Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Martian View Of The U.S. Today

Let's suppose that Martians were to land and examine the political and economic system of the United States. A summary they might come up with would probably look something like this:

1. Free education for all children in public schools.
2. Central banking with executives approved by the government. The central bank provides whatever money the government requests for its operations.
3. A progressive, graduated income tax.
4. A high inheritance tax.
5. Broad powers of eminent domain. Cities can condemn properties and allocate them to higher valued uses.
6. Heavily regulated and licensed communication and transportation industries.
7. Industry bailouts.
8. Paying farmers not to grow crops ... or to grow certain crops like corn for ethanol.
9. Land use planning with a focus on creating parks and undeveloped spaces in and between cities.
10. Unregulated immigration to supply workers who actually work which are needed since easily available welfare allows large segments of the existing population not to ... work.
Now you're going to have to click the "Read More" link so you can get a look in the periscope above the brainwashing you're received. You'll be in tears before I'm done with you...

Because the deception you have lived under is pretty stunning. And here's a summary of it:
1. Free education for all children in public schools. (10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c)

2. Central banking with executives approved by the government. The central bank provides whatever money the government requests for its operations. (5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.)

3. A progressive, graduated income tax. (2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.)

4. A high inheritance tax. (3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.)

5. Broad powers of eminent domain. Cities can condemn properties and allocate them to higher valued uses. (1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.)

6. Heavily regulated and licensed communication and transportation industries. (6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.)

7. Industry bailouts. (7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.)

8. Paying farmers not to grow crops ... or to grow certain crops like corn for ethanol. (7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.)

9. Land use planning with a focus on creating parks and undeveloped spaces in and between cities. (9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.)

10. Unregulated immigration to supply workers who actually work which are needed since easily available welfare allows large segments of the existing population not to ... work. (8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.)
Say what? Well what I have done is to decorate my "Martian" summary with the ten points from Marx's Communist Manifesto:
NoCo Surrounds Them - We Will Not Fall: The Bet: "Communist Manifesto (Chapter 2): 'Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.
1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.'
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c."
I'm guessing you've never read the Communist Manifesto have you? I think even the vast majority of hard-core (socialist) democrats haven't.

But when you look at things in perspective, the application of Marx's plan to the U.S. -- Europe is generally even more advanced of course -- is well along. The arguments are just all about degree (and degree of deception) and the modernization of Marx's ideas where they have become dated.

On the latter, I think the whole open borders strategy combined with putting people who should otherwise be working on welfare is particularly ingenious.

The only one of Marx's points that doesn't have a clear mapping is #4. But that may be due to ignorance on my part of how onerous the tax consequences really are of emigrating. And I'm guessing that emigration penalties would not be an obvious highlight to a Martian as I suspect they would have come in an armed spaceship and so it might not be on their "ray"dar to worry about.

But as for you and me -- we're screwed. At least unless the libertarian optimists like Gillespie and Welch with their new book "Declaration of Independents" are right. Libertarians agree with literally none of these key features of today's U.S. system's implementation of Marx's Manifesto. None.

O. And you might have noticed that inflation as well as taxation is putting the hurt on your standard of living lately? Look over on the right sidebar: "The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation" - V.I. Lenin. You think this is a coincidence -- I don't. Hopefully you'll come around to my point of view before you end up starving in the dark.

Pray Gillespie and Welch are right ... or get painfully used to holding your ankles ... you ain't seen nothin' yet...

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Consequences

iowahawk: Default, Dear Brutus, Is Not In Our Stars, But In Ourselves: "I know the consequences of failing to do so are too horrible to contemplate, but I went ahead and contemplated them anyway. This resulted in a bunch of 140-characters-or-less prophecies for the Twitter hashtag #ConsequencesofDefault, which I have edited and compiled for your edification. If my inner Nostradamus is any guide, the post-apocalyptic future of August 3, 2011 looks grim indeed:
Beltway policy experts begin living by own wits; after 45 minutes there are no survivors.

Roving bands of outlaws stalk our streets, selling incandescent bulbs to vulnerable children.

Unregulated mohair prices at the whim of unscrupulous mohair speculators.

NPR news segments no longer buffered by soothing zither interludes.

Breadlines teeming with jobless Outreach Coordinators, Diversity Liaisons, and Sustainability Facilitators.

Cowboy poetry utterly lacking in metre.

General Motors unfairly forced to build cars that people want, for a profit.

Chaos reigns at Goldman Sachs, who no longer knows who to bribe with political donations.

Mankind's dream of high speed government rail service between Chicago and Iowa City tragically dies. ..."
Heh. RTWT as they say...

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*ss Jack

Moonbattery » An Economic Metaphor: "Keynesian liberals think government spending can lift the economy. Sure it can, if this is what they mean:"

Check this post's comments for where I got the title. Heh.

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Andrew's Facts Of Life For Libs

Klavan on the Culture: The Facts of Life - Ricochet.com: "Awkward, but someone had to explain the birds and the bees to liberals."

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Punishing The Prudent

Fiddling as the debt ceiling falls in - US economy - MSN Money: "During the equity bubble, we started to hollow out the manufacturing sector by shipping jobs overseas, as companies tried to become more 'efficient' in order to send their stock prices higher.

Nobody seemed to care at the time, as the whole country was captivated by the (erroneous) idea that you couldn't lose money investing in stocks, even risky ones. Obviously, that illuminates another point, which is that greed on the part of many, including the middle class itself, only helped feed the destruction.

The bursting of the real-estate bubble delivered the knockout punch.

Had the Fed not been so irresponsible -- and the government not abdicated its oversight responsibility -- the middle class would be far, far better off than it is today. But, as I just noted, the middle class does bear some responsibility for having gotten greedy (though unsophisticated investors probably have some defense in having expected some adult behavior by the government, and certainly many innocent people who were not greedy have suffered badly as well.)

Meanwhile, those who behaved prudently have also been punished because they are not paid any meaningful interest on their savings, while the reckless seem to get bailouts. But there is no doubt that the 'authorities' at all levels (i.e., politicians and bureaucrats) did not do their jobs."
The idea that politicians will ever be responsible is a bad joke. Never mind with a set of incentives they have built to amplify graft to themselves. Look over at the P.J. O'Rourke quote on the right sidebar. Until every has that on the tip of their tongue we're screwed. Completely and totally.

And the communist's goal in life is to make sure nobody ever knows who P.J. is. And anyone else like him.

Well to be fair, what they're really doing is making sure you watch American Idol 24/7. Because P.J. will never be a contestant there.

Du'O.

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Rubio Watch: Compromise That's Not A Solution Is A Waste Of TIme

Video: Marco Rubio vs. John Kerry on the debt crisis « Hot Air: "A long clip but worth every minute. Trust me. Just watch it."

Sit your *ss down and watch a future POTUS. It can't happen soon enough. And it ain't Lurch. Lurch gets his clock cleaned.

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Door #2


Guest Post: This Country Defaulted Long Ago | ZeroHedge: "“There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.” – Ludwig von Mises

The final collapse of our credit expansion boom approaches. We have a choice over the next week. We could voluntarily abandon further credit expansion by voting for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution or we can raise the debt ceiling, pretend to cut spending far in the future, and allow our currency system to experience a catastrophic final collapse.

We’ll take what’s behind door #2 Johnny. The vested interests in Washington DC and Wall Street only care about power and wealth. They will never abandon credit expansion. It’s their drug. They must have it. They are addicted to it. They will keep injecting it into our system until they overdose America."
Among other things, he points out that Nixon's closing of the gold window was the final straw in un-tethering the dollar from all sanity.

Ron Paul pointed out earlier this week that to the non-brainwashed we have defaulted three times already in the last 100 years: FDR's devaluation and gold confiscation, Congress reneging on silver certificates and Nixon's closing of the gold window.

Paul rightfully argues that we should just go ahead and default now because doing it later will just be worse:
The alternative to defaulting now is to keep increasing the debt ceiling, keep spending like a drunken sailor, and hope that the default comes after we die. A future default won’t take the form of a missed payment, but rather will come through hyperinflation. The already incestuous relationship between the Federal Reserve and the Treasury will grow even closer as the Fed begins to purchase debt directly from the Treasury and monetizes debt on a scale that makes QE2 look like a drop in the bucket. Imagine the societal breakdown of Weimar Germany, but in a country five times as large. That is what we face if we do not come to terms with our debt problem immediately.

Default will be painful, but it is all but inevitable for a country as heavily indebted as the U.S. Just as pumping money into the system to combat a recession only ensures an unsustainable economic boom and a future recession worse than the first, so too does continuously raising the debt ceiling only forestall the day of reckoning and ensure that, when it comes, it will be cataclysmic.

We have a choice: default now and take our medicine, or put it off as long as possible, when the effects will be much worse.
But the politicos are hard-wired for Door #2, thanks very much...

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The Dear Reader

Scarborough: Dems Say Privately Obama Is Invisible, Not A Leader | RealClearPolitics: "Joe Scarborough: 'I have got to clear this up. Mika heard two days ago on Capitol Hill Democrats all saying the same thing. And that is, this president has been invisible, he is not a leader. They said this all behind closed doors. Democratic leaders, Democratic rank-and-file. In fact, 40, 50 of the most powerful Democrats on the Hill. I will just stop right there. The complaints were all the same. The president has vanished. He has left us here alone again like he did with health care. Where is he? Now, they didn't call him a loser, but they sure as hell didn't call him a leader.'"
The shock never ends...

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Friday, July 29, 2011

You Can't Make This Stuff Up (Part 84,491)

Paul Ryan: Let's Cover the Moon With Yogurt - Ricochet.com: "But Paul Ryan's recommendation delivered on the floor of the House yesterday that we cover the moon with yogurt?  Definitely an instance of the former.
We assume we’re going to be fighting this war for 10 more years, with over 100,000 troops in Afghanistan and oh, gosh, wait, we’re going to withdraw our troops in 2014. $1 trillion in savings. I’ve got a better idea. Let’s pass a bill to cover the moon with yogurt that will cost $5 trillion today. and then let’s pass a bill the next day to cancel that bill. We could save $5 trillion. Wait, I’ve got a better idea. Our debt is $14 trillion. Let’s come up with a new plan to spend $14 trillion, then rescind it the next day and let’s save $14 trillion. This stuff is fiscal fantasy. You can’t make this stuff up, Mr. Speaker."
I do like yogurt. And because it's so good, I know that we could "save" more than $5T on this one. Heh.

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Middle Money Madness

Debt ceiling | Ignore the fire alarms | The Daily Caller: "What most people don’t realize is that the U.S. has gorged so much (boosting spending from roughly 18% of GDP in 2000 to 24% of GDP today), that the only way to pay for it is to tax the middle class. The president keeps blaming “millionaires and billionaires,” but the top 25% of income earners already pay 86% of total taxes. And even if we raised the 35% top tax rate to 100% (meaning we confiscate all income in that top tax bracket), the U.S. would only collect about $365 billion. This would run the government for only about five weeks and would not solve our debt issues.

The money is in the middle. And the only way our politicians can get it is to follow Europe’s lead and institute a national sales tax or Value-Added Tax (VAT). This is the elephant in the room that is never talked about. Those who are using the debt ceiling in an attempt to cut spending are actually saving the middle class from tax hikes — not the millionaires and billionaires.

Fear and politics are joined at the hip, because fear motivates. And politicians at all levels have used the economy to generate fear for a long time. But, since the Great Depression they have turned it into an art form. Using Keynesian theory, they have convinced many that government spending actually helps the economy. But if this were true — if it were that easy — there would not be one poor person in the entire world, Greece would not be bankrupt and Europe would be wealthier than the U.S.

The truth is that the bigger the government (as a share of GDP), the fewer jobs the economy creates."
Betcha didn't know that did you? What's that? You're shocked that you didn't hear about this from Tingles? Shocked you tell me? I already explained Dear Leader's innumerate garbage about taxing the rich being the cure-all here. At least I tell a good joke in the depressing process...

What the money in the middle boils down to is the income demographic between $95K and $250K consists of 20% of households and takes down 40% of income -- about $4T. Everybody above $250K in income -- Dear Leader's boogiepeeps -- only take down 10% or $1T. That's why Wesbury comes up with a projection only $365B of that left to steal -- as counterintuitive as that seems. Sadly, it's the truth.

So don't bother to be at all successful, never mind "rich". You're toast. And when people like you give up, that's the end of America as we know it.

Not that that's Dear Leader's "intention" or anything...

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Any Questions?

Instapundit » Blog Archive » WELL, THEY HAVE COMPETENT MANAGEMENT: Apple Has More Cash On Hand Than The U.S. Government. Or as …: "WELL, THEY HAVE COMPETENT MANAGEMENT: Apple Has More Cash On Hand Than The U.S. Government. Or as the story explains: “That’s because Apple collects more money than it spends, while the U.S. government does not.”

Posted by Glenn Reynolds at 10:23 am"
The loons in Washington think more debt is the solution to having too much debt. I think the time has come for the idea of taking up a collection to build a fence and guard towers around D.C. ... With the barbed wire facing inwards. ... While we still have enough of our own money left to finance it...

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Spenditol

Moonbattery » Spenditol: "Big Government has a single solution that solves every problem — Spenditol:"


Ugghh.

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Released (From GIGO)

New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism - Yahoo! News: "NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth's atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.

Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA's Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA's Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models."
Meh. It's only actual measurement data. Not nearly so good as their computer models.

Did I forget to mention GIGO?

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Innumeracy, Thy Name Is Spelled H-a-r-v-a-r-d

Good God. I read the TNR drivel so you don't have to normally -- but you really need to be exposed to what passes for smarter-than-thou ruling class condescension on the debt debate from Jonathan Cohn:

Taxing The Wealthy Won't Make The Deficit Disappear. But It Will Make The Deficit A Lot Smaller. | The New Republic: "Believe it or not, I am a little sympathetic to Rubin’s argument here. Plenty of Democrats, including President Obama, have exaggerated the impact of repealing only the Bush taxes that apply to higher incomes. If we want to preserve the program integrity of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, we are going to need more revenue than those tax cuts alone represent. That’s why some of us have long argued that we should let all of the Bush tax cuts, even those that apply to lower incomes, to expire once the economy has stabilized.

But if it’s an exaggeration to suggest that higher taxes on the wealthy will take care of the deficit, it’s a gross exaggeration to suggest, as Rubin and other conservatives do, that higher taxes on higher incomes can’t reduce deficits significantly.

Start with those upper income Bush tax cuts. Allowing them to expire after 2012 would generate around $800 billion in revenue, depending on how you count. Closing loopholes that primarily affect the very wealthy would add to this total, albeit incrementally. Partly eliminating the infamous “carried interest” provision, which allows hedge fund managers to pay low rates on most of their incomes, would generate around $15 billion, or maybe even more. And that's just one loophole. If we were willing to talk about new taxes on the wealthy, like limiting their itemized deductions, or new taxes on oil companies and other businesses, we could get more revenue still. Economist Jared Bernstein, formerly of the Obama Administration and now of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, detailed some of these on his blog not too long ago.

Put it all together and it's easy to generate revenue in excess of $1 trillion. That works out to about a half percentage point of gross domestic product. And if that doesn't sound significant to you, think of it this way: That's $1 trillion in cuts to government programs we wouldn't have to make."
Smarm-o-rama, eh Jonathan? So let's put this in mathematical perspective.

First notice how you walk away thinking that when he says letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those making over $250K per year will generate $800 billion -- never mind that it won't of course but lets be as generous as possible here -- you're tempted. After all, with a deficit of about $1500 billion per year -- never mind that if you stop the Enron accounting it's probably more like $3000-4000 billion per year -- that's actually enough to make a difference.

Wrong, turnip breath.

Because what he forgot to tell you was that $800 billion was over the course of ten years! So our genius overlords think that a 6% dent in the deficit (800 / (1500 * 10) rounded up to be generous -- never mind the full budget!) that won't materialize anyway and slows the economy and hiring further (which is the real issue here) is front and center of their economic Rx?

Did I forget to say Good God?

And to add insult to injury, the list he links to from Jared Bernstein would well and truly throw the economy into turmoil for who knows, maybe another 500-1000 billion over ten years. Now if we shake the tree with another 5-10 impotent yet disastrous plans like this we might actually be able to close the deficit. But you might have noticed that there are no more meaningful targets left after this without going after those making less than $250K. Which Cohn is at least honest enough to also detail here.

Oh, and did I mention that there is no economic school (Keynesian, Monetarist or Austrian) that advocates raising taxes in a recession? None. Well except maybe the Socialist "school".

But don't worry, they're not Socialists or Communists or anything like that. Just apparently entirely mentally incompetent and innumerate.

Which reminds me that this is probably a good time to repeat the old joke about the ten item fast lane grocery cashier in Cambridge, MA who when confronted by a young man with a cart heaped with items asked: "Are you from Harvard and can't count or from MIT and can't read?"

Obama went to Harvard for his law degree. And interestingly, the second biggest spender in history got one of his degrees there also...

Oh, and did I forget to mention that TNR author Jonathan Cohn went to Harvard also?

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

X Marks The Real Disaster


Missing the Debt - By Yuval Levin - The Corner - National Review Online: "In the short-term debate we are now engaged in, we are fighting about ways to reduce deficits with lower discretionary spending or higher taxes—basically using non-health spending to offset some of the growth in health spending in the hope of keeping overall deficits and debt under control for a little while longer. But in the medium and long term, there is no hope whatsoever of doing this. It is absolutely impossible to raise taxes fast enough or high enough to keep up with this growth, and while other entitlement and discretionary cuts can buy a little time there is really nothing we could do on that front that would effectively avert disaster, both for the health-entitlement programs and for the economy. As President Obama himself said earlier this month, “If you look at the numbers, then Medicare in particular will run out of money and we will not be able to sustain that program no matter how much taxes go up.”

Unfortunately, however, the president is not willing to do anything about this. The Medicare reforms he was reportedly willing to consider—raising the Medicare retirement age by two years, employing yet more price controls, a little more means testing—just don’t get anywhere near the real problem."
You don't have a clue what's going on with the budget debates unless you read this...

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The Servant Of Its Public Servant

Austerity in the U.K. by Theodore Dalrymple - City Journal: "When our new government came into power—after a period in opposition during which, fearing unpopularity, it failed to explain the real fiscal situation to the electorate—there was broad, if reluctant, acceptance that something unpleasant had to be done; otherwise, Britain would soon be like Greece without the sunshine. But the acceptance was on narrow grounds only, and this is worrying because it implies that we are far from liberating ourselves from the binge-followed-by-austerity cycle. A large part of the public still views the state as the provider of first resort, which means that the public will remain what it now is: the servant of its public servants.

As soon as the crisis is over, though this may not be for some time, the politicians are likely again to offer the public security and excitement, wealth and leisure, education and distraction, capital accumulation without the need to save, health and safety, happiness and antidepressants, and all the other desiderata of human existence. The public will believe the politicians because—to adapt slightly the great dictum of Louis Pasteur—impossible political promises are believed only by the prepared mind. And our minds have been prepared for a long time, since the time of the Fabians at least."
This is a moderately long one but well worth the read. I have been developing a bit of an addiction to his writing -- and you'll find yourself in danger of the same...

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Of The Wilson Era

Thomas Sowell Hammers the Historians - Brian Domitrovic - Past & Present - Forbes: "You’ve got to love that “of the Wilson era.” Because if Leuchtenburg had written, “of Wilson,” he would have had to contend with that president’s determined efforts in his last two years in office to get rid of the huge progressivity in the tax code.

Heaven’s to Betsey, scholarship can’t be trusted. Elisions and evasions all around. Things will get better in the future, when all books are written with hyperlinks to sources, and the corner-cutting which people like Schlesinger and Leuchtenburg tried to get away with can be exposed immediately. At the end of his column, Sowell aptly observed that the episode he canvassed amounts to yet more evidence that the venerable tradition of scholarly peer review has become hopelessly hidebound."
This one really is a RTWT. And if only hyperlinks were enough to solve this Goebbels' knot that is strangling us. The ability of the populace to read would be the predicate for that to happen. Nothing over 140 characters, thk u.

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There You Go Again

EDITORIAL: Hijacking Reagan - Washington Times: "In his speech Monday night Mr. Obama quoted Mr. Reagan speaking August 11, 1982 in Billings. Montana: “Would you rather reduce deficits and interest rates by raising revenue from those who are not now paying their fair share, or would you rather accept larger budget deficits, higher interest rates, and higher unemployment?  And I think I know your answer.” At that time Mr. Reagan had reluctantly agreed to a deal in which the Democratic Congress promised to reduce spending by $3 for every $1 in new revenue. But this Faustian bargain only demonstrates why House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, is holding the line on taxes today. During the Reagan years, Congress went ahead and imposed the agreed-on taxes but quickly broke the spending-cut pledge and instead pursued even greater budget increases. As Reagan later lamented, “Congress never cut spending by even one penny.”

But Mr. Reagan would not be fooled again. In a 1983 debt-ceiling debate, Reagan threatened to veto any measure that contained tax hikes. “I am unalterably opposed to Congress‘ efforts to raise taxes on individuals and businesses,” he said. His administration “did not come to Washington to raise the peoples’ taxes. We came here to restore opportunity and get this economy moving again. We do not face large deficits because Americans aren’t taxed enough. We face those deficits because the Congress still spends too much.”"
Obama's the shameless one, isn't he?

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The mOat

Guest Post: Complexity And Collapse | ZeroHedge: "Complexity and Collapse

Adding complexity offers a facsimile of 'reform' that actually serves the Prime Directive of fiefdoms and cartels: self-preservation.

The most obvious features of recent political and financial 'solutions' are their staggering complexity and their failure to fix what's broken. The first leads to the second. Consider the healthcare 'reform,' thousands of pages of mind-numbing complexity which slathers on thick layers of bureaucratic control on a system which already costs twice as much per capita as competing developed-world systems.

Sadly, the 'reform' simply solidifies the Status Quo fiefdoms and cartels that control the U.S. sickcare system.

The healthcare reform fixes nothing, while further burdening the nation with useless complexity and cost. The same can be said of the Dodd-Frank 'reforms' of the embezzlement-based U.S. financial system. The original Glass–Steagall Act separating investment banking from depository banking was a few pages in length; by one count, Dodd-Frank requires that regulators create 243 rules, conduct 67 studies, and issue 22 periodic reports.

Meanwhile, back in reality, the Financial Elites of Wall Street and the 'too big to fail' banks still have the nation (and Europe) by the throat."
You need to go read this one. And it isn't very long at all...

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Monday, July 25, 2011

What's Worse?

Wow:

Barack Obama: FDR “Was Pretty Fiscally Conservative” | rayharvey.org: "This, if you didn’t know it already, shows you exactly how economically illiterate and out-of-touch Barack Obama really is. It will also perhaps remind you of his whacked-out 2009 statement: “We’ve actually been operating in a way entirely consistent with free-market principles.”

From a speech Obama gave today, July 22nd, 2011:

President Obama says it is a “myth” that President FDR was not a fiscal conservative.

Question: what’s worse — if Obama actually believes that, or if he’s lying through his teeth (again)?

The following is a tiny sampling of facts about FDR, and if Barack Obama could please tell me wherein lies the fiscal conservatism here, I’d be eternally grateful.

One of FDR’s first acts as President was to close down all private banks, a maneuver he hoped would prevent scared depositors from withdrawing their savings.

What this maneuver actually did, however, was intensify the public’s panic. It didn’t improve banking at all, nor did it help in any way with the Great Depression."
Ray is on a roll with this one. Go RTWT and then some!

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Freemasonry?

The Atlantic has this terrorist all figured out » GetReligion: "And here’s an English translation of a Norwegian blog that has been tracking conservative extremists. He says that it’s wrong to call the terrorist either a “Christian conservative” or a “neo-Nazi”:
Breivik was inspired by an internet community who brands itself “counter jihadist”, a community espousing an ideology that may be considered as extreme right-wing, which also has connections to European neo-fascism. It’s a community I have been following fairly closely for a number of years. I am not surprised that the spirit of this community has now resulted in an act of terror in Norway. What is surprising is the scale, the scope of the terrorist attacks. The number of casualties exceeds the Al Qa’ida attack in London a few years ago. Although there are examples of terrorist attacks perpetrated by similarly motivated people in the past, they have not approached the scale of this incident.
If you read the terrorist’s own manifesto, it seems like this is a more fruitful avenue for journalists to pursue. And I guess many of us will need some refresher courses on Freemasonry, too."
And plagiarizing the Unabomber manifesto to boot? Good God. If he is determined to be a loner and this is not linked to Freemasonry or some neo-Nazi group or other then he's just nuttier than a cuckoo clock. Slaughtering children in the name of Christ? Umm, nope.

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COTD: Shadow Monsters

Belmont Club » A Comment About Childhood’s End: "I have copied 20 July, #49 from Mad Fiddler, about his friend who actually read the Health Care Bill. I think, I truly hope, that this comment is spread far and wide, and so, I am copying it here in the hope that it goes viral, as it should:
69. Mad Fiddler

One of my close friends had some down time this year. Used it to find and READ the 2,000 page bill commonly called “Obamacare,” and made copious notes. Several things he observed:

(1) The %$&@!!s who published the document deliberately made it UNSEARCHABLE — there are NO internal hyperlinks, nor built-in text search functions.

(2) Definitions and descriptions of complex new regulations and structures such as panels, commissions, and other authorities, are deliberately presented in bits and pieces, with many terms and qualifications defined by obscure references to other legislation, pending bills, or regulations. Links do not exist, only the legal TITLES of the referenced sources. If you want to know what the Obamacare bill has established, you have to go find and read scores of completely separate documents, which must each be located independently.

(3) Of those bureaucracies and commissions that CAN be understood from the text included in the bill, it is clear that the intent is to create numerous new “authorities” which are given un-restricted power to set, then INTERPRET AND APPLY regulations without any oversight or moderation by Congress WHATSOEVER. IN many instances, a commission or SINGLE ADMINISTRATOR is empowered to decide on the treatment or application or request by a citizen, and the administrator’s decision is defined by the Obamacare legislation as FINAL; not subject to review or appeal by any other body or authority whatsoever.

My friend made the comment that with such provisions in Obamacare and in many other bills the Dems have put up for votes and passed, they are simply setting in place a SHADOW GOVERNMENT like that of the European Union. That is, they’re creating a government which completely by-passes the elected one defined by our trampled Constitution — run by faceless bureaucrats appointed without the public knowing who they are, much less having any recourse from their decisions. The encyclopedic stacks of regulations issued monthly by the EU have become legendary. We will have the same avalanche, which allows the Demons to hide ANYTHING.

When you have a constant firehose of regulations on every conceivable aspect of human activity, contradictions are not a problem for the “rulers” — they are put in intentionally, so as to allow the tormenters to be able to cite whichever regulation supports their every conceivable decision. Inconsistency can therefor NEVER be the basis of complaint.
The nation we love is in the thrall of MONSTERS."
Notice that Obamacare is in no danger of being repealed in all the current debt limit theatrics? Other things may give a bit -- like tax INCREASES may be relatively small -- but you're being distracted from the monster's soon to be bloody jaws...

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Skirting The Bernank?

Here's an excellent history lesson for you:

Forbes.com - Magazine Article: "The gold standard is also blamed for 'deflation' during any recession. For as long as there have been gold standard systems, which is a very long time, there have been other people who have wanted to try to solve their economic problems with a currency devaluation or some sort of 'easy money' policy.

'But as this Addition to the Money, will employ the People are now Idle, and these now employ'd to more Advantage: So the Product will be encreas'd, and Manufacture advanc'd. If the Consumption of the Nation continue as now, the Export will be greater, and a Ballance due to us …'

See? Just add more money, and all your problems are solved. Does that sound like QE2 today? This quote comes from a book called Money and Trade Considered: With a Proposal for Supplying the Nation with Money. It was published in 1705. The author was John Law.

Law continued: 'Indeed, if lowness of Interest were the Consequence of a greater Quantity of Money, the Stock applied to Trade would be greater, and Merchants would Trade Cheaper, from the easiness of borrowing and the lower Interest of Money, without any Inconveniencies attending it.'

How could anyone refuse such a sensible proposal, especially one without any "inconveniencies" attending it?

Law must have been convincing, because by 1720 he was the Finance Minister of France. His inflationary "Mississippi Bubble" bankrupted most of the aristocracy of France, an Inconvenience that made Law rather unpopular there. Before the end of the year 1720, he fled the country dressed as a woman.

A gold standard prevents this sort of currency fiddling. Thus, the gold standard is called "deflationary" (recessionary) because it prevents the currency manipulators from supposedly solving the unemployment problem through the magic of the printing press.

I wonder how Ben Bernanke and his Keynesian pals would look in a dress? Maybe we will find out."
Thinking about what he would look like gives me the shivers -- and not in a good way I assure you. But we need to see him flee at least, that's for certain. The Bernank: the modern John Law! Ironically, it's not even clear the French would take him!

RTWT.

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"Progress" Documented

Ace of Spades HQ: "Daniel Pipes at NRO spotted this amazing paragraph from an English History book.
Until August 1914 a sensible, law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the state, beyond the post office and the policeman. He could live where he liked and as he liked. He had no official number or identity card. He could travel abroad or leave his country for ever without a passport or any sort of official permission. He could exchange his money for any other currency without restriction or limit. He could buy goods from any country in the world on the same terms as he bought goods at home. For that matter, a foreigner could spend his life in this country without permit and without informing the police. Unlike the countries of the European continent, the state did not require its citizens to perform military service. An Englishman could enlist, if he chose, in the regular army, the navy, or the territorials. He could also ignore, if he chose, the demands of national defence. Substantial householders were occasionally called on for jury service. Otherwise, only those helped the state who wished to do so. The Englishman paid taxes on a modest scale: nearly £200 million in 1913-14, or rather less than 8% of the national income. ... broadly speaking, the state acted only to help those who could not help themselves. It left the adult citizen alone."
You might say there's been a lot of ... progress since then! (get it? progress, progressives? oh, I slay myself!)

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Illegally True

Instapundit » Blog Archive » MEGAN MCARDLE: Theories Of The British Press: I have been somewhat skeptical of the claims that …: "MEGAN MCARDLE: Theories Of The British Press:
I have been somewhat skeptical of the claims that the Murdoch scandals are going to jump the Atlantic, because my sense has always been that the British press really is different–far more aggressive and edgy than their American cousins. This sort of phone hacking has been widespread there for a long time. Scotland Yard has now expanded its investigation to 31 publications and hundreds of journalists, a fact that has gone largely unremarked by those who were extremely interested in the case right up to the point where the evidence started suggesting that this was a British problem, not a Murdoch problem.

If it is indeed a British problem, however, the question is: why? Some of the suggestions that have suggested themselves are obvious, others deliciously counterintuitive. British libel law, for example, is actually much stricter than US libel law. But a twitter correspondent suggests that this may, paradoxically, have encouraged hacking: you can’t take the risk of reporting something that’s false, so instead you go to illegal lengths to report things that are true.
Very interesting.

Posted by Glenn Reynolds at 10:28 am"

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COTD: It Isn't 50

Bastardi: Just Say No to El Nino, at least till 2012 | Watts Up With That?: "rbateman says:
July 22, 2011 at 10:51 pm
Here’s one for the Climate Change pop quiz:
I have a box. It’s filled with normal air. The box is just big enough that it contains 1 co2 molecule, at the present rate of 390 ppm co2. How many other molecules are in the box?
a.) 100
b.) 50
c.) 2,564
d.) 390"

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The jOkers

House Republicans Readying New Debt Proposal | Power Line: "So let’s add this up. The Republican House passed a budget–a very good one, too–within the deadlines prescribed by the Congressional Budget Act. The Senate Democrats ignored the law and refused either to agree with the House’s proposal, or adopt a budget of their own.

Next, the Republican House passed cut, cap and balance, which would have resolved the debt ceiling issue. Harry Reid refused to allow the Senate to vote on the proposal, and once again refused to come up with a plan of his own. President Obama, likewise, has refused to submit a plan other than his official FY 2012 budget, which was a joke. Obama has abandoned that proposal, but refuses to replace it with a new one.

Now, Harry Reid says the House should jump, and the House is jumping. Republicans will come up with yet another plan to resolve the debt ceiling issue. Maybe this makes sense from a political perspective. I hope so. But it is absurd for the Republicans, time after time, to bear the burden of proposing solutions that the Democrats cavalierly refuse to consider."
Plural counting Harry Reid and his entire Communist Party as far as I can tell...

I'm guessing you haven't read Marx' Communist Manifesto's 10 Points, have you?

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

The 4% "Solution"

Budget Myths | Power Line: "The last myth that I’d like to address is perhaps the most important of all. This is the myth that we only need about $2 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years.

Democrats have said—although no plan has ever been made public—that they could get behind a budget deal that reduces the deficit $4 trillion over the next ten years, half of it comprised of spending cuts. I’m skeptical that even this minimal level of spending cuts would occur. But even if it did, it’s not even close to what is needed to ultimately balance our budget. We are projected to spend $46 trillion over the next ten years. A $2 trillion cut is only about a four percent reduction in spending that is set to increase almost sixty percent."
Welcome to Mordor on the Potomac. Even Enron would blush. Did I forget to mention that Enron was a supporter of DemoGreenie schemes?

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Consensus At Last

Instapundit » Blog Archive » CHANGE: Cut, Cap, And Balance Gets 2-1 Approval Among Adults in CNN Poll. Not “likely voters,” but…: "CHANGE: Cut, Cap, And Balance Gets 2-1 Approval Among Adults in CNN Poll. Not “likely voters,” but adults. “However, if you expect the CNN story about its own poll to highlight this result, then you obviously haven’t been reading CNN long. . . . In other words, a consensus exists across all political lines that the CCB/BBA approach would be a good idea. When one scrolls down to the crosstab sections of the raw data, the consensus becomes very, very clear. The CCB/BBA approach wins majorities in every single demographic — including self-described liberals. Sixty-three percent of Democrats back the House bill. The least supportive age demographic is 50-64YOs at 62/37; the least supportive regional demographic is the Midwest at 61/39. Even those who express opposition to the Tea Party supports it 53/47. In other words, it’s a clean sweep. Simply put, there is no political demographic at all where the CCB/BBA doesn’t get majority support.”

Posted by Glenn Reynolds at 9:00 pm"
Just don't expect to hear, see or read about it from Commie News Network of course...

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

COTD: The Cockroach Has A Clear Position

How Obama Blew a Big Debt Deal - Rick Newman (usnews.com): "What is the difference between Obama's economic proposals and a dead cockroach lying in the corner? The cockroach has a clear position and it is not constantly changing its position while proclaiming that it hasn't.
What to believe? Obama's budget which would have raised the debt if passed but was unanimously defeated in the Senate? His vague claims of a 4 trillion dollar reduction which had no specifics? His vow to require a 1 trillion dollar tax increase or his latest praise of the Senate Gang of Six that really has no certain spending cuts but likely raises taxes in the 3 trillion dollar range? And don't tell me that tax increase is offset by eliminating the AMT since that was never going to actually be imposed on the middle class. And this is the 'rational' man? As Boehner observed, negotiating with Obama is like negotiating with jello."
Perfect.

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Cargo Cult Science Update


The results are about to be published from the CLOUD experiment at CERN and it's sounding like Svensmark will be vindicated. But anyone paying attention could have told you that was highly likely ... so it's time to issue the "gag order":

The Reference Frame: CERN boss: I forbade employees to interpret our climate experiment: "139 muons penetrate through your body each second.

And if the experiment and its subsequent interpretations happened to confirm the 'cosmoclimatology' theory by Henrik Svensmark, which has had nothing to do with politics when published, by the way, Mr Heuer has no moral right to try to prevent Henrik Svensmark from enjoying all the credit that he would deserve in that case - credit for contributions to science that would exceed Mr Heuer's own contributions to science by orders of magnitude.

In reality, it is almost certainly true that cosmic radiation is only one of many parameters. But so are water vapor and carbon dioxide and aerosols and oscillations of the ocean; except that in the case of the second item on the list, scientists are being similarly prevented from saying that this chemical compound is just one among many drivers.

I am pretty much sure that Mr Heuer has heard about some people who are claiming that CO2 is important in the climate and he must know that they're allowed - and, indeed, encouraged - to "interpret" those wild speculations that are, relatively to the CLOUD experiment, supported by nothing. But he still finds it appropriate to suppress the broader findings that may follow from the research done by his very lab. This is an utterly dishonest behavior reminding us of science in the 20th century totalitarian societies and Mr Heuer should be ashamed.

Much of Feynman's famous "Cargo Cult Science" commencement speech is dedicated exactly to these questions"
Check out Nigel Calder's blog for the context.

Galileo and the victims of Lysenko would tell you we have learned nothing...

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sowell On Socialist Strawmen

Dissecting The Demagoguery About 'Tax Cuts For The Rich' - Investors.com: "The facts are plain: There were 206 people who reported annual taxable incomes of one million dollars or more in 1916. But as tax rates rose, that number fell to 21 by 1921. After a series of tax-rate cuts in the 1920s, the number of individuals reporting taxable incomes of a million dollars or more rose again, to 207 by 1925.

As output surged, joblessness plunged.

It should not be surprising that the government collected more tax revenue under these conditions. Nor is it surprising that, with increased economic activity resulting from more investment in the private economy, the annual unemployment rate from 1925 through 1928 ranged from a high of 4.2% to a low of 1.8%.

The point here is not simply that the weight of evidence is one side of the argument rather than the other but, more fundamentally, that there was no serious engagement with the arguments actually advanced but instead an evasion of those arguments by depicting them as simply a way of transferring tax burdens from the rich to other taxpayers."
Thomas Sowell rocks.

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Let Them Have Communism

Give Greece What It Deserves: Communism - Bill Frezza - Political Capital - Forbes: "Once in a great while an opportunity comes along to deliver justice to a people, giving them what they truly deserve. Greece’s time has come.

It must be dawning on all but the most obtuse member of the banking elite that they can’t possibly steal enough money from German taxpayers to save the Greek government from default. Put it off, maybe, but collapse is inevitable.

Once this happens, what is the purpose of casting Greece into some selective temporary financial purgatory where the irrelevant Greek economy can continue embarrassing anyone foolish enough to lend their dysfunctional government a dime? Why not go all the way and give the country what many of its people have been violently demanding for almost a century?

Let them have Communism."
LOL

And there would be social justice in it... You know things are not looking good when even I start thinking this is funny. Good Lord.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Welcome To 71%

Michael Boskin: Get Ready for a 70% Marginal Tax Rate - WSJ.com: "It would be a huge mistake to imagine that the cumulative, cascading burden of many tax rates on the same income will leave the middle class untouched. Take a teacher in California earning $60,000. A current federal rate of 25%, a 9.5% California rate, and 15.3% payroll tax yield a combined income tax rate of 45%. The income tax increases to cover the CBO's projected federal deficit in 2016 raises that to 52%. Covering future Social Security and Medicare deficits brings the combined marginal tax rate on that middle-income taxpayer to an astounding 71%. That teacher working a summer job would keep just 29% of her wages. At the margin, virtually everyone would be working primarily for the government, reduced to a minority partner in their own labor.

Nobody—rich, middle-income or poor—can afford to have the economy so burdened. Higher tax rates are the major reason why European per-capita income, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, is about 30% lower than in the United States—a permanent difference many times the temporary decline in the recent recession and anemic recovery.

Some argue the U.S. economy can easily bear higher pre-Reagan tax rates. They point to the 1930s-1950s, when top marginal rates were between 79% and 94%, or the Carter-era 1970s, when the top rate was about 70%. But those rates applied to a much smaller fraction of taxpayers and kicked in at much higher income levels relative to today."
You voted for it, you'll get it...

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rubio 2012 Watch (Again)

Quotes of the day « Hot Air: "The way the deal is currently structured right now, it gives the President the ability to raise the debt limit. But as I’ve said already on the problem: The debt limit is not really the problem here, the problem here is the debt."
Yeah, I know it's the Communist Broadcasting System, Comrades? But, what is to be done? Except see Comrade Shieffer schooled big time...

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Walk Away

RealClearMarkets - Get Over It, We've Already Defaulted: "All of the above about banks is unfortunate given the historical truth that economies thrive on business failure for bad ideas being starved of capital, and poor bank managers being replaced by better ones. Also, not asked enough is why U.S. taxpayers are essentially on the hook to provide the world with an asset that at least in terms of the income streams it offers, will always pay. We're subsidizing a safe haven for capital; one that is paid for on the backs of productive workers who could doubtless find better uses for their hard-earned money assuming a less wasteful Congress and Treasury.

Still, all the talk about default is just talk since history says we'll continue to clip our creditors through dollar devaluations that will greatly harm economic growth. As for the other kind, Geithner has made it implicitly clear that a payment default of the more traditional variety is not in the cards, thus making it essential that happy talking Republicans who claim to believe in limited government walk away from the negotiating table as quickly as possible."

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Whoops!

Stimulus Surprise: Companies Retrench When Government Spends — HBS Working Knowledge: "Q: These findings present something of a dilemma for public policymakers who believe that federal spending can stimulate private economic development. How would you suggest they approach the problem that federal dollars may actually cause private-sector retrenchment?

A: Our findings suggest that they should revisit their belief that federal spending can stimulate private economic development. It is important to note that our research ignores all costs associated with paying for the spending such as higher taxes or increased borrowing. From the perspective of the target state, the funds are essentially free, but clearly at the national level someone has to pay for stimulus spending. And in the absence of a positive private-sector response, it seems even more difficult to justify federal spending than otherwise."

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The Scam


RealClearPolitics - Why the Budgetary Game Is a Big Taxpayer Scam: "The blue line you see is President Obama's budget. The green line is Rep. Paul Ryan's budget.

Now, Ryan's is of course a couple of trillion dollars lower than Obama's over the next ten years. But what do they both have in common? They both go up. As in spending more, not less. As in, roughly $40 trillion to $45 trillion more. That's a whole lot of taxpayer money, folks.

Now why is this? It's because of something called the 'current services baseline,' which includes population and inflation increases built into the budget. Entitlements have their own formulas.

So when you hear a politician tell you they're cutting spending, they're actually referring only to reducing the growth of spending. Rarely, if ever, do they actually reduce the level of spending."

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Per YEAR


The horrifying AAA debt-issuance chart | Felix Salmon: "The big-picture thing to remember when looking at this chart is something which I’ve said many times before — that it wasn’t an excess of greed and speculation which led to the financial crisis, but rather an excess of overcaution, with an attendant surge in demand for triple-A-rated bonds. On a micro level, triple-A securities are safer than any other securities. But on a macro level, they’re much more dangerous, precisely because they’re considered risk-free. They breed complacency and regulatory arbitrage, and they are a key ingredient in the cause of all big crises, which is leverage.

At the left-hand side of the chart we see that global issuance of triple-A bonds was more or less nonexistent back in the early 90s. All those Treasury bonds, all those agency securities from Fannie and Freddie, all that Japanese debt — add it all up, and it still comes to essentially zero by the standards of what seems normal today. Check out the left-hand y-axis: it goes up in $1 trillion increments. And we’re not talking stock, here, we’re talking flows: this chart is issuance per year."
Did I forget to mention this is a RTWT?

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A Crisis O Confidence ... In O Duce

32 years ago today: The “malaise” speech « Hot Air: "Laura Ingraham sets up the pins and then knocks ‘em down. The irony is, I wish O would give a version of this speech explaining the entitlements crisis to Americans and what sort of “sacrifices” they’re in for, even if we do end up taxing those dastardly rich people who are hoarding “our” money. It’d be his “Nixon goes to China” moment. When Paul Ryan tries to get it through voters’ thick heads that we can’t afford the welfare state as is, it’s just those darned wingnuts scaremongering again. If Obama were to do it, it’d be “tough love” in a patriotic cause. But then, I suppose that’s unfair: It’s not like he promised us he’d tackle this when he was sworn in.

Maybe in 2013?"


Holy crap! Laura has the jellO nailed to the floor on this one all in a minute and a half. Just wow.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

What Cold War?

WTWT. From Powerline.

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Junk

Instapundit » Blog Archive » FORGET THE DEBT CEILING: S&P: U.S. Debt Could Reach ‘Junk’ Rating by 2030, Absent Entitlement R…: "Then came the Obama blowout, in league with Nancy Pelosi’s Congress. With the recession as a rationale, Democrats consciously blew up the national balance sheet, lifting federal outlays to 25% in 2009, the highest level since 1945. (Even in 1946, with millions still in the military, spending was only 24.8% of GDP. In 1947 it fell to 14.8%.) Though the recession ended in June 2009, spending in 2010 stayed high at nearly 24%, and this year it is heading back toward 25%. . . . The President is now claiming to have found fiscal virtue, but notice how hard he has fought House Republicans as they’ve sought to abate the spending boom.
Junk leadership and junk policies lead to junk status.

UPDATE: This reminds me of the Insta-Dad’s prophetic take on TARP: “The bad thing is that the federal government has figured out that it can borrow a lot more money than it previously thought.”

Posted by Glenn Reynolds at 8:39 am"

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Warped Timber

Blog: The network that produced Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.: "Obama is as close as one could imagine to a made-to-order front man for contemporary, upscale, shy-about-itself, nouveau socialism. From his earliest age, he shaped his dreams about himself to act out a character wholly fictitious, namely a black American from a humble background who rose up out of brilliance and merit, and who yearns to draw all of America's low-born (plus the rest of mankind) up through the same paths. But he is none of that. Equally imaginary is his vaunted understanding of and sympathy for foreign cultures. A typical multiculturalist, Obama speaks no language other than a peculiar version of English. His native language, loves, and hates are common to some of the most leftist elements of the current American ruling class.
That class knows about America only that it must be changed, and looks at the vast majority of Americans the way carpenters look at warped pieces of lumber. Barack Obama is neither more nor less than its product and agent."
If you really want to learn something about O Duce, read "Deconstructing Obama" and "Radical-in-Chief". Or you can just grovel in ignorance and slavery...

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Full O It


Cut Him Off! | Power Line: "Barack Obama is leading the country down a path to bankruptcy, as the federal government spends trillions of dollars that we don’t have. Does the impending fiscal crisis deter him from more excesses? Of course not! Unless he is stopped by the voters, Obama will borrow and spend until the United States of America is–economically speaking–only a memory. As usual, Michael Ramirez puts the day’s headlines in perspective:"

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Stupid Center

Belmont Club » One Framework To Rule Them All: "Freidrich Hayek, reflecting on the question of ‘who should decide’ economic activity concluded that the worst thing anyone could do was let the center rule the roost. Hayek argued that no group of bureaucrats knew  enough to make decisions for everybody. The right answer was literally unknown to any single group of planners. The only possible alternative was to create a framework in which everyone could make their own rational decisions.
The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess. The economic problem of society is thus not merely a problem of how to allocate “given” resources—if “given” is taken to mean given to a single mind which deliberately solves the problem set by these “data.” It is rather a problem of how to secure the best use of resources known to any of the members of society, for ends whose relative importance only these individuals know. Or, to put it briefly, it is a problem of the utilization of knowledge which is not given to anyone in its totality."

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Paul Ryan Reminds Amnesiac Americans

Once again, Paul Ryan takes on Obama - Right Turn - The Washington Post: "The last time there was a bipartisan budget agreement, it balanced the budget by cutting spending and cutting taxes. The 1997 bipartisan budget agreement between President Clinton and a Republican Congress balanced the budget by bringing spending down to 18.2% of gross domestic product."

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The Cure

Moonbattery: Put on the Path to Sanity by Obamunism: "Barack Hussein Obama may turn out to be the most effective recruiter for the GOP since Jimmy Carter. Here former lib Jodi Carroll describes how she was cured:"

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He Means Everyone Else

Jonah Goldberg: Obama still has clout, but only because it came with the office - latimes.com: "Obama seems incapable of moving public opinion, at least among people who don't already agree with him. You can tell his handlers have noticed because his talking points have become top-heavy with jargon freshly minted from focus groups: corporate jet owners, 'winning the future,' raising revenue instead of raising taxes, etc.

Similarly, his shopworn rhetoric has become more desperate. On July 5, he said of the debt-ceiling negotiations, 'It's my hope … that we'll all leave our political rhetoric at the door.' The next day he insisted that 'the debt ceiling should not be … used as a gun against the heads of the American people to extract tax breaks for corporate jet owners, for oil and gas companies that are making billions of dollars because the price of gasoline has gone up so high.'

When Obama says people should drop their political rhetoric, he means everyone else."

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Monday, July 11, 2011

The Platform

Communist Party USA - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Among the points in the party's 'Immediate Program' are a $12/hour minimum wage for all workers, national universal health care, and opposition to privatization of United States Social Security. Economic measures such as increased taxes on 'the rich and corporations', 'strong regulation' of the financial industry, 'regulation and public ownership of utilities', and increased federal aid to cities and states; opposition to the Iraq War and other military interventions; opposition to free trade treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); nuclear disarmament and a reduced military budget; various civil rights provisions; campaign finance reform including public financing of campaigns; and election law reform, including Instant Runoff Voting.[48]"
No this is not the Democrat Party platform. It's the Communist Party platform of course. And they're different how again? I know, you're shocked, shocked...

(Inspired by this post by Ann Barnhardt.)

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Muhammad (Ali) Rules

Belmont Club » Rope-A-Dope: "The problem facing President Obama is that, by his own account, there isn’t even a war on in Libya, or nothing that amounts to one. It will be hard to make the case that he needs to come to the assistance of allies in military need, if that need has by defined into nonexistence by none other than himself.

If France and Italy have negotiate a settlement that leaves Khadaffy in power they will have provided a textbook example of international rope-a-dope, one convincingly demonstrates the limitations of feeble muscles allied to soft-power. It will be the perfect companion to the emerging debacle to financially save Greece. Europe has punched itself out fighting a non-war against a 5th rate country in North Africa. Far from covering themselves in glory enhancing the prestige of the old continent they will have succeeded in making themselves nothing but a laughing stock. The only problem is that there will probably be serious consequences."

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The Real Exit Question: Do You Think Goebbels "Big Lie" Method As Practiced By Our "Betters" Is Effective Much?

Video: Hey, let’s ban some conservative books « Hot Air: "Exit question: Does the fact that only one half of one percent voted to ban Mein Kampf prove that the participants here weren’t taking this very seriously? Or does it prove that they’re only willing to ban books that pose some sort of political threat to them right now?"

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

zerO vOtes

The “grand bargain” as campaign ploy « The Greenroom: "Anyone harboring any doubt over who is repsonsible for the failure of a “grand bargain” must consider Pres. Obama’s record. He avoided the debt before the election. After the election, he submitted a budget so absurd it got zero votes in a Democrat-controlled Senate. [Indeed, Senate Democrats have yet to submit a budget of any kind.] He has not moved from the positions he staked out in April. His position is not balanced, no matter how much the White House and the establishment media try to spin it as such.

Furthermore, there should be no expectation that Obama will budge on the budget. Obama’s non-budget speech was a tacit admission that he cannot run for re-election on his record, but must demonize his opponents with class warfare and MediScare. He would be willing to entertain a GOP surrender on his terms, because he likely calculates that the liberals put off by any deal will be outnumbered by demoralized conservatives and libertarians, while he gains casual, low-information independents. Otherwise, he has already announced his intentions. He will do the only thing for which he has shown any talent: campaign. Whether he can run a negative campaign running from his record, as opposed to standing as the blank slate of Hope and Change, remains to be seen."
You did realize that our "moderate" dear leader got zero votes on his "budget" didn't you? Since the media is so balanced I'm sure I didn't catch you off guard now did I?

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Did I Forget To Mention Untethered?

Democrats’ Incoherent Push to Cut Defense « Commentary Magazine: "It’s mindblowing that Democrats simultaneously push for $700 billion in defense cuts while demanding  government retain its expansionary spending programs. Those Republicans willing to trade robust national security to avert tax hikes have deeply flawed priorities, but at least these are identifiable priorities that can be debated.

But Democrats are pushing for cuts in military spending while insisting we need more overall spending. They support increased spending because they believe large government outlays – in the Keynesian sense, where we should pay people to dig holes rather than let scared money remain on the sidelines — are good. That belief borders on sheer incoherence. And they’re doing it just as a Democratic President has embraced a doctrine that advocates the use of force, permitting open-ended unilateral warfare, based solely on humanitarian grounds. The president now decides on Tuesdays to go to war on Fridays. So we may actually need some weapons sooner or later."

If only due to argumentative decency, Democrats will need to make a choice on spending. Either military cuts or continued expansionary spending, but not both. “Spending is expansionary except when the money goes to something I don’t like” shouldn’t serve as a compelling argument.
In fact, untethered doesn't begin to describe it. But this does:
In fact, everything else being equal, Democrats are politically and institutionally inclined to divert resources to the least efficient sectors of the economy, which is where their permanent constituencies have quite literally set up shop. Those groups — construction unions, green tech companies, etc. — not coincidentally, require government intervention to remain financially viable. That’s the deal they have with the Democratic Party. Democratic politicians insulate uncompetitive constituencies from the market via onerous regulations and the occasional wave of government fiat. In turn, those groups mobilize electorally for Democratic politicians. So we end up in a situation where progressive groups targeted for Democratic largesse are in sectors that have been most distorted by government intervention. Maybe that’s justifiable on social grounds — unions are the bedrock of the middle class, green tech will save us from rising oceans, whatever — but it’s flawed economic policy.

To take one nearly perfect example, see Mickey Kaus’ unpacking of how Davis-Bacon wage regulations, inserted into the stimulus lest union companies get outbid, detonated any chance for successful “shovel-ready” projects. Obama hoped to have people “immediately put to work.” Instead, a year was wasted because expansionary fiscal policy was secondary to protecting uncompetitive Democratic interest groups.
Doesn't it?

This post has more Keynesian genuflection than necessary mixed in with its utter destruction of Dem lunacy. But it rates a RTWT in any case.

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Untethered From Reality


Stimulus Spending and Unemployment | Mercatus: "At 9.1 percent, today’s unemployment rate is far too high. In the past two months unemployment has begun to edge up again - In spite of growing unemployment and the lack of recovery, stimulus spending continues to grow. While debate surrounds the effect of stimulus spending on unemployment, the data reveal no marked improvement in employment as stimulus spending has increased.  Sustainable job creation comes from the private sector; true stimulus legislation is that which creates a stable, low-regulatory regime that will enable businesses to hire workers in sustainablejobs; jobs that will last long after stimulus funds have run out."

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Just The Facts

Stick this on your refrigerator:

Bill Buckler presents an amusing compendium of facts, let us call them inconvenient truths, in the latest edition of his newsletter, some of which would make for entertaining anecdotes if presented at the Biden "deficit cutting" talks, which also, and very paradoxically, aim to cut US debt by increasing it.
  • Not one penny of US debt has been repaid for 51 years: the last time US government funded debt actually decresed on a year-over-year basis was 1960
  • 97% of today's funded debt has been accumulated since August 1971 - the end of the Bretton Woods era by Nixon, and the terminal delinking of all fiat currencies from any and all hard assets, ushered in the era of modern-day hyper-debt insolvency
  • Obama projects 2.5% Fed Funds rate in budget calculations through 2020. Average Fed Funds rate since 1980: 5.7%; Since 2008: 0.00%, If average 5.7% rate was used, projected US deficit would increase by another $4.9 trillion by 2020
  • Obama projects 4.2% growth rate over next 3 years. If a normal growth rate of 2.5% is used, deficits would increase by another $4 trillion by 2020
  • The US government borrows 40-50 cents for every dollar it spends. A balanced budget would mean cutting government spending in half.
  • Implementing a balanced budget would not reduce current debt outstanding. It would merely stop it from growing.
  • Over the past three fiscal years US debt grew by over $1.5 trillion per year: this is more than three times the record annual debt increase in any previous year in US history
  • Last night deficit reduction targets were cut from $4 trillion to $2 trillion over the next decade, in exchange for a $2.4 trillion debt ceiling hike, which will last the Treasury until the next presidential election. Said otherwise, the Treasury needs to fund a $2.4 trillion hold over the next 15 months. Over a decade this come to $20 trillion: ten times more than the proposed deficit reduction.

And yes, he's not done yet -- click the read more...

And the most inconvenient truth of all:
The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) is said to have been precipitated by the Lehman failure in 2008 which froze inter-bank lending on a global basis and almost brought down the system. It is said to have been prevented by a massive and global increase in new money creation. In reality, had economic nature been left alone to take its course, there is a good chance that the world would be fast emerging from its financial black hole by now. At a minimum, most of the malinvestments would have been discounted to the point where they would no longer act as a dead weight on future savings and investment.

Economic “miracles” (so-called) have happened before. The US emerged from a deep recession in 1920-21 because the government and the central bank did NOT interfere. Germany emerged from the actual physical rubble of WW II for exactly the same reason. So, to a lesser extent, did Japan. In all these cases, debts which could not be repaid were not held on life support by central banks, they were written off. In all these cases, creditors took very severe “haircuts” indeed while many debtors literally had to start again from scratch. In all these cases, the LACK of government impediments or government largesse meant that a recovery took place in a much shorter time frame than would otherwise have been the case.

Economic distortions today are HUGELY bigger than they were then. That means that the recession will be deeper and the recovery phase possibly longer. But until it is allowed to begin, there is no way out.

None of the above will be noted anywhere by the great diversionary media spin machine over the next two weeks, since July 22 is the date by which Congress says it needs to pass the debt ceiling legislation so it can get it to Obama's desk for his signature by August 2.

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Tea Time

Roger’s Rules » Time for tea, or, What would Wilkins Micawber think?: "Mr. Sowell lays it out for us:
It goes like this: Democrats start spending money wildly, handing out goodies to a wide range of people who they want to vote for them, while Republicans complain about deficits and the national debt. Then, when the public becomes alarmed about the debts that are piling up, the Democrats get the Republicans to vote for higher taxes to deal with the debt crisis, in the name of “fiscal responsibility.”"
RTWT.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Path O Socialism

Instapundit » Blog Archive » MEGAN MCARDLE CORRECTS JAMES FALLOWS: Herbert Hoover Was No Budget Cutter. Hoover did raise taxe…: "MEGAN MCARDLE CORRECTS JAMES FALLOWS: Herbert Hoover Was No Budget Cutter.
Hoover did raise taxes on high earners quite a bit in 1932, and perhaps this is what my colleague is thinking of–though as this did not produce any immediately noticeable increase in tax revenue, it’s hard to say how much of a fiscal contraction this actually represented. (Even if it were, outside of the odd Cato paper, Hoover’s name is never invoked to warn against the mortal dangers of what he actually did: raised taxes on rich people in the middle of a recession.)

Instead, he is associated in the public mind with slashing spending. But there doesn’t seem to be any question that Herbert Hoover raised both spending and government deficits by rather a lot, and quite bravely considering that his critics–a group led by a fellow named Franklin Delano Roosevelt–”accused the president of ‘reckless and extravagant’ spending, of thinking ‘that we ought to center control of everything in Washington as rapidly as possible,’ and of presiding over ‘the greatest spending administration in peacetime in all of history.’ Roosevelt’s running mate, John Nance Garner, charged that Hoover was ‘leading the country down the path of socialism.’
So he was kind of a 1930s Barack Obama.

Posted by Glenn Reynolds at 10:52 pm"
Everything you thought you knew is wrong, isn't it?

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This Is Not Good


Solar activity report: the sun is still in a funk | Watts Up With That?: "This chart compares the development of Solar Cycle 24 with the last de Vries cycle event – the Dalton Minimum. The Solar Cycle 24 ramp up in terms of sunspot number is tracking much the same as that of Solar Cycle 5 but about a year ahead of it. All solar activity indications are for a Dalton Minimum repeat. There has been no development that precludes that outcome."

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The Robber Baron's Cruelty May Sometimes Sleep

Ace of Spades HQ: "What these two pieces have in common is a view of the role of government that is completely antithetical to individual liberty. C.S. Lewis described it thusly:
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
Whether it's slobbering all over the wonders of China's autocratic 'efficiencies' unencumbered by any of that nasty old free speech or pining for even more regulation from DC on what type of car we drive or how it is powered, big-government elites have the answer to all our problems. More taxes. More spending. More laws and regulations. Enough!"
I won't wish on you the experience of reading his quotes from the two "editorials" by two of our "betters".

You'd vomit.

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(cough) Bullsh*t (cough)

Obama on 2006 Debt Limit Increase (to $8T): “We’ve Got to Get our Fiscal House in Order…Not Sure It’s Going to Happen Under Current Leadership” | Verum Serum: "From a March 16, 2006 podcast on then Senator Obama’s congressional web site: (click to play)

Flashback: Obama on Debt Ceiling Increase in 2006
We are voting on the budget today. It’s a sad state of affairs, we just voted to increase the debt limit. The U.S. total debt at this point exceeds eight trillion dollars. That’s eight trillion with a “t”. So we’ve got to get our fiscal house in order here in Washington. I’m not sure it’s going to happen under the current leadership in Congress. But we’re going to see what kind of difference we can make. To make sure that veterans programs, student loan programs, low income housing assistance programs, homeland security dollars, are receiving the highest priority , not just tax cuts for the wealthiest .1% of the population.
This little lecture, remember, came after the Senator had the political fortitude to vote against the debt limit increase. Six trillion dollars in deficit spending later, after 2-1/2 years as president, and 4 years of majority rule in Congress by his party, Barack Obama is once again trying to portray himself as the adult in the room in dealing with the current debt limit crisis. He shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this. Because America has had the opportunity to see what kind of difference he and his party have made, and it has been utterly disastrous."

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Springtime for Khamenei

Iran Is at War with Us - National Review Online: "Here at home, a phony debate rages over whether conservatives are becoming “isolationist” — whether we are the Right’s version of George McGovern’s “Come Home America” Left. But most of us have never been isolationist. We’ve been realists about the enemy — specifically, about the need to defeat rather than court the enemy.

In the days after 9/11, President Bush outlined the only plan that had a chance of achieving victory: Hunt terrorists down wherever they operate and treat terror-abetting regimes as terrorists. That should have been the mullahs’ death knell. Instead, we’ve tried to fight a war the enemy prosecutes globally as if it were happening in only two countries, neither of them Iran.

Putting aside the merits of a Marshall Plan analogue for the Muslim Middle East, the original Marshall Plan was undertaken only after total victory was achieved over America’s enemies. There could be no free, independent, pro-American Europe without Normandy and D-Day and Hitler’s annihilation. If you leave the enemy undisturbed while indulging in self-congratulation over democracy and the Arab Spring, you’re choreographing a farce. I’d call it “Springtime for Khamenei,” except the tragic joke is on us.

“Intervention” in 2011 has become what “negotiation” was in the Obama hey-day of 2009 — something purportedly good for its own sake. The inconvenient reality is that, if it is not based on a strategy designed to defeat America’s enemies, it is inevitably counterproductive. It gives our enemies countless opportunities to show, quite dramatically, that we lack both resolve and a cogent plan.

It is not isolationist to conclude that if we are not in it to win, we are wasting time, billions of dollars that we don’t have, and precious lives. I may be wrong to deem it highly unlikely that true democracy will ever take in Islamic soil. I may be wrong in concluding that the Arab Spring is diplo-lipstick on a pig better seen as the Islamist Ascendancy. But I do know one thing for certain: Freedom has no chance of advancing in the Middle East, any more than it would have advanced in Europe, unless we conquer the enemy.

There was a moment in time when we knew that. It was long ago, though, and perhaps beyond recapturing by a war-weary, financially tapped-out nation.

If we’re not in it to win it — for victory, not for tilting at windmills — we should come home. But regardless of what we do, what was true in 1983, when Hezbollah bombed our Marines, remains true today: Iran is at war with us, whether we choose to engage or not. If we are not going to win, we are going to lose. Happy talk about democracy and springtime won’t obscure the fact that there is no middle ground."
There you have it. RTWT.

The one thing I would quibble about is that being the generous sort I am, I thought we needed to give the "democracy thing" a try in Iraq for the sake of the Kurds -- I thought it was the one place that had any chance of success. Somehow I couldn't forget Halabja. But I wasn't what you would call an optimist...

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Turtles All The Way Down

On Tortoises and Tax Cuts « Commentary Magazine: "The British philosopher Bertrand Russell was once giving a lecture in which he stated the earth circled the sun, held in the grip of gravity. He was interrupted by an elderly woman in the audience who told him that was nonsense, and the earth rode on the back of a giant tortoise.

“What does the tortoise stand on?” Russell asked.

“Very clever, young man,” she retorted, ”very clever indeed. But it’s turtles all the way down.”

When it comes to explaining the current fiscal difficulties facing the country, for liberals and their principal mouthpiece, the New York Times editorial page, it’s the Bush tax cuts all the way down. Take this morning’s editorial on the negotiations over the debt ceiling, in which the Times writes, “It is already clear that the Republicans have succeeded spectacularly in their insistence that the agreement be mostly about spending cuts rather than building back the money lost from the Bush tax cuts that was the principal cause of the deficit.”

While I despair, as I’m sure Bertrand Russell did in dealing with the elderly woman, of enlightening the Times with mere facts and logic, let us look at the numbers. In 2003, when the Bush tax cuts became fully operational, federal revenues were $1.782 trillion and the deficit was $377 billion. Unemployment was 6.1 percent. Four years later, federal revenues were $2.568 trillion, 44 percent higher than when the Bush tax cuts kicked in; the deficit was $162 billion, 59.3 percent lower than before the tax cuts; and the unemployment rate was 4.4 percent, 27 percent lower than four years earlier."
Of course there was the little matter of the Fed goosing the economy as usual combined with "Reckless Endangerment" but that's another set of topics -- including the one about how even if you did get more revenue from rescinding the Bush tax cuts it wouldn't be more than 5-10% each year of this year's deficit. Ugghh...

And yes, I'm reading "Reckless Endangerment" and you should too. Unless the book takes a serious left turn, I am mystified how Bill Moyers could have possibly endorsed it. My guess is that he didn't actually read it and just assumed it was more "Bush Bad, Bad, Bad Bush" since it's written by a NYeT reporter. Yes, I know: stopped clock watch again.

Anyway, I'll let you know if it goes bad but I'm amazed so far at what an indictment of Fannie and the Washington pols (bipartisan but with a heavy Dem skew if you pay attention) it is.

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