The Economy: Stupid or Malevolent
February 25, 2013 4 Comments
We are going to talk about some of the things that are going wrong in America these days, today. Most are connected with the government, and in my opinion are connected with the present administration (not excusing former ones, either). Apparently the fools in Washington-well, that’s somewhat unfair, there are two possible reasons for what they’re doing (not doing): 1) complete and total incompetence or 2) malevolence, you can decide for yourself and it hardly matters, anyway-think that only the government produces jobs. Well, as we’ve often said here: The government produces nothing.
The government is very like maintenance in a manufacturing plant, the plant won’t work very long without some level of maintenance but maintenance is a cost center, it will never make a profit. Everything it does cost people money that they have earned. The government has never, and never will, earned anything. The other thing is, there is no incentive for the government to do anything efficiently, your status in bureaucracies is measured by how many people report to you, not as in the real world, by how much profit you make. Therefore it is counterproductive to expect government, any government, to do anything efficiently, it’s against its rational self-interest to do so. Remember, government finances its work by taking your money at the point of a gun.
Probably the most egregious example of government run completely (and intentionally ) amok was the old Soviet Union. I can remember reading the reports and histories with complete disbelief, but I’m an American. So is Ooobie but she saw it with her own eyes, and sees parallels (I do too) to the United States now. It’s not something that a person who wished poor people a chance to better themselves would care to read, let alone implement, but that is where we are.
In the old, wonderfully dead Soviet Union, there was open economic activity and then there was the black market, which accounted for up to 20 percent of all economic activity. The shadow economy emerged because the official system did not function well enough, had never functioned well enough, to satisfy the human needs and desires of the Soviet population. The shadow economy worked much better than the State-monopolized economy because it looked to actual human nature and behavior to determine what was wanted, while the State’s central planners had no interest in what the public might want. Their job was to produce pretty much anything central planners dreamed up in the required quantities. Nobody cared whether what was produced was purchased, since there was no profit motive at work and the public was not going to get anything better to choose from regardless. Shop window displays seldom changed and the dust settling over everything told the tale. If there was anything worth buying, it wasn’t for sale to the Soviet citizen but only in special stores that were closed to the public and open to foreigners with hard currency. The real Soviet motto was not “workers of the world unite,” but “take it or leave it.”
The shadow economy didn’t actually produce anything — that would have been too much even for the cynical Communists — but instead distributed scarce goods, often foreign-produced, that people wanted and for which they were willing to pay steep prices. Those who sold the goods made nice profits, but their activity was undertaken at great peril. No matter, those who dabbled in the underground economy thrived on the challenge of breaking as many of the endless Soviet laws and rules as possible without falling into the hands of the KGB. The more the Soviet economy stagnated, the more active the black market became, and by 1990 the situation was dire. An article at the time in the Seattle Times heralded the imminent collapse of the Soviet economy and cited a Russian economist (and Communist) who said “there is nothing to buy through ordinary channels, but you can get anything you need if you are willing to play the game and pay big money. The whole process makes all of us cynical about the law and ourselves. It degrades us. But what’s the choice?”
Continue reading The US Economy Goes Underground | Ooobie on Everything. It’s important and accurate
Then there is the sequester nonsense. It makes no real difference no matter what the statists tell you, and one way to tell they’re statists is if they believe it matters. Handled anywhere near properly, you wouldn’t even notice, most likely it’s less on a percentage business than the tax increase you had at the beginning of the year. What it’s all about is King Midas Obama and his limitless credit card which we have co-signed. He needs that money you see, to buy the next election, with the help of his crony-capitalist buddies like Jeff Immelt.
But when the navy is doing things like spending $16/gallon for bio-jet fuel instead of $4/gallon for the regular stuff, and homeland security thinks it needs enough non-Geneva Convention compliant ammunition on hand to fight the war in Iraq for 30 years, they’re constantly broke. Not to mention the cultural sensitivity training (just as well call it what it is: brainwashing), I don’t see why the Department of Agriculture needs that (or to exist, really) and certainly not the pentagon, which should be concentrating on killing America’s enemies as efficiently as possible. Wonder what GEN Patton would say about that fool and his course.
Anyway, Dan Mitchell over at International Liberty has some thoughts on the sequester, he must have written it for conservatives and libertarians though, I can tell because he makes sense.
I shared a couple of amusing sequester cartoons the other day, and I’ve previously written about the absurdity of anti-sequester hysteria in Washington when all it means is that the federal budget will grow by $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years rather than $2.5 trillion.
This Nate Beeler cartoon effectively captures the mindset of Washington’s big spenders.
Let’s take a serious look at this topic.
George Will is appropriately disgusted by the antics of the political class. Here’s some of his column on the topic.
The sequester has forced liberals to clarify their conviction that whatever the government’s size is at any moment, it is the bare minimum necessary to forestall intolerable suffering. At his unintentionally hilarious hysteria session Tuesday, Obama said: The sequester’s “meat-cleaver approach” of “severe,” “arbitrary” and “brutal” cuts will “eviscerate” education, energy and medical research spending. “And already, the threat of these cuts has forced the Navy to delay an aircraft carrier that was supposed to deploy to the Persian Gulf.”
Will elaborates on the Navy’s shameful stunt.
“Forced”? The Navy did indeed cite the sequester when delaying deployment of the USS Truman. …the Navy is saying it cannot find cuts to programs or deployments less essential than the Truman deployment. The Navy’s participation in the political campaign to pressure Congress into unraveling the sequester is crude, obvious and shameful, and it should earn the Navy’s budget especially skeptical scrutiny by Congress. The Defense Department’s civilian employment has grown 17 percent since 2002. In 2012, defense spending on civilian personnel was 21 percent higher than in 2002. And the Truman must stay in Norfolk? This is, strictly speaking, unbelievable.
Continue reading Debunking Sequester.
Just for fun, with a hattip to Maggie’s Notebook, who has more pictures, too.
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- Forty More Years | And A Victory (nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com)
- The End of GDP (silvervigilante.com)
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