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September 19, 2011

DOOM: When you gaze into the abyss...


KABOOM! Looks like Uncle Sugar decided to bail Europe out after all. Hey, what's a trillion or so between friends? It's not like we're broke or anything....

The worst kind of “stuck” is when you can’t go forward and you can’t go back and no one can reach you. That’s where the Eurozone is right now.

Europeans find “unity in inanity”. Hey, I’m sympathetic to ignoring Timmah -- believe me, I understand. But still...don’t ignore good advice, even when it comes from a jerk. Separate the message from the messenger.

To stave off disaster, the Greeks will have to learn to be completely different people, culturally. Greeks have not been known for fiscal prudence since...well, the memory of man does not run that far. I suspect that in the end they will be unable to completely transform themselves in the way the rest of the Eurozone wants them to. The Greeks are, well, Greek, and that culture will not change in the span of a year or two. Even if the Greeks wished to transform themselves, it would be a project of decades; and it is not clear that the people of that bankrupt nation are even willing to make the change.

This is why the PIIGS are boned. You can repeat this same story, with small variations, tens of thousands of times.

Europe 2011 may be worse than America 2008.

$1.5 Trillion in new taxes now, $3 Trillion in cuts later. Pinkie swear.

The accounting on ObamaCare is even more screwed up than you thought it was. It's certainly lived down to my expectations: I expected it to be a fiscal disaster, and so it proved. Pass it to find out what's in it!

California Democrats don’t just suck at looking after taxpayer money. They suck at looking after their own money as well. So it’s not venality so much as simple ineptitude.

The Empire Manufacturing Survey brings on the suck.

European banks are hiding a lot of crap off-balance-sheet. This is one of the big fears in the Eurozone -- that the already-undercapitalized banks are in even worse shape than thought due to huge amounts of hidden debt and other obligations. (EDIT: Recall that this is the sort of thing that took down Enron.)

Universal social programs vs. cost-benefit analysis. If there is no cost-effective way to fund programs for the poor, should we still try to do it for ethical reasons?

American Jews finally realizing that Obama’s just not that into them. The alien being Waxulon opines:

There are Jews who are trending toward the Republican Party, some of it because of their misunderstanding of Obama’s policies in the Middle East, and some of it, quite frankly, for economic reasons. They feel they want to protect their wealth, which is why a lot of well-off voters vote for Republicans.
Those Jooos and their money. Also: TEH RACISM!!!

The future of jobs. The employment model won’t be as stable as in the half century after World War II, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing; the “Detroit model” had a lot of defects and didn’t promote much in the way of either R&D or “creative destruction” in the Schumpeterian sense. We must learn to innovate better and move faster to compete globally. The future workplace needn’t be *worse* than what we have now -- in fact it may be much better in many ways -- but the change will be a wrenching one for many people.

Fraud in unemployment programs? The hell you say! Our governmental bodies have proven themselves honest and fair caretakers of our public funds, and I for one will not stand here and see our public servants so basely slandered!

I just wouldn't be me if I didn't take the opportunity to bash on Social Security. It's like getting a fat pitch with the bases loaded: if the pitcher's gonna serve it up, I'm gonna swing at it. The evils of Social Security.

Someone always has to pay the bill, folks. Always. There ain’t no such thing as “free”.

Even perma-bull Kudlow is sensing a disturbance in the Force.

The recession call is not conclusive. I'm the first to admit it. And my optimistic instincts rebel against the downturn scenario. But facts are facts. They must be reported. And the numbers aren't good.

Do adult job-training programs work? It depends on the individual to a great extent, but the track-record of government-sponsored jobs-training programs is not good. It’s also a fact that as a person ages, they don’t assimilate or retain new information as well as they did when they were younger. It’s essential to keep your job-skills up-to-date, but training programs are not a panacea: you can’t make up for a lack of skills in an eight or ten-week program.

End the Fed’s dual mandate? Better yet, just end the Fed entirely. It’s done far more harm than good over the years.

Remember those “bumfights” videos that were all the rage some years back? Well, it's like that, only with Russian billionaires.

UPDATE 1: Here's the thing about inflation: it's never a problem, until all of a sudden it is. And it is devilishly hard to get rid of once established.

UPDATE 2: Take heart, you poor overburdened peasants! His Majesty the King has a plan to realize $4 Trillion in cuts...and it'll only take 120 years! A mere eyeblink compared to the long ages of the cosmos, really. (EDIT: This was an error in the original story which has since been scrubbed corrected.)


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posted by Monty at 08:51 AM

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