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April 29, 2011

A DOOM! We Can All Believe In


Spare a thought for the folks down South who were affected by the tornadoes and other bad weather. Do what you can to help: donate to the Red Cross, donate through your church, volunteer your time and skills with the clean-up. Many folks have lost everything they have. Remember: a handout is what you get from the government; a hand up is what you get from friends.

The Powerline guys ask a fundamental question: what is the purpose of government?

[H]ere in the U.S., the practical answer is easy: the principal function of our national government is to transfer wealth from the young and the middle-aged to the elderly. Such transfers currently account for around $1.159 trillion, nearly one-half trillion more than we spend for national defense, and far more than any other category of the budget.
You cannot keep a civilization on a paying basis if you take from the young to give to the old -- especially when the non-working old outnumber the working-age young. The fundamental building-block of any society is the family, and we as a country have made it very difficult for young people to start and maintain a family. It's not just the transfer-payments and onerous taxes; it's the entire emphasis of the government. Someone has said that the United States is now basically a pension-plan with an Army, and it's hard to argue with that, given where the money is going.

The residential housing market still stinks, in case you were wondering.

The WSJ joins the chorus: Keynesianism has failed.

With deficits this year estimated to hit $1.65 trillion, are we really supposed to believe that more deficit spending will produce faster growth? Would $2 trillion do the trick, or how about $3 trillion? Two years after the stimulus debate began, the critics who said all of this spending would provide at most a temporary lift to GDP while saddling the economy with record deficits have been proven right.
Teh Krugman shakes his wizened little fists and insists the scheme would have worked if only it hadn't been for Shaggy and Scooby and the gang!

Yes, Virginia, there really is a state and municipal pension crisis. People who insist that there is no problem often have a vested interest in saying so. (*Cough*Labor unions!*cough*) The problem is a simple one: states and cities made pension promises that they cannot possibly keep. It's not even a question of intent, or good-will -- it's a question of basic math.

As for the Loyal Order of the Terminally Boned (LOTB) -- it looks like Illinois is on track to be the recipient of the coveted Most Terminally Boned award, narrowly edging rival California.

I said to watch the metals markets after Teh Bernank's press conference to see what the reaction was. Result? Both gold and silver hit historic new highs against the USD. I don't think the doubters were reassured, Ben. (The USD is now worth 1/50 of an ounce of silver, and 1/1535 an ounce of gold.)

Financial martial law comes to Michigan. And only fifty years too late!

[UPDATE 1]: More Democrats oppose raising the debt ceiling. (Via Insty.)

[UPDATE 2]: As an antidote to the hurtful and divisive rhetoric against rocker-jockeys that opened this post, a story that warms even my cold black cinder of a heart: seniors more amenable to the Ryan budget than expected. (Though the cynic in me suggests that this is because Ryan promised to make no changes to current benefits; the brunt of the cuts is borne by people under 55.)

You know...if you tape a stick to him, he'd make a pretty good dust-mop.

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posted by Monty at 09:26 AM

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