Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Good Morning, All.  It is raining today and we may have snow later tonight, after the temperature drops over the course of the day.  Doesn't matter since I have no where I really have to go.

Doing my usual morning trip through the blogs that come up on my google searches I found this entry from the Christian Science Monitor that angers me on a couple of levels.  First, is this little item: among the fiscal messes Obama found on entering office was "almost $11 trillion in Treasury debt, and deficits of more than $1 trillion a year for the foreseeable future."  Yesterday, a blogger (sorry I don't remember who and can't link) wrote that the $1 trillion deficits really were not that bad compared to a GDP of about $14 trillion, the size of the economy today.  Well that Treasury debt, if it is in fact $11 trillion, is getting really close to the size of the overall economy.  Second, "Bush's team borrowed more than $1 trillion from the Social Security "trust fund" and seemed to spend it on everything except Social Security."  How far would that $1 trillion have gone to shoring up the financial base of the program?  Last, and I will let you go to the link and read the rest, is the fact that in the budget, as in so much else that deals with the economy, the government has used cherry picked data and statistical models to disguise what they have done and what has been happening to our economy.  Figures don't lie but our elected and appointed liars sure can figure.

I came across something else yesterday that also raised my hackles a bit.  I was listening to the talking heads on CNBC and the topic was the extension of unemployment benefits.  A couple of these dear boys, who are obviously employed in good paying jobs, criticised the extension on the grounds that it would, like all such programs, simply encourage unemployment.  People would simply continue to receive benefits until they ran out and then, miraculously, find a job. An interesting thing about having read a good deal of history, including some primary sources, is that I see parallels between ideas floating around today and ideas that appeared in the past.  The argument above is very similar to those posed by apologists for the southern slave system and for the abysmal working conditions and pay in the norther cities.  The Negro slave was, according to the first, a lazy beast who only worked hard and consistently with the spur of the lash and the firm hand of the owner or overseer driving him on.  The poor and working class beasts were likewise, according to the latter, lazy at heart and would only work hard with the spur of hunger driving them on.  In both cases, anything done to ease their circumstances would be counterproductive.  Therefore, it is better to do nothing at all.  Or as Scrooge said, 'If they be like to die, let them do it and reduce the surplus population.'

Archcrone at The Crone Speaks has an interesting post today.  She notes that many of the state governors who are in favor of the stimulus package are from so-called red states.  She also notes that many of the 'red' states send less in taxes to Washington than they receive while the industrialized blue states end more to Washington than they get back essentially subsidizing the anti-tax, anti-union, anti-environmental red states.  Hard to believe?  Not really.  I have almost always lived in blue areas of otherwise red states.  That formula works on that level also.  The blue areas pay more than they get back while the red areas get back more than they pay.

I was wondering why GM wasn't asking for more from the U.S. Government to bail it out of its mess.  Now I know, thanks to a BBC article which claims that GM is lobbying Sweden, Germany and the UK for bail outs equalling the amounts the U.S. has put up.  I noticed the graphic last night which showed the 'brands' the company is planning to phase out.  I caught the Hummer and Saab logos but wasn't quick enough to see all of them.  One of the reporters on CNBC said yesterday that the banks should be downsized and never again allowed to grow to the size where they can put an economic gun to the taxpayers' heads and insist on being bailed out 'or else.'  Perhaps we should say the same for the automakers?  Perhaps everyone ought to rethink the 'benefits' of globalization?

Well, time to go on to something else.  Bye for now.

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