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August 27, 2013

Sometimes DOOM arrives on Tuesdays

DOOOOM

Oh, I’ve got a garbage-barge full of DOOM for you today, my groovy babies. A feculent stinking mountain of lies, perfidy, avarice, cant, ridiculousness, weakness, stupidity, cupidity, poltroonery, and good old fashioned fraud.

It takes courage to save money? Really? Is that where the bar is at now? We used to say that the GI charging a Nazi machine-gun nest was being courageous. Now all it takes is dropping a spare buck into the change-jar every now and then. Next thing you know we'll be hearing "it takes courage to wipe your ass after taking a dump" PSA's. Remember: this is what your government thinks of you. This is their opinion of you. (Adam Carolla recently riffed on this as well.)

The Treasury will reach the debt limit by mid-October. Or I should say, "the charming genteel fiction known as the 'debt limit'", because it is obvious to every creature upon this earth that the heedless borrowing will go on and on until the SMOD ends it all.

The 5% recovery. I'd phrase this a bit differently: if you're a friend or court favorite of His Majesty the King, you will prosper. If not....

It’s been obvious from the dawn of time that many people will accept a lower standard of living in exchange for not having to work (or working less). When the government incentivizes this behavior through generous welfare benefits, it only exacerbates the problem. Unemployed poor people don’t create great works of art or think deep thoughts; they sit at home and watch television, have kids they can’t afford, and get into trouble with the law. The devil makes work for idle hands.

While we’re on the topic of being poor, read “In another country".


July durable goods orders drop by the most in a year. This is a structural problem, not a statistical fluke or a reporting issue.

A reminder: never say "Well, at least it can't get any worse." It can always get worse.

Just a reminder: “recovery summer” still hasn’t happened yet, five long years after His Majesty ascended to the throne. Note, though, that this story refers to manufacturing employment, not manufacturing output. We’re still producing lots of manufactured goods, but we don’t need as many people to do it.

Mises and Hayek would have been proud. “[P]rostitution is a private matter and no public funds should be spent on sex workers.”

More good stuff from Steyn: too many janitors with college degrees. (h/t Andy)

Private lobbyists pulling down state pensions. Your tax dollars hard at work.

The economy: we’ve fallen and we can’t get up. Check this:

When Sentier broke its data down, every age group lost ground — except senior citizens. Those aged 65 to 74 saw median income climb 5.1% from June 2009 to June 2013. Those 75 and older enjoyed a 2.1% gain.
And what demographic is statistically the wealthiest segment of society? Why, the geezers. The Democrats love to position their redistributionist policies in social justice terms, but it's really a giant generational wealth transfer from the relatively poor young to the relatively wealthy old.

There’s a reason public-sector workers and retirees don’t want you to know the details of their pension benefits.

Can the developed world continue the high growth rates of past decades? Probably not, although it's possible that some technological or cultural breakthrough could change the whole game.

California's suicide pact.

Remember back when we didn’t live in an authoritarian fascist state? Good times, good times.

In New York City, you can make forty grand a year just by existing.

The indebted states of America. I've always said that the true debt bomb is not the federal debt; it's the enormous (and mostly understated) municipal and state debt.

The big mistake everyone makes on pension reform. My take: the big mistake is setting up defined benefit pension plans instead of defined contribution plans. Under-pricing of risk, terrible actuarial practices, and outright fraud are secondary to this most basic problem.

If states and municipalities want to have a hope of fixing the pension/OPEB problem, they’re going to have to buck the unions.

How broke is Detroit? As the Brits say, “skint”. Indigent. Hard-bottom busted.

A $15 minimum wage being pushed in Seattle. Because every burger-flipper and busboy and surly retail clerk is worth exactly as much per hour as a journeyman carpenter or car mechanic.

Criticizing government pensions is racist. Just like everything else these days.

Yet another crap-tastic jobs report. Another fine day in His Majesty's happy kingdom.

Why in God’s name anybody would start a small business in California these days is beyond me.

In other awesome news: convicted felon Jesse Jackson Jr. will get $8K per month in disability, plus a $45K partial federal pension. All while sitting in prison for "misusing" $750K in campaign funds. (Back in my day, we used "stealing" instead of "misusing", but that was in a less enlightened time.)

The economics of opera. I'm a fan of opera, and the Met's recent staging of Wagner's Ring cycle was a fabulous production, but the fact remains that opera specifically, and live theater more generally, is incredibly expensive to produce yet has a very small audience. Wynton Marsalis' reign at the Jazz at Lincoln Center program is a close parallel -- instead of growing the audience for jazz, Marsalis basically bet it all on the "purist" market. It's not clear to me that these unfashionable entertainments can be sustained economically without downsizing -- yet you can only "downsize" an opera so far. It also turns out that unions are a major culprit in the torrent of red ink, as they so often are.

Greece: Um, we're gonna need another 10 billion Euros. That chinchilla ranch we set up on the outskirts of town didn't bring in as much profit as we'd hoped.

Every time a liberal sings the praises of ObamaCare, remember: this is the system they want to emulate. This is what constitutes a good outcome in their minds.

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posted by Monty at 08:20 AM

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