Fund Your Utopia Without Me.™

02 June 2012

Britain Is Already Dead...It Just Hasn’t Been Buried Yet.



To save my steeple, I visited people;
for this I'd gone when I met Little John.
His name came, I understood,
when the judge said "You're a robbing hood."
He told me of his strange foundation,
conceived on sight of the Woodstock nation;
he'd had to hide his reputation.
When poor, 'twas salvation from door to door.
But now, with a pin-up guru every week,
it's Love, Peace & Truth Incorporated for all who seek.

 The new ruins of Great Britain...invading armies unnecessary.

By Kyle Smith
2 June 2012

Asks British columnist Rod Liddle, “Who are the people who have made Britain what it is today, the ones who ensured that we became a limp-wristed and decrepit, post-imperial satrapy of incompetence, sanctimony, self-obsession and self-loathing?”

Who indeed? (By limp-wristed, Liddle means lacking in conviction, not gay). The short answer is the new aristocracy, the bien pensant, well-shod, culturally aloof types who watch the BBC, read The Guardian, and vote to nudge the country ever farther along its current trajectory, which has not even slightly been altered by the return of a Conservative to the premiership. Against the wishes of the average citizen, Britain has a government that is simultaneously abdicating its core functions and pretending to take responsibility for other duties for which it is spectacularly ill-suited. It has abandoned a proud, concrete culture in pursuit of a hazy dream of a transnational ideal. The people’s response has been to fume lightly and do nothing, because they’re British and expect things to be bad and get worse.

A few days in London will quickly cure you of any notion that, for instance, New York is a chaotic city. It only barely rated notice in most of the media the other day when five of London’s 11 subway lines went down simultaneously at rush hour due to signal failures and train breakdowns. It was about 80 degrees at the time and most trains have no air conditioning. Subway unions are threatening a strike. And yet a glance at the national news sources, which are obsessed with the massacres in Syria, the Jubilee, the Olympics, and the never-ending Leveson Inquiry that vaguely promises a sinister new truth czar will be empowered to decide in advance which media stories can be published, turns up almost zero outrage at all of this.

Don’t be fooled by the pomp of the Queen’s royal Diamond Jubilee flotilla this weekend. Britain is a country rotting from the inside.

The “respectable” media outlets don’t much bother with the latest outrages on the crime front, such as the fatal convenience-store stabbing that resulted in only a ten-year sentence for the assailant, who is expected to be free in four. Unleash a nutty racist tirade on the subway, though, and you stand in contempt of that BBC-transnational ideal of a multiculti wonderland. Judges will express no leniency whatsoever, handing out five month sentences for the crime of… speaking.

So the government can’t make the trains run on time or make people feel safe on the streets. (a friend who lived in New York for many years tells me of how, after moving to London, he witnessed a stabbing, called the police, and waited a number of minutes for them to arrive, by which time the perpetrators were long gone. The nearest police station was about 300 yards away, but the constabulary decided to send representatives from a farther one instead, lest they risk crossing paths with any violent criminals.)

Never let it be said the government is satisfied with this state of affairs; no, instead, it is advancing into brand new areas of incompetence. The prime minister has been boasting of his exciting plan to literally head a nanny state as he sets up, for new parents, an office to send texts, hold classes, and give “tiredness counseling.” (For a play-by-play of Britain’s collapse, consult the blogger-columnist Peter Hitchens, who, ever since writing The Abolition of Britain over a decade ago, invariably takes the most pessimistic imaginable view of things and yet is rarely wrong.)

On the business side of things, a government-commissioned venture capitalist’s report called for some obvious changes in labor regulations that would make it easier to fire workers (and consequently make businesses less leery of hiring in the first place). The left-wing, Liberal Democrat “business minister,” whose relationship with his field is much like that of an “infectious diseases specialist,” called the plan “completely bonkers” and suffered no repercussions from his boss whatsoever. The plan will gather dust. Another government minister, Conservative William Hague, actually gave an interview in which he told business to stop “complaining” and just hire. Currently, when a business wants to fire someone, it often has to justify the decision before a labor tribunal. A proposed reform would substitute a sort of pre-settlement in which the fired worker gets a cash payout instead of the right to endless litigation.

From offshore, Britain finds itself in the absurd version of a V-2 attack, with almost weekly regulatory strafing coming in from the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights. Britain, which voted simply to join a common market in 1973 but never voted to be ruled from the continent, is so used to such indignities as being told that it must not deport al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Qatada and must furnish prisoners with ballots, that even David Cameron’s Conservatives generally respond by being loudly huffy and doing nothing. Cameron’s latest solemn vow is that he will ignore the ECHR directive to give votes to prisoners. We’ll see. If he is going to deny the ECHR the sovereignty it plainly lacks, why doesn’t he go all the way?

Because he’s afraid of the BBC.

We joke about the “state media” in America, but in Britain by far the leading media outlet is the BBC, which operates independently but is effectively funded by a tax (a large one, more than you pay for HBO). Awash in public funding, it does exactly what you’d think it would do: attack competitors and promote a left-liberal worldview, for instance by portraying anyone opposed to the grand European project as eccentric and possibly demented. Now that Europe is imploding and Britons say, by a 51 to 28 margin, that they want to leave the EU, the political-media complex is scrambling to prevent the issue from ever coming to a vote (though if it does, the same complex will move mountains to ensure the vote is the correct, transnational one). George Osborne, the number two man in the Tory party, has actually suggested that the solution to Europe is more Europe — fiscal and policy integration, i.e., a superstate with its capital in Brussels and its biggest source of power in Berlin. Britain would finally relinquish all claim to authority over its own affairs and essentially cease to exist as a political entity. What Hitler and Napoleon couldn’t do, the dull Eurocrats and their silky-voiced, terribly respectable media cheerleaders are intent on doing. But then again, Britain is already dead, it just hasn’t been buried yet.


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 "The Battle Of Epping Forest" - Genesis

[Taken from a news story concerning two rival gangs fighting over East-End Protection rights and from the album, Selling England By The Pound.]

Along the Forest Road, there's hundreds of cars - luxury cars.
Each has got its load of convertible bars, cutlery cars - superscars!
For today is the day when they sort it out, sort it out,
'cos they disagree on a gangland boundary.
They disagree on a gangland boundary.

There's Willy Wright and his boys -
one helluva noise, that's Billy's boys!
With fully-fashioned mugs, that's Little John's thugs,
the Barking Slugs - supersmugs!
For today is the day when they sort it out, sort it out,
yes these Christian soldiers fight to protect the poor.
East end heroes got to score in...

The Battle of Epping Forest,
yes it's the Battle of Epping Forest,
right outside your door.
You ain't seen nothing like it.
No, you ain't seen nothing like it,
not since the Civil War.

Coming over the hill are the boys of Bill,
and Johnny's lads stand very still.
With the thumpire's shout, they all start to clout
- there's no guns in this gentleman's bout.
Georgie moves in on the outside left
with a chain flying round his head;
and Harold Demure, from Art Literature,
nips up the nearest tree.
(Here come the cavalry!)

Amidst the battle roar,
accountants keep the score: 10-4.
They've never been alone, after getting a radiophone.
The bluebells are ringing for Sweetmeal Sam, real ham,
handing out bread and jam just like any picnic.

It's 5-4 on William Wright; he made his pile on Derby night.
When Billy was a kid, walking the streets,
the other kids hid - so they did!
And now, after working hard in security trade, he's got it made.
The shops that need aid are those that haven't paid.

"I do my double-show quick!" said Mick the Prick, fresh out the nick.
"I sell cheap holiday. The minute they leave,
then a visit I pay - and does it pay!"
And his friend, Liquid Len by name,
of Wine, Women and Wandsworth fame,
said "I'm breaking the legs of the bastard that got me framed!"

They called me the Reverend when I entered the Church unstained;
my employers have changed but the name has remained.
It all began when I went on a tour,
hoping to find some furniture.
I followed a sign - it said "Beautiful Chest".
It led to a lady who showed me her best.
She was taken by surprise when I quickly closed my eyes.
So she rang the bell, and quick as hell
Bob the Nob came out on his job
to see what the trouble was.
"Louise, is the Reverend hard to please?"
"You're telling me!"
"Perhaps, sir, if it's not too late.
we could interest you in our old-fashioned Staffordshire plate?"
"Oh no, not me, I'm a man of repute."
But the Devil caught hold of my soul and a voice called out "Shoot!"

To save my steeple, I visited people;
for this I'd gone when I met Little John.
His name came, I understood,
when the judge said "You're a robbing hood."
He told me of his strange foundation,
conceived on sight of the Woodstock nation;
he'd had to hide his reputation.
When poor, 'twas salvation from door to door.
But now, with a pin-up guru every week,
it's Love, Peace & Truth Incorporated for all who seek.

He employed me as a karma-ma-mechanic, with overall charms.
His hands were then fit to receive, receive alms.
That's why we're in

the Battle of Epping Forest,
yes it's the Battle of Epping Forest,
right outside your door.
We guard your souls for peanuts,
and we guard your shops and houses
for just a little more.

In with a left hook is the Bethnal Green Butcher,
but he's countered on the right by Mick's chain-gang fight,
and Liquid Len, with his smashed bottle men,
is lobbing Bob the Nob across the gob.
With his kisser in a mess, Bob seems under stress,
but Jones the Jug hits Len right in the mug;
and Harold Demure, who's still not quite sure,
fires acorns from out of his sling.
(Here come the cavalry!)

Up, up above the crowd,
inside their Silver Cloud, done proud,
the bold and brazen brass, seen darkly through the glass.
The butler's got jam on his Rolls; Roy doles out the lot,
with tea from a silver pot just like any picnic.

Along the Forest Road, it's the end of the day
and the Clouds roll away.
Each has got its load - they'll come out for the count
at the break-in of day.
When the limos return for their final review, it's all thru'
- all they can see is the morning goo.
"There's no-one left alive - must be draw."
So the Blackcap Barons toss a coin to settle the score.

The Left Must Be In Heaven....Right?


You come on with it, come on
You don't fight fair
That's okay, see if I care
Knock me down, it's all in vain
I get right back on my feet again

Hit me with your best shot

Why don't you hit me with your best shot
Hit me with your best shot
Fire away

Well you're a real tough cookie with a long history

Of breaking little hearts like the one in me
Before I put another notch in my lipstick case
You better make sure you put me in my place

In 2007, 390,000 tax filers reported adjusted gross income of $1 million or more and paid $309 billion in taxes. In 2009, there were only 237,000 such filers, a decline of 39%. Almost four of 10 millionaires vanished in two years, and the total taxes they paid in 2009 declined to $178 billion, a drop of 42%.

Oh, the Class Warriors, Obama Firsters, Socialists, and OWSers (but I continue to repeat myself) must be in absolute heaven!  Right?  I mean, they hate the rich.  So, now, there's 39% fewer of them.

There's also a 42% drop in taxes paid, but who cares?  As President SCoaMF says, fairness is more important.

And, I almost forgot...

Corporate profits for the Q1 were the lowest that they have been in THREE YEARS!!!  Another Obama success story!

Join me.  Go Galt.  Beat these bastards down until they are literally begging for you to help them.

The Sclerotic To Skeletal Rhapsody in F Minus



Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan,
Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan,
Got what it takes to make a mountain man leave his home,
Oh, well, oh, well, oh, well.

Don't it make you feel bad

When you're tryin' to find your way home,
You don't know which way to go?


Published under the title "U.S., Europe on different paths to same place"

The Eurovision Song Contest doesn't get a lot of attention in the United States, but on the Continent it's long been seen as the perfect Euro-metaphor. Years before the euro came along, it was the prototype pan-European institution and predicated on the same assumptions. Eurovision took the national cultures that produced Mozart, Vivaldi and Debussy, and in return gave us "Boom-Bang-A-Bang" (winner, 1969), "Ding-Ding-A-Dong" (winner, 1975) and "Diggi-Loo-Diggi-Ley" (winner, 1984). The euro took the mark, the lira and the franc, and merged them to create the "Boom-Bang-A-Bang" of currencies.

 Sophie Fact:  When Sarkozy wanted to raise the number of hours in the work week from 35 to 40, the entire country went on strike.   It wasn't always that way.  In 1970, the French actually worked 10% more hours than Americans.  What happened?  As the Nobel Prize-winning economist, Edward C. Prescott, has pointed out:  Taxes have risen sharply since 1970 and higher taxes give workers less of an incentive to work extra hours.

How will it all end? One recalls the 1990 Eurovision finals in Zagreb: "Yugoslavia is very much like an orchestra," cooed the hostess, Helga Vlahović. "The string section and the wood section all sit together." Shortly thereafter, the wood section began ethnically cleansing the dressing rooms, while the string section rampaged through the brass section pillaging their instruments and severing their genitals. Indeed, the charming Miss Vlahović herself was forced into a sudden career shift and spent the next few years as Croatian TV's head of "war information" programming.

Sophie Fact:   Swedes work the longest years in Europe with an average 40.1 years.  Hungarians have the shortest working lives with less than 30 years on the job.  The average American works 45 years.  All of us -- especially our totally pissed off children and grandchildren, who will hate us for what we've done to them -- are going to have to work a lot longer.

Fortunately, no one remembers Yugoslavia. So today Europe itself is very much like an orchestra. The Greek fiddlers and the Italian wind players all sit together, playing cards in the dressing room, waiting for the German guy to show up with their checks. Just before last week's Eurovision finale in Azerbaijan, The Daily Mail in London reported that the Spanish entrant, Pastora Soler, had been told to throw the competition "because the cash-strapped country can't afford to host the lavish event next year," as the winning nation is obliged to do. In a land where the youth unemployment rate is over 50 percent, and two-thirds of the country's airports are under threat of closure and whose neighbors (Britain) are drawing up plans for military intervention to evacuate their nationals in the event of total civic collapse, the pressing need to avoid winning the Eurovision Song Contest is still a poignant symbol of how total is Spain's implosion. Ask not for whom "Ding-Ding-A-Dong" dings, it dings for thee.

Sophie Fact:  Both Spain and Greece have fertility rates of around 1.45.  For a country just to maintain its population, it needs a fertility rate of 2.3.

One of the bizarre aspects of media coverage since 2008 is the complacent assumption that what's happening is "cyclical" – a downturn that will eventually correct itself – rather than profoundly structural. Francine Lagarde, head of the IMF, found herself skewered like souvlaki on a Thessaloniki grill for suggesting the other day that the Greeks are a race of tax evaders. She's right. Compared to Germans, your average Athenian has a noticeable aversion to declaring income. But that's easy for her to say: Mme Lagarde's half-million-dollar remuneration from the IMF is tax-free, just a routine perk of the new transnational governing class. And, in the end, whether your broke European state has reasonably efficient tax collectors, like the French, or incompetent ones, like the Greeks, is relatively peripheral.

Sophie Fact:  One-third of Greece's economy before the crisis was carried out "under the table" or "off-the-books."

Likewise, on this side of the Atlantic: Quebec university students, who pay the lowest tuition rates in North America, are currently striking over a proposed increase of $1,625. Spread out over seven years. Or about 232 bucks per annum. Or about the cost of one fair-trade macchiato a week. Which has, since the strike, been reduced further, to a couple of sips: If you're wondering how guys who don't do any work can withdraw their labor, well, "strike" is a euphemism for riot. The other week, Vanessa L'Écuyer, a sexology student at the Université du Québec à Montréal, was among those arrested for smoke-bombing the subway system and bringing the city's morning commute to a halt. But, as in Europe, in the end, whether you fund your half-decade bachelor's in sexology through a six-figure personal debt or whether you do it through the largesse of the state is relatively peripheral.

Sophie Fact:  In Germany, the retirement age is 67 and retirees receive 46% of their final salaries as a pension.  

In the twilight of the West, America and Europe are still different but only to this extent: They've wound up taking separate paths to the same destination. Whether you get there via an artificial common currency for an invented pseudo-jurisdiction or through quantitative easing and the global decline of the dollar, whether you spend your final years in the care of Medicare or the National Health Service death panels, whether higher education is just another stage of cradle-to-grave welfare or you have a trillion dollars' worth of personal college debt, in 2012 the advanced Western social-democratic citizen looks pretty similar, whether viewed from Greece or Germany, California or Quebec.

Sophie Fact:  In Greece, men can retire at 55 and women at 50...unless they work in arduous and dangerous professions like television presenting, hairdressing or radio announcing, then they can retire at 45.  Retirees receive 97% of their final salaries.

That's to say, the unsustainable "bubble" is not student debt or subprime mortgages or anything else. The bubble is us, and the assumptions of entitlement. Too many citizens of advanced Western democracies live a life they have not earned, and are not willing to earn. Indeed, much of our present fiscal woe derives from two phases of human existence that are entirely the invention of the modern world. Once upon a time, you were a kid till you were 13 or so; then you worked; then you died. That bit between childhood and death has been chewed away at both ends. We invented something called "adolescence" that now extends not merely through the teenage years but through a desultory half-decade of Whatever Studies at Complacency U up till you're 26 and no longer eligible for coverage on your parents' health insurance policy. At the other end of the spectrum, we introduced something called "retirement" that, in the space of two generations, has led to the presumption that able-bodied citizens are entitled to spend the last couple of decades, or one third of their adult lives, as a long holiday weekend.

Sophie Fact:  In Italy, a parent can be ordered by a court to pay his 32 year-old daughter an allowance and 85% of Italian "men" between the ages of 18 and 33 live with mama (this was pre-crizioso!)  Bamboccioni!

The bit in between adolescence and retirement is your working life, and it's been getting shorter and shorter. Which is unfortunate, as it has to pay for everything else. This structural deformity in the life cycle of Western man is at the root of most of our problems. Staying ever longer in "school" (I use the term loosely) leads to ever later workplace entry, and ever later (if at all) family formation. Which means that our generation is running up debt that will have to be repaid by our shrunken progeny. One hundred Greek grandparents have 42 Greek grandchildren. Is it likely that 42 Greeks can repay the debts run up by 100 Greeks? No wonder they'd rather stick it to the Germans. But the thriftier Germans have the same deathbed demographics. If 100 Germans resent having to pick up the check for an entire continent, is it likely 42 Germans will be able to do it?

Sophie Fact:   Average government spending by EU nations today stands at approximately 49.2% of GDP — v. 44.8% in 2000.

Look around you. The late 20th century Western lifestyle isn't going to be around much longer. In a few years' time, our children will look at old TV commercials showing retirees dancing, golfing, cruising away their sixties and seventies, and wonder what alternative universe that came from. In turn, their children will be amazed to discover that in the early 21st century the Western world thought it entirely normal that vast swathes of the citizenry should while away their youth enjoying what, a mere hundred years earlier, would have been the leisurely varsity of the younger son of a Mitteleuropean Grand Duke.

Sophie Fact:  In 2011, 23 of the 27 nations in the EU increased spending. This year, 24 of 27 will do so.  In 2011, the United States increased spending.  In 2012, it will do so again.

I was sad to learn that Helga Vlahović died a few weeks ago, but her central metaphor all those years ago wasn't wrong. Any functioning society is like an orchestra. When the parts don't fit together, it's always the other fellow who's out of tune. So the Greeks will blame the Germans, and vice-versa. But the developed world is all playing the same recessional. In the world after Western prosperity, we will work till we're older, and we will start younger – and we will despise those who thought they could defy not just the rules of economic gravity but the basic human life cycle.
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Why We Don't 'Owe It To Ourselves'


On 15 December 1977, The Who performed before a select invited audience at the Gaumont State Theatre in Kilburn, North London, to record a concert for the film, The Kids Are Alright.  It was the second-to-last performance for Keith Moon.

My lord, when will they ever learn it, ooh
Look there, nations of travelling children
Nowhere to go to escape the chill wind

 Teenage Wasteland has a piper to pay one day....unless you stay wasted on unicorn dust like Obama and The Ferret.

The national debt, that is -- no matter how often Paul Krugman tells you otherwise.

Since the incomparable William F. Buckley, Jr., has already dealt with this subject in 1958, I defer to his inimitable style in introducing the subject of today's column:

"Halfway through the second term of Franklin Roosevelt, the New Deal braintrusters began to worry about mounting popular concern over the national debt.… Indeed, Franklin Roosevelt had talked himself into office, in 1932, in part by promising to hack away at a debt which, even under the frugal Mr. Hoover, the people tended to think of as grown to menacing size.… And then, suddenly, the academic community came to the rescue. Economists across the length and breadth of the land were electrified by a theory of debt introduced in England by John Maynard Keynes. The politicians wrung their hands in gratitude. Depicting the intoxicating political consequences of Lord Keynes's discovery, the wry cartoonist of the Washington Times Herald drew a memorable picture. In the center, sitting on a throne in front of a maypole, was a jubilant FDR, cigarette tilted up almost vertically, a grin on his face that stretched from ear to ear. Dancing about him in a circle, hands clasped together, their faces glowing with ecstasy, the braintrusters, vested in academic robes, sang the magical incantation, the great discovery of Lord Keynes: "We owe it to ourselves."
With five talismanic words, the planners had disposed of the problem of deficit spending…. Tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect…"

After being pinned to the wall in such eloquent fashion like a rare butterfly, you would think the conceit that "We owe the national debt to ourselves" would have been long retired to some museum of rhetorical antiquities. But no, we find that even today the doctrine is still vigorously alive, at least in the mind of Paul Krugman, the lunatic columnist of the New York Times who has just published another 300-page volume that can be digested into three words: "Spend, spend, spend" -- the government, that is.

I admit I stopped reading Krugman a long time ago. You can only listen to a one-track mind for so long before it loses any further informational value. It all reminds me of the scene in Woody Allen's Take the Money and Run where Virgil Starkwell, the inept career bank robber, drops a rock on the foot of a prison guard and is "locked in solitary confinement for a week with an insurance salesman" whom we last see disappearing into the hole with Woody propounding, "Now you're gonna need life. I think term would be best. Then we're going to want to cover you for accidents.…" That's what Paul Krugman sounds like.

Fortunately, the New York Post's Kyle Smith has stuck his head into the maelstrom and reports in his Sunday column last week what Krugman is up to these days. Wouldn't you know, he finds the Nobel Laureate still flogging that same 1930s horse:

"People think of debt's role in the economy as if it were the same as what debt means for an individual: There's a lot of money you have to pay to someone else. But that's all wrong; the debt we create is basically money we owe to ourselves, and the burden it imposes does not involve a real transfer of resources."

In actuality, "We owe it to ourselves" is one of those deceiving little pieces of rhetoric whereby liberals put their arm around your and pat you on the back while picking your pocket. Let's try an illustration. Imagine for a moment that you have taken out a 30-year mortgage on a house and owe the bank $300,000. Two years into your payments you lose some of your income and start falling behind. After three months the bank sends you a note saying that if the situation isn't straightened out within another three months, they may have to foreclose.

Do you think it would be possible to go into the vice president's office, put your arm around his shoulder and say, "Look, what's the difference whether I pay you or not? I mean, we owe it to ourselves, don't we?"

We don't owe the national debt to ourselves. Some of us owe it to others. Those who owe are generally called "wage earners," "taxpayers," or "U.S. citizens." Those who are owed are called "lenders" and "bondholders." Now there may be some taxpayers who are also bondholders and bondholders who are also U.S. citizens, but the two groups are not identical. Reneging on any of the debt will produce an unequal outcome -- what Krugman would call a "real transfer of resources."

Look at it another way. A second class of stakeholders in this game is government employees who have a claim on pension rights that stretch far, far into the future. When the day comes -- and it may not be long -- that governments find they are having difficulty in meeting these obligations, will it be possible for them to brush off pensioners by saying, "Look, you don't really need a check right now. I mean, we'd just be paying ourselves, right?"

The problem here is that modern governments are run by people who can't make these kinds of calculations. This is especially true of the populists who congregate in the Democratic Party. Even the brightest of them see government as an entity above ordinary morality. In an article last week, for instance, USA Today revealed that the true size of the national debt is not the $16,000 per household that registers on the "Deficit Clock" but $42,000 per household -- very near the average household income of $49,000. This is because, contrary to the rules that govern private companies and state and local governments, Congress does not require itself to include future health and retirement commitments on its books. That's enough to take $3.7 trillion off the annual shortfall, chopping it from $5 trillion to $1.7 trillion.

What was really scary, however, was the comment of one Jim Horney, a former Senate budget staff expert now at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He told USA Today that "retirement programs should not count as part of the deficit because, unlike a business, Congress can change what it owes by cutting benefits or lifting taxes." Did you get that? We can ignore future commitments to Medicare and Social Security because -- what the heck -- we can always just cut benefits or raise tax rates to something like 90 percent. All that will be required is the "political will." Even liberals who can add and subtract generally don't have the nerve to confront what they're doing.

The national debt is not owed "to ourselves." It is owed to bondholders who have loaned money on the understanding that they are going to be paid back. Even Democrats in the highest positions often have trouble grasping this reality. During the early days of the Clinton Administration, when the new President was being told he couldn't borrow heedlessly to stimulate the economy, James Carville became famous for complaining, "I used to think that if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the pope or as a .400 baseball hitter. But now I would like to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody." Apparently it never occurred to Carville that there are real people out there buying those bonds.

The bond market is not an abstraction. It is a group of people who have loaned money to the government. As creditors, they are acutely aware of the unspoken words at the end of "We owe it to ourselves," which are, "We owe it to ourselves, therefore we really don't have to worry about paying it back."

Now of course we're a long way away from not paying anything back. As long as there is trouble in the world, as long as the stock market remains remain uncertain, as long as real estate is risky, as long as the full faith and credit of Tanzania or Portugal is open to question, there will investors eager to snap up U.S. Treasury Bonds. In fact with things falling apart among all those Eurozone countries who only "owe it to themselves," interest rates on 30-year Treasuries are at their lowest rate in decades. But let's look 30 years out to a time when some of those commitments will be coming due.

In 1938 or even 1978, it might still have been possible to argue "We owe it to ourselves." Most bond holders were U.S. citizens who could always be stiff-armed because "their loss is our loss." But that is no longer true. About 30 percent of the $16 trillion U.S. debt is now owned by foreigners. The Chinese government is the third largest creditor, behind the Federal Reserve and the Social Security Trust Fund, owning 8 percent of the total. The Chinese now hold more than all U.S. households combined. Japan, the UK, Brazil, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are also big lenders. Foreigners now own more than half the debt not held by some division of the U.S. government. If the debt continues to pile up at a rate of more than $1 trillion a year, paying it off will involve a "real transfer of resources."

Yet as Greece is demonstrating now, the system won't fall apart because we can't pay our debts. It will eventually fall apart but because we won't be able to go on borrowing to maintain our standard of living. The crisis will come to a head when investors decide to they don't want to lend anymore. Then it will be impossible to meet day-to-day expenses. If a left-wing government takes control of Greece this month and renounces its obligations, Greece with not have enough money way to pay the hundreds of thousands of government employees and pensioners who receive a check each month. That's when "We're-all-in-this-together" finally bites back.

Now all this probably isn't going to be enough to convince Paul Krugman that government deficits have real consequences. But I'll tell you what. Next time you read one of his columns saying how spending borrowed money is the only way to end a recession, drop him a note saying the following:

 "Hey Paul, I'm having a little trouble paying the rent this month. Do you think you could loan me a couple of thousand dollars? It'll carry me over and maybe in a while things will get better. And as far as paying you back -- well, look, we're all in this together, right? We'll owe it to ourselves."



I've got to admit that I love when The Ferret talks about cause-and-effect.  It is like falling down the rabbithole.  According to The Ferret, Austerity, which actually means tax hikes like those that he and Obama have been championing NOW and spending cuts DOWN THE ROAD, is the cause of the sovereign debt crisis.  Got that?  Austerity caused the sovereign debt crisis.  In my alternate universe known as Realville, sovereign debt caused the sovereign debt crisis.  But, then again, what do I know?  I'm not a Nobel Laureate like The Ferret, Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan,  Fat Al Bore, Barack Obama, or Dr Rajenda Pachauri, author of the enviro-smutty, bodice-ripping, shag-fest of a GaianPussyGalore book known as Return to Almora - to be clear, he won the Peace Prize, not the Piece Prize or a prize for literature. 

I am so sick of The Ferret and his fellow Krugnuts. They act as though we can just print away the debt. How’d that work out for the Weimar Republic? It was great for Hitler, but not so well for the Jews, regular Germans, Russians, rest of Europe, and Americans.

Yes, the US is currently a refuge from the turmoil in Europe. Greece got downgraded again to CA2, which is just a couple of notches above the Nigerian that emails you saying, “Send me all of your financial information and banking data and I will send you a Bank of Nigeria bond that is rated AAA++++ for only $10. In 6 months, we promise to pay you back in full plus $2 trillion in interest.”


People — especially those on the left — look back to the 1950s and pine for the days of 91% tax rates (less than 200 people ever paid those rates), low unemployment (but not the 3 recessions they forget), good-paying jobs that meant mum could stay home (that was before the Great Society started paying women to get pregnant and stay single AND the womyn’s rights movement that told women that staying at home was for losers), low crime (shame and punishment meant something then), families (men were men and not pussified versions of what Naomi Wolf thinks they should be in earthtones, women didn’t get tramp stamps, little boys didn’t wear dresses), etc.

What they forget is that WE REALLY WERE THE ONLY GAME IN GLOBALTOWN. Europe was destroyed. Japan was destroyed. The Soviet Union was on something like its 6th of 17 5-year plans. China was a closed, agrarian society. Brasil and India were impoverished backwaters. WE HAD NO COMPETITION. THOSE DAYS ENDED AROUND THE LATE 1970S-EARLY 1980S.
Imagining that the United States will always remain the securest place to park your money…the refuge of last resort, the shining city on the hill…is just insanity. As Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” The same can be said about global leadership, economic competitiveness, financial security, dollar stability, individual property rights, etc.

Baba O'Riley (Teenage Wasteland) by The Who

Out here in the fields
I fight for my meals
I get my back into my living
I don't need to fight
To prove I'm right
I don't need to be forgiven

My kids ain't gonna break my heart
My greed ain't gonna spoil their part
This life just has to be a new one
I'm gonna tan underneath a new sun

Don't cry
Don't raise your eye
It's only teenage wasteland

Don't have the latest suit, the long grass is my fruit
I am really ordinary man
The family is free to do just as they please
And we all sleep together in the caravan

Hey you, don't walk on the turnips
My lord, when will they ever learn it, ooh
Look there, nations of travelling children
Nowhere to go to escape the chill wind

Don't cry
Don't raise your eye
It's only teenage wasteland

My kids ain't gonna break my heart
And my greed ain't gonna spoil their part
This life just has to be a new one
I'm gonna tan underneath a new sun

Sally, take my hand
We'll travel south crossland
Put out the fire
And don't look past my shoulder
The exodus is here
The happy ones are near
Let's get together
Before we get much older

Teenage wasteland
Teenage wasteland
Teenage wasteland
It's only teenage wasteland
Teenage wasteland
It's only teenage wasteland
Teenage wasteland
It's only teenage wasteland

They're all wasted!

01 June 2012

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall, Who Has The Fairest GDP Average Of Them All?


Yo, Canucks!  Tell your Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and Human Rights Commission* to kiss my arse!  Long live free speech and Dire Straits!

 See the little faggot with the earring and the makeup
Yeah buddy that’s his own hair
That little faggot got his own jet airplane
That little faggot he’s a millionaire

Gotta install microwave ovens
Custom kitchen deliveries
We gotta move these refrigerators
Gotta move these colour TV's

I shoulda learned to play the guitar

I shoulda learned to play them drums
Look at that mama, she got it stickin' in the camera
Man we could have some
And he's up there, what's that? Hawaiian noises?
Bangin' on the bongoes like a chimpanzee
That ain't workin' that's the way you do it
Get your money for nothin' get your chicks for free


"You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts."

- The esteemed Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

GDP Averages By Quarter From Carter To Obama


Jimmy Carter average GDP:  2.39%.

1981:2……..…-3.2    Volcker raises Federal Funds Rate to 20%.
1981:4………..-4.9  Reagan cuts income taxes and lowers capital gains tax (CGR) to 20%.
1982:2…………2.2    Agrees to a deal to rollback corporate tax cuts and some income tax cuts.
1986:3…………3.9   Tax Reform Act of 1986.  Among other things, the top marginal rate is cut to 28%.

Ronald Reagan average GDP:  3.54%.

1990:2…………1.6   Bush flip-flops on his pledge, increases taxes, and triggers a recession.
1992:1 ………...4.5
1992:2 ………...4.3

George HW Bush average GDP:  2.2%.

1993:3…………2.1   Clinton increases taxes.
1997:1…………5.9   Clinton cuts CGR from 28% to 20%.

Bill Clinton average GDP:  3.42%.

2001:2…………2.6  Bush tax cuts are passed, but are staggered over many years.  This was corrected in 2003.
2003:1…………1.4  CGR was reduced and  tax revenues from CGs doubled to $103 billion.  2001 tax cuts were also accelerated.
2008:3…….... -0.5

George W Bush average GDP:   2.6%.


Barack H Obama average GDP:  1.56%.

Note:  From QII in 1996 all numbers come from the US Department of Commerce - Bureau of Economic Analysis.

*   Dire Straits' 'Money for Nothing' Banned in Canada

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