November 06, 2012

"How Can You Possibly Believe That?"

I hear that from time to time. As some of you know I'm in college. So on those occasions I allow myself, either be accident or design to by "outed" as to my political leanings I frequently get words to that effect.

"Oh you have got to be squidding me! He's carping about pollacktics again. Thank Cod this election season is fin-ally over"

As some of you know, I'm a conservative.

By today's standards I lean libertarian on a lot of issues but I'm not a strict Jeffersonian, or Jacksonian. The fact that I'm considered a small l libertarian is a measure of how wonky things have gotten. In earlier times I would have been a Federalist or a Whig....

Now, my big "L" libertarian friends are likely asking...

 "How Can You Possibly Believe That?".

The answer is that I think there are some things that need to be done by a government beyond enforcement of contracts. A nation needs infrastructure, some type of energy policy a strong military and while there is no direct sanction for it in the constitution a nation that does not provide for the education of its people is dooming itself. I'm a history buff, and the pure Libertarian utopia that was the Articles of Confederation had failed, miserably. This is why the constitution provided for a strong central government.

..but a vastly less powerful than as we have now.

..and now the progressives  who were nodding like bobbleheads until just now are going to puff up like blowfish and when they get over the shock and bewilderment are going to ask through clenched teeth...

"How Can You Possibly Believe That?"

Well it's simple. There is a reason that a vast majority of the things that a civilization does are not listed in the powers of congress, and it's not because the founders were stupid.

The 10th amendment of the bill of rights explicitly states that we are a FEDERAL system and all those things from a social safety net to garbage collection to edjookaishun are to be administered by the states. This doesn't mean that there is no federal role..see the 16th amendment...taxes, but if we were doing things right money would be apportioned directly to the states by congress with allowances for such things as interstate infrastructure, law enforcement, and natural disasters. The beauty of this system is that the states and territories provide 55 different laboratories in which to try new stuff and make allowances for the vast local variations in culture and geography. There are limits to this autonomy, the 13th and 14th amendments were added to see that the bill of rights is not denied to anyone.

Despite an overlarge federal government this federal system still works, albeit only somewhat. Thus we can see via state governments what policies work and what don't. Defined benefit pensions, closed shop states and crony capitalism got us the rust belt. Vast, intrusive government services and spending like crazy got us the fiscal nightmare that is California. Indeed, nearly every state that is still run by the great society/New Deal model is failing while those that are now governed along less regulated lines with defined contribution pensions are doing better and Texas is doing best of all.

And the progressives ask..
 "How Can You Possibly Believe That?"
The answer of course is 'because I have eyes'.

But wait, it gets worse...

...this is because the federal government is governed along blue state/ ie New Deal/ Great Society lines....and it is heading towards a fiscal cliff.
We're hiring so many GSs to regulate every aspect of life that 6 counties of northern Virginia are the richest, and fastest growing in the country.

This is not because gold or oil have been discovered there, but because  of the high ranking GSs. Nearly all the GS 12s and up reside there now and their numbers have been growing by leaps and bounds. A majority of all jobs created since 2009 have been government jobs...these do NOT add to the economy, they detract from it...because these Vogons are paid by the taxes of people who actually run businesses and contribute to the economy, taking the money out of the hands of people who produce and given to those who harass them.

And these Vogons make a lot...don't take his word for it here is their pay scale. The GS 12s top out in the high 90s and after that it's 6 digits almost all the way. This is bad for a number of reasons. Bureaucrats rise in status and pay by hiring underlings, so they have to expand their scope and responsibility to justify the new hires that will give them the pay raise.
This has implications.
THEY CAN'T SOLVE ANYTHING, because that would end their jobs. They need to expand the scope of their regulations which means more hoops to jump through for those that run businesses. So they are costing us an arm and a leg, they are inhibiting economic growth and they are becoming ever more intrusive. Oh and they have pensions...not 401Ks but those idiotic defined benefit pensions that pay out until they die, so we end up paying for more than are actually working.

None of this is to say that we don't need federal workers to deal with law enforcement across state lines, genuine interstate issues like infrastructure, pollution, interstate crime,  saftey of food that crosses state lines, communicable disease outbreaks and such. Additionally, no one should  begrudge the millitary, or foreign service personnel who unlike GSs are asked to die a little if called upon.
 The problem with those responsibilities is that they aren't growth industries if done right and they tend to involve field work. Both of these are serious issues for the new aristocracy that has sprung up around the beltway.

This is not the worst thing though...
Then there are entitlements.

We can't cut the benefits of those on, or within 10 years of getting SSI and Medicare, because due to the promises made to them and the fact that they are utterly dependent on the system to cut them off would be so much like evil that it would actually be evil.

And the Libertarians ask...
 "How Can You Possibly Believe That?"
Because it would be evil to throw old people into the snow.

What we can do is do is means testing and let the people who are more than 10 years from 65 know that they are gonna have to start putting money away in savings and investment and over the next decade or two, gradually, in dribbs and drabs, privatize the federal programs along the lines of  the republic of can't be done all at once because that would create a bigger bubble than we have ever seen and destroy the economy in a few years.

In any event we are heading to a financial cliff.

This is the debt, not the deficit, the debt.

As you can see we have NEVER gotten things under control since WW1. We started to pay it down in the 20s but then the New Deal happened. In addition to extending the depression it payed for all its vote buying goodies by borrowing and kicking the can down the road. Over 3 generations people became accustomed to the bennies they were dishonestly told their payroll taxes were paying for. In fact the New Deal/ Great Society programs were bought on a credit card and never paid in order to make it easy to pay this down the Obama administration is printing money, to reduce its value causing inflation.  We are heading to a situation similar to that of Weimar fiscal collapse.

Now the big L Libertatians might say: "This was caused by both vote for Gary Johnson"

Of course that is ill advised.

Then the  big L Libertatians are likely to ask..
 "How Can You Possibly Believe That?"

Because I'm a history buff...
Libertarians want a blossoming of individual liberty.
Historically, there have  been other countries that faced the type of fiscal crisis we face and did not deal with it. Those were countries like the Weimar Republic, Argentina, Zimbawe, Bolivia and now Greece, where the Nazis just got seats in parliament.
How'd that hopey changey stuff work out for individual liberty?

Hungry, desperate people do not vote for liberty, they vote for whoever will feed them, protect them and kill whoever they see as competition.

So...If we don't get our fiscal house in order in the next 3-5 years, the demographic bomb of the later baby boomers will bankrupt us.

We are screwed..

NO WAIT! We have..., Mitt Romney?

You see, Romney cut his teeth taking over failing companies and saving them. This is the only skillset that is applicable to his current crisis.

Romney is presented as a big meanie because he fired people who were unnecessary for these firms operation or who were wasting company resources.

In the context of the federal government these would be represented by people like THIS.
The General Services Administration (GSA) has been embroiled in a huge scandal involving the use of taxpayer money to throw a lavish party in Las Vegas that involved a clown and mindreader, amongst a whole bunch of other random things.

Romney gave good results to his shareholders. in the context of the USA that would be...all of US!

Romney is far from perfect, but he seems to be as decent a fellow as one is going to find in politics.

However, given the looming desperate situation his past performance with saving the Olympics, Massachusetts, and various companies is most relevant.  He is one of the few people on the planet that MIGHT have the skillset to be able to turn around our ship of state..if things break our way...because we are on the brink of something truly dire.

And in unison the  big "L" Libertarians and Progressives will likely ask..
 "How Can You Possibly Believe That?"


For those of you who who are still considering voting for a third party... (or Davros...and you know who you are.)...there is this final 7 minute plea for sanity.

Anyway, that's my reasoning...

Don't forget to vote. Tomorrow is likely to be a very near run thing.

UPDATE: It was we lost.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 02:18 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 1726 words, total size 13 kb.

1 Cutting loose the dead weight would seem to be the number one skill needed by an incoming president these days.  Cautiously optimistic here on the far side of the world (as a small-l libertarian myself, inoculated early on by Robert Heinlein).

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Tue Nov 6 09:15:03 2012 (PiXy!)

2 It gets worse.

A lot of people's private retirement accounts are tied up in the stock markets, due to an overwhelming advantage in taxation. The government has been encouraging people to put money in 401(k)-type plans for ages.

This has resulted in a great deal of money being allocated into stocks that otherwise wouldn't necessarily be in that market. (Granted that some of it has also gone into bonds.) And, lo and behold, as we've seen retirement plans switch from traditional pensions to individual stock accounts, the index value of the stock market has multiplied several times...

Unfortunately for us, we have a well-known demographic bubble ahead. What happens when all of those boomers stop putting money into the stock market for retirement, and start taking it out in order to actually retire? The answer is going to be a general decline in stock prices across the board, the same way as we've seen a general increase, right?

So what's going to happen when a bunch of baby boomers who are on the cusp of retirement suddenly see their stock holdings start to lose value? Those who can get out of the market will do so... sparking further reductions in prices, spooking more boomers. It's at least the seed of a full-blown stock panic...

Leaving that aside, the US faces a different set of problems than, say, Weimar or Zimbabwe.

Those two countries were effectively powerless. The US... well, it ain't. Anyone who believes that the US economy would enter a death spiral and not decide to export some of its problems is being delusional...

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at Tue Nov 6 15:28:50 2012 (GJQTS)

3 I'll agree with you on everything but education. Depending on the government for education is like handing politicians a blank check and saying "please use whatever you need to propagandize our children."

Posted by: RHJunior at Wed Nov 7 11:12:23 2012 (hZlxe)

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