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May 16, 2011

There's DOOM in them thar hills!


Today is the big day, Morons: our national credit-card is officially maxed out. Maybe it was that jet-ski or chrome wheels for the hoopty that put us over....

Over the weekend IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested for sexual assault on a chambermaid in his New York City hotel. He was apprehended after he boarded a plane back to France. Strauss-Kahn was a leading contender for the presidency of France, so this news is proving to be a bit embarrassing for the French. Who knows what kind of disarray this will throw the IMF into -- and thus the pending bailouts of Greece, Ireland, and Portugal.

In the WSJ, Edward Lazear wonders why the job market feels so dismal.

We added jobs because hires exceeded separations, not because hiring increased. There were 4.7 million separations in February 2009. In March 2011 that number had fallen to 3.8 million. The fall in separations reflects a decline in layoffs, which went from 2.5 million per month in February 2009 to 1.6 million per month in March 2011. One small piece of good news is that the just-released April data showed hires up about 2% over last year's average and 12% above the low reached in January 2010.

Robert Samuelson posts a piece that will no doubt earn him the bitterness of many a retiree, "The Elderly Must Share the Financial Burden". Samuelson speaks with a bit more gravitas than I, since he is himself in his mid-60's. A good bit:

I have been urging higher eligibility ages and more means-testing for Social Security and Medicare for so long that I forget that many Americans still accept the outdated and propagandistic notion that old age automatically impoverishes people. Asks one reader: Who are these "well-off" elderly you keep writing about? The suggestion is that they are figments of my imagination, invented to justify harsh cutbacks in Social Security and Medicare on the needy.

Just the opposite. We see every day that many people in their 60s and older live comfortably - and still would if they received a little less in Social Security and paid a little more for Medicare. The trouble is that what's intuitively obvious becomes lost in the political debate; it's overwhelmed by selective and self-serving statistics that cast almost everyone over 65 as being on the edge of insolvency. The result: Government over-subsidizes the affluent elderly. It transfers resources from the struggling young to the secure old.

And more good stuff:

The problems of old age (chronic illness, outliving savings, loneliness) are real, but age by itself is not an indicator of need. The blanket defense of existing Social Security and Medicare isn't "liberal" or "progressive." It's simply a political expedient with ruinous consequences. It enlarges budget deficits and forces an unfair share of adjustment - higher taxes, lower spending - on workers and other government programs. This is the morality of the ballot box.

Our current entitlement programs are basically a financial war on the young. Sooner or later, they're going to fight back. The above article also presents a needed corrective to the myth of the "starving senior". Yes, many seniors live in poverty -- but percentage-wise, those unfortunates are a small fraction of the whole. Most seniors live quite comfortably, and can well afford a reduction in their government welfare checks.

Andrew Ross Sorkin of the NYT examines how an income of $250K apparently is enough to make one "rich".

Who boned California? Among others, the teachers. This is true of almost every state in the union, of course, but especially so in the members of the Loyal Order of the Terminally Boned (LOTB).

[UPDATE 1]: More on hitting the debt-ceiling from the IBD.

[UPDATE 2]: The tortured body will surrender.

[UPDATE 3]: Paul Ryan game-texts Newt on XBox Live: LOL NEWTON U SUQ TEAM RYAN ROXXORZ C U L8R H8R.

How dare you serve me that sub-par store-brand cat food? Take that!

digg this
posted by Monty at 08:42 AM

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