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Old 12-04-2012, 06:50 AM   #176
4est_4est_Gump
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What the Budget Impasse Is Really About
Mona Charen, NRO
December 4, 2012

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The incomparable Walter Russell Mead, writing in The American Interest, offered a glimpse into the coming dystopia:

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Things are getting worse in San Bernardino. The city filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, but its financial situation has continued to deteriorate. And now with what promises to be a heated court battle over payments to the state pension fund in the offing, further cuts are likely.

Things are getting so bad that at a recent city council meeting, the city attorney advised residents to “lock their doors and load their guns” because the city could no longer afford to keep up a strong enough police force.
Consider also this Reuters story from Greece:

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For hours the leader of the Greek journalists’ social security fund had been chairing a meeting about disastrous losses on retirement savings caused by the country’s economic collapse. “She tried to present herself as the fund’s savior and asked (members) to double contributions to 6 percent of salaries,” said one of those present that night at the Titania hotel. Spanopoulou, 58, did not succeed.

When she rose to leave around midnight, enraged fund members first swore, then waded in punching, kicking and tearing at her clothes, according to witnesses. A bodyguard managed to bustle her out of the room, but another group caught her just outside the hotel and gave her a second beating. She spent the night in hospital.

It was a brutal sign of the fury many Greeks feel at the way the country’s debt crisis has dashed hopes of a comfortable old age. Greece’s pension funds — patchily run in the first place, say unionists and some politicians — have been savaged by austerity and the terms of the international bailout keeping the country afloat.
When governments cannot pay their current employees because they’ve gone broke paying pensions to previous employees (among other obligations), you don’t get a “fiscal cliff” or even a bad recession, you get the unraveling of civilization.

...

The Republicans are attempting to divert the nation — not from the “fiscal cliff” but from something much worse. If government debt is not controlled by spending cuts (tax increases on the rich make scarcely a dent), the U.S. is headed for drastic economic decline. Interest rates will rise to attract wary international investors. Rising interest rates will in turn increase our debt-service burden, while a diminished private sector will provide less and less tax revenue. The combination of spiraling debt service and entitlement spending will quickly leave no funds for any other purpose.

That’s when it becomes Mad Max. That’s what the negotiations are about.
I hope Wat gets his Mopar done in time!

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Old 12-04-2012, 07:08 AM   #177
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Obama Wants a War
Christopher Chantrill, The American Thinker

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Conservatives seem to be nonplussed about President Obama sending Treasury Secretary Geithner to Capitol Hill without a proposal for a grand bargain on entitlements. But why? Worrying about debt and default and entitlements is for the responsible people. Responsibility is for the people who believe in the "responsible self," the notion developed a couple of millennia ago during the Axial Age. Responsibility is for the bourgeoisie.

President Obama is above all that. Liberal politics in general is above all that. Their politics is about war, not about nice comfortable entitlements. President Obama's War? He's fighting a war on "inequality." Even the Washington Post's Zachary Goldfarb is willing to admit to that.

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As Obama did in legislative fights during his first term, he also will be striving to reduce a three-decades-long wave of rising income inequality that has meant that fewer Americans have prospered while more struggle to get by.
There's a certain magnificent elegance to the president's war on inequality. It licenses him and his administration to do anything. More spending on the traditionally marginalized? Whatever it takes. Get the rich to pay a little more? It goes without saying.

In waging this war on inequality, it makes no sense to do a grand bargain on entitlements. What would that solve? It would freeze the status quo in place. But the war on inequality can never rest, can never end. A century from now, liberal scholars will be mining the national income data to find another "wave of rising income inequality" while "more struggle to get by."

How can the president rest in his lifelong struggle, his quest for the Great White Whale of equality, while the tide of inequality continues to rise?

So it makes complete sense that President Obama and his Treasury Secretary Geithner have not proposed a "grand bargain" on entitlements. The president is not interested in doing a deal on entitlements. He just wants more money in taxes to spend on his war on inequality.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:25 AM   #178
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The rapid decline amongst younger women and Hispanic women drove the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) down to 1.89 live births per female 2.089 during the years 2004-2007. To maintain a stable population, a society needs a TFR of 2.1 births per female. The "First Birth" category dropped 2 percent in 2011, which made it the lowest on record. First Births dropped for the 15-24 cohort, but rose in the 35-39 cohort. This statistic reinforces previous findings that women are steadily having their first child much later in life.

These dry metrics illustrate social, political, and most importantly, economic changes that are fast transforming our society at a pace that would exhaust even President Obama. Our capitalist system and our socialist welfare system of government rely heavily on growing populations. The Industrial Revolution from the 18th through 19th Centuries, as well as the rapid rise of the developing nations circa 1983-2007 occurred during periods of rapid population growth. While the U. S. will continue to see its population grow, the rate of growth is slowing. To put it another way, our population is growing due to the fact that people are leaving this world slower than new ones are entering it. And if trends continue, the United States will follow Japan (whose population is now shrinking at 250,000 people a year), Germany (which will lose 25% of its population during the next 50 years), and Russia (in which over 1000 villages are abandoned each year). What should have been the number one issue of the 2012 elections wasn't even mentioned by either candidate. The funding (or lack thereof) of our generously bloated welfare state has to come from somewhere. Our federal budget deficits are not only a symptom of a political class that refuses to say no -- they are also a reflection of our inverted demographic status. Two of our largest entitlement programs (Social Security and Medicare) depend solely on large cadres of younger workers earning sufficient incomes to keep everything going. The deficits we shall face in coming years will tower above what we're running now. There will be too many elderly retirees and too few younger workers.

An even a deeper problem overshadows our serious budget shortfalls. Our market-oriented economic system is geared toward a future expectation that there will always be a stable group of consumers and producers. In a perfect world, the number of consumers and producers grow with each generation. Businesses can profit more when they can produce more with less. Growing populations married to modern technology result in higher living standards. In a free society like ours, people use their genius to solve problems of agricultural, industrial, and financial productivity. And as we saw during the period 1983-2007, when this system is painted on a global canvas, the chronic destitution of Third World nations can begin to be addressed. The age-old problem of wealth distribution was addressed through the application of free markets and global trade. But all this progress was predicated upon stable if not growing populations. What bank or venture capitalist is willing to risk huge sums of money on markets with dwindling consumer bases? What kind of institutional investor would risk his cash on a 30 year municipal bond for a city that is not only aging but has a dwindling population (or more importantly, what kind of interest would he demand)? Box stores like Wal-Mart and Home Depot make best sense in a society that is young and growing.To put it another way: How many 75 year old retirees take out 30 year mortgages on 4 bedroom homes?

A nation can work around a problem such as falling birthrate or even falling populations -- at least for a period of time. Japan has one of the oldest populations in the developed world. Yet, while the economy struggles, capable firms like Toyota continue to produce jobs and generate wealth. Domestically, Japan suffers from price deflation due lack of consumer demand. While the Japanese yuppie enjoys falling prices, Japanese companies are seeing their profits fall. As a result, the Japanese Central Bank has had to provide a steady dose of Quantitative Easing. The Japanese M2 money supply has grown 3% annually for the last 20 years. Because of its aging population, Japan also instituted higher sales taxes to pay for its leviathan public sector. Forty-three percent of Japan's national budget is now consumed by interest payments alone (that's 9% of its GDP). But the Japanese should consider themselves fortunate. Japan has a per capita GDP of $45,000 and remains one of the world's largest creditors with some $3.1 trillion in foreign holdings. But this cannot go on forever.

For the U.S., the situation isn't as bleak as either Japan's or Europe's. But that is only because we are two decades behind them. The U.S. has been blessed with a very resilient and diversified economy. Our decentralized economic and political system (as compared to other G20 nations) gave our economy an amazing amount of elasticity. But things are rapidly changing. Dodd Frank is transforming institutional and consumer capital markets, while a plethora of new regulations in energy, health care, agriculture, and transportation will raise costs and stifle growth of small to medium sized businesses. Even the Internet isn't immune, as both federal and international agencies keep up a steady pressure to reign in this one last medium of free enterprise and open expression. As we begin to suffer the same economic-demographic problems other nations suffer from, people and markets will have fewer options available and more institutional hurdles facing them. We are now no different than the "managed societies" of Europe and Asia.
Jerome Koch, The American Thinker
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:50 AM   #179
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Despite over 2,000 pages of legislative text, many key details of President Obama’s national health care law were left up to regulators to work out, with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius given the lead role. The Obama administration wanted to avoid issuing potentially controversial health care regulations during an election year, but now that it’s over, regulations are starting to roll out. In a news dump this past Friday afternoon, HHS released 373 pages of new insurance regulations, and buried on page 299 is a proposed 3.5 percent monthly “user fee” to be levied on the premiums collected by insurers who offer policies on the new government-run exchanges. Effectively, it’s a regulatory surtax that will inevitably be passed onto individuals who purchase insurance on these new exchanges.

When Obamacare was written, Democrats envisioned new health care exchanges in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, in which individuals (based on their income level) would receive subsidies to purchase insurance that met federal regulatory specifications. Under Obamacare, no federal funds are supposed to be used to help run the exchanges after January 1, 2015 (this refers to operating costs, such as providing customer service, rather than subsidies helping individuals pay for insurance coverage). The initial assumption of lawmakers was that states would have to figure out a way to make these exchanges self-sustaining. But now, at least 17 states have decided to let the federal government set up exchanges in their states, and several more are expected to follow suit. So, HHS has now devised this new surtax to pay for the costs. An HHS spokeswoman insisted to the New York Times that the fee wouldn’t translate into higher premiums. But basic economics teaches us that instead of absorbing these costs, insurers will pass them on to customers.

Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute has questioned whether the administration even has the authority to impose this new tax. In proposing the regulation, HHS claimed that the text of Obamacare “contemplates” such a user fee. But as Cannon points out, the law actually only suggested user fees as a possible option for the states, while making no mention of the federal government. The relevant portion of the health care law reads: “NO FEDERAL FUNDS FOR CONTINUED OPERATIONS. —In establishing an Exchange under this section, the State shall ensure that such Exchange is self-sustaining beginning on January 1, 2015, including allowing the Exchange to charge assessments or user fees to participating health insurance issuers, or to otherwise generate funding, to support its operations.” Now that HHS officials are struggling to find ways to pay for exchanges — a cost they thought they’d be able to foist on states — they are claiming authority to impose these fees.

Regardless of whether this authority exists, it’s another example of how the Obamacare’s true costs are only going to become known over time. When the law was written and it said “no federal funds” after January 1, 2015, as far as the Congressional Budget Office was concerned, that meant the exchanges won’t impose recurring costs on the federal government. But, now it’s clear that there will be ongoing costs, which the federal government will impose on insurers, who will in turn raise premiums on exchange consumers who receive federal subsidies.
http://washingtonexaminer.com/obamac...s#.UL3xFBzUrPx
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:52 AM   #180
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See anything circular in that last paragraph???
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:54 AM   #181
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*chuckle*

I presaged that the Left would go to war on Natural Gas...

http://hotair.com/archives/2012/12/0...of-the-future/
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:28 AM   #182
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See anything circular in that last paragraph???
Just a case of the government putting into action that which they castigate others for doing.

Only the individual pays taxes, only the individual ever paid any taxes.

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Old 12-04-2012, 08:30 AM   #183
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I like how they ignore the laws they write, like they did with Pay-Go...
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:45 AM   #184
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I like how they ignore the laws they write, like they did with Pay-Go...
If you can 'interpret' the Constitution as a 'living document' then why should any other law be immune to the same process? We're watching "Animal Farm" being played out in real time.

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Old 12-04-2012, 08:49 AM   #185
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Yes, I am surrounded by squealing pigs this morning...



Something seems to have stuck them pretty good this time. I added another one to ignore.
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:09 AM   #186
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Originally Posted by Dances With Falsehoods View Post
Yes, I am surrounded by squealing pigs this morning...



Something seems to have stuck them pretty good this time. I added another one to ignore.
Google 'epistemic closure'. On Lit, it's known as "Brave Marine Syndrome"....bravely hurling insults from the safety and comfort of the Ignore Bunker.
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:14 AM   #187
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You should have drove away pig!
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:30 AM   #188
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Yes, I am surrounded by squealing pigs this morning...



Something seems to have stuck them pretty good this time. I added another one to ignore.
Helps clean things up. When they are all squealing the same story, you only need 'listen' to the more rational of the crowd.

What they never seem to 'get' is that if a law can be morphed in one direction it can be morphed in another. They rejoice today because it morphed in their favor, only to take to the streets tomorrow because it morphed in a new, and unfavorable direction. A form of Monarchy or Dictatorship where whim and whimsy prevail, the only difference being that it takes place somewhat slower.

They also fail to consider the erosive this has on society in general. If the government can re-interpret any law to suit it's own desires then why not the populace at large? Once laws become jokes eventually everyone will start laughing at them and do as they please. And that necessarily leads to revolution or civil war (The difference between the two merely being who won when the dust settles.)

One of the flaws in Alinsky's thesis was that he presumed that it acted in a uni-directional manner in the favor of liberalism. The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is a recent example of 'it ain't necessarily so'.

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Old 12-04-2012, 09:36 AM   #189
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Helps clean things up. When they are all squealing the same story, you only need 'listen' to the more rational of the crowd.l
Irony, thy name is RWCJ.
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:53 AM   #190
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One of the flaws in Alinsky's thesis was that he presumed that it acted in a uni-directional manner in the favor of liberalism. The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is a recent example of 'it ain't necessarily so'.

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Then you have the American liberal fresh from the miscalculations of the Occupy Movement, flying over Cairo on a carpet of naivete and wishful thinking, bubbling over about witnessing an historic unfolding Egyptian democratic revolution. They filed a similar flight plan over Libya as well.
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