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Benefits of big government

Seems it is official, we are all Italians now….

The geniuses have done it, US debt, forgetting the unfinanced liabilities everyone pretends don’t exist, has hit and exceeded 100% of GDP.

Argentinian financing standards.

$15,182,756,264,288.80/$15,180,900,000,000.00 = 100.012%

9 Comments

  1. GW says:

    Yep. Rather embarrassing that. We’ll see if we can’t start getting that cleaned up about 22 Jan. 2013,

  2. CountingCats says:

    GW,

    Regardless of who wins, don’t hold your breath.

  3. Andrew Duffin says:

    @GW: if you’re going to start cleaning it up then, the GOP is going to have find a convincing candidate pretty quickly. A parade of yesterday’s men ain’t about to defeat Mr. O.

  4. Bod says:

    It’s all bullshit anyway. No matter if they pull some god-like Austrian Economist fully- and perfectly- formed out of the Potomac, crown him with laurels and parade him thru’ the streets like the Whore of Babylon – the issue is the legislature, not the executive.

    AFAIC, the Good and Virtuous Voters of the US have to get serious about ensuring that the 530+ drooling, lobotomized halfwits currently infesting the House and Senate are replaced with the first 500 names from the Boston white pages.

    The president is a figurehead. A token (if I dare use the term without some kind of racist slur being inferred). Indeed, possibly even a fetish (in conventional anthropological terms) whose role has become far more significant because the legislature has been packed full of such utter cock-ends for so long, that people have stopped associating the very word ‘Congress’ with ‘leadership’; and certainly with ‘responsible leadership’.

    To the extent that the presidential election matters, a less vigorous and ideological moron in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue might be nice. I’d certainly appreciate one who could fill senior judicial positions with reliable advocates for the earlier amendments of the Bill of Rights, but I’d settle for a healthy Austrian Majority in House and Senate.

    But we won’t get it. America still hasn’t confronted its demons and admitted it has a problem. Until it does, no reforms, no legislation can repair the damage it has wrought upon itself. Like abused spouses, they just can’t resist giving their tormentors just one more chance, ‘because he wuvs us weally, he really does!’.

    When people talk to me about politics, I’ve started saying “I think the problem with American politics is American voters. That means, people like you.” In some cases, I get to say this before I even find out what those peoples’ politics are.

    And to bring it all around to a previous, quite spirited thread, that’s why Perry doesn’t matter. Nor Newt. Nor Ron. Not even Obama. They’re precisely the distraction the voters need so they can ignore the real problem. We are where we are as the result of over 40 years of a ruinous conspiracy between the members of congress, regardless of party affiliation (unless that party is the “I’m alright Jack, oh, and fuck you, hoi polloi” party).

  5. Kevin B says:

    Bod there are a couple of problems with your ‘the presidency doesn’t matter, it’s all down to Congress’ theory. Did I say a couple. I meant a couple of dozen and rising.

    The EPA, DoE, the other DoE, the DoJ, HHS, Homeland security, the this Czar, the that Czar, the other Czar to name but a few. Oh, and don’t forget SCOTUS.

    Yes, there’s a lot of advise and consent needed, but Barry has filled his slots well and together with a signing statement here and an executive order there, the imperial presidency is alive and well.

    That’s why the presidency matters and that’s why the US needs a ‘smaller state’ politician.

  6. Bod says:

    To some extent, yeah, throwing Barry out means all the existing non-elected high priests of bullshit get thrown out, but the legislature can deal with that, should they have the balls. They just defund the organizations.

    If the EPA consisted of one guy, sitting in a broom cupboard, writing memos to himself, I’d be quite happy with that. Czars without a coterie of serfs to Enact Their Will are impotent, which is just how I like ‘em. Ideologically, I don’t think we should have them at all, but I can live with having twice as many, if they were totally de-fanged.

    The SCOTUS, as I indicated, is almost the sole exception. It’s a specific constitutional responsibility that he or she has to perform. And then there are the foreign policy implications of having a shitty president – because it’s clear for all to see now, since we’ve had a string of more- or less- shitty presidents.

    But let’s not claim that the legislature has no ability to curb the excesses of the Presidentially Appointed Sir Humphreys we’re plagued with. Their funding can be slashed, in exactly the same way that any of the bodies under the aegis of the legislature’s budgets can be slashed. It all hinges on having the will to do so. These grasping mandarins crave money and power. Let’s deprive them of half of their motivation, if we can’t deprive them (directly) of the other.

    We need the relationship between the executive and the legislature to be adversarial. Indeed, I think it should on occasion be implacably hostile.

    But if only one branch of government can be ‘put right’, it’s the legislature that would yield greatest benefit.

  7. Bod says:

    … oops, missed the last bit …

    A ‘small government’ president would be a wonderful, precious thing. He’s fire all the czars, appoint reliable originalists or textualists to the SCOTUS at need, and (maybe) help to rehabilitate our relationships with foreign powers.

    But … America will not crumble to dust as a result of poor or dubious foreign policy, or even from having 9 Sotomeyers in black robes handing down toxic rulings on appeal cases.

    What’s going to slay the US is ignoring our economic problems because we’re too testicularly-challenged to confront *ourselves* over entitlements and gew-gaws we’ve convinced ourselves that we have some kind of ‘right’ to. There is no constituency within congress at the moment that is capable of advancing the argument, let alone tabling the issue for formal deliberation.

    THAT, and the proximal effects of such intellectual cowardice, is what’s going to destroy the country. Whether the president’s a socialist, an ancap, a multiple divorcee or a Mormon (or any combination thereof) is such small potatoes, I can’t imagine why everyone’s expending this many calories.

  8. Paul Marks says:

    Oddly enough there are a lot of good people in the Congress – there really are.

    There are also a lot of utter scumbags as well (and not all of them are Democrats), but one could get a majority in the House of Representatives (I am not so sure about the Senate – although another big spending phony “moderate” did announce his retirement yesterday, Ben “Corn Husker Kickback” Nelson.

    However, to get even a majority in the House (let alone the Senate) for real spending cuts one needs a lead from the President.

    The office of President really matters.

    Such things as the Social Security in the 1930s, and the Great Society welfare state schemes (Medicare, Medicaid…..) would never have pushed thru without the lead given by the Presidents of the time.

    Nor would SCHIP in the 1990s or Medicare Part D. in the 2000s.

    Want to limit (let alone roll back) these programs?

    Then you need a President giving a lead.

    Of course you also need to take the Senate – but even with both House and Senate nothing (good) will get done if the President does not give a real lead.

    Another wild spending President (another Bush – or, even worse, another Obama) and you will not need to worry about the United States Congress.

    Because there will be no United States.

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