Archive for the ‘Incompetence’ Category
Some ugly facts for your Saturday….
From 1990 to 2000 GDP expanded at an average rate of 4.80%. Debt expanded at an average rate of 7.51%
From 2000 to 2010 GDP expanded at an average rate of 4.13%. Debt expanded at an average rate of 6.55%.
From 2010 to 2Q 2012 GDP expanded at a rate of 3.93%. But debt expanded at only 0.94%, which is a massive paradigm shift from the previous 20 years.
This is good instead of bad, right?
In a word, no. It is signaling the end of the self-delusional game we’ve been running for the last three decades. That endpoint is here, now and today.
Real economic growth has to subtract out government deficit spending. When you do that it looks like this:
There has been no growth of materiality since 2000. We cheated. And we cheated before too, but in the private sector with all the Internet scam companies that blew up in the tech wreck.
And by the way, at current run rates (although the numbers are not in yet) this year in terms of actual deficit and actual adjusted GDP will be almost identical to 2011, unless something dramatic changes in the next two months.
We have a grown a few things though. First, let’s look at the growth in Federal (only) health spending. This is what we’ve done thus far (smoothed, using the endpoints — $53 billion in 1980 and $850 billion last year.)
And then there’s what that rate projects out to for the next 35 years, which is what the government has promised all those who are 50 and older – your Medicare will not change if you’re 50 or older — remember?
Best of luck with that, Kemosabe; roughly $16 trillion on federal health spending alone in 2043?
By the way, for the math-challenged by 2029 we will spend more on health care than the entire federal budget is today. If you believe that can happen, say much less that 2043 will happen, I have a bridge for sale in Brooklyn. The foundation might have had a bit of trouble of late though. I think it was called “Sandy”. Heh, that works, doesn’t it?
Of course we’ve all heard that the economy is recovering since early 2009. That recovery must be real because this statistic is just skyrocketing — the number of people (and households) on food stamps. Uh, if the economy is recovering, why does this number keep going up and why has it gone up by more than 50% in the last four years — and has never gone back down?
That must be because the fine government people and “eCONomists” are all lying to you. Let’s see if we can find the lies.
We’ll being with employment. We keep hearing that we’re gaining jobs. This is half-true. We have in fact added 7.2 million jobs from January 2010 to today.
Unfortunately we also added 7.15 million working-age people during the same time period. So in point of fact, we added jobs – all 50,000 of them, when you account for working-age population growth.
Eh, that’s not so good, and nobody wants to talk about that.
Of course during the same time gasoline prices have roughly doubled, and most food items are up dramatically in price — 50% or more. Milk, eggs, cheese, meats. I wonder if that would force people onto food stamps — stagnant employment and outrageously-rising costs.
It just might!
Why is that happening? Well that might be due to the Federal Budget. Ok, ok, it’s not really a budget because they didn’t pass one. But this is where we’re spending our money, and where we’re taking in money in taxes — and what we’re putting on the credit card. I ordered a few things to point out that we must pay the interest, we must pay “General Government” (that’s the light bill for the Capitol, among other important things) and we probably want to pay for things like the Fibbies (various federal law enforcement entities and their infrastructure.) It’s also important to keep in mind the size of those shards of the budget, so when someone says “but the FBI and government is so wasteful on such programs” you can point to exactly how much we would “save” if we stopped doing all of it.
That is, not enough to matter.
So if we were to stop deficit spending today we could pay the interest on the debt, we could pay for the lights in the White House, we could pay for the FBI and similar, we could pay for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
But then we run out of money half-way through Defense and have nothing for Welfare, Other spending, Education or Transportation.
Zip, zero, nada.
There’s this little problem with that chart too which explains all of the above with employment and food stamps, along with the other markers of actual economic health. That nasty red bar with the label “Debt”, and which both sides of the aisle claim we can continue to add onto every year, is actually dilution of the nation’s wealth. This is exactly identical to imposing a tax, and it’s over a trillion dollars annually. In point of fact from 2008 to 2012 (calendar) it has been $1.40 trillion, $1.647 trillion, $1.852 trillion, $1.225 trillion and at the current (10 month) run-rate for 2012 it will be $1.246 trillion this year.
Remember, President Obama, when he took office, told us all that he would cut the deficit in half from the fiscal 2008 level, which was about $600 billion, by the time he came up for re-election.
He instead more than doubled the annual deficit and added about $5 trillion in debt across his first term.
And let’s not forget that this is not just a Democrat thing. Oh no — all spending bills must originate in The House. Without the House there is no spending and there is no deficit. And who controls The House? Why that would be Mr. Speaker Boehner, and I do think he has an “R” after his name. Despite all the screaming about “fiscal responsibility” he (and Paul Ryan) are abject liars; when push comes to shove they are all more than happy to shove all right – they shove you, your children and every senior citizen right into the hole right along with help from Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
But that’s not the bad news. The bad news is that at the rate of escalation going on today we will try to do this by the end of the decade:
Now that is just not going to work at all; we’ll pay that light bill, the Fibbies and Health Care but then will run out of money about halfway through Social Security, at which point the FBI will have plenty to do as Granny’s shotgun comes out.
So as you go about your weekend, contemplate these facts:
- You can’t fix medical entitlement spending. You instead have to fix the medical system, and the only way to do that is to pull all of the monopoly-style protections so that the cost of care in terms of dollars spent crumbles by 75% or more. This will result in a lot of short-term unemployment and contraction in GDP, but if it’s not done our government and society will blow up. This is a mathematical certainty.
- You can’t keep escalating defense spending either. But to fix that you must solve our energy dependence problem, because a huge part of why we spend over $750 billion a year is found there. Oh, it might help if we didn’t hand man-portable anti-aircraft missiles to our “friends” that happen to be affiliated with Al-Qaida too, as we reportedly did in Libya.
If we contracted Medical Spending by 75% and Defense by half, expiring the payroll tax credit and indexing Social Security retirement to longevity we would balance the budget and stop destroying our nation’s competitiveness and middle class.
Doubt me? Here’s the graph, and those three things are all I changed; Social Security does not move in expense but tax receipts go up due to the payroll tax cut expiration by about $200 billion a year.
There isn’t any other way to do it. Welfare, even if cut dramatically, can’t be cut enough. Other spending, education and transportation don’t have enough margin in them either — even cutting them in half won’t get there. Social Security can be slowed in escalation but in point of fact most of it is paid for by the Payroll Tax, or at least it was before Congress raided it with the allegedly “temporary” payroll tax deduction that costs about $210 billion a year in revenue. Indexing retirement to longevity gets us the rest of the way there by halting the advance of spending on that program.
It comes down to medical spending and defense, and with medical spending the only solution is to remove the monopoly protections and allow competition to force the industry to eat well over a trillion dollars a year in decreased gross revenues, accepting the impact that has on the economy and employment in the short term. On defense we must resolve our energy dilemma and stop pandering to the Middle East, then literally go home, cutting defense spending in half. There is no other answer; raising taxes to close the debt gap is exactly identical to what we’re doing now in terms of economic damage; the downward spiral will continue if that is attempted exactly as if we do not and keep trying to deficit spend our way out of the hole.
This is reality folks, and yet nobody wants to face it.
Arithmetic cannot be bargained with.
It just is.
When asked what socialism was, Lenin responded, “The power of the Soviet State and electrification of the country.” Apparently, the leaders of North Korea haven’t made it to that page in the Little Red Book yet.
<— If you believe that the only way a country can have a properly running infrastructure to include roads and energy is through a big, giant government that controls everything… explain this!
In the simplest terms, socialism is defined as “State ownership of the means of production” where every economic action is centrally planned and centrally controlled by the government. In comparison, capitalism is defined as “private ownership of the means of production” where every economic action is controlled by the business owner responding to the demands of the market and not the government.
The US economy is currently a mixed economy of capitalism and socialism that would best be described as fascism, or the marriage of corporations and government. Mussolini said, “This should properly be called corporatism.”
The state of Michigan has determined that it is time to “put all of its chips on green” with a new energy mandate declaring that by the year 2025, 25% of the state’s energy must come from renewable or green energy sources. There are a multitude of reasons ranging from providing clean energy to creating jobs. For an understanding of job creation through government stimulus, read the first part of this article. click here
The politicians constantly tell the uneducated serfs that the government knows what is best and that we should just listen to their wisdom. We are constantly told that only a government can provide all of these things that could never come about in a market economy. There is just no way! The whole lie is glossed over with Newspeak terms such as Public-Private Partnerships (remember fascism from above) or Government Investment. When was the last time one of these investments sent the people a dividend check? It’s all bull.
As far as government being an investment firm, I would like to withdraw all of my funds and close my account. The Public-Private partnerships are nothing more that the public picking up the tab with the profits remaining private. Considering that so many subsidized firms go bankrupt, the government is the worst investment firm in the world as evidenced here by the number of green energy companies that have gone belly-up and the money that has been flushed down the drain with them. Solyndra is not an isolated incident.
This malinvestment is not restricted to the 20th and 21st centuries. In the 1800’s, the common belief was that the only way for railroads to exist was with the full force of the government throwing money at it. James J. Hill built the Great Northern Railroad without a single tax dollar – it was privately financed. Instead of having the army “clear the land,” Hill negotiated rights of way with the Indians and other inhabitants. Hill was able to provide such a great service that his rates were lower than his subsidized (tax eater) competitors. When the subsidized firms were going bankrupt, Hill turned a profit while charging lower rates. The difference between Hill and the others was that he was a market entrepreneur where the others were political entrepreneurs. Hill did the things that the competition was either unwilling or unable to do. They got their financing by sucking up to and cutting deals with their political patrons. Most of them would have been more suited to running dress shops in Boston rather than running railroads. For more on Hill and other market entrepreneurs, click here
Why does the government invest in these companies? Because no investors in their right mind would! Think of a company such as Apple or Microsoft looking for capital investment. Based upon their successes they could probably self-finance, but if they did seek outside funds, they would not have too much of a problem because of their successful track records. The investor would of course do his/her due diligence to make sure that the investment was safe to ensure that the investment was profitable. In order to survive, private investors cannot take many losses. They will go out of business quickly… or seek a government bailout.
The government does not operate on the profit motive. The government operates on the public opinion and vote purchasing motives. The government does not need to show any results… only the appearance of results. This can easily be done by shifting money around, showing neat graphs, juking statistics, and an endless media onslaught of horizontal enforcement telling us, “The government is doing the right thing.”
It’s time to take the government out of the equation. It’s time to abandon the idea of central planning and central control of the means of production. It’s time to end the political favoritism granted to political entrepreneurs which is malinvestment at best and money laundering at worst.
Stop the mandates. If something is such a good idea and will be profitable, it does not require a mandate. Mandates and laws can never create an outcome that was not already possible. “If the world is round, can the king declare it to be flat? And if it is flat, can the parliament pass a law that makes it round?” ~St. Thomas More
Stop the social engineering. The purpose of energy companies is to provide energy and turn a profit, not to create jobs. The jobs will come as a byproduct of this economic activity. Let the different types of energy compete on the open market. The best form(s) will win out and provide the best value. It could be coal, solar, natural gas, industrial hemp, or something that has not even been discovered yet. Without an energy source proving itself, we will never really know. Why would we put so much hope into something that is unproven?
Licensing, permits, and regulations must go. The idea that these things protect the consumer and provide safety is nothing but a myth. People can be protected from harm by fully enforcing property rights. If a company contaminates a person’s land, that company should be held liable and make restitution for the loss to the actual victim. Regulations have actually been used by the political entrepreneurs for their own benefit. That’s why they hired the lobbyists to write the regulations and get them passed. Licensing, permits, and regulations serve only one purpose – to keep new actors from entering the market protecting the politically connected existing firms.
There are two ways to make money in the market. 1. Offer a product that people will voluntarily exchange money for, or 2. Use your political connections to cripple your competition with regulations. This was done against Hill in the form of the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 which enforced minimum pricing regulation, in other words… price fixing.
“When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought
and sold will be legislators.” ~P J O’Rourke
Intellectual Property laws, meaning patents need to go. Patents are nothing more than a government granted monopoly to engage in commerce and a strict prohibition against everybody else from engaging in the same commerce. An idea is not a physical thing and cannot be considered real property. For a really good explanation of IP laws, see this article.
Stop the exclusivity of markets. Yes, multiple firms can service the same city. It works with every other type of industry. It can and has worked with utility companies in the past. This restriction of the market has eliminated competition and the value that competition brings to the consumer. If monopolies are bad, why do people support them for certain industries? The Myth of Natural Monopoly
Stop the subsidies, stop the government malinvestment, and stop the looting of the taxpayers. The history of subsidies has been horrible at best. The price for some things may be lower at the cash register but the difference is made up from your paycheck. By propping up these dinosaurs, the creativity of the market has been stifled. If these new energy sources are worth their salt, they will distinguish themselves as so. If something is viable, private investors will flock to it. And no, the greedy capitalists that would sell their own mothers for a profit are not keeping new technology off the market to protect Big Oil. If something new came along that was more profitable, those greedy capitalists would sell out the existing firms… for the profits. Greed is good.
The most important thing is for the people to stop believing in The Myth of the State. These politicians are not wise and all-knowing. Most of them are idiots and have little understanding of economics or energy. They do understand lobbyist money, vote purchasing, and appealing to the emotions of the masses. They do not have your best interests at heart.
“How can we blame the free market when we haven’t even tried it yet?”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
A couple of years ago, Spain “put their chips on Green.” They have a 25% unemployment rate. Is that the real meaning of 25 by 25?
Lou – Freedom Feens
I’m going to reprise a Ticker from 2011-10-18, which you can read here if you want the original, but in a political context.
There was once a nation that was comprised of fish. The fish lived in a pond that was 64×64 in size, or 4096 square units of surface area. As with all fish they survived on dissolved oxygen in the water, which came to the water by exchange with the atmosphere above. Plants grew in the water, receiving their energy from the sun while recycling the waste emitted by the fish as nutrients, and the fish ate the plants. All was well in the nation of fish.
But the economy of fish was limited by its growth. Some of the bottom where the fish lived was rather rocky, and not much suited to cultivation of aquatic plants. Some of the bottom was fertile, and beneath still more were various rare and natural treasures, such as energy sources that the fish could use for manufacturing.
One day a bright fish that worked for a bank called “Goldfishbank” got the idea that since plants were food, and more growth is better, the nation would be served by faster “growth.” He introduced to the pond a species of lilly that reproduced very rapidly. In fact, it produced a new lilly once each day. He began by placing just one lilly of one unit of size, or 1/4096th of the surface of the pond, in the water.
The next day there were two, and the fish nation cheered. Then four, and the fish nation demanded that this fine fish be President. Then eight, and all was even better in the world.
There were, however, some fish that became alarmed, for they had not been sleeping in school. They knew, as well, that their very survival depended on the exchange of oxygen with the air above, and that absent this exchange all of the fish would surely die.
The great prosperity that appeared to flow, however, led the scholars to be shouted down.
Unfortunately the great prosperity resulted in the price of fish dwellings, foods and fuels rising precipitously. The credit created by all of this growth, which had heretofore appeared to be impossible, made everyone feel wealthy. After just eight days what was 1 lilly had become 128; both great and permanent prosperity appeared to have blessed the fish.
Two days later the pond was 12.5% covered with lillies.
But in the middle of this prosperity there was much corruption and theft. The interest rates charged to lend money were corrupted by some of the fish banksters, who reasoned that they were merely making very smal changes in what they reported, and due to the leverage they employed, reaping billions of profits. This they did by stealing pennies from each fish per day. Nobody would jail them.
There were other fish that were involved in lending for dwellings, and they too scammed the public. Some of the lenders collapsed, yet they paid only small fines while most of the fish suffered monstrous losses, with many losing their homes.
Still other parts of the fish economy were involved in health care, and they got laws passed to make differential pricing, cost-shifting and other monopoly behavior protected, for this was their way to riches. Soon the fish nation spent twice as much on health care as a percentage of its economy as all the other fish nations, but all these monopoly protections, enacted into law, were not seen as the corruption they were.
Unemployment became a problem and the fish nation saw its standard of living decline. This was puzzling, for the proponents of the new lily had said that such prolific growth would lead to permanent prosperity. There were many who claimed that the lily was simply not prolific enough, and that means must be found to spur even more lilies to grow.
The three major political parties sparred over the unemployment and economic malaise. The two largest ones offered that taxes should be increased on the most-fortunate fish and that taxes should be decreased for all fish, respectively. But neither put forward a plan to cut down the size of the government, which was sapping an increasing amount of the economy.
The third party decided to state that it should cut the size of the government by 43%. But it refused to address the main growth drivers of the government, that being the medical industry’s special protections. Nor did that party appear to give a damn about all the scams and frauds, which had stolen monstrous amounts of wealth from all the fish.
Soon the political debate within that third party turned to whether fish should be able to smoke pot, which was currently prohibited under penalty of law, and whether a fish named Steve should be able to marry one named Larry. Some fish believed this was a civil right and of the utmost importance, while others believed it was Satanic.
Yet these were the only points of political debate on which this third party focused, instead of on the financial institutions that had skimmed off all the “prosperity” that had been promised to the fish nation by the Goldfishbank and others in the financial industry, along with the medical industry that had lobbied for their special protections and which were bankrupting the fish nation’s government.
A few of the third party analysts saw that in point of fact the lily issue was soon to kill all the fish and the entire fish nation economy. They were poo-pooed and called alarmists, for the sun was still visible in the sky above, and their rising stridency was called “divisive” or that “if you simply changes your approach you could actually influence people.” They were even told that their commentary was “self-righteous.”
But that commentary, labeled “divisive” and in fact dismissed with “that ends our conversation and damages both our working relationship and friendship” was based the simple fact that while just 12.5% of the pond was covered, the entire fish nation was only three days from extinction, and the last two days had been wasted arguing over gay marriage and dope smoking instead of addressing the impending and mathematically-certain disaster.
Idiocracy On Display (Again): Krugman
Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman suggested Federal Reserve policy makers led by Ben S. Bernanke are “reckless” for refusing to pursue higher inflation, which he said could lower U.S. unemployment.
“The reckless thing is to allow mass unemployment to continue,” Krugman, a Princeton University professor, said on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart” yesterday. “We have had a massive failure of our political system that has come to accept that 8 percentunemployment is the new normal and there is nothing that can be done,” Krugman said. “We’re in a low-key version of the Great Depression.”
“Inflation is theft,” said Paul, a Republican presidential candidate who said he will stay in the race until his party’s convention in August. “You’re stealing value from people who save money. It really destroys an important feature of the economy — and that is saving.”
Ron Paul has it half right. The problem is that he hasn’t (and I don’t know why he won’t) go after the debasement committed by private banking interests at the behest of government.
Here is the reality of inflation in the money supply (including credit) and income change over the last 30 years:
Rebased to (1) be an income growth (or loss) figure by (1) subtracting one from the other and (2) removingpurely-financial product credit growth (which some will argue never makes it into the real economy and thus shouldn’t count — and makes the numbers look better than the raw figures suggest) you get this:
Barack Obama campaigned four years ago assailing President George W. Bush for wage losses suffered by the middle class. More than three years into Obama’s own presidency, those declines have only deepened.
The rebound from the worst recession since the 1930s has generated relatively few of the moderately skilled jobs that once supported the middle class, tightening the financial squeeze on many Americans, even those who are employed.
The problem is found in that chart above. Obama hasn’t done anything about it because playing “fan money from your hand” can’t do anything more than provide a temporary salve for the problem. To actually address it you have to put a stop to the offshoring abuses and stop the credit inflation game — a game that Obama has refused to allow to collapse on its own, which was it was beginning to do when he took office.
Here’s the ugly: Had Obama done so the nominal wage growth you see in the top chart would have, by now, begun even with the credit collapse and the middle class would actually be on the mend with real improvement!
But he didn’t. Instead he decided to “throw money from the train” that we don’t have by borrowing more and more money. All this does is create more and more credit money, which is inflation!
Those who “receive” these government handouts may think they’re getting something for nothing but in fact they’re having their earnings power and prosperity destroyed.
There’s no solution to an economic bubble caused by loose credit that can be found without deflating the excess credit that has infested in the system.
It’s the math folks.
Here’s the interview for those who want to watch…… be warned, it will permanently deplete your IQ by 15 points.
I told him that the problem with Krugman was that he didn’t get math. He may have skipped those classes. I told him that we might have 2% inflation this year, but it never goes away….and then we have another 2% the following year….and so on.So, then I asked him how much a $1.00 loaf of bread would cost if the rate of inflation were 2% at year 1 and doubled every year thereafter for 5 years.
He paused and said….’$32!!??? For a LOAF OF BREAD?!’
I told him at age 9, five years seems a long time, but it would be the difference in price for that loaf of bread from the time he entered college until the time he got out and was looking for a job.
Then I told him to think about the massive price increases to the typical family if EVERYTHING they had to buy increased at this same rate. His eyes nearly bugged out of his head. Then I told him that the other side of this math problem was: What if at the same time prices were increasing at this rate, people’s wages were decreasing at 1% per year.
He just stared at me with his mouth hanging open.
He wants to know what school Krugman went to so he can be sure to never go there. Then he said, ‘And there are people who believe this guy?’
Of course, I did tell him that the math isn’t quite this straightforward (inflation and price are not a 1:1 ratio, but inflation and the credit/money supply are). The exercise, however, is a good demonstration of our reality….and it was clear to him that Krugman is so removed from reality he’s in a different solar system.
Submitted by Greg Simmons and Brett Buchanan of Scope Labs
Are financial markets a direct reflection of the overall health of a nation? I wish they were not, but I fear they are.
I wonder at times if our nation has entered a state of purgatory –
all of us mulling around in the waiting room to Hell, anxiously
counting the minutes until the grim reaper saunters through the door
sickle in hand his mission to send us off to eternal damnation.
Unfortunately, there is little time to close this door so that we may
stave off this potential fate that looms so near. What we need to alter
this course is a procession of men who possess moral fortitude and
common sense, men of rationality and reason. Men of action who will set
in motion the dismantling of institutions that bleed this nation dry.
Hope is not a strategy. This present state of manufactured optimism
emanating from the White House and our news outlets is contemptible. We
are in dire need of new reformist leadership and of new voices that
will speak the truth. A national purification is long overdue. Time is
not on our side. Look at the track record this nation has racked up
over the last few decades and this economic and moral purgatory in
which we find ourselves might very well mark the beginning of our walk
of death down the long road to Hell.
I make this analogy of a national state of purgatory not in jest,
but rather in practical terms. This nation has gone the way of an
absolute meltdown of morality and ethics. We’ve reverted to a sort of
Wild West where anything goes. From the halls of congress to our
corporate boardrooms our collective morality bar has sunk so low we
cannot go any lower without disconnecting from the great past this
nation is starved to regain. We stand dangerously close to the point
where immorality begets our undoing.
Personally, I am father to a daughter of fourteen years. Brett, my
co-author, is father to a twenty-month old daughter and an
eighteen-year old son. We desperately want to create for our children a
better world. But we are fallible men, and certainly not saints. The
paragraphs you are about to read are not written from some moral high
ground, or a Holier-than-thou pulpit, but rather from saddened hearts
when we see that by walking our own moral tightrope, if we were to
allow ourselves to slip below the bar, however slightly, we would be
just as guilty as the worst perpetrators of our nation’s moral
destruction. Also, when witness to greater moral transgressions, by our
own inaction, we become part of the problem. And we are just two men.
Amplify this by fifty million, one hundred million, or three hundred
million fold and it is no wonder immorality permeates our society.
This article is our personal effort to call people’s attention to
the truth. The brevity of our circumstance is immeasurable by past
reference. Economically, we have never been so challenged. Over the
past few decades a gullible US population cheered the halls of congress
and the Oval Office alike as the incestuous bedfellows of money and
politics ushered in a financial Coup d’état – co-opting our public
trusts with the greed and excess of Wall Street. Profits are now had at
any cost – damn the long-term consequences. Instead of being exposed as
the obvious fraud he was, Bernie Maddoff was coddled by the SEC – an
institution whose role as regulator is a complete failure. As Wall
Street and Washington raped an entire nation, employees of the SEC were
too busy surfing porn on the Internet and running private businesses
instead of doing the jobs taxpayers pay them to do. All the while,
young girls were selling their virginity to the highest bidder in
public cyber-forums where grown men (not hormonally charged teenage
boys) seek out their sexual fantasies in the netherworld of Internet
pornography. What of the wives, children, and even parents of these
men? Do they approve of such questionable actions?
Think of our children turning on the television to see people eating
bile, cow blood, and live bugs for money on game shows like Fear
Factor, or Flavor Flav and his hit reality show where he maintains a
stable of women all of whom physically fight each other to have sex
with him because he’s a celebrity – and a damn ugly one at that. And
finally, there’s always Survivor, the ultimate demonstration of all
things wrong with modern human interaction. A reality show that pits
person against person in a deceitful game of moral destruction where
lack of ethics are rewarded, instead of punished. Survivor, this is
what our nation’s leadership has become. Win at any cost. Damn the
future of anyone but myself.
Morality is in great part the measure of a nation. Have we unlearned
morality? Is this why we find ourselves staring down the abyss?
We are allowing ourselves to become more corrupt by the minute. We
stare into the face of our future being raped, but we do nothing. We
are as corrupt as the corrupters. We accept the unacceptable. We fail
to understand that absolute power, corrupts absolutely. In what will go
down as the greatest financial heist in history our leaders have chosen
to reward corrupt individuals and their hollow corporations for what
are arguably criminal levels of risk behavior by the moneyed elite of
this country. What message does that send to our children, or to anyone
for that matter? Be as corrupt as possible in the US and you will be
rewarded? Be the biggest failure jeopardizing the fate of others then
stand in the corporate welfare line with all the other wealthiest
institutions of the world, your greedy hand extended for a government
bailout check while you simultaneously foreclose on an entire nation?
Talk about the rich corralling the masses. It’s no wonder someone
coined the term “The Sheeple.”
The path we traveled to this purgatorial limbo is both easily
understood and misunderstood. The answers to understanding are
sometimes right in front of us. What are seemingly benign things or
actions, those everyday judgments or decisions we make to do one thing
or another, are not always benign. Tell a little white lie to make that
one sale that will put us into our bonus. Rig the game in our favor so
that we might enjoy a little more opulence for the few decades we have
remaining on this planet. Look the other way while the Federal Reserve
and Wall Street blow economic bubble after economic bubble and in the
process create a six-hundred trillion dollar shadow banking system that
plays by no one’s rules but its own. In the case of Goldman Sachs, and
Wall Street in general, lie, cheat, and steal their way to
profitability at the expense of three hundred million taxpayers. The
fact is that we have become an uncooperative nation willing to take
advantage of anyone for the sake of profit. The idea of building a
cooperative future where everyone wins has been sacrificed at the altar
It might be this purgatorial limbo I speak of is simpler than it
appears. It could be that we are collectively suffering the
consequences of the “Peter Principle”, or getting to the job of
failure. This principle supposes that an individual rises in a
corporate hierarchy to their first level of incompetence. An assembly
worker gets promoted to supervisor then to assistant manager, then
manager, until he next gets promoted to an upper management job for
which he is ill equipped and subsequently gets promoted no further as
he can no longer demonstrate the competence required for the task at
hand. He rather relies on subordinates who are then stuck with an upper
manager who cannot carry out his own duties. Could this be the state of
our nation? Have we been promoted as far as our competence allows? Are
we in fact incompetent to handle our future? Have we now elected a man
just incompetent enough for the Presidency who is being manipulated by
Goldman Sachs, the Federal Reserve, and a circle of (previous) Wall
Street insiders now on the government payroll as cabinet members and
high-ranking advisors? The saddest thing is that we sit idly by whilst
our virtue is being stolen. We do nothing.
A view of the world through rose-colored glasses does no one, any
good. We are not as resilient as we think we are. Instead, we exist in
a world of synthetic productivity where multi-tasking renders us
incapable of doing anything effectively or with any level of
competence. Multi-tasking, that art of simultaneous ineffectiveness is
a counter productive weapon that to a large degree has contributed to
the potential failure of this nation. If you were to listen to Alan
Greenspan however, you would believe that multi-tasking through
technological gains by way of the “new paradigm” was the gold at the
end of the Information Superhighway and that exotic mortgages and the
burgeoning spending class paved the road to riches. We now know these
premises to be empirically wrong.
It can now be argued that what would seemingly be advancements in
productivity are proving to be setbacks. The Information Superhighway
has led us to an era of technological arrogance. In reality all we have
accomplished is to dilute our ability to carry out simple tasks as we
click from a quarterly sales report due in an hour, to Facebook, to
on-line solitaire, to writing an email explaining to our boss why the
quarterly report will be delayed this day. We are a nation of excuse
makers. We look for someone else to keep us one step ahead of our
accumulating debt that smothers the potential of what could have been
an equitable future. Ironically, it is our technological arrogance that
impedes our ability to produce and manufacture our way to prosperity.
Craftsmen who used to flock to this country to fulfill the needs of
a manufacturing base flock here no more. “Made in the USA” used to mean
something. It meant quality. It was the definition of industrial
capitalism. But now through the wonders of globalization we have
exported our craftsmanship through an outflow of jobs to China and
India as we turned everyone in the USA into real estate agents,
mortgage brokers, and web designers – a perfect playground for bankers
to ply their craft, lending money in every creative manner both
thinkable, and unthinkable. “Made in the USA” has been reduced to the
status of punch-line – synonymous only with “Mortgage Backed
Securities” and other “Toxic Derivatives.”
Is it any wonder we have evolved into the ‘entitled society’? If we
weren’t on the government payroll, or subsidized by the US taxpayer
through social welfare then we were borrowing our way to prosperity.
Enter the God-fearing middle class. Just dumb enough to buy into the
scam a couple hundred million people began signing over their
paychecks, selling their future for the enjoyment of having things now.
We were transformed into non-productive Sheeple, selling our souls for
an easier life in lieu of a better future for our children. At our
current rate of productive attrition we will soon be a nation of
declawed housecats, possessing no skill-set whatsoever to survive in a
world where the ability to produce real goods still reins supreme. Yet
we remain the ‘entitled society’, when we are entitled to nothing.
We forget (through economic amnesia) that throughout history all
societies fail. Nicolaus Copernicus maintained that civilizations
failed when bad money, controlled and understood by an elite few, drove
out good money. The same can be said for morality. Bad, drives out
good. This is a reality of which we should all be acutely aware but
rather are immune to its possibility. We dangerously believe we cannot
fail. That, in fact, is the greatest gamble of all. A roll of the dice
against history, a bet against all natural laws of the universe, all
things are in a state of entropy. All things eventually wither away to
nothing. To possess longevity is to be ahead of the universe. Sadly, we
have constructed a fragile world that produces material things that do
not last. The fiat money we use as the currency of our production is by
design, destructive itself. The Federal Reserve prints greed, nothing
more. But still we covet it. We pursue it as if it had value. And in
this pursuit we destroy earth’s resources as if the laws of nature have
no relevance. We believe there is only now.
We, the entitled society, morally and fiscally bankrupt have borrowed,
spent, and bailed our way into a historical corner. Nero should be so
proud. Our public trusts are nothing more than government sanctioned
check-kiting operations shifting liabilities from one credit card to
another faster than our creditors can say “Federal Reserve.” The
Ponzi-scheme that is our fiat currency system is about to go the way of
what was for a time the symbol of American superiority, General Motors.
It used to be said that what was good for General Motors was good for
our nation. As I claimed in 2005 that GM would go bankrupt I will now
guarantee that the US government is soon to follow. How our ultimate
entropy will take form I cannot say, but form it will. We will default.
We will restructure. It will be at this point our arrogance will end.