18 February 2009

Really as Bad as You Think

One of the most important skills for political success is the ability to make confident assertions of absurdities or lies.” -Thomas Sowell

If you think I am some rethuglican, guess again. I opposed the Bush tax cuts. I opposed the Iraq War. I opposed the Bush stimulus in early 2008. I opposed TARP 1. I also opposed Obama’s stimulus. Why? I see ineffective and dangerous governmental policy behind each one. I look beyond the short-term effects to the long-term consequences. Looking at the result of the first four I can state with some confidence that I was right in opposing each and every one of them.

The stimulus touted by Obama to create 3.5 million jobs (funny how that number keeps increasing) provides a paltry $16 extra per paycheck this year ($400 dollar credit divided by 26 paychecks) which drops to $8 per paycheck next year. NPR was interviewing some so-called expert. The interviewer asked if the “expert” really thought that extra $16 per paycheck would be stimulating. The “expert” actually said that he thought it would. You have got to be kidding; what freaking planet was this idiot from? The only thing an extra $16 per paycheck will stimulate is McDonald’s. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for creating jobs. But this is not the way to do it.

The stimulus is nothing more than a spending stop gap to hide the underlying issues of our economy and delay the inevitable real pain (You can put your finger in the dam to stop the leak…). It does very little to stimulate innovation which creates real jobs. True stimulus would have been a massive $500 billion+ investment in energy of the future and a rehab of our electric grid - I could have supported that because I understand the need for it and I can see how it would benefit our economy. The little dribs and drabs towards an investment in infrastructure in the current stimulus plan fall far short of providing a healthy footing for an economy beyond the next election cycle. As one comment put it: “[The stimulus is] like eating more food to lose weight!”

We had the tech bubble, the housing bubble and next we will have the government spending bubble. When the government money runs out, what then? Will we be told that we need another porktastic spending spree because the first one was not large enough? Can’t we see that this is simply no longer sustainable? And here I thought the progressives were all about sustainability. It is obvious that their idea of what sustainability is does not translate to the pocket book. Of course, if they really adhered to the idea of a sustainable society they would kill themselves because the majority of what humans do is not sustainable. But I digress.

Do not believe for one instant the pundits when they say that the national debt is still only a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP). They forget to add in the debt held by business and you and me. That total is $52 trillionthree times the GDP of around $14 trillion. Adding more debt is a very bad idea. Some pundits want us to do what Japan did in the 1990s. If only it were that simple. We would have to have a stimulus package worth more than $20 trillion to match what Japan did because we have a much larger economy. And I am not including the unfunded liabilities of social security and Medicare that is an estimated $60 trillion.

Even scarier is what the Federal Reserve (Fed) is doing to straighten out the mess the banks are in. The Fed has committed trillions to the bail out of insolvent financial institutions. Robert Reich in his blog recently wrote:

“To date, the Fed has already committed some $2.5 trillion to rescuing the financial ystem, yet no one outside the Fed knows exactly how or where this money went. The Fed is subject to almost no political oversight. Yet if the trillions of dollars the Fed has already committed and the trillions more it's about to commit can't be recouped, the federal debt explodes and you and I and other taxpayers are left holding the bag.

In other words, Geithner and Fed Chair Ben Bernanke continue to do pretty much what Hank Paulson and Bernanke did: They hide much of the true costs and risks to taxpayers of repairing the banking system.”
And we should trust Turbo Tax Tim? Why am I and others like me marginalized for speaking out? We are raising the alarm and the sheeple simply would rather watch American Idle. Congress voted on nearly a $1 trillion spending plan that contained more than 1,000 pages of text and had less than 24 hours to look it over before voting on it. We are simply to take on faith that politicians are looking out for our best interests?

The dumb are leading the dumber towards the cliff. The sheeple look idly by without a clue as to what is going on. We the Idiots deserve every bit of what we have sown.

Question everything and everyone. Trust no one.

Photo by KCThinker, Butterfly at Ohama Henry Doorly Zoo

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