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April 21, 2011

The DOOM! It burns!

DOOOOM

William Greider has an amusingly-shrieky piece at The Nation concering Standard & Poor's recent threats to downgrade America's debt. (Note: it was not a downgrade; it was only a threat to do so.) Savor the stupid, but stand back so you don't get hit by the flying spittle:

The deficit panic is itself bogus—poor-mouthing America to avoid raising taxes on the folks who got the money. Naturally, this reactionary approach was first promoted by Republicans, but has been tacitly embraced by the Democratic president and Congressional Democrats. No more talk from them about jobs, jobs, jobs or doing anything real to save millions of families from home foreclosures. Barack Obama promises to do the blood-letting more delicately than barbaric Republicans, protecting Social Security and Medicare and other much-loved programs. But can people believe him? They have been burned before by vague good talk.
I submit that this is the finest piece of comedy writing (however unintentionally so) that you'll read all day.

How can you tell if a politician is lying? His lips are moving. Americans are fond of blaming those dirty damned politicians when we don't like how things turn out, but we keep sending the same dumbasses to Washington, year after year, decade after decade. People get the government they deserve, ultimately. If we have a horrible political class (and we do), it's our own fault.

"Financial Emergency SWAT Teams?" I envision a CPA version of Jack Bauer from 24: "Why did you declare this trip to Weehawken as a business expense? Tell me now! THERE'S NO TIME!"

Gold could go to $1700/oz. As I said, I believe that this price spike is "fear buying" by investors who don't know where else to put their money. Still, I don't know that gold is in a "bubble": the trendline has been very steady over the past decade. As the fiat currencies of the world weaken, gold strengthens. At some point sanity will prevail and there will be a sell-off, but I doubt we'll see gold dip below $1000/oz for a long, long time -- maybe never, depending on what happens to the USD.

Kevin Williamson at NRO's The Corner asks an interesting question.

S&P, bear in mind, is at the mercy of the federal government for its livelihood: Regulated institutions are required to use federally recognized credit-ratings agencies — it’s not AAA unless a Washington-approved firm says it’s AAA. If Washington should decide that S&P no longer qualifies to be a member of the ratings cartel, it’s basically out of business. It’s one thing to have an angry client threaten to take away his business, but a very different thing to have an angry government with the power to shut your business down making demands.
Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown Washington, D.C.

Atlas Shrugged has become a documentary, not a fictional cautionary tale.

It's good to be the King. It's also good to be friends of the King.

The NYT seems to be advocating for high-speed rail here. I say "seems to", because in the entire piece there really is no actual justification for high-speed rail, just declarations that cutting funding for various rail projects is a mistake. Why this is so we are never told; perhaps the NYT editorial board thinks the point is so obvious that it can be left unsaid. My only take-away from this fingernail-paring of an editorial is this: the lefties really like their choo-choo trains, don't they?

George Will had a recent column on liberal fervor for trains.

To progressives, the best thing about railroads is that people riding them are not in automobiles, which are subversive of the deference on which progressivism depends. Automobiles go hither and yon, wherever and whenever the driver desires, without timetables. Automobiles encourage people to think they—unsupervised, untutored, and unscripted—are masters of their fates. The automobile encourages people in delusions of adequacy, which make them resistant to government by experts who know what choices people should make.
There's some irony in the fact that the heroine of Atlas Shrugged is a railroad executive. But then Ayn Rand wrote the book in the 1950's, when passenger rail still had the mystique of the modern about it and when air travel was still prohibitively expensive.

[UPDATE 1]: Tax-hikes ain't gonna do it, folks. Never mind the dubious morality of the "soak the rich" theory -- it won't work.

[UPDATE 2]: You know it's hard times out there when even major-league baseball franchises are going broke. (But this is the legendarily ill-managed Dodger franchise, whose owners managed to bankrupt their team in spite of being in a lucrative market and having a splendid location and home field.)

[UPDATE 3]: Another sign of how bad things are getting in Major League Baseball -- they're now hiring robots to throw the ceremonial first pitch. Downside: we're losing jobs to Skynet already. Upside: at least the robot doesn't throw like a girl, unlike a certain President of the United States who shall go unnamed to spare him the shame.

[UPDATE 4]: The four national debts.


This was not the "play-time" I had been promised. Prepare to bleed, human.


digg this
posted by Monty at 09:23 AM

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