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February 09, 2012

The Daily DOOM


Follow 'The Daily DOOM' on Twitter: @AoSHQDOOM.

Yay! We get to bail out homeowners who are under water on their mortgages! What if you've sacrificed and been prudent and bought a house you can afford? What if you decided to rent instead? Well, no money for you...SUCKER! (And of course this deal only involves private sector banks but not Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Because, you know, they're protected.) This is at least in part a result of the banks' "robo-signing" scandal, so I have a limited amount of pity for whatever hardship they bear; what irks me is that a relatively small portion of homeowners will be "helped" while taxpayers must once again bear the major part of the burden.

The Greek bailout travesty just keeps dragging on and on. I expect some face-saving last-minute "agreement" to be announced some time today, but it won't really mean anything.

Why we are DOOMed, in a nutshell: 49% of US households now the recipient of government cheese. Half of the households in this country are now on the dole to some extent, which means that a huge percentage of the population is now personally invested in not only perpetuating the welfare state, but enlarging it.

Rep. Paul Ryan is still beating the DOOM drum. He's making the same point I am: we don't have an unlimited amount of time to address our fiscal problems. We have maybe five to ten years to put the brakes on and start getting this runaway train under control.

Peter Ferrara delivers a savage rhetorical beating to Ann Coulter. Which she richly deserved.

Your stimulus tax-dollars hard at work: Los Angeles pays to have city-owned luxury yacht upgraded with "environmentally friendly" engines at a cost of half a mill. In other news: the city of Los Angeles owns a luxury yacht.

Mickey Kaus endorses ending unionism as we know it. Kaus is talking about unions in the private sector, though, when the real danger is public-sector unions. Public-sector unions should simply be outlawed -- it was a mistake to ever allow public-sector workers to unionize in the first place.

Ever since the 2008 crash, all eyes have been on the residential real-estate market. However, commercial real-estate may be the next shock to the system.

Having wrecked the banks, the Fed moves on to money market funds.

The cost of the regulatory state is one of those "unseen" things Bastiat was talking about. I'm not one of those anarcho-capitalists who advocate for no oversight at all, but clearly we have tipped the scales too far in terms of regulation. A lighter regulatory hand would promote faster growth. (Just consider the expense and bureaucratic headaches of complying with Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank, and how little benefit we taxpayers actually receive from either of those two regulatory regimes.)

Even as die-hard a liberal as Michael Hiltzik of the LAT finds that moving manufacturing back to Amercia is easier said than done.

Still, there's no escaping the pitiless facts of the international labor market. The average wage of Pioneer's manufacturing workers is about $18 an hour, Rosenstein says, including benefits. (Pioneer offers health coverage, though Rosenstein says the cost has been rising for ever-narrowing benefits.) Pioneer has done some manufacturing in Mexico for 35 years, and moved into China about a decade ago. Taking into consideration all expenses, the manufacturing cost of an item in China or Mexico might be from 10% to 25% that of the U.S. That differential will cover a lot of logistical downside.

If liberals actually get the "post-American world" they've been relentlessly pushing for so long, I doubt they'll like the results. But then, liberals never care much for outcomes; good intentions are all that's required. That may be the epitaph on America's gravestone: WE MEANT WELL.

LauraW has been all over the recent dust-up between the HHS and, well, every person of faith in the country. Left-leaning people of faith, especially Catholics, have had the scales rudely ripped from their eyes by the Obama administration. I wish I were more hopeful that this would lead to a re-examination of their liberal leanings, but I doubt it.

Peter Orszag: You know what we need? SKYNET! After all, isn't a bureaucrat-run technocracy the dream to which we've all been striving lo these many years?

California to taxpayers: "Relax, baby! This won't hurt a bit!"

CalSTRS: "It only looks like we're boned from where you're sitting. If you could see the sooper-seekrit numbers we have, you wouldn't be so alarmed. And no, you can't see our numbers. Because they're secret."

New York: the guys get shirts. That's just the f**king way it is. Mr. Paul Anka nods approvingly.

Being single is a luxury. It really is true that two can live more cheaply than one -- you get all of the economies of scale. This is really the first age of the world where remaining single was really an option for someone reasonably sound of body -- marriage in nearly all of history was less a romantic adventure than an economic partnership. In fact, you can argue that the institution of marriage started going seriously downhill when it became a romantic enterprise. Love is fickle. (Funny line in the comments: "Women are like Wi-Fi. They see all the available devices, but connect only to the strongest one." Whereas men are more like Bluetooth: they connect to whatever is closest.)

Staffers at WaPo will now get to experience the joys of funemployment in His Majesty's happy kingdom.

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posted by Monty at 08:38 AM

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