Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Some historical crisis have had their balladeers. Woody Guthrie for the Depression. Marat for the French Revolution. Eisenstein for the Russian. But the minstrel of this final collapse of the West is a faceless analyst buried in a London newspaper article about the increase in the top income tax rate in Britain from 45% to 61%. He blythely made the following statement:
"Those in this income bracket tend to plan their tax affairs more thoroughly, so they will be exploring ways to legitimately mitigate these higher charges."
The swansong of economic collapse. Atlas is shrugging all over the place. Social Democracy has gone into Chapter 11. The people responsible for the reorganization have no reverence for or allegiance to free enterprise or even freedom itself. But the problem is that free enterprise is entirely responsible for the current standard of living and that free enterprise can't exist without effective political freedom.
Will the crop of geniuses that are now firmly in charge be able to turn to the powerful interest groups who created this mess and say no to them? Will they tell AARP that the state is broke and that the Social Security recipients are faced with a default? Will they stand firm and tell the Public Employee Unions that the money has run out? Will they tell huge corporations that the days of protection and subsidies are over? Will they tell the ecologists that a prosperous economy is built on cheap energy and that nuclear and coal are back on the table? Will they end all government involvement in subsidizing college students and tell professors that tenure doesn't protect them from layoffs? Will they abandon the bankrupt Medicare-Medicaid system? The crowd of parasites is endless and in one way or another includes us all. Will the Current Leaders turn to each and every one of these angry and deserving entitlistas and loudly and firmly yell, "Enough!"
They'll be forced to do just that by the time this is done...and more. The Welfare State is collapsing. It was always unsustainable. There were people in the nineteen thirties who looked at the beginning of the trend and were able to see its end. Others took a lesson from the collapse of the Second World-- the crumbling of the Communist East. People might think that China is somehow immune to this current chaos, by the way, but that is not true. Giant top-down statist systems are all in equal trouble. Economic planning is the problem, but is universally seen by the Ivy League educated elites in business and government and certainly by the bloodthirsty commies in Beijing as the solution. Wealth is seen as a function of agreements and subparagraphs, adjustments in interest rates and careful planning. Risk, initiative, creativity and enterprise are scorned, even in the private sector. If you can't calculate something using statistical analysis it is anarchic and unsupportable. But risk, initiative, creativity and enterprise are just the factors that create wealth. 61% tax rates and economic planning boards that are packed with fanatical anti-business ecologically obsessed ex-academics are the stuff of poverty.
'Our New Happy Life' said Orwell and he had it right, right down to interactive TV. The adjustment to grinding poverty will no doubt be accompanied by a wave of social unrest that will neccesitate some 'temporary emergency measures' that will include your TV watching you back. Most people wont care. Legal drugs and free video games will keep most people happy. The few 'conservative' malcontents can be easily ignored as the Flat-Earthers are today. The only opposition groups will be rival political gangs with the bureaucracies conducting purges against each other in an all-out war for power.
Happily, I'm old. I've lived a hand-to-mouth existence in the film industry so even though there were some very fat years there were plenty of lean ones to teach me some humility and toughen me up a bit. I need very little. The world can go to hell in a handbasket and I'll try to accept my own part of the general misfortune with as much grace and courage as I can muster. If you read back posts on my blog you will know that I have been expecting this for a couple of years, although the reality is daunting and frightening. Bring on the Change, Barry.
Monday, November 24, 2008
The Fed is poised to 'lend' an additional $7.4 trillion to financial institutions on top of the $2.8 trillion they've already 'leant' to the banks since the beginning of this crisis a few weeks ago. The gross national product of this country is $13 trillion. Obama and the Dems are heading to DC to hand some pathetically tiny $200 billion or so 'stimulus package' to the peasants. Meanwhile every Blue State in the country is collapsing in a sea of red ink and will surely be bailed out by the munificent Big Brother. The Feds have still got some of that Fan-Fred $700 bil that they're handing out to cover the phony mortagages. The line at the bailout door grows daily. With all this stimulation and two-buck gas we should be in a howling boom, our phones ringing off the hook from calls from desperate employers trying to lure us from our current jobs with higher pay.
Its nice to know that the government has an extra ten or fifteen trillion bucks on hand to help us all through these tough times. Its must be those foreign investors clamoring to grab a piece of the coming Obama Boom lending us the money to stand behind these 'loans' to the banks who were impoverished by the government removing all qualifying criteria from lending. So we all received dozens of credit card offers, whether we had a job or not. Lets party! After all we all have hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity from these frame and drywall shacks we were clever enough to buy. A country of millionaires...on paper. Real Estate never goes down, you see.
OOPS! a slight miscalculation. Meanwhile every parasite and overpaid public official have sat back, content that they had enough political juice to protect their 'right' to a cushy livetime job, followed by a fat pension; the social security recipients just had to snivel in front of the TV cameras in phony interviews set up by AARP and big new 'benefits' are added to their 'entitlements': rural corporations grow fat off ethanol subsidies and the waste ground is covered by non-functioning windmills and broken solar panels, all collecting a hefty subsidy check. The list of recipients is endless and probably includes everyone in the country and a whole bunch of foreigners. As government grows its so easy to hide favors and handouts in the thousand-paged appropriation bills and after all, we all win!
Now the 401k's are headed for worthlessness, the fat government and union pension plans are holding 'paper' assets that aren't worth the paper their written on--bonds issued by the state and municipal governments that their improvident wage and benefit demands have bankrupted. WHAT?! Those pensions are a right! Aren't they?
Is this the first time that socialism has been achieved by putting the entire free economy in receivership. Everything collapses and the government takes over and runs it according to a Five-Year-Plan. That'll work. Good times ahead.
But where are they getting all this money? It must be all the cash that was accumulating in the 'Social Security Trust Fund' in Algore's lock-box. Ummm...I guess they put all those 'contributions' into the general fund ; anyway Social Security is about to take on millions of new recipients as soon as they pass 'Immigration Reform'. Just ship the abuelos north and put'em on the dole...there's plenty of money!
With all this money floating around why aren't we all rich? Because money is a reflection of the ability of the economy to produce wealth. The ability of this economy to produce wealth is shrinking as the inexorable demands of the recipients of subsidies are expanding enormously.
The corollaries of socialism are poverty and inflation and we are seeing it happen before our eyes. We are also seeing the electorates turning to Big Brother in the hope that they will get something for nothing. I grew up in Las Vegas among hustlers and cheats. The working definition of a sucker in that world is someone who wants something for nothing. That's a good definition in any world. Its also a good definition of the average voter.
Another thing that happens to suckers, or chumps as they are also known, is that there is a moment when they realize that they've been hornswoggled. Conservatives dream that that will be the day that the herd turns to Milton Freedman and FA Hayek and demands rational reforms. Don't bet on it. Tyranny and mob violence are much more likely. Democracy got us into this mess by empowering interest groups to grab control of the system and milk it. Democracy will not get the demands of all these disparate groups under control. Scarce resources will have to be allocated by fiat. Period. Thats Change We Can Believe In!
Monday, November 17, 2008
Ah. its November! It's nice to step outside and watch the tiny white flakes floating down... can Christmas, oops sorry, I used the 'C' word, Winter Break be far away? Of course these white flakes aren't exactly the same as the ones you might be experiencing in Denver or Cleveland; they come from the communities upwind who are being incinerated by giant brush fires which are enhanced by bone-dry sixty mile-an-hour winds blowing off the desert like the wind from a giant bellows.
Those of you who cant afford a California vacation are in luck. All you need is a trash can full of hay or dried yard clippings and two electric fans. Crank the old furnace up to 95 degrees, put some lighter fluid in the trash can, ignite it, use your dimmer switch to turn your lights down to about half-power and replace a couple of the white bulbs with red ones and turn the fans on full blast and you can pretend you're in Beverly Hills. If the smoke is thick enough you can pretend your wife is naomi Watts. This ultra-hot winter weather is sometimes described by the natives as 'earthquake weather' so you might want to hire a giant truck filled with cement to drive by your house a few times so you can really groove on the Cali experience as it shakes ominously. An illegal alien with a leaf blower outside your window at seven AM could enhance the realism.
Black soot is everywhere. Even with the windows shut it leaks in and creates little piles in the windowsills and around the doors. the cats come in from the hillside reeking of smoke as though they had just had lunch with kitty-cat Satan. For some reason the last few nights have been punctuated with coyote howls. Its like listening to a barbershop quartet that likes to eat raw cats and possums. The traveling band of coyotes that live on this hillside are back in our area so we round the cats up and shut them in early on these dim evenings. Its so dry that a half-hour after the sprinklers went off I stepped out into the back yard and it was so dry that I checked to see if they had malfunctioned by running another cycle...fifteen minutes after I did that it was bone-dry again.
A sure sign of impending doom is when the phone rings and my mother-in-law in London is on the other end asking if we're all right. That means that in the UK TV news is showing pictures of burning houses and people being evacuated. We've had fires a lot closer, one where we could see the tongues of flame leaping up over the ridge-line but the smoke from this latest batch is the worst we've ever had. So I'm sitting in my house with the windows shut and the AC on in mid-November.
Luckily our esteemed Mayor Viva-la-raza (Viaragosa) has had to stop performing gay marriages in his office temporarily and is ready to take action. Fortunately the large majority of this season's brushfires are outside the city limits as this particular mayor has screwed up everything he's touched and his active participation in the management of this emergency would easily cause half the city to be engulfed in flames. The clouds of smoke and soot have also put the kybosh on the angry anti-Prop 8 demonstrations. Yes the Neanderthals managed to pass a California Constitutional Amendment against gay marriage but before you guys start getting too upset you should remember that we are in the district of the Ninth Circus Court of Appeals which is about to be topped up by Obama and the sixty-dem Senate with an even more lawless and looney crowd of jurists who will be happy to show their contempt for the Morman and Born-Again scum that managed to convince the voters to pass this ballot measure. All conservative ballot measures are always unconstitutional. I voted against Prop 8, by the way, just in the interest of full disclosure. All the commercials were trying to scare me by saying that the schools will be forced to teach lids about homosexualty. If kids in California schools learn their Gay Studies lessons as well as their math and reading lessons this will be the butchest state in the union in no time. Now if there was a ballot measure that was against teaching these little geniuses that carbon emissions affect the climate, a really destructive lie, then I would vote for that.
A lot of things have been hidden under the cloud of smoke. Cali's deeping budget mess and the huge layoffs of Public Employees and giant tax increases are working their way forward silently and uncovered by the media who love a good car chase or a hillside full of celebrity mansions aflame but hate anything to do with budgets or appropriations. The Governator flies his private carbon-blasting jet from fire to fire, handing out emergency funds borrowed using California's DDD-junk bond credit status from the Red Chinese Army using the citizens of San Diego as collateral. It the state defaults everybody from La Jolla south to the border has to go live in China and work in smoke-belching factories adulterating wheat glutens and toothpaste with industrial chemicals 18 hrs a day for a dollar...or a Yuan, the dollar will soon be completely worthless. At least they'll have jobs.
I looked for a historical parallel for the New Age Of Obama and I decided that the reign of Charles The Silly in France was probably the most appropriate. The Black Death stalked the land as did the Black Prince and his army of thugs and murderers. Trade and commerce were at a standstill and the king's consort, the lovely Odette, threw huge banquets for the licentuos crowd of barons who actually ran the kingdom. Banquets where the king sat on the floor with the household hunting dogs howling for a bone to gnaw. Just like Obama will be with the New Age Senate. This is it America, its Chuck Schumer's way or the highway, with no gas and cameras that give you an automatic ticket every time you pass.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
In the beginning the French Revolution was a reaction to a fiscal crisis. The King called a special session of the legislature (a really special session, the Estates General hadn't met in over a century) to raise taxes to cover a deficit that was about to consume the entire government. The Ancien Regime ran at a dead loss. Pensioners, parasitic aristocrats, a growing and cancerous bureaucracy, huge interest payments on existing debt and the degenerate luxury of the royal court, all fixed expenses that could not be cut, were outstripping the expected revenue to the point where people who were looking at the numbers rationally were becoming very alarmed.
So the legislature came together with the word 'change' on every lip. But this wasn't a legislative problem. The harvest had failed and the price of bread was ruinous to the average person. Taxes and overregulation were strangling business. The powerful hereditary class of aristocrats had contempt for business and the vulgar nouveau riche who were making large amounts of money in the private sector. They moved to reign in and confiscate the obscene excess wealth of these upstarts, depressing the economy and inhibiting new enterprises. The France of Louis XVI wasn't anywhere near as robust and wealthy as the France of Louis XIV but the fixed outlays were much bigger. What was the result? Chaos and anarchy, followed by a one-man dictatorship.
Here we are two centuries later. Once again beset by immovable 'fixed costs'. The interest groups, local state and national who run the government look on any cut in the rate of growth as an assault on their human rights and the timid cronies they've maneuvered into positions of power are far more likely to resort to robbing the public than they are to anger their sponsors and allies. After all, everybody, from the poorest to the richest gets some kind of a subsidy.
If you're poor there are myriad agencies and benefits that you can access. Food Stamps, Medicaid, Housing subsidies, Earned Income Tax Credit, the list is endless. If you're middle class your children can attend formerly out-of-reach universities run by the beneficent state. Vast bureaucracies and agencies sprawl across the landscape staffed with the middle class in their millions. These folks bask in the knowledge that they have lifetime jobs with a nice fat retirement check awaiting them at fifty-five so they can hop in the Winnebago and drive aimlessly around on the Interstates annoying the children who moved thousands of miles away to get away from their parents.
The rich have become adept at paying their legislators to write subsidies into the giant omnibus budget bills that have become so popular wherever lawmakers meet to 'craft' a budget. Most legislators and their cronies are as moderate in their demands on the public purse as those presented to the trembling and unarmed Romans by the King of the Visigoths as he stood outside their gates with an army of warlike barbarians. The wrathful and 'entitled' politicians now stand inside the gates backed by a swelling army of Senior Citizens who expect their every whim to be catered to instantly, an education bureaucracy that swells like a pig's bladder, farmers wanting bigger payoffs, unions wanting cash to bail out the enterprises they've bankrupted with their unreasonable demands and every variety of idealist and do-gooder all needing more federal cash than last year to shepherd in the new Nirvana.
The Iron Rice Bowl. That is the ultimate distillation of socialism. You own your job as a right. You cant be fired, your pay goes up because its increases are automatically written into an agreement pegged to the 'cost of living'. Health care is a right. Being able to retire and collect a pension that allows you to live comfortably is a right. High real estate prices and bogus mortgages that you never have to pay off are a right. You have a right to cheap food and cheap energy. Smooth roads and adequate police and fire protection. The right to attend university if you can spell your name on the entry form. We've all got lots of expensive rights.
Meanwhile, the idealists have launched on a crusade to fix the weather. Even though global temperatures have been declining for more than a decade and there is absolutely no empirical data linking carbon dioxide with climate change the new crowd has already announced its enthusiastic commitment to the most expensive and inefficient technologies to generate electricity and their enthusiastic opposition to any form of energy that involves fire or radiation. Promethius was tortured by the Gods for giving mankind the gift of fire, now the Democrats are giving that earth-destroying present back with a sneer of contempt written on their New Age visages. The crippling increase in electric bills will be passed on the the herd either in higher rates or higher taxes to subsidize this idiocy. The New Jacobins have also hatched a scheme called 'Cap and Trade' which is like a game of Three Card Monty where businesses are charged taxes for any carbon or anything else that they emit into the atmosphere.
The right to own a private automobile, erroneously taken for granted in the minds of the moronic Voters For Change, is an illusion that will be revealed for the stupidity that it is when the Weather Police get rolling and cripple the oil companies. Soon GM will be like Uruguay Airlines under the socialist government there in the 1960's; tens of thousands of employees but not a single airplane. The government subsidized auto workers will be sitting in their idle auto plants collecting full wages and bennies from the hand of the taxpayer.
Like France in 1789 the problem is not how the system is being run or which faction is running the system, its the unsustainablity of the entire enterprise. Blue State governments and large cities, all run on a one-party basis by Democrats and dominated by the rapacious Public Employee Unions, have now reached bankruptcy. So has the UAW-destroyed automobile industry. Forcing the banks to make loans to welfare cases, cronies and seedy deadbeat speculators has destroyed the banking system. The final coup de gras was the ocean of computer-generated cash poured into the credit system to smoothe over the wreckage of sound business principles and ensure de facto government control of the financial system-- the condition that caused the crash in the first place.
But the biggest beneficiaries of the funny-money loans were the middle class who moved into overpriced six thousand square foot clapboard shacks and imagined they had a million dollars worth of equity after two years of ownership which would allow them to endlessly 'refinance' every time they maxed out their credit cards. Thats the greatest thing about all this government intervention...everybody wins! Sniveling about trivia like sound business practices and free trade or even esoterica like 'free speech' or 'property rights' is for the few remaining conservative crackpots. Rejecting the flaccid Keynsianism of the beady-eyed Bushites or the outright Marxism of the incoming pack of geniuses puts one on the outskirts of society with the Ron Paulians and other political outcasts. The system is seen as immutably rock-solid and permanent by the vast majority, who are upset that there has been a temporary downturn but look to the intervening hand of the state to set things right.
Its not going to happen. An economist named Dougherty from Chapman University made a very credible case on the radio yesterday for a $1.5 trillion deficit for this fiscal year just based on the things that have been implemented already or are being proposed for the lame-duck session of Congress that will usher in The New Age Of Change. He's living in a dream world if he thinks its going to be that low. If the Dems arent going to let the UAW take the hit for ruining the auto industry, or Fannie and Freddie for ruining the banking industry and tanking real estate prices are they going to let their beloved Public Employee Unions pay for the state and local governments that have been brought low by their greedy rapacity? Will they let California and New York default on their bonds? Joe The Plumber defaulting on his mortgage, credit card and car payments, his unemployed kids throwing up their hands and walking away from $200,000 worth of unpayable student loan debt is one thing, the State Of California walking away from the worthless paper the voters have been authorizing is quite another. Actually, they're the same thing. The Perestroika that Gorbachev has been urging on Obama has arrived already. Just like it did in the Good Old Soviet Union-- which most of the people surrounding Obama supported over Reagan before they switched their admiration over to the Islamonazis.
If California bonds are worthless that means all bonds are worthless unless the Feds buy them with more computer cash. That means that low-interest Federal bonds are effectively worthless as is the US Dollar. That wipes out the reserves and investments of every other country on earth. The statists now in charge of the planet do not have the intellectual wherewithal or the philosophical underpinning to deal with this. But they'll be too busy implementing the Law Of The Sea Treaty and the Kyoto Accords to worry about an economic meltdown until its too late. Its already too late. The dinosaurs are arguing about how many electric fans to set up to fend off the approaching asteroid and whether turning on so many fans will cause Global Warming.
On his deathbed Louis the XV was heard to mutter, "Apres moi, le deluge." Most thought he was referring to his idiot son who was about to become king in his place, and that was certainly part of it, but he was looking at the oncoming crackup and thanking God for taking him before the flood hit. As the poet William S Burroughs said, "I dont want to be around when this sh!thouse blows up!" Burroughs had the good sense to check out a few years ago, probably defaulting on huge debts to heroin dealers and sundry other tradesmen and leaving the rest of us on the bare surface of the Earth contemplating the media's idiot son about to be coronated and watching with trembling fear the expanding shadow of the oncoming meteorite.
Friday, November 7, 2008
In my digital donkey-work FX job my only luxury is that I get to listen to music without being bothered from 4:30 pm to 3:30 am four days a week. I've really been plowing through my CD collection and borrowing music from others like mad and burning copies. I'm going over to my son's house after a quick trip into Burbank to connive for free-lance work and grab a bunch of his old ones. He's long since digitized his whole music collection so I can browse through the boxes in his garage and take what I want. One of my favorite rediscoveries amongst my own dust-covered CDs was the soundtrack to 'Repo Man', a punk-rock movie about how tough the Reagan Years were. Hey! Here's a catchy tune...
in a sluggish economy
hits the land of the free
standing in unemployment lines
blame the government for hard times
we just get by
however we can
we all gotta duck
when the sh*t hits the fan
10 kids in a cadillac
stand in lines for welfare checks
let's all leach off the state
gee!the money's really great!
free loaves of bread
5lb blocks of cheese
bags of groceries
has run out on you and me
we do whatever we can
gotta duck when the sh*t hits the fan
Or when America's Chickens Come Home To Roost! And them rascals are roosting all over! But that's OK. We've elected a raft of Social Engineers who are going to rescue the economy and the whole country and make everything fair. How do I know? They've got computer models to prove it! The same kind of computer models that prove Global Warming even as the glaciers expand and threaten Bangor, Maine are now going to model and regulate all economic activity.
One time, in the midst of some monumental screw-up, Curly turned to Moe and said proudly, "This is so easy a moron could do it!" Moe replies, "So why dont you get one to help you?" Why not, indeed? Obama and the Democrats are getting more than one moron to help them. The fluorescent-glowing halls of government and the ivy-walled towers of academia are currently being combed for the most extreme morons available. Morons who reject free Trade and vow to tax businesses who think about going offshore into bankruptcy. Morons who reject the secret ballot in union elections. Morons who want to create a 'Cap And Trade' system to fix the weather that was implemented in Europe a few years ago. It was a policy so disastrous that even the Hegelian Euros were forced to abandon it as their economies went in the tank. But our economy is already in the tank.
Ahhh! The Enlightened Social Theories abound! The buggy-eyed totalitarian leftists are geared up like a bunch of speed-freaks who just filled a phony prescription for Desoxyn and are ravening to punish the ignorant proletarians for their decades-long rejection of extreme leftist candidates. They've been putting James Brown's 'The Big Payback' on a loop in their Ipods and dancing a happy ji...better just forget that word... dancing a happy dance. These power-hungry theorists are going to take the 'offensive speech' codes from the halls of academe and apply them to everybody they dont like. Hate speech, you know. Cant wait for that. William F Buckley once stated that he'd rather be governed by people picked at random from the phone book than the faculty of Harvard. Oops! Its too late to say you're sorry. If WFB was alive today he'd roll over in his grave. He would also be pilloried as a racist; everyone knows Harvard Faculty is a code-word for African Americans.
In the Age Of Enlightenment in the last half of the eighteenth century two great thinkers emerged; Adam Smith and Jean Jacques Rousseau. Both defined philosophies which had immense consequences in the development of our current society.
Adam Smith believed in the Invisible Hand of the market. He was the prophet of the Industrial Revolution and the Age Of Information. Societies that employed Smith's principals were the freest and most wealthy ever in the history of human civilization. The free-market economics of Smith led to a human race which had conquered hunger and disease, which sped from place to place with undreamed of rapidity, in which communications went from galloping speed to instantaneous speed-of-light realtime psychedelic blur-speed. A world in which childbirth didn't kill one in six mothers and childhood one in four children. A world in which women were free to have sex lives of their own without having to chain themselves to early marriage and endless childbearing. An Arcadia.
Jean Jacques Rousseau had a different idea. He believed that primitive societies were the most fair and happy. The reason for this was the 'Social Contract', a mutual and generally unspoken agreement that defined everyone's rights and responsibilities. In simple societies this was generally seen as being more fair. More complex societies are more often dominated by small cliques of greedy and power-hungry men who skew the social contract to their private benefit and to the detriment of the general public. Rousseau posited that if the most enlightened people in society would consciously write a social contract they could vastly improve the lot of the common man and realize the utopian dream of perfection and happiness.
As Smith's ideas generated the Industrial Revolution so Rousseau's generated the French and Russian Revolutions. The misery experienced by common people being taken from the land and yoked to the industrial harness was nothing compared to the brutality of these two revolutions. Both were attempts at social engineering on a scale never before envisioned. But when Robespierre, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Mussolini, Juan Peron, Mugabe and myriad others tried to fashion their ideal societies by a 'Triumph Of The Will' these determinist crusades always ended in total destruction and disaster. Less brutal methods were tried in Western Europe after World War 2. Britain, which had won the war but had then gone on a binge where the government nationalized most heavy industry, still had a bleak poverty and rationing seven years after the war ended. Germany, which had been completely physically destroyed but whose government had been created by a bunch of free-marketeers, was undergoing a boom. But the Germans waded into the fever-swamp of socialism and stagnation as soon as the rebuilding was done. Soon the only brake on the socialism of Europe was the giant gravitational pull of America.
The failure of government planning is manifest. Countries which had it were always basket-cases. But rising above the statist soup there was always one beacon, one light to which every face hoping for freedom or economic well-being would turn; America. The word is magic in the world. People everywhere know more about America than they do about any other foreign country. America is the hope that you can live a decent, happy life without oppression or fear. The consumerist culture that flowed from America's economic freedom created a world market, laced together by the internet and instant communications overwhelmed the entire world. How did five percent of the worlds population outdistance the other ninety-five percent?
Freedom. Capitalism. Rule of law. That's how. None of which have any relevance to the claque of social engineers who will be flinging the mush-soft retarded bureaucrats of the Bush Administration out of their cushy sinecures in the vast structure of the federal government and putting their Soviet claws on the levers of power. Six weeks into this new session of Congress people will be stunned at what a monster they've bred. These dudes want a finger in every pie and if you dont like it you're an unpatriotic, racist, greedy, self-serving, corrupt Enemy Of The People. We didn't elect Jimmy Carter we've elected Hugo Chavez. As times get tough that will be apparent.
The application of only a few of these 'cures' for the economy will have the same effect that draining two pints of blood and branding with a hot iron had on Medieval fever patients. Extreme measures will be taken to exorcise the demons of unfairness and selfishness and make the system work for the little guy. The new social contract. The old social contract, the one that built this country is obsolete. Now we get a level of government planning that will take your breath away. The few hundred thousand miserable wretches who starved to death as a result of corn being diverted into ethanol will become a few hundred million as the global subsidies that basket-case economies like Egypt and Pakistan feed off of dry up instantly. the Saudi Arabia of food is about to cut its production drastically. Let the Saudi Arabia of oil deal with that.
So now we march, with our faces into the glowing sunrise, into the New Age Of Change. Soon our benefactors will be issuing us restive peasants a donative under the rubric of a 'tax refund' in the hope that we will spend it at Mattress City instead of buying stock in General Motors, therefore expanding the economy greatly. In fact, we're buying General Motors whether we like it or not, or at least our pals in DC are going to buy it on our behalf. The sound of dominos hitting each other is deafening. I feel like Leonardo DiCaprio laying on the top of the upended Titanic, waiting for the plunge.
My wife tells me I'm an obsessive Right Wing Nut whose worm-eaten brain has been warped beyond repair by Talk Radio. Maybe she's right.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Last night we watched the effective demise of the Republican Party. The dissolution of the Republicans as a separate political entity started the day they didn't stand up to The Clintons. As it became clear what a lawless, corrupt thug BJ was a true opposition party would have attacked him every day and every way pointing out what he was until he resigned, just like the left did to Nixon. Instead they stood aside and watched Newt be savaged and acquiesced as the Clintons effectively choose a giant, bloated, waddling caricature of a corrupt politician, Dummy Hastert, to be Speaker Of The House. The Big Dummy was so hopelessly ineffective that it made any majority possessed by the Republicans nearly meaningless. Meanwhile in the Senate Dole and Frist were trying to compromise with glassy-eyed zealots like Schumer and Kennedy. Slowly all ideological pretense was leached away from the party. The party of The Contract With America became the party of The Bridge To Nowhere. Average people saw it clearly. While the Democrats were skillfully pretending to be what they weren't, middle-of-the-road and honest, the hapless Republicans settled into a comfy life growing fat on kickbacks paid for favors received in the harsh glare of a media which was serving the revolution by discrediting its opponents. The party of Newt Gingrich became the party of Ted Stevens.
So the party that stood by too polite to point out the Clintons open corruption stood silently by while Bush's opponents heaped him with calumnies devoid of any truth. No epithet was too vile to apply to Bush. Was there any response? Were people supposed to sit there while the media attacked Bush's policies and just take it on faith that Bush was trying to do the right thing? How could they when he goes to MALDEF and Ted Kennedy and gets them to write an Immigration Bill and tried to sneak it through the Congress without any debate? What were they to think when he signs a bill to effectively federalize education (No Child Left Behind)? Or when he nominates his liberal counselor for an open Supreme Court seat. As leaks poured from the Permanent Bureaucracy to their friends in the press there was never any response by the Bush Administration. Its almost as though Bush rejected Machiavelli and chose being loved over being feared; his reward for being so stupid was to be neither loved nor feared.
The ideas of freedom, individuality, and capitalism have disappeared. The old myths of 'America' are jokes among the people. First Amendment, whats that? I can post anything I want on U-tube, cant I? Last night at work I heard people happily talking about how Obama was going to get them better jobs by ending outsourcing. The idea that tripling the costs of production would end any chance of them getting a better job ever, was foreign to them. The thought that our employer was about to receive a giant tax increase both for his business and and personally and that that might threaten their ability to keep the job that they had now was also blissfully absent. The thought that they were about to be press-ganged into a Union didn't bother them until I mentioned that the Union charges two weeks pay to inductees. Too late now, its going to happen.
But since The War On Poverty the state has been growing and metastasizing in the body of a formerly healthy country. The role of the government and the cut it takes of all wealth has expanded steadily and almost without opposition by the Republicans, until there were no real differences or disagreements between the two parties; they had become the Crips and the Bloods of a hundred statehouses and legislative chambers. They fought over turf by slinging slogans at each other. The Democrats cared about the children and the Republicans were protecting America's values but it had all been reduced to twaddle by a gusher of cash. Except that even in the great corrupting surge of money that was pouring into DC the Democrats remained true to their values. Self-serving corruption and leftist totalitarianism go hand in hand. The Republicans committed their felonies furtively with timid hearts. When confronted they stood before the dock trembling with shame. When Chuck Schumer was caught feloniously making public a political opponent's credit records he smiled and walked up to the cameras and bragged about it. When William Jefferson was caught with $90,000 of bribe money stashed in his office he was successful at keeping his seat on a powerful house committee. How dare they insist that he step down? Democrats smoke crack, run gay whorehouses in their basement, openly sell government land to companies run by their children, get way-below-market loans on marked down real estate from lenders whose regulation they oversee, they take bribes from Chinese street gangs. Nobody cares. Certainly not the voters.
So now the turf war is over. The Cripocrats have wasted the Bloodpublicans and have achieved effective one-party rule. All government employees are in accord with them. All Unions are on board. All the Non-profits. 100% of academia is dancing in the streets. Soon the sun will begin to set on the opposition. Talk radio will be shut down, the internet policed. The already-failing Old Media will be nationalized and brought even more totally to heal than it is now. School curricula will be mandated by the Feds to become even more rigidly propagandistic. Capital will fly or be taxed into oblivion. We will be living in a One Party State. A Venezuela-style kleptocracy.
This was truly the Storming Of The Bastille. The New Age will begin with a flurry of legislation from a party unified and directed by fanatics who will brook no opposition. Usually 'The First Hundred Days' is a tired cliche, but not this time. In a previous post I quoted Old King Log...all the poisons which lurk in the mud will rise and hatch out. Deficits will be ignored and now that money doesn't even need to be printed trillions of dollars will be created electronically. That will take care of the trillions of dollars in unfunded liabilities. The pitiful opposition will either be co-opted or swatted like flies. Senator Schumer has already labeled talk radio 'political pornography' soon to be made unprofitable by a more onerous the 'Fairness Doctrine'. Opposing Obama during the election was described as racism, what will opposition to The Obama Administration be described as? If paying taxes is patriotic what will happen to those unpatriotic souls who protest the confiscatory tax rates which are inevitable in the presence of a hungry bureaucracy? With a judiciary picked for its 'empathy for the poor' anything can happen.
So all sanity has been abandoned as the ship of state drifts onto the reefs of nationalization and deficit spending. Cap and Trade, Card Check, automobile industry bailout, private pension and 401k confiscation and an immediate repeal of the Bush tax cuts, an immigration bill that will make MALDEF and Ted Kennedy proud; thats the first week. Also, there's the dying Kennedy's parting shot; the end of private medicine in this country, the effective nationalization of one seventh of the economy. The places an unchecked legislature can go will boggle the mind, especially when they're sending these monstrosities to a White House where they will be signed with pleasure. They will pass so many bills so quickly that the effect will hit all at once, probably by 2010. And there lies the hope that as things go south as a result of these disastrous policies, and the effect of them all being put into place will be a shock that will create chaos, that a new more resolute party will emerge to truly oppose the Mega-State. They will have the reality of socialism as their ally which will make them powerful indeed.
Monday, November 3, 2008
"Laissez-faire, c'est fini," said President Nicolas Sarkozy. "We will intervene massively whenever a strategic enterprise needs our money."
The column that I got this Sarkozy quote from was detailing the total statist mentality that has completely taken over in all the nations of Europe. Evans-Pritcherd, the author, very clearly lays out how statist intervention in free markets caused the current crisis and that the philosophy of free trade and free markets is completely absent from the political class that has grown up in the last twenty years.
Probably the first big crisis that Obama-Reid-Pelosi will deal with is the bankruptcy of the American automobile industry. Their first step will be to pass card-check so that the UAW can reduce Toyota and Honda to the same level of insolvency as GM and Ford. But that wont affect GM, Chrysler or Ford, they will need help within months. Soon people with no pension or savings will be paying taxes to protect the pensions of UAW members whose unreasonable demands have bankrupted the enterprises they worked for. Another cradle-to-grave liberal social scheme pays off in red ink. Those unions really were in the drivers seat for a while, weren't they? They still are. They make huge political payoffs to Democrats and will be rewarded with hundreds of billions of dollars for their investment. An entire state, Michigan, will soon have little economic life left besides a run down service sector catering to a pack of pensioned parasites. A true 'welfare state'.
Barak has promised to put the coal business into bankruptcy as well. Surely no responsible humanitarian would punish the innocent, black-begrimed, silicosis benighted coal-miner for the climatary sins of their greedy, earth-raping capitalist masters? I've been told that coal miners get mighty healthy pensions these days. We can just chalk it up to one of the minor expenses in the War Against Climate Change and just cover the pension tab out of the boundless public purse! As Caligula was heard once to say when someone questioned one of his many donatives, "Dont worry, there's plenty of money!"
Or was that Barak Obama? I get them confused sometimes. Both so like Gods you see. Last night I watched Barak as he laid the message of Change on a stadium full of keening chumps in Cincinnati. Just in that campaign speech were contained a trillion dollars worth of goodies to everyone. He basically promised Cadillac health care coverage to everybody, with the forty-nine million currently uninsured immediately given 'Congressional level' medical coverage. Luckily our medical system has that much unused capacity at its disposal. They might fund this one by rounding up the small businesses that would be the likely victims of a crippling federal mandate and strong-arming them into some kind of Omnibus Medical Plan so they dont all just drop all their employee's health coverage and let them join the Government Cadillac Plan.
Wow! The government will give Cadillac Health Care and make Cadillacs at the same time! Who needs a risky free market when you only have to tap into the geniuses emerging from our modern universities? A rise in the standard of living is certain. Maybe a good slogan will be, "Our New Happy Life". I like that. How do you say it in TextSpeak? R nu :) lif. Gee, imagine that, a new English-derived language with all the nuance and sublety removed. I vaguely remember reading a book that had that in it...but I cant recall the title. You know, that weird book where your TV was completely interactive. The one where The Ministry Of Plenty planned the economy, and what a great economy it was! Full employment for everyone.
In fact, its starting to look like the only thing Orwell got wrong was the date. To go back to the article I started with, the one about the total acceptance of Marxist economics, or as Evans-Pritcherd puts it, 'the Hegelian Broth', tomorrows election, whether a Democratic romp or a less damaging Republican last hurrah won't change the course of events at all. Will McCain let General Motors fall and make a speech reminding labor unions that excessive demands will lead to situations like this? No he wont. Will McCain support cheap energy as a way to jump start the free economy and help the auto makers? No he wont. Even if he wanted to do those things he would be prevented by the almost total opposition within the bureaucracy to any kind of free market policies.
Once, when I was a 13 year old starry-eyed worker for the Nevadans For Johnson campaign in 1964 one of my schoolmate's parents told me he was voting for Goldwater. This was in Nevada. These guys lived a few miles out of town on a few acres of tumbleweeds. The father made a living in a tiny two-man machine-repair business he ran out of a shed on his property and his old pickup truck. I used to go out there to ride horses out in the desert with my friend Steve. When his old man told me that he was voting for The Evil One I asked him why. He told me a story.
Once there was a little bird. A fox came to the bird with a fat worm he had dug up and offered the bird the worm in exchange for a feather. The bird had to work pretty hard to get himself a worm that fat so he plucked one of the tiny feathers from his underbelly, one he'd never miss, and traded it to the fox for a nice easy meal. Every day the same thing happened. The bird became fat and lazy and after a while he found that he no longer even wanted to fly. Thats when the fox ate him. Steve's dad said that liberty was a lot like that, if you trade it for a free meal then little by little you'll get weaker and weaker and then one day that selfsame meal will swallow up your freedom just like that bird got swallowed up. I didn't understand what he was talking about. What the hell do birds have to do with anything anyway? Whats for dinner?
Sunday, November 2, 2008
It dont look good. For McCain to win every poll has to be extremely wrong. Not just some of them, not just one or two of them but all of them. No matter how you slice it this looks like the end. Its depressing.
George Will today has a column pointing out that LBJ won and had vast majorities in Congress and that after Watergate in 1974 the Congress was swept clean of Republicans, setting the stage for what was effectively six years of Congressional rule. He forgot to mention 1992 when Clinton and the Democrats dominated both branches. According to Will the country survived all these Democratic victories quite nicely.
Or did it? Wasn't LBJ's victory in 1964 the beginning of the nation's unchecked slide into welfare-state socialism? Didn't the 1974 Democratic majority take the viable South Vietnamese nation, which had defeated the Viet Cong completely in the countryside and was holding off the North Vietnamese Army, and defund all military aid to the South? This set the stage for an NVA invasion and the throwing away of two decades of valiant efforts to keep the people in the south from the most brutal form of slavery ever known in human history. It also set in course a falling of dominoes in the Third World which came very close to losing the Cold War for the West. The Clinton victory ushered in an age where lies and corruption permeated the government. The rules and the truth were thrown out and a permanent state of war was declared on anyone who disagreed. Republicans or whistle blowers were destroyed as confidential government records, sealed divorce transcripts and supposedly sancrosanct medical records were combed and any juicy bits were handed to the increasingly partisan and compliant liberal media.
The public rewarded the Democrats for their misbehavior. The lies worked. Little by little the integrity of the system was eroded. Republicans were eager to 'cross the aisle' to accommodate this trend. Only a handful of stalwarts from states inhabited by the remaining few Americans who still believed in the old verities remained on the scene yelling unheard into the ether. After Clinton crushed Newt Gingrich and then torpedoed Livingston as his replacement a gigantic but feeble-minded creature named Dummy Hastert emerged to 'lead' the House Republicans away from the policies of the defeated Gingrich and Livingstone and into the boundless pasture of legislative corruption where they and their Democratic buddies were able to feed in groovy bi-partisan harmony on the dense fodder that an ever-expanding government could offer.
But now we are at the end game. The erosion of the integrity of the democratic system is at one with the erosion of the integrity of our social system. Mass media has so destroyed people's political consciousness that the whole concept of democracy and freedom has become meaningless. American's are so inured to debt that the swelling national debt and the geometric expansion of its unfunded obligations just reminds them of their own financial dilemma. They don't see that the system that they live in, that they have known since birth and which has been consistently raising their standard of living for the last 63 years, can fail.
But this last Democratic Party victory is indeed 'America's Chickens Coming Home To Roost'. The economic system which created the last burst of wealth will be stressed into a permanent decline, its innovative wealth creation strangled by a death-grip from intrusive regulators, confiscatory taxes, and predatory unions. This will drag the public sector into bankruptcy. It already has in New York, New Jersey and California. Without a trillion-dollar bailout these three states' governments will implode. Their bonds are probably as worthless as a pack of sub-prime mortgages. And who are the main holders of California Government Bonds? CALPERS, the pension fund that pays out outrageous retirement pensions to state employees who retire to live in luxury in their mid-fifties. That fund also was big in the bundled mortgage market. What would a California bond default do to those pensions?
But the voters of this state are fearless and believe in the future! When the hated Bush wouldn't fund embryonic stem-cell research the good citizens of this state passed a three-billion dollar bond measure to fund embryonic stem-cell research. Dozens of breakthroughs have resulted from this. I'm sure of it. Really. This year the buzz-word is 'alternative energy' and the bond issues infest the ballot to the tune of tens of billions. Throw in a few bill more for mass transit, children's hospitals, and veterans and add that to the ten billion dollars the state has to borrow just to pay its bills and you have the entire problem in a nutshell. There is no opposition party standing up and pointing out that all children in California are automatically insured by the state already and that the incoming Obama Administration is promising additional federal largesse to these already pampered prepubescents who might not really need an extra 3 billion dollars at this point. There is no opposition party pointing to the head-on collision with insolvency that our nation is facing from all these 'socially conscious' policies. So the happy morons of Cali will tromp happily to the polls and vote to hand a couple of billion borrowed dollars over to T. Boone Pickens.
The real estate bubble bursting was like the little chest pain and fluctuation from a mild heart attack. Now Obama is going to take power, put his big feet up on the desk and fire up a giant-sized Marlboro of taxes and spending to the applause of a befuddled electorate who has installed him to make their lives OK after the Evil Bush wrecked everything. He'll be chain-smoking these compassion ciggies and also laboring hard to make sure that the boys are all getting their cut, that's only fair. Lets hope that the national ticker can take it.
Friday, October 31, 2008
If you took Bill Clinton and took away his sense of humor, his conniving pragmatism and his political restraint what do you get? America's second black president, Barak 'Hugo' Obama. There are an increasing number of signs that point to Obama being more lawless and more arrogant even than BJ Clinton, the former record-holder in those categories, and they are becoming alarming. The amazingly boring and condescending use of $200,000,000 of his burgeoning slush fund to pontificate to us lowly Americans before a traditional sporting event is an example of what's to come from our dazzling Messiah.
When Pelosi-Reid-Obama install the 'Fairness Doctrine' and change broadcast licensing to a yearly process you'll be amazed at how quickly the prime-time line-up will be preempted for an important Obama utterance. Failing newspapers will be 'revived' by the Newspaper Rescue Act, a benevolent government hand extended to a struggling industry to save jobs and add a new layer of supervision to reporters and editors. In the future layoffs at newspapers will be restricted to reporters whose anti-social views distort the news; i.e. conservatives. National Reporters Union officials will make sure that no Non-Union writers are hired and that those who are have a sufficient respect for the needs of the poor and the children. Just today it seems three reporters from papers which endorsed McCain have been kicked off the Obama campaign plane and sent home to say goodbye to their families, write their wills and wait for the 'Age Of Change' with the shades drawn. Getting snubbed by Obama will be like getting snubbed by Stalin, your friends back away as though you have the plague lest they be involved in your fall. Now the SuperBowl, The NBA Finals, The World Series and The Olympics will be preceded by stirring and inspirational messages from El Caudillo Maximo. You see, in a one-party socialist state the government controls everything and nobody says no to The Big Man. If you are interested in what's coming may I suggest you read 'A Bend In The River' by V.S. Naipal. Or just peruse the following from the London Times of May 29:
"On a day of already heightened tension surrounding the closure of Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV), Venezuela's most prominent independent broadcaster, officials turned their sights on Globovisión, a local television network and CNN, the US cable news network, accusing them of plotting against the Government."
Oh you have a problem with any of Barak 'Hugo' Obama's policies? So did Joe The Plumber. The Obamanoids could have dropped that argument. They could have just ignored the Joe The Plumber incident and let it die, but Barak 'Hugo' Obama always has to have the last word. And, in a very 'funny' co-incidence Joe The Plumber's government records were scanned for usable sewage just as Sara Palin's e-mails mysteriously made it onto the front pages of the Obama-zomby press. Joe Wurzelbacker has been assaulted by what is an obviously orchestrated attack by the Obama campaign. Guess what Joe, when you go to get a bank loan to buy the plumbing business you dream of owning you better bring a ski-mask and a shotgun if you want to walk out with any funding because your banker has to worry about the Federal Bailout Money which is now his bank's only real asset.
What will these totalitarians do when they get total power? All three branches of government will be solidly dominated by people who ardently believe that they have been empowered to enact a vast social-engineering scheme and seize any existing resources to put that scheme into practice. These people are notoriously thin-skinned and go after the mildest criticism hammer and tongs. The days of a politician remaining comatose as he is viciously attacked will end when W departs, Barak 'Hugo' Obama is cut from different cloth. He responds to provocations from counterrevolutionary troublemakers.
You see, paying taxes is 'patriotic'. Not paying taxes is unpatriotic. Complaining about taxes is unpatriotic. And for the unpatriotic Bush has left us the Patriot Act. Now, the feeble Bush only used the Patriot Act to act against nihilistic, utopian, Islamic terrorists...people who are now on the Obama donor list, who have all been registered as Democrats by ACORN and several of whom have had long relationships with Barak 'Hugo' Obama. When it was being used to harass a pack of zany towelheads by the excreble Bush the Democrats hated The Patriot Act; Harry Reid announced it's demise with glee at one point. But you know, applied to the Right People, the Patriot Act might come in handy. We're all going to want to hunt down the snakes who are holding out on the poor by trying to cling to assets properly devoted to the state, that goes without saying.
The Venezuelafication of America is already happening. Collapsing state governments are releasing dangerous criminals while they lay off cops which will create a Caracas-style crime wave. After all crime is just a free-lance version of income redistribution; Socialism without red tape. People over property! In fact, the socialist rot that has been taking place for the last forty-four years is coming to a head no matter which pack of idiots takes power in Washington DC. Industry after industry is being sucked into the maw of government subsidies or being cowed by crowds of zealous regulators. Capital is fleeing and the flight will accelerate in the months between a Dem landslide and The Coronation Of Change. When the mask is dropped on Nov 5th and the power-hungry and arrogant leftists begin to dance in the streets with the bloody heads of W and Lady Liberty on pikes screaming, "Yes we can!" every movable penny in the nation will begin rolling offshore and the New Age can begin.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Can he still do it? The polls are tightening but RCP.com still has Obama crushing McCain. But where does RCP get that number? They get it by averaging in polls from political porn mags like Time and Newsweek that show Obama is more popular in the US than Kim Jong Il was in the last popularity poll taken by the Pyongyang Intellegencer. The guys who tried to use fake memos to torpedo Bush in the last election and still haven't acknowledged that they might have made a mistake are running a poll that shows a wide Obama lead. Oh really?
What advocacy group ever took a poll and came out with an answer that showed that their position was unpopular? According to the Sierra Club's poll we are all dying to abandon our cars and take up subsistence agriculture with the help of our animal friends. The Heritage Foundation finds an American population gazing fondly at the Constitution and yearning for a constructionist judiciary. The Tuna Foundation finds that tuna is the most popular fish. The New York Times finds that America is lusting to vote for Obama. Can we believe any of them?
We cant even believe the ones that show a very tight race, the one's that have consistently shown this to be a very tight race with a swing to McCain when Palin appeared on the scene and a swing to Obama when the market crisis erupted. But the numbers in these polls have always returned to an inside-the-margin-of-error squeaker. What does that show? It shows a large group of very soft supporters who are truly conflicted about where they are going to end up.
The frightening economy is a big plus for Obama. The line coming from the Obama camp that this chaos is a result of Bush's tax policies might be a total lie but it is unrefuted by the feeble McLame and it hits home. Who could look at that wizened piece of gristle Ted Stevens skulking away from his seven felony convictions and not have anything but contempt for a party too stupid to demand that this fossil not run for re-election when he was under indictment and on his way to his 84th birthday party? People just aren't going to vote for someone as repulsive as Stevens. When 'The Torch' Toricelli was in a similar situation in New Jersey, a state where future convicted felons make up a huge proportion of the state government and even a larger percentage of the electorate, Bill Clinton appeared to make sure 'The Torch' did the right thing and dropped off the ballot. He was replaced by a vacuous, grinning half-wit named Lautenburg (pronounced Lousy-burg). Yes Lousy-burg wears adult diapers and drools at his desk in the Senate but one of his attendants makes sure that he is a reliable vote for Harry Reid and the boys. The Republicans haven't lost their brand they've lost their way. So its asking a lot for anybody to vote voluntarily for this pack of inferior schlubs. The average air conditioning repair man knows a weak-kneed, greedy, valueless incompetent when he sees one.
Meanwhile, across the aisle here is this shiny new candidate and this party behind him that are attempting to hide their inner Stalinism behind a facade of center-left populism. They ran a convention where all the usual loudmouths were silenced and an attempt was made to appear concerned about the lives of their taxpaying helots. Those clever Democrats are confident that the Great Unwashed will continue to not notice that states whose governments are controlled by Democrats have the highest unemployment, the highest taxes and the biggest deficits. States where sales and property taxes rise as policemen and firemen are cut from the rolls as crowds of felons are handed voter registration cards and released early from prison because protecting public safety has become too expensive. The Democrats are confident that their ability to pretend to be honest moderates instead of the corrupt, glassy-eyed, Stalinist social engineers that they really are will get them through another round of elections with vast majorities in the legislature and Barak Hussein Obama happily ensconced to lead the social revolution from the White House.
But that pesky internet has changed everything. Thats where most people get their information these days. They get e-mails from their friends that direct them to clips on U-tube. U-tube has changed everything. You can see any event without any commentary from your betters in the media. Clips like Obama's little talk about redistribution on NPR get millions of hits. So did his argument with Joe The Plumber. What a message to Blue Collar America that was! We're going to take your wealth and spread it around, buddy. These blue collar types know that after the trillions of dollars that supposedly have been spent to cure poverty the poor people don't look any more prosperous than they did a generation ago and they recognize 'spreading the wealth around' as the euphemism for highway robbery that it is. Meanwhile people are U-tubing the Wright sermons and all of Barak's various statements about sharing the wealth. They're seeing Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid doing a victory dance on the corpse of the Bush Tax Cuts and thinking about just how high taxes can get...
If polls like Zogby and Gallup go into this weekend showing the gap that they show now then McCain will win the election. If Obama hasn't closed the deal by now then what the polls are showing is the very normal reticence that any normal human would feel when faced with the necessity of voting for a sawed-off, stuttering, incoherent, Wrinkly Old White Dude like McCain. I freely admit that I have the same feelings myself. Where I part ways with many people is that I'm not going to let my healthy contempt for our cross-eyed ole Maverick cause me to vote to put a slicked-up version of Leon Trotsky in the White House. I think a lot of people are going to have the same problem and they are going to end up, like me, having to face the ugly prospect of living the rest of their lives knowing that they voted to put John McCain in the White House.
Monday, October 27, 2008
I've been shooting my mouth off about how misguided everyone else is. Its almost as if I were a Democrat, insulting everyone else without revealing what I would do in the current situation. Thats a valid question to ask of anyone who casts as many aspersions as I do. What's Skep's plan?
Lets assume that I have the political power to pass any bill through the legislature and then the executive power to enforce them. Here is some of what I would do:
Pass a Constitutional Amendment forbidding the Federal Government to meddle in education and mandating that only local school districts shall make educational decisions. It would limit the size of these districts to 100,000 students. Implementation of this would include the disbanding of the Federal and States Departments of Education and keeping only a small statistics-gathering entity under the aegis of some other cabinet department. It would also include the immediate ending of subsidized and guaranteed student loans, an end to Title One and Head Start and the myriad other wasteful and ineffective federal education programs.All subsidies to higher education would cease immediately.
I would immediately announce a two-year freeze on all cost of living adjustments in transfer payments, food stamps, salaries and government contracts.
I would implement by a Constitutional Amendment a flat tax so that everyone in the country pays taxes and has an incentive to keep them low. I would include in this tax a maximum rate of 20% of income which can only be raised beyond that by a one-year increase by a two-thirds vote of Congress and signature by the President.
I would eliminate all capital gains taxes and repeal Sarbanes-Oxley.
I would create an approval process for nuclear power plants, oil drilling, pipeline construction and other energy-related projects that would allow anyone in opposition to have one opportunity to submit their objections to the project and make their case with no further litigation. The rights of people to sue for damages caused by these activities would not be compromised.
I would remove all restrictions on energy extraction, requiring a reasonable level of protection against environmental damage.
I would end all subsidies for 'alternative energy'.
I would immediately end all agricultural subsidies.
I would make Supreme Court and Federal Judge terms six years and pass a Constitutional Amendment that redefines the powers of the court, limiting their ability to legislate from the bench.
I would drastically change the criteria for Class Action suits and explore reforms in tort law. The loser in any suit should be liable for the court costs to cut the number of nuisance lawsuits.
The 'deep pockets' concept should be limited or eliminated.
I would pass a Constitutional Amendment making Public Employee Unions illegal and union membership in the private sector completely voluntary. No more closed shops.
I would pass a Constitutional Amendment mandating that legislative districts be drawn in a way that maximizes competition instead of creating safe districts. Government bureaus and contractors would be forbidden to lobby and run political campaigns to increase their funding. With full and instant disclosure I would eliminate the contribution limits for individuals to political campaigns.
I would pass a Constitutional Amendment requiring the re-registration of every voter. A digital thumbprint and photo would be required after proof of citizenship is presented to the registrar. The severely disabled can be registered in their homes by an election official but all other voters will be required to show up at the polls to vote and provide sufficient identification. The mentally incompetent and the homeless would not be eligible to vote. Passage of a simple civics test will be mandatory to screen out the ignorant and the illiterate. The test will be in English only.
I would pursue free trade and remove as many restrictions on trade as possible. These moves would involve reciprocal actions by our trading partners, especially China.
I would explore ways to decentralize or privatize Medicare and aggressively attack fraud in the system.
I would end all government housing programs.
I would officially create a forum so that advocates of economic destruction to effect the climate publicly come forth with scientific proof that carbon emissions cause climate change and debate openly and fairly with the scientists who are refuting this nonsense.
I would cut our funding to the UN and only fund projects that advance democracy or aid refugees. I would make it clear that American foreign policy will be predicated on our national interests and that there will be immediate consequences to countries who oppose those interests.
These are just a few of the things that I can think of. The touchstone would be to decentralize and de-bureaucratize as much as possible. There would be an immediate effect that would result from the drastic downsizing of government that I propose. Several million people would lose their jobs. The freezing of transfer payments and COLAs will cause further hardship. But if we dont do anything, or worse yet, enact some to the proposals emanating from the Democrats then a lot more than several million people will lose their jobs. The people who would lose their jobs under my regime will lose their jobs eventually and permanently in the economic collapse that will happen if the current course is followed. The economy will go into a prolonged depression, one which will possibly be permanent if the socialist policies that are being proposed and the ballot-box stuffing now taking place cause permanent change in the system.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Its 2010. I need a pack of gum. Could one of you guys lend me $10,000 to get a pack of gum? Oh rats...by the time you hand me that snazzy new $10000 bill (pictured above) the price of a pack of Juicy Fruit will have risen to $11000. I hate when that happens. And it DOES happen. It happened in the former Soviet Union. Its happening in Zimbabwe. It has happened in Mexico and Argentina. It happens in all Socialist countries. It will happen here when we elect a socialist government on Nov. 4th. It will happen much faster than people will believe.
What is money? Paper money started as a promise by the government to pay the bearer 'on demand' the equivalent amount of gold or silver. Everybody knew that there were a lot more paper dollars floating around then there was bullion to back them up but by the time a stable paper currency was in circulation, after the Civil War, the economy was expanding and booming so no one even wanted to cash in their paper for illiquid, non-negotiable metal. Political campaigns demanding a return to 'hard' money were big losers.
Then came the Depression. Roosevelt confiscated all gold money, a fact lost on the idiots who are currently buying gold to hedge against the coming wave of inflation. Unless you have purchased your gold from a burglar who stole some hoarders stash of Krugerrands there is an electronic record of your purchase that a specie-hungry socialist government will impound and use to hunt down the morons who think they were smarter than everybody else. You'll be asked to share with the less fortunate, Mr. Gold-hoarding, counterrevolutionary, individualist scumbag; and if you hold out you'll learn the kind of methods a money-hungry socialist state will resort to when its ruling class needs hard currency to pay for its blunders and extravagances. Steam rooms so hot you cant breathe, enforced sleeplessness, your wife and children tortured in front of your eyes...those were the methods of Stalin's gold police. In Saddam's Iraq they cut your toes off with bolt-cutters and threw your kids off the roof of a four-story building in case they suspected you were holding out on them. I'll bet our American geniuses can do better...and they will!
Meanwhile expect a visit from Grandma, kiddies. You see, in mega-inflation a Social Security check that is adjusted for a phony, way-understated inflation rate once a year is going to be totally worthless. Ditto the nationalized 401k and private pension you thought you had... there are bills already being proposed that will seize those assets in the name of Fairness. So the one meal a day that your eternally shrinking paycheck will allow you to afford will have to be shared out amongst another generation. Think it cant happen? Well, after the fall of the Soviet Union it DID happen, exactly like I just said.
That is the logical end of all these cradle-to-grave welfare schemes. The Europeans, long propped up by American capitalism and wealth will be left to flounder and crash into a chaos and anarchy not seen since the Dark Ages. The oil thugs, a pack of parasites too incompetent and lazy to extract their own oil, will see their oil royalties drop to nothing as the international trading system collapses, sending the former nomads back to their herds of sheep and camel-hide tents while the unsustainable modern cities are inhabited by the corpses of the helpless citizens who were unable to make the leap back to Bedouinism. The International Welfare States of Africa, finally freed of the accursed foreigners and their filthy aid money will quickly revert to primitive, murderous savagery where the surviving tenth of their former populations will revert to eternal tribal war, slavery and periodic famines and epidemics; a happy restoration of their indigenous cultures that the anthropologists were so upset to see lost to consumerism. As modern communications and commerce break down the excessive populations of Pakistan, Iran, India, Indonesia and China will be pulled down in the crash to a tenth of their former levels if a nuclear war is somehow avoided in the chaos.
Global Warming wont be an issue anymore as economic activity is cut by 90%. Not that any form of environmental consciousness will continue to exist. Socialist countries have by far the worst environmental records and without any effective international criticism all restraints will be gone. With everything stripped down to edge-of-survival mode no one will be sniveling about clean air or clean water. But environmentalists can look forward to herds of deer and packs of coyotes and wolves roaming through the abandoned suburbs which will slowly return to the wild.
What role did an assertive, capitalist America play in the Old Order? It was a bastion, a competitor, a beacon, an example of how things can be done right. Remove that capitalist America from the scene and what is there to keep the world from a new socialist Dark Age? The values of the West, developed from the Renaissance, The Age Of Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and the rise of modern technology have been abandoned and forgotten. Nothing but inertia is holding this society together. Obama will give it the push it needs to collapse.
Instead of an international outlook people's horizons will be completely local. Elections, if they continue to exist, will involve only one party and be completely meaningless. That is already happening and the Obama-nation will complete the trend by adding giant chunks of phony ballots to each election.
And look at that $10000 bill. Under our current tax code people that have $10000 bills are the truly wealthy. You're going to have a pocket of them every day in Obamaland after you cash your paycheck (in inflation you are paid the readjusted amount of your pay daily...if you're lucky). Even though one of those Sharptons will only buy a pack of gum the unadjusted-for-inflation tax code is going to sock it to you because YOU will be a multi-multi-millionaire according to the code...time to share that excess cash with the treasury. Its patriotic. And you know what will happen to the unpatriotic; they will be given Free Health Care to cure their anti-social mental illness.
There isn't a single thing that I have talked about in this post that hasn't happened in other countries. If Americans aren't unique, possessed with a philosophy that sets this country apart from the oppressive governments in other countries, but are merely 'citizens of the world' then those same things will happen here quickly and without the distant example of an America to restrain the excesses. we are the last outpost and that outpost is about to fall.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
The fools. A protest vote against Bush is going to propel this country into socialism and financial ruin. That's where we were headed anyway, mind you. The Republicans were in control in 2005 when the truth about Fannie and Freddie became obvious. Not only did they not go public with this boondoggle's ties to the Democrats they then sat silently by while the Democrats ran the next year yelling, "Culture Of Corruption!" at the Republicans. And they were 100% right...the Republicans were so corrupt that you could mistake them for Democrats. In fact the comity of the Bush years had created one big Government Party, a giant engine dedicated to dishing out entitlements and subsidies to all and sundry. The same mighty entity that hands Archer Daniels Midland billions in ethanol subsidies also created mortgage rules that allowed people to cite welfare and food stamps as income on their mortgage applications. Universities have been wallowing in cash from subsidized and guaranteed government loans to middle class students as they scrambled for the most prestigious degree possible as credentials replace merit as a criteria in hiring. Millions receive the 'Earned Income Tax Credit', a great big fat government check for doing absolutely nothing. The expanding bureaucracy sops up millions of middle class youths with empty college degrees qualifying them to engage in feckless, brain-dead paper shuffling for all eternity.
Thats the thing about the end of the New Deal, virtually everybody is on the take by now. The hidden math is now becoming obvious; the only way that the government can fund its operations now is to print money. Digital money, not worth the paper it isn't printed on. But what does a country filled with idiots who are hopelessly up to their eyeballs in debt know or care about sound financing? Who cares about that kind of crap anyway? John Q Public runs his household on the plastic, with an occasional refinance to zero the cards out. These current troubles are all Bush's fault so if we get rid of Bush and the Republicans it'll be OK, right?
Its certain that raising taxes will lower revenues drastically. That is, its certain to me. Its not so certain to the Democrats. Somehow they missed the memo about what happens to investment capital when you tax it too highly. It disappears. When you tax income too highly people tend to spend rather than invest and in many cases lower their incomes by doing less work. There's a country 150 miles to the South of me where you only have to look to see the results of oppressive government. I'm glad the Racists didn't get that fence built, we might need to get under it to get the jobs that will blossom down in Mexico once the environmental laws in this country close down the agricultural sector up here. A nice job in Sinaloa picking tomatoes. Thats what those idiots are voting for. It'll be a nice 'Change'.
I was talking to my brother on the phone. He's a cement contractor in Las Vegas. I asked him if people had thought this 'spreading the wealth around' thing through. After all, the most valued customers in Las Vegas are the upper middle class, people with real disposable income. But that disposable income is going to get 'spread around' (ie. seized by the state). That can't be good for a place like Vegas. The enviros want an end to individual automobile ownership and consider filling the air with Global Warming-causing carbon fumes as you drive from LA to Vegas as a crime against the planet. Why is Obama ahead in the polls in Las Vegas? A socialist government will reduce that City Of Fools to a desert ghost town where tumbleweeds blow down the deserted streets.
Why are they voting for Obama in Michigan? Or New York? These are places that are staring bankruptcy in the face because of excessive taxation and regulations. I thought people always voted for their economic best interests but here we are. The people who have the most to lose are the most enthusiastic advocates of economic suicide. The upper middle class is living in a dream world. There are already bills in Congress that will nationalize all private 401k's. Lets vote for more Democrats so that they can get passed more easily. When the rich and their money take a powder because of high taxes whose wealth do you think it is thats going to get spread around?
Thats why I'm sad. This society is completely delusional. Our image of who we are does not match the reality of who we are. This is a whining, spoiled country of people who feel entitled to carve out a nice cushy spot for themselves at the expense of everyone else. The outside world is forgotten, aspirations to world leadership an expense and a bore. The old rules that built the most prosperous society in history are scorned and ignored. Enterprise has turned into a few giant companies bribing compliant legislators for protection from competition and conniving huge subsidies from the public purse. These giant multi-nationals encompass bureaucracies as large and counter-productive as those in government. Labor unions have become not the champions of oppressed laborers but the bloated advocates for overpaid, lazy and worthless parasites.
The old ethic of individual achievement is scorned. The collective is what's important. That was the essence of America's greatness, the idea that your fate was your own. I've spent a lifetime listening to immigrants telling me how lucky Americans are to be masters of their own fates; that was the definition of freedom to them. But how many of those same immigrants, now completely assimilated into American society, are going to vote to rob themselves and their children of that very freedom they struggled so hard to obtain? I suspect they'll be voting for Obama in large numbers.
That we could have an election with so many unmentioned weighty issues hanging over our heads and two such inferior candidates is what's wrong with this country. This election is a failure of the current political and social system. The cataclysm which will follow as these Democrats put their absurd social engineering schemes into motion will be dire. But not undeserved.
Friday, October 24, 2008
In the 1960's the 'best and the brightest' blundered into the Vietnam War. Their idiotic micromanagement and overintellectualizing set ridiculous parameters which hamstrung our forces there and prevented a swift victory. When things started to get tough they walked away from the policy and joined the leftists in the permanent bureaucracy and the media in attacking the war and the man they left holding the bag, LBJ. Their sons used the 2S deferment to avoid the draft and spent the years of the war hiding in 'elite' universities which were intimidated by mobs of violent drug-addled Maoist revolutionaries into becoming bastions of politically correct thought.
These same campus revolutionaries grew to become powerful, important people. As the MegaState grew enormously so did the opportunities to carve out a fortune as a lobbyist, department head, consulting attorney, head of a 'non-profit' or any of the other myriad ways to milk the system for ten or twenty times the size of your pathetic 'salary'. But those salaries arent so bad either. Even in local government salaries have swollen to the point where people are easily in six figures. Even cops and prison guards are in 100k-land, with the promise of a phat pension after they retire, and the Max of Social Security if they work a few more years in the private sector. The office buildings full of these myriad 'departments' pop up like mushrooms, all named for the local pork-barreling congressmen who managed to get the overpriced boondoggle of an office building approved and built by his kickback-serving union buddies and contractors that gave him a healthy taste on the side, causing the building to cost four times what it would if it was built by private enterprise.
But the middle class has been on the take too. A liberal government loan program has made college mandatory for any kid who wants to get ahead in the world. The colleges are full of kids downloading their papers off the internet and killing the monotony by binge-drinking and snorting coke. Now the 'status' of the degree is all that matters; college-educated nudniks wander the landscape as ignorant as donkeys and overloaded with debt. What, if anything, you might have managed to learn in college is almost irrelevant. The tidal wave of credit that caused the real estate and finance boom was a gift to most middle class people. Most partied with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fake 'equity' and parlayed these magically generated wealth into obscenely large houses and the trappings and pretensions of elegance. Cable channels sprung up whose themes were remodeling your home, cooking gourmet food and dressing with style. "TV dinner by the pool, I'm so glad I finished school!" sneered a Frank Zappa song in the sixties...but if you DID finish school you could join the swelling class of 'middle managers' shuffling an ever-growing mass of papers and e-mails back and forth like some tide of sludge that flows aimlessly back and forth over the landscape. It used to be that a doctor was a doctor. He had a medical records girl back at the office and a nurse. Now he's a 'medical corporation' attached to legions of insurance, accounting, and legal paper shufflers. Even the simplest medical transaction is handled by dozens of people by the time its resolved.
The wealth of this class of smart, educated, pampered professionals is tied up in three places; their house, their pension and their 401k. There is an air of certitude in their lives that doesn't exist in the lives of the little dactylos who scurry about in their little office domains or who perform the various services or provide the products that they buy. The Iron Rice Bowl has arrived. If you reach a certain point in government or the bureaucracy of a mega-large corporation these days, and not a high point either, you can be assured that you will never feel want or need again.
But whats this? Can the system which has been constructed so very carefully since 1933 have some fatal flaw that no one, up to now, has noticed. After all, expansion has occurred always in the same direction under Republicans and Democrats since the days of FDR. When Clinton and Gingrich went to the mat in 1996 it was during an argument about the rate of increase of Medicare; Clinton wanted 7.5% Gingrich 7.2%. Thats the difference between Republicans and Democrats.
But now there's a problem. Medicare is broke. Government intervention and bungling has made mortgage equity decline drastically. In the 'bailout' (aka effective nationalization) of the financial industry the shareholders were completely stiffed, they lost everything. Who were the shareholders? Pension funds and 401k accounts for the most part. Companies like Chrysler are announcing huge layoffs of 'salaried' personel; the people who write the memos and guidelines so essential to automaking. The entire structure of the world which has spawned a burgeoning professional class and given it a sense of entitlement is tottering, needing only a small additional push to collapse entirely.
Enter Barak Obama and the Democrats. They are now going around announcing that when they get elected they will be handing out trillions of dollars to all and sundry. Only a few rich people will have to be bothered with the bill. Of course the inflation that all the Socialist policies will cause will push even low-wage employees into the top tax brackets but at first that will be OK because it will effectively make most debt worthless. Unions will be empowered to 'organize' even the smallest and most marginal companies... those that survive the tax increases and enviromental regulations that will cripple the economy. Inflation and confiscatory taxes will end any new investment in the private sector and to make up the slack new quasi-governmental corporations will spring up as the efficient sectors of the economy die, like algae-scum floating to the surface of a dead lake. Cronies and political allies will be running these enterprises... mainly into the ground.
But the educated elite, who are overwhelmingly advocates for and voters in favor of the megastate, will be the biggest losers in this situation, just as they were in the Soviet Union when it collapsed. The Iron Rice Bowl is an illusion. Blue collar types have skills they can barter and sell. Average people have been forced to scrape by and survive all their lives; not so the elite. They went to school, university and then got a cushy sinecure in some organization and there they have remained, peacefully chewing their digital cud. They have no survival skills in the wild. And hyper inflation is going to make things pretty wild.
I mentioned in a previous post the gloom and depression of England when they adopted the disastrous policies that we are on track to put in place here. It will be worse here. People will be looking to the usual insurer of last resort, government, and it will be flailing and applying the old tried-and-true methods which will make things increasingly worse. The next indication of the way things are going will be the collapse of Blue State state governments. New York, Massachusetts, Michigan and most especially California are about to implode, taking hundreds of thousands of state employees and the pensions of them all into the whirlpool as it sucks everything down into the black hole of bankruptcy.
The people in this country seem to not know where all this leads. They don't know what is happening in Venezuela as the newly nationalized power company turns out the lights on the empty store shelves and crime-ridden streets. The phony ballots that no one seems too worried about in this year's election will morph into a phony currency just like it has in Venezuela and in every other Socialist state. The course is clear and unstoppable.
But what should we, who see the folly of all this, do? We have to keep the faith and fight for our beliefs. It wont be easy in the times that are coming but this creeping welfare-state disease has to have a crisis before it burns itself out and recedes...or kills its host. The 'ideas' that have generated this crisis have to be seen to have failed before some more workable alternative develops. Creative destruction. During the misery have hope that the truth will prevail. It makes us stronger than them.