “debunked” out of hand. But as we watch different factions, for whatever mo- tive, construct elaborate theories to predict the demise of our democracy, our economy, and our way of life, it’s amazing to me that the real threats to the things we treasure are far simpler and staring us right in the face. For example, the last financial crisis included several very complex factors and outcomes that continue to drive widespread speculation and diversity of narra- tives that have led to massive amounts of legislation and regulation. But the fundamentals of the crisis were basic and could have been avoided by focusing on the financial principle of living within our means. If someone lends you more money than you should borrow, regardless of why or how they are lending it to you, you shouldn’t borrow it. Any good banker will tell you that. The same principle holds for individuals, businesses and governments alike. It is the violation of basic prin- ciples, not elaborate theories relating to global conspir- acies and cover-ups that yield the greatest threats to our democracy, economy and way of life. Today, that threat is inf lation. Inf lation is the most devastating inf luence in a free market economy. It is the worst, most regressive tax, and it hurts everyone indiscriminately. Any public