Thursday, August 11, 2011

I've Had It Up To Here

The Dow is up; the Dow is down.  Standard and Poor’s says we’re no longer a triple-A risk; the President says we are and always will be a triple-A country.  Oil prices are down; gas prices stay up.  The Fed says this; the Treasury says that.

This is what happens when we have a President who constantly chooses compromise over leadership.

Long before Standard and Poor’s downgraded the United States as a credit risk, Barack Obama should have put that company – and Moody’s – right out of business.   What he should have done when took office was to explain to the American people how the greedy bastards on Wall Street (and the dweebs at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) ran our economy right into the ground and damn near off a mountainside. He should have explained how S&P and Moody’s were complicit with the Wall Street barons, just as the now-defunct Arthur Andersen accounting firm was complicit in the Enron scandal a decade ago.  (For those who don’t follow closely, Arthur Andersen was run right out of business in the U-S for all the crap it pulled leading to the Enron implosion.)

Instead of allowing the Wall Street crowd and Toxic Timmy Geithner and Ben the crank Bernanke and their sycophants to continue to “run” the economy, President Obama should have tossed the lot of them out on their ear, told the American people that it was the dismantling of banking regulations put in place a generation ago to protect us from exactly what happened when the economy tanked and 8 million Americans lost their jobs, and that by God he was going to put those regulations back into effect and make damn sure the people who enforce them don’t follow the pattern of the last decade, where one day you’re working for Goldman Sachs, and the next day you’re a “federal regulator”.

President Obama has allowed the “other side” to dictate the terms of every “negotiation” because all his life he’s been an appeaser, a conciliator, a go-along-to-get-along kind of guy, when what this nation needed more than anything else was a leader with vision and courage.  He allows the Republicans to refer to Social Security as an “entitlement program”….as if me and millions like me didn’t pay into it for 40 years and we’re somehow now “sucking off the government teat” when we EXPECT what is due us for our years of investment.  He’s allowed that little snot-nosed  Paul Ryan to lie his ass off about what he wants to do with Medicare (another “entitlement program”???) without clearly articulating an opposing position, and attacking with all the vigor of his administration the REAL cause of the problem, which is the health care industry itself.

One-term president. 

My hope now…and believe me, faith has been downgraded to hope….is that the Democrats will come up with someone with the balls to run a campaign that clearly and powerfully shows the American people that Obama was wrong….and so are the Republicans.


  1. I'd like to see the Dems run a stronger candidate too (Obama doesn't know know the difference between "compromise" and "cave") but the unfortunate reality is that political parties tend to throw support to incumbants whether they are any good or not. Time is running short, a draft is needed of an individual who will grab the reins. Does Gen. Honore belong to a political party?

  2. gas prices stay up

    Wrong-O, RadioBreath!!

    Madistan gas prices (Tuesday) were $3.51, a full 16 cents under Waukesha County, and about 30 cents under those of 2 months ago.

  3. Less trivial:

    1) Go ahead, total up your/your employer's SocSec contributions. Add a nominal 4% interest bonus. Then divide the total by 240 months. It does NOT total what the Politicians have promised you. Not by a long shot. And if your spouse doesn't kill you along the way, you'll go 25 years, not just 20, after retirement.

    2) You're slowly coming around to the Codevilla Theory of "Ruling Class." Congratulations!!

    Sure, they all lied (or at best, over-promised.) It got them elected, and re-elected. But if they stop lying, they will not get re-elected again--in their feeble and inbred minds.

    But they're Edjumakated at the Right Places. They are the Best. The Brightest. They ARE the Ruling Class.

    You are not. Get used to it, country-class.

  4. Somehow, whenever I read one of Dad29's name-calling rotes, I know less when I'm finished than when I started.

  5. Colonel,

    As you may or may not know, I've been reading Mark Steyn's new book, "After America". I was struck by a simple question he asked on page 229:

    "When did human life become impossible without a 'safety net'?"

    Your statement about how so many people have contributed to Social Security for decades of their working lives is well taken. I've been at it since my first high school job in '68 or '69.

    But what we "expect" from Social Security has always been subject to the whims of Congress. The fact that Social Security payments have only gone up since 1935 (along with payroll taxes, I might add) isn't guaranteed. The Supreme Court has made it plain that Social Security taxes don't have to be earmarked only for Social Security payments. And there is much to be said about the facts that (a) the ratio of workers to retirees is getting smaller and smaller, (b) thus, the pay-as-you-go system will soon be a pay-and-borrow-as-you-go system, and (c) people live much longer after retirement than they did in 1935.

    I've read quite a lot lately about alternative methods of government finance; from the creepily plausible 'coin seigniorage' to the humdrum 'relieve debt pressure by making sure inflation stays at 4% so that the government can pay long-term bond interest with cheaper dollars in the future' to simply printing more money since, unlike households, governments have a monopoly on printing their own currency.

    What I'm driving at is that a "leader with vision and courage" will have to lead us in a direction that we don't "expect" to go. The smart money says that the current trends in the U.S. -- exploding illegal immigration, debt, and spending -- will continue. We're heading for a Greek/Portugese/Irish-type financial system at high speed because we all "expect" to have things our way.

    As to "the REAL cause of the problem, which is the health care industry itself," I can only agree insofar as Congresscritters are covered in drug company pocket lint; and that the AMA limits the number of doctors. But, again, how is it that we've convinced ourselves that our lives would be impossible without a health care safety net?

    The Town Crank

    P.S., You're the smartest guy I know. I would very much like to hear your reaction to "After America" well as to the essays of Theodore Dalrymple. I know that your reading list is stuffed into the next decade, though...

  6. "When did human life become impossible without a 'safety net'?"

    Why, Mr. Crank, it didn't. But that's not the point, is it? I suggest you consider putting some Charles Dickens on your reading list.

  7. President Morrissey? General Honore would make a fine running mate.

  8. George, the fact that your brain leaks is not propter hoc reading my comments.

  9. I said that's what happens, in that order. Aquinas wouldn't even argue against that logic. (Though, I admit, the presence of a leak might actually explain a lot of other things, too, that I have simply been blaming on age or living too close as a child to a pile of Milwaukee Road creosote-treated ties.)

  10. Or instead of reading what Steve suggests, you could read the short form here:

    The benefits doled out by socialist governments are not described as charity. Instead, they’re “entitlements.” Entire generations have been told they are entitled to the things their class enemies don’t want to pay for. Those government benefits are their property. Refusing to provide them is theft. Refusing to increase their quality is tantamount to crushing the little guy’s dreams, to satisfy the greed of fat cats. Refusing to finance the unfunded promises of past congresses and parliaments is unthinkable – the debt ceiling must go up, and any proposal for deficit control must be “balanced” with higher taxes.

    --Steve Hayward

    IOW, RadioGuy, you've been sold a bill of goods by the politicos.

    By the way, gasoline here dropped from .65 to .51 overnight.

    Aquinas never, ever, allowed post hoc = propter hoc argumentation. You have a case of correlation, and perhaps it is the creosote.

  11. It's interesting to read the comments above; no dummies here, but people with vast, honest differences. I remain unsold on the idea that Social Security is an "entitlement" program "doled out by a socialist government". For the past 23 years, the first 20 of them as a partner in a SubChapter "S" Corporation, and the last three as a sole proprietorship, I have paid DOUBLE the "usual" Social Security withholding, and even though Dubya briefly threatened to "privatize" SocSec, I had NO choice but to make these payments. Hence, I clearly view this as a quasi-contractual arrangment when it's time for me to collect, and not an "entitlement."

    While my hyperbole about gas prices was taken far too seriously, the real issue, and the attempted point of this post, was to say the jury is in: Barack Obama has failed to lead the nation.

  12. We can most emphatically agree that we do not have a leader in the White House. SO emphatically that it likely endangers fragile glassware/china (etc.). Agreement will have to be an outdoor sport.

    The only problem with your 'contractural agreement' theory is this: Congress can do whatever it damn well pleases with the money. SCOTUS agrees. (I, too, as an S.E., pay 2x).

    IOW, Tim, you and everyone else in the country have been led down a garden path. In your defense, you can say that you were led there by extremely good liars. Exceptionally extremely good liars, and a helluvalotta them, too!

    BUT: to 'means-test' SocSec payments, or to shave 1%/year off the "cost-of-living" hikes, or to push back retirement to age 67......are these REALLY going to put you into BK?

    This is about your children and g-kids, when they arrive. Are you telling us that you will NOT give up 1% for them? Or take less SocSec if your other income is (say) >$50K/year?

    (That ignores the possibility that you can reduce your lifestyle without moving into a cardboard box, or that your children will not assist you--both very unlikely possibilities, right?)

    Understand: I do not believe, for one second, that any member of the Party of Government has a REAL interest in the "country class." Some (Ryan, e.g.) have been willing to warn us, and advance a plan. We don't have to like the plan; we can argue about details. Happy to do so!

    But we can NOT ignore the trajectories of the numbers. That's math, not guesswork.

  13. Hieronymous,

    >> "When did human life become impossible without a 'safety net'?"

    >> Why, Mr. Crank, it didn't. But that's not the point, is it? I suggest you consider putting some Charles Dickens on your reading list. <<

    I've read a number of Dickens' works, but that's not the point, is it?

    The point is that the welfare state eventually leads to Greece, Italy, Great Britain, and Portugal...austerity, austerity, and more austerity.

    We, on the other hand, have stimuluses (stimulae?), bailouts, new entitlements, and more wars. The Congressional Budget Office says that " 2055, [interest spending] would exceed that year’s total federal revenues." (page 9)

    So, I'll read all the Dickens you want if that'll help us avoid paying nothing but interest on the federal debt in 44 years.

    The Town Crank

  14. Cranky, a minor quibble: the 'welfare state' in and of itself may not lead to perdition, but the number of state employees required to maintain it will.

    Those Greek rioters are all civil 'servants,' you know, who work 24/7; that is, 24 hours/week, 7 months/year. (Source is Steyn's new book)

  15. "Entire generations have been told they are entitled to the things their class enemies don’t want to pay for."
    -- a view apparently endorsed by commenters Crank and Dad29

    Does anyone else on this board, besides these two unworthy heirs to the party of Lincoln, buy into the reprehensible, unpatriotic, scary, even dangerous, notion that the America born of the Constitution and its Preamble has become a land of class enemies?

    I'm with our blogger on this. When it comes to Social Security, I paid my way. I expect the dividends I was promised for those years of investment. I believe in the social contract. I have kept my end of the bargain, and I expect my government to deliver its end. Anyone who maintained faith in that promise is, yes, entitled to see it kept.

    BTW ... According to my Greek friends (recent immigrants, they), Greece's biggest problem, by far, is that only the flat-footed pay taxes. Why, they ask, should the common people pay if the privileged fat cats don't? An equitable tax system might have gone far in steering Greece away from the dire economic shoals it now finds itself driven upon.

  16. I expect the dividends I was promised for those years of investment.

    Good luck with that.

    BTW, you could take it up with the people who made the promises, like e.g., Ted Kennedy, and Bob Byrd, and Stu Symington, and LBJ. Be sure to give them your thoughts on the matter very loudly, as their land-lines no longer work.