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April 20, 2011

Eine Kleine Untergang Musik


(Someday I will finish part 3 of my econ series. Pinkie swear!)

The good news? Employment is ticking back up. The DOOM! news? Most of the jobs aren't going to take full advantage of that astrophysics degree you took on $200K in debt to get.

$1500 an ounce for gold, baby. As big a gold-bug as I am, this is ridiculous. This is fear-buying driving a bubble. In a way, I'm glad: when the bubble pops (and it will), there's going to be a lot of cut-price gold hitting the market. That's when I'm going to buy.

Some valuable insight on who pays taxes and who doesn't. A point I want to stress is that paying taxes is a utilitarian issue, not necessarily a moral one. Paying more in tax (or less in tax) does not make you a better (or a worse) person, a priori. The problem is not with the taxpayers; it's with our maddeningly complicated and outdated tax system. (And with a government that squanders too damned much of the taxes we do pay.)

Annals of the boned: apparently, California's pension debt is "imaginary". It's just...why, it's just crazy-talk to suggest otherwise! Lies! Lies and base perfidy!

Over in the private sector, though, the ugly truth is becoming too obvious to ignore even for unions long isolated from the realities of the marketplace. (Private-sector unions are also learning -- again, the hard way -- a basic truth of investing: you can't rely on the twin genies of compound-interest and ever-increasing valuations to make up for a lack of contributions to your savings.)

More on the "new spirit of public service" in the Golden Age of His Majesty Barack Obama: pre-emptive retirement.

I put this in the sidebar yesterday, but it needs to be posted again: we're making war on our young people.

In their 2004 book, The Coming Generational Storm, authors Laurence J. Kotlikoff and Scott Burns accurately predicted the immensity of today's entitlements imbalance, and lamented its impact on younger generations.

"This is not just a moral crisis of the first order," they wrote. "This is the moral crisis of our age. We are collectively endangering our children's economic futures without giving them the slightest say in the matter. We are doing this systematically and with malice aforethought. Worst of all, we are pretending not to notice."

If this were a more moral age, we'd be ashamed of ourselves.

Frankly, I'm not sure if this is good news or bad news. Boomers apparently aren't leaving much to their kids when they shuffle off this mortal coil. Legacies are important to many families, and this news does tend to somewhat confirm the stereotype of Boomers as being selfish and self-absorbed, but then again I've always thought that people value their wealth more when they earn it as opposed to inheriting it. I think Junior is better-served by making his own fortune in the world, however spendthrift Mom and Dad choose to be. And there's more to a legacy than money. Values, morals, honor...a sense of family. You can't buy that stuff at any price. (Via Insty.)

The EU Commission: We must have fiscal responsibility! Austerity! A tough approach to solving our debt problems! Also, we need a 5% increase in our budget. Why? Because it will help to avoid squandering more money...somehow or other. Apparently. I guess.

And you know those sky-high gas prices? Yeah, they're not going down any time soon.

[UPDATE 1]: Keith Hennessey on what the recent S&P warning on American debt really means. Well worth a read. (And notable mainly for the fact that S&P finally saw something that was obvious to most of us years ago.)

[UPDATE 2]: Give your hearts to Barack the Just, my children. For He shall make money flow forth as a river to the dry and parched land. Selah.

[UPDATE 3]: Obama in public: That S&P warning means nothing. Nothing! Obama in private: Please, please, S&P, keep our rating at "stable"!

[UPDATE 4]: The GM bailout wasn't quite the success-story for taxpayers that Uncle Sugar hoped it would be. But hey: at least they're selling a lot of cars...in China.

[UPDATE 5] Tom Friedman, 1999: Amazon is doomed! Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon: How's my ass taste, Tom?

[UPDATE 6]: Why are we collectively DOOMed? Look right here, children. We love our bennies. But paying for them? Not so much.

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posted by Monty at 09:08 AM

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