Tuesday, April 19, 2011

You can't fix stupid

How stupid is President Barack Hussein Obama? Let me count the ways.

Judging from the philosophical pose he struck during Wednesday's "debt-reduction" address, the president is so stupid as to believe that the "rugged individualism," "self-reliance" and "healthy skepticism of too much government" - all qualities he attributed to the American people in that speech - can survive in the shadow of his government.

During his two years in office, Mr. Obama has accrued more debt than any president in American history. Why, in the month of March alone, his souped-up civil servants spent eight times what they collected in tax receipts and revenues.

For every year their honcho has been in office, the Obama officials have devoured over a trillion dollars, and will put Americans in hock to the tune of $1 trillion in interest payments alone by the end of this decade, if not sooner.

How stupid is our president? So stupid as to believe that the governmental juggernaut over which he presides is what connects us as a nation, and ensures that "we . do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves."

How stupid is Obama? So stupid as to believe that America became a great country in 1935, which is when the earliest of the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security entitlements was signed into law. Dummy did, after all, declare yesterday that, "We would not be a great country without [these programs]."

How stupid is the president of the United States? So stupid as to think that "the rich" are rich because their "country," by which he means the ruling clique, "has done so much for them," and that they must, therefore, be compelled "to give back a little bit more."

That's like claiming the tick created the dog! Production predates government predation. Government doesn't produce wealth - it only consumes riches created by others, Mr. President.

Besides, the individual is the basic unit of society, without whom there would be no collective. A cleverer man would know that ACORN is the creation of community agitators like himself, not the other way around.

Indeed, backward is our president for reasoning backwards. To wit, if B, then A: if "rich," then exploitative, but if poor, then exploited. That's a bad mistake.

Just how backward is Barack? Such an intellectual laggard is the country's commander in chief as to frame the massive spending he is directing as a "key investment in our future." The wherewithal for the largess exhibited by Mr. Obama's menagerie of moron has been siphoned off from the private economy (and from China).

How studiously dumb is our president? So stupid as to claim that the real "damage . caused to our nation's checkbook," a checking account he controls and we and our Chinese enablers keep in funds, is caused by tax cuts for the rich.

In other words, returning some stolen property ? that's what taxes are ? to its rightful owners is causing America to go under. That, and not the debt our overweening overlords have accumulated in the course of expanding their jurisdiction stateside and overseas.

A note to anyone who is as gormless as the president: Government is doomed to fail because it is bereft of the constraints private property imposes. The more funds funneled into an insolvent system, in which property is communally "owned" - the greater the squandering of these scarce, precious, appropriated resources.

Most of what the government currently does is financed by borrowing. President Obama spoke at length about his "vision for America." But if he must beg or steal to keep his vision alive, then there is something wrong with this "vision," and not with its victims.

But, as Ron White, that great satirist from the great state of Texas, teaches, "You can't fix stupid." "There is not a pill you can take, not a class you can go to. Stupid is forever."



US budget "showdown"

For all the attempts to talk up the budget clash as a great historical drama, in truth it revealed the pathetic state of American politics. It looked like money for US government agencies would run out at midnight. But an hour before that deadline, congressional leaders and President Obama reached a budget deal that prevented a government shutdown and massive job lay-offs. The compromise cuts about $39 billion from federal spending this year.

Listening to the media coverage, it seemed like a great political drama was taking place. CNN showed a countdown clock, with the minutes ticking away ominously towards the shutdown at midnight. In reality, though, the whole thing was an example of the pathetic state of American politics. The Financial Times was right to refer to the shambolic last-minute deal-making as 'banana republic machinations'.

Despite what the breathless news reporters said, this was not a battle over political principle. Yes, the US federal deficit is large, but this agreement was never intended to put even a small dent in it. Both parties had agreed to reduce spending, and the differences between them towards the end had boiled down to $1 billion or $2 billion, out of a total budget of $3,700 billion.

Following the deal, a beaming Obama said: 'Today, Americans of different beliefs came together.' Based on his enthusiasm, you could be forgiven for thinking that the agreement marked a landmark in American history. Of course it was simply the mundane business of government: passing a budget, something the federal government does every year. Not only that, but amid all the celebrations it is easy to miss the fact that the budget deal was well overdue, coming some six months into the fiscal year, and therefore this supposedly great achievement only sees them through another six months.

Rather than getting caught up in the 'high-stakes drama' of the 'countdown to shutdown', most Americans watched with bemusement and dismay. How could such a serious step - shutting down the basic institution of government, with significant implications for jobs and services - be risked when there was so little separating the two sides? The reality was that the brinkmanship was intended to sway both parties' respective members of Congress, not the public at large. John Boehner, Republican majority leader in the House, wanted to prove to his Tea Party caucus that he was going down to the wire to obtain the maximum spending concessions; Harry Reid, Democrat majority leader in the Senate, wanted to cover his tracks by reassuring his liberal wing that he was not going to give in to Republican social policy issues, like the bid to defund Planned Parenthood.

That the politicians would subject the public to such a circus, just to bring their own members in line, shows how self-absorbed they are. Before the budget showdown, both parties in Congress were held in low esteem, with approval ratings of less than 20 per cent. The latest spectacle of politicians acting like juveniles will certainly not improve perceptions of Congress's stature.

Of the two parties, the Republicans retained some semblance of coherence. Mostly united behind a push for spending cuts, they managed to set the agenda. But for all of Boehner's self-congratulation afterwards, the cuts represented only a tiny percentage of the total budget. At the same time, because they were heavily focused on so-called 'discretionary' welfare spending, the reductions will disproportionately affect the poor and working class. In addition, the Republicans' pursuit of issues that had nothing to do with the budget - like the ban on the financing of abortions in Washington, DC - made it appear that they were simply using the occasion to advance their pet project

The most ludicrous of Boehner's claims was that the deal would help the economy. 'We fought to keep government spending down because it really will in fact help create a better environment for job creators in our country', he said. To date, businesses have not been holding back from hiring more because of government spending, and the relatively small cuts in the latest budget deal will have little or no influence on whether to create more jobs. While the Republicans are obsessed with cuts, they have no answer for economic growth; and if the economy doesn't grow, even cuts in spending won't come fast enough to reduce the deficit.

On the other side, the Democrats appear aimless and adrift. The fact that the 2011 budget took this long is a poor reflection on them: they had majorities in both Houses of Congress when this process should have been completed six months ago, so they only have themselves to blame for failing to come to agreement within their own party.

It is hard to know where Obama stands on these issues. At times he calls for 'investments in the future', but he also stresses that cuts are necessary, using the analogy of a family tightening its belt when times are tough. His initially proposed budget called for a $40 billion increase in spending, and then he ended up agreeing to a $39 billion decrease - a swing of $79 billion. To an objective observer, that would appear to be a defeat. And yet afterwards Obama pretended he had won. He called the deal 'good news for the American people' and boasted about 'making the largest annual spending cut in our history'.

What is clear coming out of the budget agreement is that the Democrats are allowing the Republicans to set the agenda. No longer is there any talk about stimulus, even though Obama previously said the stimulus would be necessary until the economy fully recovered and unemployment came down to pre-recession levels. (Indeed, most economists think the US economy is not out of the woods, and have marked down growth forecasts as a result of the budget deal, because the economy has been so reliant on state spending.) Nor is anyone really talking seriously about Obama's 'investments', like his half-hearted proposals to increase spending on infrastructure, high-speed rail and green-energy technology.

Instead, all the talk is about where to cut next. Obama and the Democrats have managed an incredible feat: they have made the Republican scaremongering bean-counters appear like courageous truth-tellers who are willing to tackle unsustainable deficits.

It now looks like there will be other occasions for 'drama' in the near future. First, there will be a vote on raising the national debt limit, which will probably occur sometime between mid-May and early July. Boehner is insisting that they will go down to the wire again unless 'there is something really, really big attached' to raising the cap - meaning further spending cuts. The White House is warning that not raising the debt limit would have 'Armageddon-like' consequences for the economy.

Second, a debate has started about the 2012 budget. Last week, Republican Paul Ryan unveiled the House proposal, and on Wednesday night Obama is expected to announce his counter-proposal. The 2012 process looks likely to drag on like the 2011 did, especially given that neither party will want to be seen to be conceding too much in the run-up to the 2012 election (which is a presidential one).

While disagreeing on the means, it is clear that both parties agree on the end: austerity. Even though the costs of Social Security and Medicare are structural contributors to government deficits, a focus on them (and deficits generally) is myopic. At the moment, there is no fiscal crisis. The real issue that is neglected amid all the deficit discussion is whether the US economy can generate growth. With growth, the current deficits will be taken care of; without growth, the doomsday scenario that fearmongers peddle today could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Neither major party has anything of substance to say about creating growth in productive industries. Their consensus on austerity is mind-numbing and uninspiring. To be subjected to the spectacle of recurring pantomimes over budgets only adds insult to injury.




A cancerous government: "Cancer cells grow and multiply like normal human tissue cells, but unlike normal cells, cancer cells suck up body resources without doing anything beneficial for the body. They eventually kill the body. The abnormal growth of government and government spending does exactly the same to civilizations. In the United States, government growth and spending has multiplied to the point where the draw down on productive contributors is starting to kill the host. There is little incentive to contribute values in the market place when the federal, state, and local governments are taking more than 50% of a taxpayer's income in many instances. Why work hard to create if the value will be confiscated?

AZ: Bill requires candidates to prove birth in US: "Arizona, which has shown little reluctance in bucking the federal government, is again plowing controversial ground, this time as its Legislature passed a bill to require President Obama and other presidential candidates to prove they were born in the United States before their names can appear on the state's ballot. If Governor Jan Brewer signs the proposal into law, Arizona would be the first state to pass such a requirement - potentially forcing a court to decide whether the president's birth certificate is enough to prove he can legally run for reelection. Hawaii officials have certified Obama was born in that state, but so-called birthers have demanded more proof"

Senate "Gang of Six" seeks accord on debt: "Days after President Obama called for forming a bipartisan group in Congress to begin negotiating a $4 trillion debt-reduction package, the parties have not even agreed to its membership. Yet six senators - three Democrats, three Republicans - say they are nearing consensus on just such a plan. Whether the so-called Gang of Six can actually deliver something when Congress returns from a recess in May could determine whether Democrats and Republicans can come together to resolve the nation's fiscal problems before the 2012 elections."

Obama tries to obstruct executions: "President Obama well may have begun another undeclared war -- this time on states that try to enforce their own death penalty laws -- on the dubious grounds that the Food and Drug Administration has not approved drugs intended to kill convicted killers. On March 15, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized Georgia's supply of sodium thiopental, the first drug given under the three-drug lethal injection protocol used in most of the country's 34 death-penalty states. The DEA also asked Kentucky and Tennessee for their sodium thiopental to aid its investigation."

The richer we get the more markets we need: "We can regard economic gr[ow]th as coming in two forms. There's catch up growth, such as what China is doing now and Japan did 50 years ago. What to do is largely known, for there are the examples of the richer, more advanced, economies that can be followed. ... However, once a place has got rich the problem changes. Catch up growth is no longer possible, for there's no one to catch up with. The economy has arrived at the technological frontier so there's no one to copy. Any further growth is going to come from innovation, new ways of doing things, rather than mobilising extant resources to simply do more. At which point governments can't do that planning and directing thing"

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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