Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

27 May 2010

Howard Rich: Kicking the Can Right Off the Cliff

Howard Rich wrote an editorial at the Investor's Business Daily which rather long-windedly bemoans the spendthrift ways of politicians.  Most of us can appreciate his reasons for being upset, but we are fully capable of doing our own moaning and trashing about in pain.  But buried deep into his piece was this nice summary of some very foreboding financial figures:
According to a January 2009 paper from the National Center for Policy Analysis, the average European Union nation needs to place more than four times its current gross domestic product in the bank (earning interest) just to fund current obligations. In fact, the NCPA report found that by 2020, the average EU nation will have to raise its tax rate from 40% to 55% of the national income just to cover existing benefits.
In Japan — which has the world's highest percentage of debt to GDP — fiscal policy is "out of control," according to Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff, who predicted the 2008 U.S. bank failures. According to the latest estimates from the International Monetary Fund, total Japanese borrowings will soar to 204.3% of the nation's economic output in 2011.
Meanwhile in America, total public debt will exceed GDP for the first time since the World War II era, part of a massive borrowing spree that has seen the nation more than double its debt over the last six years. "The U.S. is in a state of paralysis in its fiscal policy," Rogoff said last month. "When they start tightening monetary policy even a little bit, it's going to send shock waves through the system."
In addition to this brewing global and national crisis, U.S. states and municipalities are facing similar ticking time bombs. A March 2010 Northwestern University report discovered that the total unfunded liability of state government pension funds was $3.2 trillion — or more than $2.2 trillion higher than government officials estimated.
Note that last paragraph:  Government officials are claiming that state government pension fund liabilities are only 31% of what they really are.  To be that wrong, they have to be lying to the taxpayers.  That cannot be a mistake.  Of course, by now, one has to be really, really obtuse not to have come to understand that most of our politicians and bureaucrats have made it a standard practice to lie to us all of the time.  Clinton seemed to raise the commitment  to the lie to a new standard, but Obama has readily surpassed him in his commitment to lying.  Given the pitiful state of the planned economies and socialist states of Europe that Obama so much wants to transform the United States of America into, well .... you really must lie.  There is no truthful way to make those European Big Brother states palatable.

Some Objectivists tend to think that discussing mere matters of the amount of debt is not very important because it is not a matter rich in ethical content.  I disagree.  The Preamble of the Constitution noted our responsibility to our Posterity which was to be recognized by the very limited government of the Constitution. George Washington also reminded Americans that they had no right to saddle their posterity with debt.  He was very right and very wise.  Passing the debts of our governments today on to our children and our grandchildren is a heinous thing to do.  We have essentially been doing just this since the Social Security Act was passed in 1935.   The Medicare program has raised this practice to new heights.  Then came Medicaid, ObamaCare, and bailouts in TARP and now forever into the future with the Financial Industry Bailout and Consumer Spying Act which is said to likely be passed by Congress later today, and incredible subsidies to alternative energy firms who environmentalists will never allow to build any power plants.  There is no fun in spending money you actually have to earn, so the national governments prefer usually to just run the printing presses as long as need be.  Of course this drives down the value of everything the private sector does as productive work, but hardly anyone ever noticed as long as they were bribed with some goodies.  But, the number of necessary goodies kept escalating and now there is not more room for further escalating them.  The ever more meager productive private sector is now just too small in Europe, Japan, and the U.S. to support the Leviathan governments with all their redistributed goodies.

Speaking of which, Glenn Beck's 26 May 2010 show dwelt on the same Big Brother watching over the peasants bank accounts, credit card transactions, and ATM transactions that I discussed in the early morning hours of the 26th.

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