Well, When You Put It That Way

Mark Steyn may be the perfect columnist for his times, because one really needs a flair for humor of the absurd to comment appropriately on the absurdity of modern Western governance:

The estimated cost of the non-bill is just shy of half a trillion dollars. Gosh, it seems like only yesterday that Washington was in the grip of a white-knuckle, clenched-teeth showdown over whether a debt ceiling deal could be reached before the allegedly looming deadline. When the deal was triumphantly unveiled at the eleventh hour, it was revealed that our sober, prudent, fiscally responsible masters had gotten control of the runaway spending and had carved (according to the most optimistic analysis) a whole $7 billion of savings out of the 2012 budget. The president then airily breezes into Congress and in 20 minutes adds another $447 billion to the tab. That’s what meaningful course correction in Washington boils down to: seven billion steps forward, 447 billion steps back.
This $447 billion does not exist, and even foreigners don’t want to lend it to us. A majority of it will be “electronically created” by the Federal Reserve buying U.S. Treasury debt. Don’t worry, it’s not like “printing money”: we leave that to primitive basket-cases like Zimbabwe. This is more like one of those Nigerian email schemes, in which a prominent public official promises you a large sum of money in return for your bank account details. In the case of Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner, one prominent public official is promising to wire a large sum of money into the account of another prominent public official, which is a wrinkle even the Nigerians might have difficulty selling.

As Steyn points out, there is no bill to pass, yet, still:

… back on the campaign trail the chanting goes on, last week’s election results in Nevada and New York notwithstanding. America has the lowest employment since the early Eighties, the lowest property ownership since the mid-Sixties, the highest deficit-to-GDP ratio since the Second World War, the worst long-term unemployment since the Great Depression, the highest government dependency rate of all time, and the biggest debt mountain in the history of the planet.

It’s time we start learning, lest we prove ourselves crazy through repetition.

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12 years ago

The bill is very rewarding for the Democratic faithful – it prevents layoffs and incentivizes additional hiring for public teacher, police, and fire unions.
It also creates an entirely new protected class by prohibiting discrimination based on unemployed status. So if somebody hasn’t worked in 10 years, it would be illegal for a business owner to consider that information in a hiring decision. I’m sure that won’t create any perverse incentives.

12 years ago

Just did some quick research and calculations. According to Wiki, there are 312,229,000 Americans. According to USA Today only 45.4% of the USA is working, the lowest on record. In RI, the percentage is a little lower, at 44.7%.
If the income taxpayers are to fund the 447 billion bucks, then that amounts to around 2900 bucks for each worker, provided that we all make and pay the same amount. We don’t. So it’s easy to see how the more productive among us will pay much more than that. It’s not “the rich”, either. So even if average, my wife and I would need to cough up at least 5800 bucks to pay for this boondoggle.
That in and of itself pushes us close to the brink.
If the state does the same thing with the unfunded pension liability, then 7 billion dollars divided by the states roughly 436000 workers pushes us over the edge. That amounts to 16,ooo dollars for each worker, or 32000 bucks for a two average income household.
That’s damn near 40 grand for just these two expenditures. Crafty accounting won’t get us out of this mess. It’s what got us into it.

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
12 years ago

The failed Social Credit (google it) “Prosperity through debt” policy of the progressives will destroy the country if Barry Zero gets reelected.
No society in history has been able to maintain economic growth with a Debt-GDP ratio over 100%-a figure we hit last month.

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