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October 26, 2011

DOOM: When the feeling's gone and you can't go on


The China house of cards may be starting to collapse. I've been expecting it for a while now, but I suspect it will confound a lot of the China-boosters out there (Thomas Friedman, please come to the white courtesy phone).

What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Global indebtedness, according to Zoakos, has actually increased by 17 percent since the beginning of 2008. Nations have enacted generous bailout and stimulus programs while growth has averaged an anemic 1.2 percent.

Why a Eurozone meltdown poses grave dangers for US Treasury market.

Cloudy, With a Chance of Armageddon.

What we are witnessing now is a very public demonstration of the limits of government led economic growth. Europe's debt crisis may have been accelerated by the US sub-prime debacle but it is a result of a welfare state that has morphed from social safety net into communal hammock. Simply papering over the losses will not solve the deeper issue of how to create growth with a government that consumes over half of GDP.

Our future population challenge: think Children of Men, not Harry Harrison’s Make Room! Make Room!.

Obama is engaged in another hallowed Democratic tradition he learned in Illinois: buying votes.

FYI: the Wolfson prize is £250,000, so if you’re looking for some extra cash....

What happens to an economy when it has essentially zero per capita GDP growth for a decade or more? Well, we’re in the process of finding out, both here and in Europe.

And the next Euro domino to fall is...Italy! I’m surprised. I thought Spain would fall over before Italy did. But then, the Med Eurozone countries are in a race to see who collapses first at this point.

I suspect that Greece will still win that race, by the way. In Greece, the bank-run may have commenced in earnest.

Should the Eurozone just let Greece go?

The problem with going down this route and then failing is that eurozone leaders will spend a lot of emotional, political and actual capital that they should be spending on preparing for a Greek default. Every euro they take out of taxpayer pockets now is one less available for financing a transition to default. Every bit of political strong-arming or payoff for votes now makes selling the steps needed for an orderly default that much harder. Every bit of trust and goodwill burned now is that much less available for a default solution.

Larry Summers: “Economic war criminal”? No, just an idiot. Our government is full of them.

Stagnationism: an even more-dismal dismal science.

California's economic suicide. I don't know that I'd call it a suicide: suicides intend to kill themselves. Californians are more like drug addicts -- they think they will escape the fate of most other addicts without having to give up their drug of choice. It will end badly, as most addictions do.

A flat tax is bad because...well, because shrinking the size of the government is just unthinkable.

The biggest downside is that by sharply reducing the rates collected from the highest earners, it would force the lower and middle classes to cover more of the cost of government than under the current system of graduated rates.

Remember how the Chevy Cruze was supposed to revitalize GM's commuter-car sector in the same way that the Volt was supposed to stake a claim in the hybrid/electric market? Well...things aren't looking so good for Government Motors or the Cruze. It's almost as if the government bailout of a failed auto-making firm was a huge mistake.

UPDATE 1: Your healthcare costs in retirement are apt to cost a lot more than you expected when you were still working. So plan and save accordingly.

UPDATE 2: A tale of two cities. (Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, to be precise.)

UPDATE 3: Pension DOOM...even for the Church.

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posted by Monty at 08:53 AM

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