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March 04, 2013

DOOM: A heap of broken images


Monday's DOOM post will be 2.3% shorter due to the budget cuts mandated by the sequester.

Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), wants your heart to bleed for the poor. This is a deeply misguided editorial, for one simple reason: "social engineering" public policy has proven to be terribly destructive to American society. Government policies tend to promote exactly the wrong behaviors in people. It's not "here's now you can help yourself", it's always "here's how the government or bureaucracy can help you". Government "help" produces dependence and apathy, not responsibility. Instruction without judgement is worthless. Religious instruction works to transmit ethics and values because there is an element of judgement and shame involved; public policy fails precisely because it tries hard to avoid any stigma or shame. The government treats being poor as a disaster that happens to a person, like a tornado or hurricane, and is thus amenable to a governmental "fix". Religious teaching, on the other hand, understands that poverty is equal parts luck, fate, and behavior: it cannot be "fixed". It is part of the human condition. What Brooks is advocating is therapy not for the poor, but for the people who want to feel better about themselves by "helping" the poor. Liberals have been doing this for decades, and now Brooks wants the GOP to start doing it as well.

His Majesty the King has proclaimed a "recovery" every quarter for his entire Presidency so far. So how is the "recovery" going so far? Well, last quarter we grew at a blazing 0.1% percent. Forward!

His Majesty the King Barack Hussein Obama disdains the mundane reality around him, and wishes his humble subjects could catch a glimpse of the rarified universe that he himself inhabits.

The next step in His Majesty's plan to "raise revenue": abolishing the tax exemption for contributing to 401(k) savings plans. Note the way the government thinks of this: it's not more of your money that you're keeping for yourself; it's money you're taking away from the government. That's really how they see it -- money you don't pay in tax is revenue they lose. Your money belongs to them; they simply allow you to keep a certain percentage of it. This is how the American government sees the individual taxpaying citizen.

Being master of your own destiny: out. Being a servant to a self-selected group of elites: in. It's hard to feel too badly for these newly-minted serfs, however -- they voted for their overlords, so they're only getting what they asked for.

Speaking of the Democrat fiefdom of California, Governor Moonbeam's "balanced budget" is every bit the bad joke I assumed it was. I'm amazed at how long states like California and Illinois can keep the plates spinning by deceptive accounting, budgetary tricks, and a mostly-inert legistlature. (And like his Democrat colleage Barack Obama, Jerry Brown benefits from a liberal-dominated press that has long since devolved into a Democrat propaganda organ.)

The true national debt isn't $16 trillion, as ghastly as that number is. The real federal debt is closer to $32 trillion. And that number doesn't include the huge load of state, county, and municipal debt, which could double that number.

Lots of parents are shorting their own retirement funds in order to send Junior to college, and in many cases that college degree is a waste of money.

Woonsocket, RI is the latest city to face bankruptcy due to public-employee pension and healthcare costs.

Is employment a "human right"? Answer: no. Employment is a side-effect of industry, not the purpose of it. You have the right to labor all you please, either on your own behalf or on someone else's. But you don't have the natural right to be paid for that labor. Your labor is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

In Europe, public demonstrations against "austerity" have sprung up in both Italy and Portugal. Seems like every time the Euro-crats declare the crisis over, a new wildfire blazes to life.

The sexual revolution continues to wreak havoc on the lives of Boomers and their children. The Baby Boom generation has gotten divorced at a prodigious rate, and one of the side-effects of that inability to make marriage work is that Boomers now have to sustain two households going into retirement. And that's on top of having insufficient retirement funds saved to begin with.

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posted by Monty at 08:11 AM

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