Posts tagged ‘debt’

08/16/2011

I don’t think the Krugman understands the disadvantages inherent in living at the bottom of a gravity well

by wfgodbold

As a Keynesian, the Paul Krugman pretty much has to parrot their view that WW2 is what ended the Great Depression.

His recent interview with Fareed Zakaria goes way off the rails, though, when they start speculating that a (fake) alien invasion would be just the ticket for creating jobs and ending the current recession.

Even if war was the answer (and here for the last (nearly) ten years, we’ve been repeatedly told that war is expensive and doesn’t solve anything), we’d be sitting ducks if aliens attacked.

We’re at the bottom of a giant space hole. All aliens would have to do is drag asteroids over (or just mine giant chunks out of the moon) and drop them on us, and we’d be helpless while our cities were turned into craters.

Any aliens that could cross interstellar distances to attack us would surely be capable of that.

So, if we do have an alien invasion, head for the hills! Avoid population centers! congregate in cities! They’re certainly benevolent and would probably teach us the secrets of space travel!

They might even know how to serve man!

If we want to survive the (inevitable) alien invasion, we’ve got to get off this ball of dirt and head elsewhere. Luna, Mars, space stations, whatever; we can’t have all our eggs in one basket waiting for the eventual extinction event to drop out of the sky and take us out.

08/07/2011

Quote of the Indeterminate Time Interval – wizardpc

by wfgodbold

Wizardpc sums up the budget/debt ceiling debate most succinctly:

Democrats, Republicans, and Obama: Behold! We have a deal! And there are massive cuts.

Democrats: Republicans are evil, and these cuts are going to kill Granny.

Republicans: These cuts are awesome. We totally won!

Tea Party: Umm…these cuts don’t amount to much more than a rounding errror. $100b a year? And most of the cuts don’t come until like 8 years from now? If those were binding, wouldn’t the current budget be the one Republicans came up with in 2003? [emphasis added]

One Congress cannot bind another. That’s not how it works. Anyone claiming otherwise is trying to pretend cuts exist where there are none.

08/01/2011

I’m so glad we’ve laid violent rhetoric to rest

by wfgodbold

But shouldn’t someone have told Joe “Foot in Mouth” Biden about it, first?

Biden, driven by his Democratic allies’ misgivings about the debt-limit deal, responded: “They have acted like terrorists,” according to several sources in the room.

It’s one thing to call your opponents racists. But to call them terrorists?

If someone disagrees with you, you don’t slander them; you either try to convince them that they’re wrong, or you try to convince everyone else that they’re wrong. Calling political opponents terrorists waters down the meaning of the word, and does absolutely nothing for you.

And it would be one thing if the person calling their political opponents terrorists were just some opinion writer, but for the vice president to do so is beyond the pale.

The government should not lightly label people terrorists.

08/01/2011

Quote of the Indeterminate Time Interval – Richard Feynman

by wfgodbold

Said he:

There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it’s only a hundred billion. It’s less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.

Feynman died in 1988. The national debt in 1988 was $2.6 trillion.

It’s now $14.3 trillion. Five and a half times what it was at Feynman’s death.

07/29/2011

John Stossel goes (almost) full libertarian on the budget…

by wfgodbold

And cuts so much you’d think he was emo. Entire departments get the axe, and by the end, he’s cut enough to get a $237 billion surplus.

That’s impressive enough; even if we cut that deeply, given the current debt situation, it would take more than sixty years to pay off the debt.

It’s a moot point, I suppose. No one in Washington is willing to cut enough to make a difference, and given baseline budgeting, any “cuts” are actually just reductions in the amount of increase.

Jerry Pournelle pointed out a couple days ago that because of how budget “cuts” are calculated, we could freeze spending at current levels for the next ten years and then claim that we “cut” $9.5 trillion.

Douglas Adams was wrong; bistromathics is kids’ play compared to bureaumathics.

07/22/2011

The very best of hands

by wfgodbold

Once again, the Senate has elected to put partisan politics over dealing with the nation’s fiscal house; Reid refuses to put up a plan of his own, while simultaneously shooting down every offer that passes the House.

If the debt ceiling is as big a problem as the Democrats are saying it is, then why aren’t they willing to compromise on anything at all to avoid default?

If anyone is playing brinksmanship games with the debt ceiling, it’s the President and Senate. You can’t say that default would be unbelievably bad in one breath and in the next claim that you aren’t willing to give up any of your demands.

Edit: I’m not saying that the Republican plans are ideal; but even the most unideal plan conceived would be better than failing to hike the debt ceiling and the ensuing default, according to the hyperbole.

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07/19/2011

It looks like you’re trying to create a Balanced Budget Amendment. Would you like some help?

by wfgodbold

An amendment isn’t going to magically solve Congress’s problems.

Especially when they’re already required to provide a budget every year; it’s been more than 800 days since the last budget was passed. Why would a balanced budget do any better?

Any BBA than can pass Congress and get confirmed by enough states to become law is going to be either so toothless as to be useless, or so riddled with loopholes and exceptions that it might as well not exist.

You’d be better off fashioning it from the sound of a cat’s footfall, the beard of a woman, the roots of a mountain, the sinews of a bear, the breath of a fish, and the spittle of a bird.

After all, if something isn’t going to exist in any meaningful way, you might as well build it out of materials that don’t exist.

If the Edda were written today, I’m sure one of the materials the dwarves used to create Gleipnir would have been “the conscience of a politician.”

(Clippy image created at imagegenerator.net)

07/18/2011

It’s what you do instead of something

by wfgodbold

Gun control!

It’s been obvious that this was the goal since the story broke; I’m more surprised that it’s taken them this long to get around to actually trying to ramrod legislation through.

Fortunately, between debt ceiling talks and the News of the World’s unethical hacking schemes, there’s plenty of other stuff the media can cover instead of the Obama administration’s Watergate scandal.

I suppose calling it their Watergate isn’t exactly fair…

After all, Nixon’s Watergate didn’t kill anyone, and Fast and Furious so far has given guns to several murderers.

07/15/2011

I wonder if the president is secretly grateful for this debt ceiling brouhaha…

by wfgodbold

Because if the debt ceiling talks were actually resolved, instead of being extended again and again, he might have to have an opinion on Operation Fast and Furious.

And the media might actually cover it, instead of trying to ignore it, or actively covering for the government (H/T Uncle).

I don’t think the debt ceiling problem is unimportant; I just think that it provides a convenient excuse for ignoring the illegal actions the ATF has taken vis a vis Fast and Furious and straw purchases.

If I were a cynical man, I’d think that the reason Obama is unwilling to go with a small deal instead of a deal that would cover the deficit until 2013 is so that he doesn’t have to deal with debt ceiling issues in the midst of his 2012 reelection campaign.

If I were cynical.

04/13/2011

Look, Mr. President; Medicare and Medicaid have not been around for “most of our history”

by wfgodbold

Not even close.

In today’s speech, Obama had this to say regarding Paul Ryan’s plan:

[Ryan’s proposal is] a plan that aims to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion over the next ten years, and one that addresses the challenge of Medicare and Medicaid in the years after that.

Those are both worthy goals for us to achieve.  But the way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known throughout most of our history.

Fifty-six years have passed since the Social Security Act of 1965. By no conceivable definition of “most” or “history” can the president’s statement be correct.

But who cares about correctness when you can paint your ideological opponents as wanting to kill grandma, the poor, and the environment in one fell swoop?

This speech tidbit brought to you by NRO; they listened as the president droned on and on so that you didn’t have to!

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