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September 13, 2011

DOOM: A Pocketful of Dust


King Barack the I to the GOP: How about jacking up taxes to pay for my new jobs plan? GOP to King Barack: How about no.

But no one tell Michael Hiltzik at the LAT: he's too busy conjuring up the similarities between Obama and FDR. In Hiltzik's mind, those similarities are a good thing. A chicken in every pot, and a bailout check in every union wallet!

The unintended results of Obamanomics.

Finally, the president said, yet again, that he wants the “wealthiest Americans” and largest corporations to pay their “fair share,” but fairness is never defined. The president keeps confusing the terms “wealth” and “income,” but they are not the same thing. You can be wealthy with a low income, or have a high income and a negative net worth. Which group does he want to tax more? If he puts a higher tax on job creators, will not fewer jobs be created? His whole discussion of this issue is devoid of reality.

You know what would fix the economy? If everybody was like Greece! Defaults all around! Moral hazard is for chumps!

Greece must leave the Eurozone and revert to their old national currency so they can devalue. This was obvious to most observers right from the start; only the EU’s intransigence and incompetence has drawn the pain out this long. Spiegel has more.

Angela Merkel has to decide if she represents the German citizens who voted for her; or unelected EU bureaucrats who want her to disregard the plain wishes of her own electorate.

Confirmed: Perry is right, Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. Almost a Platonically perfect example of one, in fact. Relevant Social Security Fact: current ratio of workers to beneficiaries? About 1.75 and falling.

Obama: Trapped in the Keynesian Twilight Zone. (YouTube video.)

Slouching towards socialism.

Ironically, many of the problems in our current healthcare system that lead to demands for public policy fixes—the underpayment of primary care providers, overpayment for certain specialty procedures, excessive payments for medical supplies—actually originate in government-run health programs. Expecting things to get better by expanding the reach of government in medicine appears to be a triumph of hope over experience.

Financially-strapped but gorgeous Mediterrannean beauty seeks well-heeled Asian gentleman for conversation, companionship, possible romance.

I've always thought that “follow your dreams” is often really lousy career advice. You may love being a street-mime, but you will starve in the cold if you try to do it for a living. Find a job you like and can do well, and make your living that way. You can do the mime thing on weekends.

Pundits are still frantically trying to figure out ways to keep the USPS relevant in the 21st century. None of these hare-brained schemes will work; the USPS’s business model is as obsolete as the Pony Express. They have neither the agility nor the institutional mindset nor the workforce to make funamental changes. They are like a mastodon lumbering in the tarpit, and with the same inevitable outcome.

Andy sends this story: student loan defaults on the rise. Who could have forseen that loaning tens of thousands of dollars to unemployed (and often unemployable) college students in the middle of the worst recession in decades would lead to mass defaults? Who, I ask you?

Given the mess in European banks right now, the next big crash cannot be far away unless something miraculous happens. (In other words, if we avoid a crash it will be due more to luck or the grace of God than any intelligence on our part.)

UPDATE 1: Amity Schlaes muses on the continuing relevance of French economist Frederic Bastiat and his "broken windows" fallacy.

"Life, liberty and property do not exist because men have made laws," Bastiat said. "On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." The perversity was that laws often legalize plunder, or "spoliation," as Bastiat put it. Laws take from someone, and give to someone else, even though this was not always the intention of their authors. Such plunder could hurt an economy by reallocating resources from productive areas to ones that were politically rewarding.

UPDATE 2: There is only one commandment in His Majesty's Kingdom: Thou shalt not embarrass His Majesty. Oh, for the days when lèse majesté could be punished by hanging!

Bide your time, mortals. Your DOOM shall come.

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posted by Monty at 08:46 AM

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