American Children fall behind other Children throughout the World in Math and Science

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 5th, 2014

Week in Review

More people are going on to college than ever before.  And we have the student loan debt to prove it.  As recent graduates threaten to default on their loans as they can’t get a job with their worthless degrees in the humanities and social sciences.  Expensive degrees colleges sold them.  Promising them fulfilling careers.  But a degree in minority studies or French literature ain’t going to go far in a high-tech economy.

And that’s the problem.  People are going to college for the wrong reason.  To party.  They want to have fun.  And take the easier degrees so they aren’t weighed down by too much school work.  It’s so bad that high-tech companies are using the visa system to fill job openings.  As they can’t find American graduates that have the same qualifications as foreign graduates.  Who actually take math and science.  And get the education businesses are looking for (see Distinguishing Science from Nonsense by Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., posted 12/31/2013 on bioethics.com).

As Americans enter 2014 there is grave concern among our political leaders that we are lagging behind other nations in terms of our children’s’ scientific literacy.  This past December an international survey confirmed—too many American kids don’t understand science and they continue to fall behind children from other nations, many much poorer than we are in science and math skills.

Students in the United States slipped deeper in the last international science literacy rankings amid fast-growing competition abroad.  American teens scored below the international average in math and roughly average in science, compared against dozens of other countries in the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).  We trail Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Britain, Latvia, Viet Nam and many more.  (http://www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/pisa-2012-results.htm)…

A key reason for the poor performance of our children with respect to science is that American culture is both ignorant of and disrespectful to science…

As I write this there are two women in ICUs in different parts of the U.S. on life support despite having been pronounced dead by medical experts… Neither the media or the medical profession seemed to be able to explain that brain death is truly death.  Nor did the public seem inclined to listen, believing somehow that a miracle might occur.

At the same time as these cases emerged a poll was released by the Pew Foundation showing that a third of Americans do not believe in evolution…

And as I write this flu season has begun across the country.  The CDC estimates that last year 381,000 Americans were hospitalized due to the flu. They also estimate that, the flu vaccine prevented 79,000 hospitalizations and 6.6 million illnesses.  Yet a tiny cabal of kooks and know-nothings has gotten so much attention that barely half of all Americans get a flu shot…

The nutritional supplements industry is a thirty billion dollar business that has no solid evidence for efficacy and oodles of instances in which death and disability are linked to poorly manufactured or mislabeled products…

I could go on but the point ought to be clear.  Children are not going to flourish at science in a society that treats science either as something you can believe in selectively, something that is simply one point of view or something about which anyone can have a credible opinion no matter how ill-qualified, dumb or misinformed.

If we want to have a brighter economic future then we need to start thinking about science education outside of our schools.

Absolutely.  Because our schools aren’t teaching science.  They’re teaching our kids about global warming instead.  So they will grow up frightened.  And vote Democrat.

The teacher unions support Democrats.  And Democrats protect teacher unions.  So is it any surprise that they are programming our children to be good Democrat voters instead of teaching them good science?  Filling their heads with politicized science like global warming.  For it is politicized science when a consensus closes a subject to debate.  That is something that just doesn’t happen in good science.  If it were then physicists would just take a vote on what better reconciled general relativity and quantum mechanics.  Loop quantum gravity or string theory?  Of course, physicists don’t reach a consensus to determine which science is the right science.  But that’s what climate ‘scientists’ do.  And Al Gore.  And our public schools.  And our universities.  They say there is a consensus and the scientific debate is settled.  We are warming the planet.  And the only way to save the planet is with massive government regulation.  With Democrats in power to write ever more regulations.

The reason why Americans are falling behind in math and science is because the Democrats use education for political ends.  Not for educating our children.  For they couldn’t win an election if they did.  They need a crisis.  Like global warming.  A crisis and an ignorant electorate.  Which their friends in education give them.  And because they do children from Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Britain, Viet Nam and many more are now smarter than American children.

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The Petulant President scolds Republicans, Conservatives and Anyone Else who dares to Oppose Obamaism

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 17th, 2013

Politics 101

The government shutdown is over. And we avoided defaulting on the national debt  Or so they say.  So who won and who lost?  Well, at this point in time it looks like the Democrats lost less than the Republicans.  But it is the American people who lost.  For they are stuck with Obamacare for the time being.  And President Obama can raise the national debt to a new record high.  But it gets worse.  This morning the president gave a petulant, God-awful speech scolding the Republicans, the Tea Party, talk radio, the blogosphere and pretty much anyone else who dares to oppose Obamaism (see Transcript of Obama Remarks on End of Standoff posted 10/17/2013 on The Wall Street Journal).

Good morning, everybody.  Please have a seat.

Well, last night, I signed legislation to reopen our government and pay America’s bills.  Because Democrats and responsible Republicans came together, the first government shutdown in 17 years is now over.  The first default in more than 200 years will not happen.  These twin threats to our economy have now been lifted.  And I want to thank those Democrats and Republicans for getting together and ultimately getting this job done.

There was never a risk of default.  With $2.45 trillion in annual revenue coming into the treasury from the taxpayers there was never a risk of the $415.7 billion annual interest payment on the debt going unpaid.  Lying about it just helped a petulant child get his way.  Waaa.

Now, there’s been a lot of discussion lately of the politics of this shutdown.  But let’s be clear:  There are no winners here.  These last few weeks have inflicted completely unnecessary damage on our economy.  We don’t know yet the full scope of the damage, but every analyst out there believes it slowed our growth.

What growth?  Since coming to office the president’s policies have lost approximately 9,966,000 jobs through the September jobs report.  That’s just shy of 10 million jobs he’s lost.  So what recovery?  Or is he just setting the stage to blame the worst economic recovery since that following the Great Depression on this 16 day shutdown?  And not the lost economic activity from those 10 million or so lost jobs?  Of course he is.  Because what are 10 million jobs when he can stick it to the Republicans?

We know that families have gone without paychecks or services they depend on.  We know that potential homebuyers have gotten fewer mortgages, and small business loans have been put on hold.  We know that consumers have cut back on spending, and that half of all CEOs say that the shutdown and the threat of shutdown set back their plans to hire over the next six months.  We know that just the threat of default — of America not paying all the bills that we owe on time — increased our borrowing costs, which adds to our deficit.

Yes, pity the government bureaucrats who had to go 16 days without reporting to work.  Even though they will be paid for those 16 days they missed.  Yes, pity the government bureaucrats.  And not the 10 million who have disappeared from the labor force since President Obama assumed office.  I mean, what are 5 years without a paycheck compared to missing 16 days of work?  Which the taxpayers will still pay them for?

Businesses cut back on spending and hiring because of the great uncertainty of a 16-day shutdown?  Are you sure it wasn’t the regulatory requirements of Obamacare that is forcing employers with close to 30 ‘full time’ employees (30 hours or more per week) to not hire any more workers?  Even pushing full-time workers to part time?  Are you sure this isn’t the reason why they’re not hiring?  Especially with the cost of health insurance going through the roof now that it must cover everything under the sun (such as pediatric care for a couple whose children are now grown adults) as well as pre-existing conditions?  Where someone can walk in off the street who was just diagnosed with cancer and buy an insurance policy for the first time in their life?  Are you absolutely sure it’s the 16-day shutdown and not Obamacare?   If so someone needs to attend a high school economics class to learn the first thing about economics.

And, of course, we know that the American people’s frustration with what goes on in this town has never been higher. That’s not a surprise that the American people are completely fed up with Washington.  At a moment when our economic recovery demands more jobs, more momentum, we’ve got yet another self-inflicted crisis that set our economy back.  And for what?

Again, are you sure it was the 16-day shutdown and not the 4 years or so of Obamacare?

There was no economic rationale for all of this.  Over the past four years, our economy has been growing, our businesses have been creating jobs, and our deficits have been cut in half. We hear some members who pushed for the shutdown say they were doing it to save the American economy — but nothing has done more to undermine our economy these past three years than the kind of tactics that create these manufactured crises.

The last fiscal year ending deficit while George W. Bush was president was $498.37 billion (adjusted for inflation).  At the end of the first fiscal year with President Obama in office the deficit soared to $1.539.22 trillion.  An increase of 208.9%.  It is this deficit number that he cut in half.  The one he exploded with his near trillion dollar stimulus that did not stimulate anything but unions and the president’s cronies on Wall Street and in Big Business.  Especially Big Green Business.

And the president had something else preventing him from spending as much as he did during his first term.  Sequestration.  Which the Democrats hate with a passion and want to get rid of.  So they can turn on the spending spigot once again.  Like they did during his first term.

And you don’t have to take my word for it.  The agency that put America’s credit rating on watch the other day explicitly cited all of this, saying that our economy “remains more dynamic and resilient” than other advanced economies, and that the only thing putting us at risk is — and I’m quoting here — “repeated brinksmanship.”  That’s what the credit rating agency said.  That wasn’t a political statement; that was an analysis of what’s hurting our economy by people whose job it is to analyze these things.

Really?  Brinkmanship?  You don’t think adding $6.2 trillion to the national debt during your presidency had anything to do with the credit rating agency’s concern about our debt paying ability?  A high school economics student can understand that the greater your debt is the greater your debt-paying problem.  Funny how you don’t, Mr. President.

That also happens to be the view of our diplomats who’ve been hearing from their counterparts internationally.  Some of the same folks who pushed for the shutdown and threatened default claim their actions were needed to get America back on the right track, to make sure we’re strong.  But probably nothing has done more damage to America’s credibility in the world, our standing with other countries, than the spectacle that we’ve seen these past several weeks.  It’s encouraged our enemies.  It’s emboldened our competitors.  And it’s depressed our friends who look to us for steady leadership.

I thought it would have been your bad foreign policy that did all those things.  Starting with the Green Revolution in Iran.  An uprising of the people against the Islamist and oppressive government of Iran.  The precursor to the Arab Spring.  Where you did nothing.  Leaving the good Iranian people with that oppressive Islamist government.  Which is currently working to produce a nuclear bomb.  Then there was the Arab Spring and you telling our friend and ally and anchor to peace and stability in the Middle East, Hosni Mubarak, that he had to go.  Turning Egypt over to the anti-Western Muslim Brotherhood.  And then there was Libya.  Another ally in the War on Terror, Muammar Gaddafi (who joined the fight against terrorism after our invasion of Iraq), that he had to go.  Turning Libya over to radical Islamists.  Who killed four Americans in Benghazi.  Then there was the red line fiasco with Syria.  If you cross that red line I will hem and haw and stammer.  Then I might say something else.  Then Vladimir Putin steps in and saves the day for their Syrian ally.  Russia.  Who suspended all adoptions to Americans to spite America.  Who are also helping the Iranians with their nuclear program.  All the while laughing at President Obama who they see as weak.  Who couldn’t get one nation to join him for military strikes against Syria.  If you want to talk about our prestige on the world stage you gave that up long ago.  For today no one fears the wrath of the United States these days.  With some nations seeing the United States becoming irrelevant in the world.  Especially Russia and China.  As well as radical Islam.

Now, the good news is we’ll bounce back from this.  We always do.  America is the bedrock of the global economy for a reason.  We are the indispensable nation that the rest of the world looks to as the safest and most reliable place to invest — something that’s made it easier for generations of Americans to invest in their own futures.  We have earned that responsibility over more than two centuries because of the dynamism of our economy and our entrepreneurs, the productivity of our workers, but also because we keep our word and we meet our obligations.  That’s what full faith and credit means — you can count on us.

And today, I want our people and our businesses and the rest of the world to know that the full faith and credit of the United States remains unquestioned.

There is a difference between economic investment and buying our bonds.  Any money that buys government bonds is money pulled out of the economy.  Investing in government bonds doesn’t create economic activity.  It actually destroys economic activity.  And the only worry the rest of the world had was what you were going to do, Mr. President.  Would you not pay the interest on the national debt out of spite to attack the Republicans?  That’s what they were worried about.  For even they knew we had the money to pay our debt without new borrowing.  They just don’t trust you.

But to all my friends in Congress, understand that how business is done in this town has to change.  Because we’ve all got a lot of work to do on behalf of the American people — and that includes the hard work of regaining their trust.  Our system of self-government doesn’t function without it.  And now that the government is reopened, and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists and the bloggers and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do, and that’s grow this economy; create good jobs; strengthen the middle class; educate our kids; lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul.  That’s why we’re here.  That should be our focus.

Strong words coming from a professional activist.  For he was a community organizer.  And taught activism.  Funny how there are two types of activism.  The good kind in his world.  When it advances a liberal agenda.  And the bad kind in his world.  The kind based in conservatism.  The president hates conservative activism, otherwise known as a government of the people, by the people and for the people, and believes it should be silenced and replaced with one-party rule.

Now, that won’t be easy.  We all know that we have divided government right now.  There’s a lot of noise out there, and the pressure from the extremes affect how a lot of members of Congress see the day-to-day work that’s supposed to be done here. And let’s face it, the American people don’t see every issue the same way.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t make progress.  And when we disagree, we don’t have to suggest that the other side doesn’t love this country or believe in free enterprise, or all the other rhetoric that seems to get worse every single year.  If we disagree on something, we can move on and focus on the things we agree on, and get some stuff done.

And the Democrats calling the political opposition terrorists, arsonists, hostage takers, the Taliban, etc., how is that coming together to focus on the things we agree on?  To get some stuff done?  Well, Mr. President, it is obvious you believe compromise is the Republicans caving and becoming your bitch.  This is not a government of the people, by the people and for the people.  This is a government of, by and for you.

Let me be specific about three places where I believe we can make progress right now.  First, in the coming days and weeks, we should sit down and pursue a balanced approach to a responsible budget, a budget that grows our economy faster and shrinks our long-term deficits further.

At the beginning of this year, that’s what both Democrats and Republicans committed to doing.  The Senate passed a budget; House passed a budget; they were supposed to come together and negotiate.  And had one side not decided to pursue a strategy of brinksmanship, each side could have gotten together and figured out, how do we shape a budget that provides certainty to businesses and people who rely on government, provides certainty to investors in our economy, and we’d be growing faster right now.

The last time we did this little dance it was the same.  You want to raise taxes and cut no spending.  That’s your idea of a balanced approach.  Oh, you’ll promise spending cuts after we raise some taxes.  But those spending cuts will never come.  Democrats just don’t cut spending.  Unless they get themselves stuck in a sequester.  And that’s not even real spending cuts.  It’s only smaller increases in future spending.

Now, the good news is the legislation I signed yesterday now requires Congress to do exactly that — what it could have been doing all along.

And we shouldn’t approach this process of creating a budget as an ideological exercise — just cutting for the sake of cutting.  The issue is not growth versus fiscal responsibility — we need both.  We need a budget that deals with the issues that most Americans are focused on:  creating more good jobs that pay better wages.

Can the nation afford anymore of your job creation?  After losing some 10 million jobs we should just cut our losses.  And refuse anymore of your ‘help’ with the economy.

Cutting for the sake of cutting?  What, we don’t have a debt crisis that requires our debt ceiling to be raised again and again?  We’re spending too much.  Hence the need to keep raising our debt ceiling.  And Obamacare only makes this worse.  A lot worse.  Hence that 16-day government shutdown.  Or did he miss that?

And remember, the deficit is getting smaller, not bigger.  It’s going down faster than it has in the last 50 years. The challenges we have right now are not short-term deficits; it’s the long-term obligations that we have around things like Medicare and Social Security.  We want to make sure those are there for future generations.

Oh, you are devious, Mr. President.  The deficit is going down faster than in the last 50 years only because you raised it to record highs in your first year in office.  Your smallest deficit is still larger than George W. Bush’s last deficit.

Medicare?  You cut Medicare spending so you can spend that money on Obamacare.  And Social Security?  The Social Security Trust Fund has no cash in it.  It’s stuffed with government IOUs.  Because the government is spending so much money that they have to raid the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for it.  And even that’s not enough to prevent deficit spending.  So they’re robbing Peter to pay Paul.  This out of control spending is why Medicare and Social Security may not be there for future generations.

So the key now is a budget that cuts out the things that we don’t need, closes corporate tax loopholes that don’t help create jobs, and frees up resources for the things that do help us grow — like education and infrastructure and research.  And these things historically have not been partisan.  And this shouldn’t be as difficult as it’s been in past years because we already spend less than we did a few years ago.  Our deficits are half of what they were a few years ago.  The debt problems we have now are long term, and we can address them without shortchanging our kids, or shortchanging our grandkids, or weakening the security that current generations have earned from their hard work.

More on education?  That’s to shore up the teachers’ underfunded pensions.  Infrastructure?  That’s just pork-barrel spending.  Building airports where no one wants to fly.  Or high-speed rail that requires constant government subsidies.  Money that buys votes in Congress to pass huge spending bills.  Like Obamacare.  Which passed only by buying off Democrats with the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, the Florida Flim Flam, etc.

So that’s number one.  Number two, we should finish fixing the job of — let me say that again.  Number two, we should finish the job of fixing our broken immigration system.

There’s already a broad coalition across America that’s behind this effort of comprehensive immigration reform — from business leaders to faith leaders to law enforcement.  In fact, the Senate has already passed a bill with strong bipartisan support that would make the biggest commitment to border security in our history; would modernize our legal immigration system; make sure everyone plays by the same rules, makes sure that folks who came here illegally have to pay a fine, pay back taxes, meet their responsibilities.  That bill has already passed the Senate. And economists estimate that if that bill becomes law, our economy would be 5 percent larger two decades from now.  That’s $1.4 trillion in new economic growth.

There’s a reason why people hire illegal aliens.  So they can pay them less than legal citizens.  So once these illegals become legal they’re not going to work for illegal wages anymore.  So it will raise labor costs.  Forcing businesses to lay off some workers.  Creating no net economic benefit.  But the Democrats don’t care.  Because it’s not about the economy.  It’s about all those new Democrat voters.  To turn the nation, like they turned California, Democrat.

The majority of Americans think this is the right thing to do.  And it’s sitting there waiting for the House to pass it.  Now, if the House has ideas on how to improve the Senate bill, let’s hear them.  Let’s start the negotiations.  But let’s not leave this problem to keep festering for another year, or two years, or three years.  This can and should get done by the end of this year.

Really?  A majority of people want immigration reform?  And because of that we should pass it?  Well, the majority of people want to repeal Obamacare.  So perhaps this is a negotiation the Republicans and Democrats can agree on.  To please the majority of people.  Exchange immigration reform for the repealing of Obamacare.

Number three, we should pass a farm bill, one that American farmers and ranchers can depend on; one that protects vulnerable children and adults in times of need; one that gives rural communities opportunities to grow and the long-term certainty that they deserve.

You know, it was a farm bill that helped precipitate the Great Depression.  Price parity.  Increasing the price of farm goods so they were closer to the price of nonfarm goods.  In response to their increased productivity due to the mechanization of the farm that produced bumper crops.  Increasing supply beyond demand.  Causing the price of farm goods to fall.  So Hoover passed legislation raising the price of food.  Making it harder to put food on the table for the average American.  An example of the unintended consequences of government intervention.  Such as requiring gasoline to include a portion of the corn crop.  Thus raising the price of corn.  And everything in the food chain downstream from corn.  Like beef, chicken, milk, eggs, etc.  No, the last thing consumers need who are trying to put food on the table is another farm bill.

Again, the Senate has already passed a solid bipartisan bill.  It’s got support from Democrats and Republicans.  It’s sitting in the House waiting for passage.  If House Republicans have ideas that they think would improve the farm bill, let’s see them.  Let’s negotiate.  What are we waiting for?  Let’s get this done.

So, passing a budget; immigration reform; farm bill.  Those are three specific things that would make a huge difference in our economy right now.  And we could get them done by the end of the year if our focus is on what’s good for the American people. And that’s just the big stuff.  There are all kinds of other things that we could be doing that don’t get as much attention.

I understand we will not suddenly agree on everything now that the cloud of crisis has passed.  Democrats and Republicans are far apart on a lot of issues.  And I recognize there are folks on the other side who think that my policies are misguided — that’s putting it mildly.  That’s okay.  That’s democracy.  That’s how it works.  We can debate those differences vigorously, passionately, in good faith, through the normal democratic process.

And sometimes, we’ll be just too far apart to forge an agreement.  But that should not hold back our efforts in areas where we do agree.  We shouldn’t fail to act on areas that we do agree or could agree just because we don’t think it’s good politics; just because the extremes in our party don’t like the word “compromise.”

When the Republicans wanted to add tax breaks for small business in the stimulus bill President Obama refused to listen.  Because he won the election.  And elections have consequences, he said.  And to the winner goes the spoils.  When the Democrats had the House, Senate and the White House they had no interest in compromise.  And didn’t.  But when they don’t have all the power they expect the other side to compromise.  And give them what they want.  That’s their idea of compromise.  Unconditional surrender.

I will look for willing partners wherever I can to get important work done.  And there’s no good reason why we can’t govern responsibly, despite our differences, without lurching from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis.  In fact, one of the things that I hope all of us have learned these past few weeks is that it turns out smart, effective government is important.  It matters.  I think the American people during this shutdown had a chance to get some idea of all the things, large and small, that government does that make a difference in people’s lives.

We hear all the time about how government is the problem.  Well, it turns out we rely on it in a whole lot of ways.  Not only does it keep us strong through our military and our law enforcement, it plays a vital role in caring for our seniors and our veterans, educating our kids, making sure our workers are trained for the jobs that are being created, arming our businesses with the best science and technology so they can compete with companies from other countries.  It plays a key role in keeping our food and our toys and our workplaces safe.  It helps folks rebuild after a storm.  It conserves our natural resources.  It finances startups.  It helps to sell our products overseas.  It provides security to our diplomats abroad.

Really?  You want to go there?  Security of our diplomats?  The administration that let 4 Americans die in Benghazi on its watch?  Despite ample warnings?  Warnings so serious that the British pulled out of Benghazi?  Before our four diplomats were killed?  But there was an election, wasn’t there?  And we just couldn’t have trouble with terrorists during an election, could we?  Not for the president that won the War on Terror with the killing of Osama bin Laden.

So let’s work together to make government work better, instead of treating it like an enemy or purposely making it work worse.  That’s not what the founders of this nation envisioned when they gave us the gift of self-government.  You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president, then argue for your position.  Go out there and win an election.  Push to change it. But don’t break it.  Don’t break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building.  That’s not being faithful to what this country is about.

The Founding Fathers created LIMITED government.  What we have today is far from limited.  The progressives/liberals have destroyed what the Founding Fathers gave us.  Today we have a big, fat, bloated bureaucracy.  And the Republicans would like to change it by winning elections.  Which isn’t that easy when the Obama administration suppresses the vote by turning the IRS loose on the Tea Party.  Limiting their fundraising ability.  Causing their turnout to be less than it was in the 2010 midterm election.  When the Tea Party stirred the people to vote the House of Representatives back to the Republicans.  Which they weren’t going to let happen in 2012.  Hence using the IRS to suppress the Republican vote.

And that brings me to one last point.  I’ve got a simple message for all the dedicated and patriotic federal workers who’ve either worked without pay or been forced off the job without pay these past few weeks, including most of my own staff: Thank you.  Thanks for your service.  Welcome back.  What you do is important.  It matters.

You defend our country overseas.  You deliver benefits to our troops who’ve earned them when they come home.  You guard our borders.  You protect our civil rights.  You help businesses grow and gain footholds in overseas markets.  You protect the air we breathe and the water our children drink.  And you push the boundaries of science and space, and you guide hundreds of thousands of people each day through the glories of this country. Thank you.  What you do is important.  And don’t let anybody else tell you different.  Especially the young people who come to this city to serve — believe that it matters.  Well, you know what, you’re right.  It does.

And those of us who have the privilege to serve this country have an obligation to do our job as best we can.  We come from different parties, but we are Americans first.  And that’s why disagreement cannot mean dysfunction.  It can’t degenerate into hatred.  The American people’s hopes and dreams are what matters, not ours.  Our obligations are to them.  Our regard for them compels us all, Democrats and Republicans, to cooperate, and compromise, and act in the best interests of our nation –- one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

Thanks very much.

The majority of people want to repeal Obamacare.  But the president doesn’t care about these American people.  Because they don’t share his vision of expanding government power in our lives.  People who would prefer to keep the health insurance they have.  And the doctors they have.  As well as not paying more for their health insurance.  But what they want isn’t as important to President Obama as what he wants.  So there is no compromise.  No cooperation.  Or acting in the best interest of the United States.  For this may be one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.  Where all Americans are equal.  Only some are more equal than others.  Like those who share President Obama’s vision.

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Nazi Party, Adolf Hitler, Liberal Democrats and Totalitarian Rule

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 23rd, 2013

Politics 101

Before WWII there were many who Admired the Great Things Authoritative and Charismatic Dictators were Doing

The Nazi Party is one of the most documented rises of totalitarianism.   A system of government where everything and everyone is subordinated to the state.  Where the state comes first.  And the people are expendable.  Ruled by a single person.  A charismatic leader.  Who the people pledge their allegiance to.    And follow obediently to the ends of the earth.  We can learn a lot by studying what happened in Nazi Germany about the quest for absolute power.  For though party ideology may differ the path to that party is eerily similar wherever, and whenever, you look.

Of course, some are infatuated by an all-powerful state.  Not for the crimes against their people.  But what an all-powerful state can do.  Where enlightened individuals can do what’s best for the people without having to deal with a political opposition.  Just read what one beloved world leader wrote about Adolf Hitler prior to the outbreak of hostilities that embroiled the world in World War II:

Other musings concern how great the autobahns were – ‘the best roads in the world’ – and how, having visited Hitler’s Bavarian holiday home in Berchtesgaden and the tea house built on top of the mountain for him.

He declared; ‘Who has visited these two places can easily imagine how Hitler will emerge from the hatred currently surrounding him to emerge in a few years as one of the most important personalities that ever lived.’

This was written just a few years before Hitler invaded Poland.  Up until the war broke out there were many who admired the great things authoritative and charismatic leaders were doing.  Mussolini made the trains run on time.  And FDR was so smitten with Joseph Stalin and the great things he was doing in the Soviet Union that it broke his heart when the Soviets signed a non-aggression pact with the Nazis.  Allowing the invasion of Poland.  And starting World War II.  While splitting up Poland between the Nazis and the communists.  Basically removing Poland from the map.

The Left has used the Expanding Size of the Federal Government to Harass and Silence their Political Enemies

This is why Nazi Germany is so interesting as a study in politics.  For the Nazis rose to power within the political process.  They won elections.  And then used their legitimate powers to expand their power.  Often helped by the clever use of propaganda.  Misinformation.  And brutal criminal acts.  Which becomes easier to do as your powers grow.  And you place yourself above the law.  And become a nation of a charismatic ruler.  Instead of a nation of laws.

With the recent scandals of the Obama administration (Benghazi, the obstruction of free speech, the persecution of conservatives, etc.) some are making comparisons to Watergate.  While some even go so far as to compare it to Nazi Germany.  Of course, President Obama and the Democrats are NOT Nazis.  In fact, they are diametrically opposed to much Nazi ideology.  Just to give one example take immigration.  The Nazis believed in a pure Germanic race and opposed immigration of non-Germans.  While Democrats want to throw open the borders.  So the left are not Nazis.  But if you read the 25 points of the Nazi Party platform of 1920 you will see that the left employs many of the same tools to rise to power as the Nazis—and all totalitarian regimes—used in their rise to power.  Here are some of the 25 points.

9. All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.

12. In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.

13. We demand the nationalization of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).

15. We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.

16. We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.

18. We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, Schieber and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.

20. The state is to be responsible for a fundamental reconstruction of our whole national education program, to enable every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education and subsequently introduction into leading positions. The plans of instruction of all educational institutions are to conform with the experiences of practical life. The comprehension of the concept of the State must be striven for by the school [Staatsbuergerkunde] as early as the beginning of understanding. We demand the education at the expense of the State of outstanding intellectually gifted children of poor parents without consideration of position or profession.

23. We demand legal opposition to known lies and their promulgation through the press. In order to enable the provision of a German press, we demand, that:

a. All writers and employees of the newspapers appearing in the German language be members of the race:

b. Non-German newspapers be required to have the express permission of the State to be published. They may not be printed in the German language:

c. Non-Germans are forbidden by law any financial interest in German publications, or any influence on them, and as punishment for violations the closing of such a publication as well as the immediate expulsion from the Reich of the non-German concerned. Publications which are counter to the general good are to be forbidden. We demand legal prosecution of artistic and literary forms which exert a destructive influence on our national life, and the closure of organizations opposing the above made demands.

25. For the execution of all of this we demand the formation of a strong central power in the Reich. Unlimited authority of the central parliament over the whole Reich and its organizations in general. The forming of state and profession chambers for the execution of the laws made by the Reich within the various states of the confederation. The leaders of the Party promise, if necessary by sacrificing their own lives, to support by the execution of the points set forth above without consideration.

Both the Nazis and the left call for an egalitarian society.  For example, everyone should have access to health care.  While everyone is obligated to pay their fair share (i.e., the health care mandate forcing people to buy health insurance).  Both call war a crime against the people and want to confiscate war profits.  Among other profits.  The left wants to get rid of the profit incentive and capitalism while the Nazis wanted to just nationalize private sector industries.  The Nazis wanted to get the elderly dependent on the state by expanding old age welfare.  Just as the left does with Social Security and Medicare (and now Obamacare).  The Nazis wanted to implement price controls to help the middle class.  The left’s solution to the high cost of health care (in part) is price controls.  Forcing doctors and hospitals to work for less.  The Nazis wanted to severely punish those who are injurious to the state agenda.  The left used the IRS and other agencies of the federal government to make life uncomfortable for those who actively oppose their agenda (case in point the recent scandals plaguing the Obama administration).  The Nazis controlled education as “early as the beginning of understanding.”  The left had the government take over the student loan program to get more kids into college where they can further indoctrinate them.  The left controls public education.  That gets out the vote to help Democrats win elections.  And the left is always trying to create/expand state-run childcare.  To start indoctrinating children as “early as the beginning of understanding.”  The Nazis wanted to ban any free speech that did not help the general good.  As the state determined what that general good was.  The left marginalizes the one network (Fox) that doesn’t endorse the left’s agenda.  They’ve tried to muzzle free speech on the one media outlet they did not dominate (talk radio) by trying to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.  And they’ve talked about extending that to the Internet to shut down any opposition there.  The Nazis called for a strong central authority with unlimited powers to protect the general interest.  The left has expanded the size of the federal government under the guise to protect the general interest.  And the recent scandals show the use of that growing central authority to harass and silence their political enemies.  Conservatives.  Who are today’s scapegoat.

JFK was more Champion of the People than Seeker of Dictatorial Power unlike Today’s Democrat Party

The Nazi party did not do well until the Great Depression.  When the masses were unemployed and suffering under the war reparations of the Versailles Treaty.  The people were angry.  Frustrated.  And felt they were suffering for the crimes of others.  Then along came Adolf Hitler.  And the Nazi Party.  They did not let this crisis go to waste.  The Nazis identified a scapegoat for all of their woes.  The Jews.  With a great crisis and a scapegoat the Nazis started winning elections.  In 1928 the Nazis had 12 seats in the Reichstag.  By September of 1930, after the pain of the Great Depression was being felt, they had 107 seats.  Making them the second largest party.  At the same time the Hitler Youth junior branches started indoctrinating boys and girls as young as 10.  By July 1932 the Nazis were the largest party in the Reichstag.  The Nazis co-ruled the country as part of a coalition government.  In 1933 the Reichstag burnt down.  Another crisis too good to waste.  The Nazis (who probably started that fire) blamed the Communist Party (KPD).  The second largest party in the Reichstag.  The Nazis got the KPD banned.  Giving the Nazis majority rule.  They then suspended basic civil rights.  Because enemies of the people were everywhere.  And the government needed to protect them.  Making Germany a police state.  The Civil Service law of 1933 began the removal of Jews from every office.  The Nazis then abolished trade unions.  Forcing everyone to join the German Labor Front.  Then in March 1933 the government passed the Enabling Law.  Transferring legislative power to Hitler’s cabinet.  Creating Hitler’s dictatorship.  As the future of Germany could no longer be left to the chaos of an elected body.  It needed the strong will of a charismatic leader who knew what was best for the German people.  And the German people followed his will obediently.  Because there were enemies all around.  And they needed someone unhindered by an elected body or law to protect them.

Liberal Democrats are NOT Nazis.  They have more ideological difference than they share.  But they do have one thing in common with the Nazis.  Their quest for power.  And in that quest for power they have used some of the same techniques the Nazis used.  Because all power-hungry people use these techniques.  They identify an enemy (Jews/conservatives).  They champion the people.  And then lie through their teeth.  Using their growing powers to consolidate even more power.  All the while the people enthusiastically support them.  Supporting the oppression of their common enemy.  Until that consolidated power begins to include them in their oppression.  Where all but the most devout Nazis regretted their earlier support of the Nazi Party.  As it was all but the most devout Nazis that suffered from the state’s oppression.

So who was that beloved world leader that wrote so admiringly of Adolf Hitler before the outbreak of World War II?  He was an American.  A Democrat.  Who actually went on to fight in World War II.  Against the Japanese.  Who went on to become president of the United States.  Fierce Cold War warrior.  And, surprisingly, endorsed economic policies that Ronald Reagan would one day endorse.  John Fitzgerald Kennedy (see How JFK secretly ADMIRED Hitler: Explosive book reveals former President’s praise for the Nazis as he travelled through Germany before Second World War posted 5/23/2013 on the Daily Mail).  Who may have had some faults.  But being a Nazi wasn’t one of them.  JFK may have wanted to use the power of government to make America better.  But he was an old school Democrat.  Who was more champion of the people than seeker of dictatorial power.  Unlike today.  Where it appears the Democrats in power use the IRS and other agencies of the federal government to oppress their political enemies.  Conservatives.  Kind of the way the Nazis oppressed their political enemies in Germany.  And like the communists oppressed their political enemies in East Germany.  Where our fierce Cold War warrior spat in the face of that communist oppression by proclaiming, “Ich bin ein Berline.”  I am a Berliner.  But today it is the Democrats that are the oppressors.  Not the ones fighting against oppression.

We’ve come a long way from JFK’s Democrat Party.

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FT153: “The two things you need to pass liberal policies are uninformed people and heightened emotions.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 18th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

The Girls in the “In” Crowd focus on their Appearance and try to be the Kind of Girl the Boys in the “In” Crowd Want

After puberty the attractive people start noticing each other.  Boys become jocks and get physically fit.  Girls start dieting and develop eating disorders.  The jocks tend to come from more well-to-do families because it’s expensive to participate in sports.  So not only are the jocks physically attractive to the girls they also have the nicer stuff.  The attractive girls try to date the good looking boys with the nicer stuff.  And they do.  When these attractive people get together they form the “In” crowd.

I’m in with the “In” crowd
I go where the “In” crowd goes
I’m in with the “In” crowd
And I know what the “In” crowd knows

The “In” crowd attends the best parties.  They wear the finest clothes.  They have the latest toys.  Everyone wants to be part of the “In” crowd.  But most only see it from the outside.  For they aren’t attractive enough or rich enough to be in with the “In” crowd.

We breeze up and down the street
We get respect from the people we meet
They make way day or night
They know the “In” crowd is out of sight

The girls in the “In” crowd focus on their appearance.  And try to be the kind of girl the boys in the “In” crowd want.  The blonde stereotype.  Young and dumb.  And beautiful.  If they please these rich boys they get jewelry, clothes, recreational drugs and great nights out at the best parties at the best clubs.  And all they have to do is look beautiful.  And put out.  To hook up with these rich boys and give them what they want.  Sex with beautiful girls.  Which they readily give up thanks to birth control.  And when that fails, abortion.

I’m in with the “In” crowd
I know ev’ry latest dance
When you’re in with the “In” crowd
It’s easy to find romance

Being in the “In” crowd is where it’s at.  That small clique in school everyone wants to be a part of.  The nerds and the geeks.  The poor.  The overweight.  The short.  Those with horrible acne.  The losers.  They all look at the beautiful people in the “In” crowd and dream of being asked to join them.  But they never will.  So life goes on for them.  These losers.  Some work on their grades and go on to college.  Become doctors, chemists, engineers, etc.  Others get a factory job.  Learn a skilled trade.  Go into journalism.  Or politics.

Once in with the “In” Crowd you become Part of the Upper Class and Live like Royalty and are Treated like Royalty

The rich guys in the “In” crowd like their women young and dumb.  In fact, a lot of the people in the “In” crowd make fun of the smart kids in school.  Calling them chumps for learning stuff.  Some of the “In” crowd go on to great success in sports, music, movies and television.  Some go on to great success for nothing more than being part of the “In” crowd.  Such as Paris Hilton.  And Kim Kardashian.  But a lot of girls who were in with the “In” crowd lose the affections of the boys they once had.  As other young and pretty girls displace them.  Even marry these rich guys.  With nothing but their looks to go on some end up dancing in strip bars.  And when their youth fades some enter prostitution.  Or collect government benefits.  Because instead of hitting the books when they were in high school they went to the best parties.  And travelled with the “In” crowd.

Some of those who did hit the books in high school learned some things.  Some useful things.  Things that helped them get into college.  But they primarily learned how to be Democrat voters.  Because public education is controlled by the teacher unions.  And their Democrat friends in government.  When they go on to college their liberal college professors pull them even further left.  They learn to not like or trust capitalism.  And to love government unconditionally.  When they get their degrees some go into journalism with a liberal bias.  Some become elected politicians.  Liberal Democrats.  Where they have a lot of money pass through their hands.  Which gives them a lot of power.  And what does money and power give you?  Access to the best parties.  Where you can actually meet and rub shoulders with the stars of sports, music, movies and television.  Yes, these losers from high school finally get to travel with the “In” crowd.

And once in they never want to leave.  Because it is great being in with the “In” crowd.  You become part of the upper class.  You live like royalty.  And are treated like royalty.  Because of all that power you hold.  So they want to protect their elevated status.  By protecting their government jobs.  And creating more government jobs.  As many as possible.  So there is always some place for them to go in case their ungrateful constituents vote them out of office.  And these ungrateful constituents are a problem.  Because they believe in limited government.  Low taxes.  Little government spending.  Fewer regulations.  The very things that are anathema to those who have entered the “In” crowd via big liberal government.

A Serious Crisis gets People Emotional and makes them willing to do things they weren’t willing to do Before

American kids are getting their behinds handed to them by Indian and Chinese kids.  Who are blowing them away on test scores.  Why?  Because of the liberal control of public education.  Instead of being introduced to differential calculus in high school American kids are learning multicultural things.  Instead of learning about Adam Smith and laissez faire economics they’re learning about America’s original sin.  Slavery.  Even though the American economy took off in the free North.  Which is why the North defeated the South in the American Civil War.  But they teach our kids that we stole the land from the Native Americans and got rich by exploiting African slaves.  Because of the evils of capitalism.  And the profit incentive.  Which steals from everybody.  And exploits everyone.  This is what they teach our kids.  Instead of math and science.

Of course, dumbing down the curriculum has a very positive side affect.  For liberals.  The less these kids know the easier it is to lie to them.  Making it easier to turn them into good Democrat voters.  Who keep voting for liberal candidates.  And their liberal policies.  Which keeps expanding the size of government.  And the amount of government spending.  Which they pay for by increasing the taxes on those who can afford to pay more.  And they add layer upon layer of new regulations on businesses.  Enforced by a growing number of bureaucrats.  Creating ever more jobs in the federal government.  To help level the playing field.  To help the little guy.  And to punish those who have too much wealth.  Because it is the fair thing to do.  The just thing.  Especially in a country with so many wrongs to right.

But eventually these kids grow up.  Get jobs.  And raise families.  They become moderates.  Even conservatives.  Who tend to vote against the liberal agenda.  Which is why the Left can’t rely on just dumbing down people.  Because dumb can wear off.  So they have to tug on people’s heartstrings.  Get people’s emotions working for them.  And nothing does that better than milking a crisis.  For as Rahm Emanuel said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”  Because a serious crisis gets people emotional.  Makes them willing to do things they weren’t willing to do before.  Like the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.  Twenty dead children really made people emotional.  And the Left hopes emotional enough to get these people to support something that they normally wouldn’t support.  Gun control.  Which the Left is hell-bent on passing.  Just as they were hell-bent on passing Obamacare.  Despite the masses opposing it.  Just as they oppose gun control.  But they were able to tug enough at people’s heartstrings to pass Obamacare into law.  Just as they hope to pass gun control into law.  For when it comes to passing an unpopular liberal agenda nothing helps more than uninformed people and heightened emotions.  And the more of that liberal agenda they pass the more the government grows.  Creating more jobs in an expanding federal government.  Giving these politicians more money.  And more power.  Getting them into the best parties.  Where they meet and rub shoulders with the stars of sports, music, movies and television.  Letting these one-time high school losers continue to be in with “In” crowd.

(The “In” Crowd by Billy Page performed by Bryan Ferry.)

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FT146: “A Democrat promise to cut spending is as good as a promise from Lucy that she’ll let Charlie Brown kick that football.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 30th, 2012

Fundamental Truth

Tax and Spend Democrats have given us the Financial Crisis we call Taxmageddon or the Fiscal Cliff

Democrats like to spend money.  Earning the moniker tax and spend liberals/Democrats.  And what money they can’t tax away from the taxpayers they borrow.  And what they can’t borrow they print.  They beg, borrow, steal, tax and print as much money as they can.  Because they can never raise enough money to spend.

To help them in their insatiable appetite to spend they make spending promises that the state can never fulfill.  Creating one financial crisis after another.  Creating an urgency to raise taxes.  And debt limits.  Or else face bankruptcy.  And the inability for the U.S government to pay their debt obligations.  Lowering the U.S. sovereign debt rating.  Much like Standard and Poor’s did in 2011.  Something that we must avoid at all costs.  That is, something we must avoid from happening again at all costs.  And those costs are typically higher taxes and ever more debt.

Guess what?  We have another crisis.  It’s got a couple of names.  Taxmageddon.  And the fiscal cliff.  The expiration of the Bush tax cuts.  And massive spending cuts.  Because Democrats and Republicans couldn’t agree on a deal to reduce the deficit they agreed to sequestration.  Automatic spending cuts that will gut entitlements and defense spending.  All in a vain attempt to balance the budget.  Like politicians have been saying we must do for the last three decades or so.  But never do.  In fact our politicians have done the exact opposite.  They’ve increased spending.  So much so that we now are at a fiscal cliff.

Republicans are Hapless Sad Sacks when Negotiating a Spending Cut/New Tax Deal with Democrats

A recurring joke on the children’s cartoon Peanuts is how Lucy makes a fool of poor old Charlie Brown.  She continually promises to hold the football for him to kick.  Even though every other time she has promised this she pulled the ball away just before Charlie could kick it.  Sending him flying up into the air and falling flat on his back.  Making a fool of himself.  Bringing a big smile to Lucy’s face.  As it amuses her that Charlie is so foolish to fall for this trick time and again.  But she promises that this time he can trust her.  So she uses lies and manipulation to get Charlie to believe her.  And he goes running at that football.  Determined to finally kick it.  Only to have her pull the ball away again.  Sending him flying up into the air and falling flat on his back.  Again.

Sound familiar?  Kind of sounds like pretty much every spending cuts/tax deal ever brokered by the Democrats.  Who look at the Republicans with that ‘Lucy’ smile on their face.  Incredulous that they can get away by making the same old promises that they never keep.  Getting what they want, modest tax hikes now, in exchange for generous spending cuts later.  And just like that classic song in Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music the Republicans keep asking when is later?  Just like poor Henrik.  Who epitomizes the Republicans when it comes to spending cut negotiations with Democrats.  Who are always told those spending cuts will come later.

Later…

When is later?

All you ever hear is “Later, Henrik, Henrik, later.”

Substitute ‘the Republicans’ for the sad sack ‘Henrik’ and this can be a song about Republicans.

How can I wait around for later?

I’ll be ninety on my deathbed

And the late, or, rather, later, Henrik Egerman.

Doesn’t anything begin?

Poor Henrik.  As hapless as Republicans in a spending cuts/new tax deal they negotiate with Democrats.

The Democrats look at the Republicans like they are all Charlie Brown

George Herbert Walker Bush made a deal with Democrats.  Even reneged on his famous ‘read my lips, no new taxes’ pledge.  He agreed to $1 in new taxes for every $2 in later spending cuts.  Those tax hikes were quick to go into law.  While we’re still waiting for those later spending cuts.  Ronald Reagan made even a grander deal with Democrats.  $3 in later spending cuts for every $1 in new taxes.  The Democrats were quick to enact those new taxes.  But we’re still waiting on those later spending cuts.  Reagan went to his deathbed at 93 still waiting for those later spending cuts.  He waited for later to come.  But later never came.  As promised later spending cuts never, ever, begin.

For when it comes to promised spending cuts Democrats are like Lucy.  With that snarky smile.  Making the same promises that they’ve made so many times before.  Promises they never keep.  And have no intention of ever to start keeping them.  Laughing to themselves that they can get Republicans time and again to believe their same empty promises.

They look at the Republicans like they are all Charlie Brown.  They have no respect for them.  They lie to them at will.  Say whatever it takes to get their way.  Making promises they have no intention of keeping.  Promising George H.W. Bush $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in new taxes.  Promising Ronald Reagan $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in new taxes.  Both lies.  And now President Obama is saying that any deal to avoid Taxmageddon or the fiscal cliff must include both spending cuts and new taxes.  As if they are not Lucy.  But we all know that they are Lucy.  For any deal including later spending cuts for new taxes will see the Republicans on their deathbed at 90 still waiting for the Democrats to deliver on those spending cuts.  And just when they think they will Lucy will pull that football away.  Again.  Making the Republicans look like fools once again.

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No Economic Recovery, Crushing Debt and a Credit Downgrade, the U.S. inching closer to European-Style Crisis

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 5th, 2011

The Unemployment Rate is Down even though more People are Unemployed

That stubbornly high unemployment rate that has been dogging the Obama recovery has finally dropped (see Jobs report: A pig in lipstick by Nin-Hai Tseng posted 8/5/2011 on CNN Money).

The unemployment rate in July fell slightly to 9.1% from 9.2%

But…

The unemployment rate might have fallen slightly but that’s mostly because the number of people actively looking for jobs fell back – signaling that perhaps workers are feeling less confident about entering the job market.

So the only reason why it dropped is that more people have just given up looking for a job.  And the smaller the group is that is looking for a job the smaller percentage this group is of the total working population.  Ergo, smaller unemployment rate.  So the actual employment picture isn’t better.  It’s worse.

In July, labor participation fell by 193,000.

What’s more, though the economy added 117,000 jobs, it falls short of the 125,000 jobs a month needed just to keep up with population growth and prevent the unemployment rate from trending higher. And it would take at least twice that many to rapidly reduce unemployment.

“The bigger picture, then, is that two years after the recession ended the labor market has not really recovered at all, and may even have gone backwards,” writes economist Paul Dales of Capital Economics.

The economy is worse.  Not better.  So just how much ‘not better’ is the economy?

The Real Economic Recovery not as good as the Made-up One

Apparently pretty ‘not better’ according to the people who count the numbers.  They revised their past numbers.  And the new numbers are even worse than the not-so-great numbers of numbers past (see Distress signal by R.A. posted 7/29/2011 on The Economist)

BEA revised its national accounts numbers back to 2007 for this release, and the picture revealed is far darker than anyone previously believed. From 2007 to 2010, real output declined by 0.3% per year on average. Previously, BEA had estimated annual growth of 0.1% over that period…

Projected growth rates were simply overstated, and current unemployment is exactly what we’d expect given such a feeble recovery. Those overly optimistic assessments of the likely impact of interventions, from fiscal stimulus to QE, also make much more sense now. Policymakers were fighting a fire far more intense than they recognised.

So I guess the Obama administration was a little premature with that Recovery Summer talk.  Or they are not good at reading economic numbers.  Or they are good at reading economic numbers but they were stretching the truth a bit for political purposes in hopes that the real economic recovery would catch up with the made up one.

All right, so the economy isn’t doing so well.  What do we do?

The dire economic situation undergirds this point: Washington should delay immediate fiscal cuts. Indeed, it ought to be spending more now and revisiting the possibility of a payroll tax cut.

Really?  After the recent budget debate to raise the debt ceiling to avoid default and a credit downgrade because of excessive spending and debt?  The same kind of excessive spending and debt that has put Europe in an even worse financial crisis?  Shouldn’t we take a lesson from the European Union sovereign debt crisis?  And not follow them into a similar sovereign debt crisis? 

I mean, it was going to be Armageddon if they lowered our bond rating.  Don’t we care about that anymore?  (By the way, S&P did lower their bond rating today.  So hello Armageddon.)

A Small Negative Return in the U.S. is Preferred over any Investment in the Eurozone

Apparently not.  At least investors appear to be more worried about the debt crisis in Europe.  They’re so worried, in fact, that they’re dumping their European holdings and running to the safe harbor of U.S. banks.  Despite that possible downgrade (which has since happened).  And Armageddon (see Thanks a lot, Europe by Cyrus Sanati posted 8/5/2011 on CNN Money).

The massive selloff in U.S. markets on Thursday appears rooted in Europe as fears of a sovereign debt default in Italy and Spain caused traders to panic and run for cover…

The European Central Bank attempted to ease the market’s fears, but it seemed to have only exacerbated the problem. European leaders are now scrambling to avoid an all-out run on the euro as the European sovereign debt crisis enters a possible terminal phase. They will need to act fast to restore market confidence or the current correction could turn to capitulation.

This crippling debt crisis may very well take down the European Central Bank.  With the fear of default, investors don’t want to buy anything in the Eurozone.  They fear anything they buy today may lose most of its value in the not so distant future.  So they’re pulling their cash out of Europe and parking it in the United States.

All this cash is being dumped into custodial banks in the U.S. This led the Bank of New York Mellon (BK), the largest custodial bank, to start charging its institutional clients a fee for depositing what they consider an “extraordinarily high” amount of cash — it has no place to invest it either, and higher cash levels mean higher FDIC fees.

You know it’s bad when even the banks don’t want your money.

Indeed it is.  So investors will pay a bank to hold their cash.  Because that’s the safe ‘investment’ right now.  A small negative return versus what could be a catastrophic negative return.

The Economy may not be able to Survive much more Government Help

Employment numbers are bad.  GDP is bad.  Talks of an economic recovery appear to have been hopelessly premature.  Debt crises have gripped Europe.  And S&P downgraded U.S. credit and pushed them towards Armageddon.  The Keynesians advice, though, is the same.  More government spending.  Only this can stimulate the economy back to recovery.  Even though it was excessive government spending that gave Europe and the U.S. their crises in the first place.

It’s like Ronald Reagan said.  Government isn’t the answer to our problems.  Government is the problem.  It needs to do the things it does best.  And leave the economy to the private sector.  Because the economy just may not be able to survive much more government help.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #68: ” Beware the demagogue, the champion of the poor, for he has dictatorial aspirations.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 31st, 2011

A Despot needs a Mob

A despot can’t rise to power alone.  Because there is only one of him.  Or her.  A despot needs a mob.  Either to take power by force.  Or to vote him or her into office.  And unless the despot is in a despotic/third world country, the taking of power by force is not an option.  Military coups are just not that common in first-world democracies.  Mainly because no one’s life is that bad where they would risk the punishment for treason.  Because things like that will stay on your permanent record.  Doesn’t look good on a resume.  And treason can get you killed.

So, in a democratic country, you need to get people to vote for you.  Because the path to power is through the ballot box.  Even Adolf Hitler got his power in an election.  And he did that by lying.  Well, if you read his book (Mein Kampf), you had an idea.  Because he pretty much spilled his guts out in that book.  But few read it, apparently.  Even though it became a best seller.  After the fact.  When he had already ascended to power and it became required reading.  Or, required ownership.  It was the Nazi Bible.  Everyone had to have one.  Though few read it.

So how did Hitler rise to power?  He made the people like him.  And took advantage of some crises.  The armistice that ended World War I.  The Versailles Treaty reparations.  The Great Depression.  Things that really hurt the German people.  Made them angry.  Looking for relief.  And Hitler promised it.  Delivered in some magnificent oratory.   He hypnotized the masses with his speeches.  He knew what was wrong.  And it wasn’t the people’s fault.  It was others who wronged them.  The Allies.  The politicians who stabbed Germany in the back at Versailles.  And, of course, the Jews. 

Class Warfare works because it’s Emotional

It’s a winning formula.  Take advantage of a crisis.  By blaming it on someone.  It doesn’t really matter who.  As long as it is a small voting bloc.  And, of course, championing the little guy.  Being their voice.  Say the things they would like to say.  Say what they want to hear.  And who is the little guy?  None better than the poor.  Because there are always a lot of them.  And a lot of them are uneducated.  But they know one thing.  Rich people have a better life.  And an easier life.  While they have little.  And have a harder life.  Anyone can see how that isn’t fair.  Anyone that is poor, that is.  And anyone looking to exploit the poor.

There’s a reason why class warfare has been successful.  It works.  It’s irrational.  Illogical.  But it’s emotional.  Which is how you win elections.  By tapping into the feelings of the masses.  You don’t want them to think.  You want them to feel.  To feel their wrath.  Their frustrations.  Their hopelessness.  For them to feel how unfair life is.  How those in power (the politicians, the rich, the Jews, etc.), are keeping you down so they can live a privileged life.  It’s powerful.  And wins elections.

Of course, it’s often nothing more than a bunch of lies.  A complicated formula of treaties started World War I.  After the assassination of an Austrian duke.  In contested land in southeast Europe.  The Balkans.  A great historical crossroads of culture and religion.  That everyone and his brother has laid claim to since time immemorial.  It was a mess getting into.  And a bigger mess getting out of.  It had less to do with Jewish bankers.  And more to do with territorial ambitions of empires.  Which Germany had.  As did Hitler.  But that doesn’t go over well with the masses at election time.  Because history is boring.  No one wants to hear about it.  History is old.  About a time long ago.  The voters don’t want to hear about that.  They want to know what you are going to do for them now.  What are you going to do about their anger and frustration now?

The Power of the Lie

Well, you lie, of course.  You have to.  Because an angry and frustrated people want some kind of relief.  And they’re going to vote for the person who promises to give them the most.  They’re not going to vote for someone that is going to take away their freedoms and make them live in a police state.  I mean, if Hitler had told the truth in one of those magnificent speeches instead of putting it in a book that was painful to read, people would have heard the truth.  And it would have made a difference at the ballot box.  “So, Heinz, who are you going to vote for?  The Independent (Hindenburg)?  The Communist (Thälmann)?  Or the Nazi?  That guy that’s going to create the Gestapo that will oppress us and make us live in fear?  And conscript us and send us away to fight in a world war while our cities are bombed?”  “Hmmm, I don’t want a harder life, Günter, so I’ll probably vote for the Commie or the Independent.”  Incidentally, the vote tally in 1932 was as follows:  53.1% (Independent), 36.7% (Nazi) and 10.1 % (Communist).  Hitler didn’t win the presidential election.  But because of the large vote he got, Hindenburg reluctantly made him chancellor.  Proving the power of the lie.  And the rest is history.

No one willingly votes for a harder life.  And that’s what a despot will do once elected.  Because the despot wants power and wealth.  Not to help the poor.  The poor are only a convenient tool to use during an election.  So the despot must lie.  And because they are lying and have no intention of following through on any of their promises, the sky is the limit.  They can promise anything.  Even things that are impossible to do.  And attack the rational plan of the opposition as radical and extreme.  So they appeal to the emotions.  And attack the rational.  That’s why dictators in third-world nations round up intellectuals, college professors, students and anyone with glasses (a sign that they can read).  They don’t want people thinking.  They want them feeling.   Feeling their anger.  And feeling their frustration.

And this is why they win elections.  For people would rather hear a pleasant lie than an unpleasant truth.  Because it feels better.  Vote for me and I will give you a free college education, a housing subsidy, a shorter work week, a longer summer vacation, a younger retirement age, a richer pension and, of course, free health care for everyone.  We’ll pay for it by taxing the rich.  And we’ll tax them so much that we’ll be able to cut your taxes.  People like that message.  Those who don’t consider themselves rich, at least.  They don’t want to hear that the country is broke.  That we can’t afford these generous benefits anymore.  They want to hear yes we can.  If only the rich pay their fair share.

Pushing People down into Poorer Classes

Of course, the problem becomes that dividing line between the rich and everyone else.  Because the rich are the bad guys.  The ones living the comfortable life without having to work hard.  They’re easy to demonize.  The poor have no love for them.  But the middle class is another story. 

The middle class is the sweet spot of the population.  They’re not rich.  And there are a lot of them.  More importantly, they’re not poor.  And they vote.  So what to do?  If you lump them in with the rich when you attack the rich, they may not vote for you.  But politics is about one thing.  Money.  And you get it by increasing taxes.  The rich are taxed so much that raising rates on them does little.  They got rich because they’re smart with money.  And they will only pay so much in taxes.  And the poor are poor.  No, if you’re going to increase taxes, you have to do it on the middle class.  So you do.  After the election.  After the lying.  Then you raise their taxes.  So much so that you force those at the bottom of the middle class into the poor class.

For this is the goal of the despot.  To push people down into poorer classes.  Push some of the rich into the middle class.  And a lot of the middle class into the poor class.  Then you champion the poor.  Attack the rich.  While taxing the middle class.  Those you allow to remain rich become your cronies.  As in crony capitalism.  Who lavish you with wealth in exchange for government contracts.  While the middle class toils away for less.  And the poor look up to you as their savior.  Grateful that you’re one of them.  Even though you live in a palace.  While they don’t.  And even though their lives are still pretty wretched, the rich at least got theirs.  Sure, it doesn’t put food on the table.  But it feels good.

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LESSONS LEARNED #28: “Politicians love failure because no one ever asked government to fix something that was working.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 26th, 2010

THE TELEVISION SHOW Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. aired from 1964-1969.  It was a spinoff from the Andy Griffith Show.  Gomer, a naive country bumpkin who worked at Wally’s filling station, joined the Marines Corps.  And there was much mirth and merriment.  To the chagrin of Sergeant Carter, Pyle’s drill instructor (DI).  Think of Gunny Sergeant R. Lee Ermey’s Sergeant Hartman in the movie Full Metal Jacket only with no profanity or mature subject matter.  Sergeant Carter was a tough DI like Sergeant Hartman.  But more suitable for the family hour on prime time television.

Gunny sergeants are tough as nails.  And good leaders.  They take pride in this.  But sometimes a gunny starts to feel that he’s not himself anymore.  This was the subject of an episode.  And Gomer, seeing that Sergeant Carter was feeling down, wanted to help.  So he stuffed Sergeant Carter’s backpack with hay before a long march.  While the platoon was worn and tired, Sergeant Carter was not.  He was feeling good.  Like his old self.  Until he found out he was not carrying the same load his men were.  He asked Pyle, “why hay?”  He could understand rocks, but hay?  Because if he outlasted his men while carrying a heavier load, he would feel strong.  But knowing he had carried a lighter load only made him feel weak.

This is human nature.  People take pride in their achievements.  They don’t take pride in any achievement attained by an unfair advantage.  Self-esteem matters.  And you can’t feel good about yourself if you need help to do what others can do without help. 

AN OLD CHINESE proverb goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”  Let’s say I am a fisherman in a small village.  I catch fish to feed my family and sell/trade for other family needs.  There’s a man in my village who asks me for a fish each day so he can eat.  I’m a caring person.  So I give him a fish each day.  So a pattern develops.  Each day he shows up when I come in from my fishing.  He takes the fish and goes away.  It works out well for him.  He doesn’t have to work.  He can live off of my kind charity.  Then I move.  Without me being there to give him a fish each day, he no longer can eat.  And dies.  If I only had taught that man to fish. 

Kindness can lead to dependency.  And once dependent, you become lazy.  Why develop marketable skills to provide for yourself when someone else will provide for you?  The problem is, of course, what happens when that charity ends?  If you’re unable to provide for yourself and there is no longer someone providing for you, what do you do?  Steal?

Dependency and a lack of self-esteem are a dangerous combination.  And they feed off of each other.  This combination can lead to depression.  Behavioral problems.  Resentment.  Bitterness.  Envy.  Or a defeatist attitude.

These are often unintended consequences of government programs.  A failed program, then, has far reaching consequences beyond the initial economic costs of a program.

LIQUIDITY CRISES CAUSE a lot of economic damage.  If capital is not available for businesses to borrow, businesses can’t grow.  Or create jobs.  And we need jobs.  People have to work.  To support themselves.  And to pay taxes to fund the government.  So everyone is in favor of businesses growing to create jobs.  We all would like to see money being easy and cheap to borrow if it creates jobs.

But there is a downside to easy money.  Inflation.  Too much borrowing can create inflation.  By increasing the money supply (via fractional reserve banking).  More money means higher prices.  Because each additional dollar is worth a little less. This can lead to overvalued assets as prices are ‘bid’ up with less valuable dollars.  And higher prices can inflate business profits.  Looks good on paper.  But too much of this creates a bubble.  Because those high asset values and business profits are not real.  They’re inflated.  Like a bubble.  And just as fragile.  When bubbles burst, asset values and business profits drop.  To real values.  People are no longer ‘bidding’ up prices.  They stop buying until they think prices have sunk to their lowest.  We call this deflation.  A little bit of inflation or deflation is normal.  Too much can be painful economically.  Like in the Panic of 1907.

Without going into details, there was a speculative bubble that burst in 1907.  This led to a liquidity crisis as banks failed.  Defaults on loans left banks owing more money than they had (i.e., they became illiquid).  They tried to borrow money and recall loans to restore their liquidity.  Borrowers grew concerned that their bank may fail.  So they withdrew their money.  This compounded the banks problems.  This caused deflation.  Money was unavailable.  Causing bank runs.  And bank failures.  Business failures.  And unemployment grew. So government passed the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 to prevent a crisis like this from ever happening again.  The government gave the Federal Reserve System (the Fed) great powers to tweak the monetary system.  The smartest people at the time had figured out what had gone wrong in 1907.  And they created a system that made it impossible for it to happen again.

The worst liquidity crisis of all time happened from 1929-1933.  It’s part of what we call the Great Depression.  The 1920s had a booming economy.  Real income was rising.  Until the Fed took action.  Concerned that people were borrowing money for speculative purposes (in paper investments instead of labor, plant and material), they put on the brakes.  Made it harder and more expensive to borrow money.  Then a whole series of things happened along the way that turned a recession into a depression.  When people needed money, they made it harder to get it, causing a deflationary spiral.  The Great Depression was the result of bad decisions made by too few men with too much power.  It made a crisis far worse than the one in 1907.  And the Roosevelt administration made good use of this new crisis.  FDR exploded the size of government to respond to the unprecedented crisis they found themselves in.  The New Deal changed America from a nation of limited government to a country where Big Government reigns supreme.

ONE PROGRAM OF the New Deal was Social Security.  Unemployment in the 1930s ran at or above 14%.  This is for one whole decade.  Never before nor since has this happened.  Older workers generally earn more than younger ones.  Their experience commands a higher pay rate.  Which allows them to buy more things.  Resulting in more bills.  Therefore, the Great Depression hit older workers especially hard.  A decade of unemployment would have eaten through any life savings of even the most prudent savers.  And what does this get you?  A great crisis.

The government took a very atypical moment of history and changed the life of every American.  The government forced people to save for retirement.  In a very poor savings plan.  That paid poorly by comparison to private pensions or annuities.  And gave the government control over vast amounts of money.  It was a pervasive program.  They say FDR quipped, “Let them try to undo this.” 

With government taking care of you in retirement, more people stopped providing for themselves.  When they retired, they scrimped by on their ‘fixed’ incomes.  And because Social Security became law before widespread use of birth control and abortion, the actuaries of the day were very optimistic.  They used the birth rate then throughout their projections.  But with birth control and abortion came a huge baby bust.  The bottom fell out of the birth rate.  A baby bust generation followed a baby boom generation.  Actually, all succeeding generations were of the bust kind.  The trend is growing where fewer and fewer people pay for more and more people collecting benefits.  And these people were living longer.  To stay solvent, the system has to raise taxes on those working and reduce benefits on those who are not.  Or raise the retirement age.  All these factors have made it more difficult on our aged population.  Making them working longer than they planned.  Or by making that fixed income grow smaller.

FDR used a crisis to create Social Security.  Now our elderly people are dependent on that system.  It may suck when they compare it to private pensions or annuities, but it may be all they have.  If so, they’ll quake in their shoes anytime anyone mentions reforming Social Security.  Because of this it has become the 3rd rail of politics.  A politician does not touch it lest he or she wishes to die politically.  But it’s not all bad.  For the politician.  Because government forced the elderly to rely on them for their retirement, it has made the Social Security recipient dependent on government.  In particular, the party of government who favors Big Government.  The Democrats.  And with a declining birth rate and growing aged population, this has turned into a large and loyal voting bloc indeed.  Out of fear.

A PROGRAM THAT straddled the New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society was Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).  Its original New Deal purpose was to help widows take care of their children.  When program outlays peaked in the 1970s, the majority of recipients were unmarried women and divorced women.  Because this was a program based on need, the more need you had the more you got.  Hence more children meant more money.  It also reduced the importance of marriage as the government could replace the support typically provided by a husband/father.  Noted economist Dr. Thomas Sowell blames AFDC as greatly contributing to the breakdown of the black family (which has the highest incidence of single-parent households).

With the women’s liberation movement, women have come to depend less on men.  Some affluent women conceive and raise children without a husband.  Or they adopt.  And the affluent no doubt can provide all the material needs their children will ever need.  Without a husband.  Or a father for their children.  But is that enough?

The existence of ‘big brother’ programs would appear to prove otherwise.  Troubled children are often the products of broken families.  Mothers search for big brothers to mentor these fatherless sons.  To be role models.  To show an interest in these children’s lives.  To care.  When no such role models are available, some of these troubled children turn to other sources of acceptance and guidance.  Like gangs.

AFDC has compounded this problem by providing the environment that fosters fatherless children.  And another government program compounds that problem.  Public housing.

POOR HOUSING CONDITIONS hurt families.  They especially hurt broken families.  Without a working husband, these families are destined to live in the cheapest housing available.  These are often in the worst of neighborhoods.  This is an unfair advantage to the children raised in those families.  For it wasn’t their fault they were born into those conditions.  So, to solve that problem, government would build good public housing for these poorest of the poor to move into.  Problem solved.

Well, not exactly.  Public housing concentrates these broken families together.  Usually in large apartment buildings.  This, then, concentrates large numbers of troubled children together.  So, instead of having these children dispersed in a community, public housing gathers them together.  Where bad behavior reinforces bad behavior.  It becomes the rule, not the exception.  Making a mother’s job that much more difficult.  And because these children live together, they also go to school together.  And this extends the bad behavior problem to the school.  Is it any wonder that public housing (i.e., the projects) have the worst living conditions?  And some of the highest gang activity? 

Government didn’t plan it this way.  It’s just the unintended consequences of their actions.  And those consequences are devastating.  To the poor in general.  To the black family in particular.  AFDC and public housing enabled irresponsible/bad behavior.  That behavior destroyed families.  As well as a generation or two.  But it wasn’t all bad.  For the politicians.  It made a very large constituency dependent on government.

THERE ARE SO many more examples.  But the story is almost always the same.  Dependency and a lack of self-esteem will beat down a person’s will.  Like an addict, it will make the dependent accept poorer and poorer living standards in exchange for their fix of dependency.  Eventually, the dependency will reach the point where they will not know how to provide for themselves.  The dependency will become permanent.  As will the lack of self-esteem.  Conscious or not of their actions, Big Government benefits from the wretched state they give these constituencies.  With no choice but continued dependence, they vote for the party that promises to give the most.  Which is typically the Democrat Party.

But how can you fault these politicians?  They acted with the best of intentions.  And they can fix these new problems.  They’ll gather the brightest minds.  They’ll study these problems.  And they will produce the best programs to solve these problems.  All it will take is more government spending.  And how can you refuse?  When people are hungry.  Or homeless.  Or have children that they can’t care for.  How can anyone not want to help the children?  How can anyone not have compassion?

Well, compassion is one thing.  When the innocent suffer.  But when government manufactures that suffering, it’s a different story.  Planned or not the result is the same whenever government tries to fix things.  The cost is high.  The solution is typically worse than the original problem.  And the poorest of the poor are pawns.  To be used by Big Government in the name of compassion. 

Of course, if Big Government were successful in fixing these problems, they would fix themselves right out of existence.  So as long as they want to run Big Government programs, they’ll need a stock of wretched, suffering masses that need their help.  And, of course, lots of crises.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #28: “Politicians love failure because no one ever asked government to fix something that was working.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 24th, 2010

GOVERNMENT FIXES PROBLEMS.  Or so they say.  And the people think.  When something isn’t right in the country, the people demand that government do something about it.  And politicians are more than happy to oblige.  It strokes their egos.  Increases their budgets.  Their staffs.  And they get to do what they like best.  Tell others what to do.  Well, that, and spend money.

Politicians are happiest when government grows.  Because when it does, there’s more stuff to do.  More people to manage.  Bigger offices to move into.  More people to hire.  And the more they hire, the more people are indebted to them.  Who love them.  Respect them.  Are in awe of them.  Which inflates their egos even more.  As if that was even possible.  And, of course, there’s more money to spend. 

As government grows, so does their job security.  I mean, there may come the day that the good people may not reelect them.  As devastating as that may be, they can be comforted in the fact that they will leave Washington far richer than they were upon entering Washington.  And there’ll always be a place for them in an ever expanding government.  A cabinet position.  An agency position.  Or, perhaps, they’ll be named a czar.  Of something.  In charge of a policy issue.  Away from the oversight powers of Congress.  Anything is possible.  As long as government grows.  And there is more money to spend.

And just why is that?  Why does government continue to grow?  Simple.  They don’t fix problems.  They’re always ‘fixing’ problems.  But they’re never fixed.  They’re always a work in progress.  Because a fixed problem doesn’t require their services any longer.

DON’T THINK SO?  Suppose the government gives you a federal job.  An important one.  You’re in charge of the Office of Getting People to Happily Accept the Banning of Smoking in Public Places.  They give you a big office.  A staff.  A budget.  And a title.  You feel pretty good.  Important.  You diligently go about your work.  You take polls.  You analyze data.  You place public service announcements.  You intensify your polling before and after local laws are implemented banning smoking in public places. 

You analyze your data.  You correlate satisfaction with dissatisfaction.  Pacification with irritability.  Your numbers look good.  As more and more localities ban smoking from most public spaces the more your numbers show that the satisfaction/dissatisfaction ratio is trending favorably.  The trending is flatter with pacification/irritability but the trending is still favorable.  You conclude that these new laws come in, on average, at 9.875.  And that’s very good on the scale you created to measure overall effectiveness and acceptance of new laws to influence social behavior.   You happily report your findings to your superior.

“What are you,” your superior asks, “stupid?  Trying to put yourself out of a job?  Are you trying to cut my budget?  Because that’s exactly what’s going to happen if you turn in a report like this.  Now here’s what you’re going to do.  You’re going to report that your findings indicate some improvements in some select demographics.  But overall there is still much work to do.  Then write up a proposal for additional work required and throw in a budget that increases your current budget by 12%.  For starters.  Then I’ll critique your findings and find your funding request insufficient because of a mistake you made in your analysis.  Have it on my desk by the end of the week.”

Sound ridiculous?  That’s probably because it is.  And probably all too true.  I mean, how many federal programs do politicians shut down because they were successful in achieving their objective?  I think few.  If any.  Because no one wants to put themselves out of a job.  Especially a federal job.  Because there’s no job like a federal job.  At least, not in the private sector.

IN THE PRIVATE sector, your work has to have value.  When people are voluntarily paying for goods or services, you can’t have fat payrolls and fat budgets to produce goods and services no one wants.  You can only do that when government pays.  And by government I mean you and me.  With our taxes.  Which we have little choice but to pay.  For we are forced to under penalty of law.  Which can be pretty persuasive in making you pay for stuff you don’t want.  For we wouldn’t normally give away our hard-earned pay for the ridiculous wastes of resources known as government work.  To make the lives of federal workers better than ours.  And speaking of federal workers, what’s that joke?  Question:  What is federal work?  Answer:  Work for the unemployable.  There’s a lot of truth in that.  For a lot of these people couldn’t make it in the private sector.  And if they had to, they would only do so with the utmost bitter resentment.  They’d resent the longer hours.  The huge cut in pay.  The huge cut in benefits.  And the accountability.

You see, in the private sector, failure has consequences.  People get fired.  If a business is losing money because of silly projects they’re pursuing, the board of directors will fire the corporate officers.  If it’s a small business, the owner may lose his or her life savings.  And their house (which is often mortgaged up to the hilt to support their business).  There will be change after failure.  And it will be painful to many.  Unfeeling.  Cold.  But necessary.  But it’s different in government. 

When politicians fail, they reward themselves.  When their policies fail, the politicians simply say they need more time to make those policies work.  And more money.  That’s always the answer.  And they get away with it.  More money.  Keep throwing money at the problem.  No matter what a train wreck their programs turn out to be.  Or what the unintended consequences are.

POLITICIANS LIKE TO tinker.  Often in things they shouldn’t.  Because when they do, bad things often happen.  Those unintended consequences.  For when it comes down to it, they’re not very smart.  They could have graduated from their Ivy League schools at the top of their class, but they often know squat about the things they’re meddling in.  Most of them are lawyers.  And what does a lawyer know about economics?  Foreign policy?  National security?  Bupkis.  But it never stops them. 

And it doesn’t even matter.  Because their motives were honorable.  They acted with the best of intentions.  At least, that’s what they say.  As do their supporters.  And when everything goes to hell in a handbasket, they don’t mind.  Just more problems for government to fix.  More programs.  More staff.  And more money to spend.

Of course, we ultimately pay the price for their actions.  Whether it’s recession, depression or a more dangerous world to live in.  Which is often the case.  More times than not.

EVER WONDER WHY everything is a crisis?  Because a crisis needs urgent action.  By politicians in Washington.  And that urgent action is typically vast new government programs with an exploding federal bureaucracy.  Along with explosive federal spending.  And because it’s a crisis, there’s no time to lose.  If we don’t take immediate action the consequences could be dire.  There’s no time for debate.  For opposition.  To read a bill.  No.  We have to act and we have to act NOW.  Before this crisis gets any worse.

And when things do get worse after we take all that urgent action, you know what they’ll say?  That they were wrong?  Yeah, right.  In some fantasy world maybe.  No.  Instead, they’ll say just imagine how bad things would have been if they didn’t act like they did.  That we should be thankful things are only as bad as they are, for they could have been a whole lot worse if government didn’t act.  Why, they’ll be patting themselves on the back.  While you suffer more.

Hard to fight that logic.  I mean, they can say anything.  If their action takes unemployment to record levels, they can say unemployment would have been twice as high if they didn’t do what they did.  Twice as high would be worse.  But how do they know it would have been twice as high?  How can they prove it?  Well, they don’t have to.  Because you can’t disprove it.  And those who gamble know that a tie goes to the house.  So they’re right.  Because you can’t prove otherwise.  So they act accordingly.  And their supporters go along.  And the answer to the new problems that are worse than the original problems?  You guessed it.  More of the same.  More government programs.  More government spending.  At least, that’s what the historical record shows.

POLITICIANS LOVE FAILURE.  They thrive on it.  It gives them life.  Success, on the other hand, destroys them.  Removes their raison d’être.  Their reason for being.  A prospering nation, after all, doesn’t need government to fix anything.  And that’s no good.  Especially if that’s the business you’re in.  Fixing things.  Fixers need to fix.  But it needs to remain a work in progress.  So there’s still fixing to do.  Always.  And forever.   

And they’ll never let a good crisis go to waste.

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