David Stockman discusses some of the numbers involving deaths I’ve been trying to highlight.
Most people seem content to completely shut down the entire Western world’s economy in the hope that it saves some (mostly sick, mostly elderly) lives from the coronavirus. Now it’s sad when anyone dies, but I hope these same people are ready to stand on breadlines. I hope they’re ready for increased violence in our cities and marshall law declared in many population centers. I hope they’re ready for 25% or higher unemployment. I think these people are underestimating the potential death that could result from the response to this coronavirus. How many people do we need to save for this to be worth it? How will we know how many would have died without these draconian measures? How will we calculate the increased deaths resulting from another Great Depression?
No time for debate. That would be, in Chuck Schumer’s words “ridiculous.” 122 sick and dying people died, possibly a bit sooner than if they had not caught a virus going around. EVERYTHING MUST SHUT DOWN!!! But don’t worry because the FedGov will save everybody by handing over a trillion dollars to favored industries and forcing small businesses who were forced to shut down to pay extra money to their employees who aren’t allowed to work (big, politically connected businesses are exempt).
And where will they get a trillion dollars? “Borrow” from the Federal Reserve I guess. The same central bank that just flooded the market with trillions of dollars to push down interest rates.
I’m sure this will all work out well. Thank God our overlords in Washington love us so much and want to help.
What’s always amazing to me is people’s blind partisanship when it comes to politics. It’s one thing for some Democrat or Republican party hack to change their views based on whatever the current president or a wealthy donor thinks. They’re just trying to gain power for themselves. But people who consider themselves principled conservatives or progressives wind up doing the same thing without realizing it.
Consider the left’s current obsession with Trump and their automatic “resistance” to any and all actions taken by the president. It exposes both their willingness to abandon long held principled positions at a moments’ notice while also showcasing the ridiculous hypocrisy and conflicting belief system inherent in their ideology to begin with.
- Trump supports protectionism and opposes free trade. So now the Left sides with giant outsourcing corporations who open “sweatshops” in China and import cheap goods to the USA. I seem to remember a time when the Left was very supportive of the Labor movement and opposed so called Free Trade agreements.
- Trump attacks the media on a regular basis. So now the Left holds up the Corporate Media as some kind of bulwark of free speech that must be protected and believed at all costs. I seem to remember a time when they fretted over the consolidation of the big media companies and didn’t believe them. But they simultaneously want YouTube and other Tech companies to silence any opinion they disagree with
- Trump likes Russia. So now the Left hates Russia and is willing to risk WWIII to “stand up to Putin.” Didn’t the Left once really like Russia? FDR? Bernie Sanders? What happened?
- Trump hates Bush. Now they yearn for the days when good ‘ol W lied us into the Iraq War.
- Trump wants to get US troops out of the Middle East and stop spending money on endless wars there. So now the Left things that’s irresponsible and of course “we” have to overthrow the evil Assad regime in Syria. But at the same time it was wrong of Trump to pull out of the treaty with their main ally and supporter Iran.
- Trump thinks NATO is “obsolete.” Now the left loves NATO and thinks it must remain sucking on Uncle Sam’s teet forever and ever.
- Trump wants to enforce immigration law and thinks Congress should lower legal immigration numbers. Now the Left thinks it’s a hate crime to make Hondurans live in Honduras. Of course I’m sure if conservative White Americans moved to Honduras they’d have a problem with that. They side with the Koch Brothers and the giant Agribusinesses and fret that some vegetables might “rot in the field” and we’ll have to pay five cents more for strawberries.
- Trump criticizes the FBI and CIA. Now the Left loves the “intelligence community.” This one is probably the one that strikes me as the most bizarre. I never thought the Left would be holding up known liars and war criminals from the evil US State as heroes in their fight against some populist politician.
There is no difference between the current Left and John McCain. There are no principles left on the Left. They’ll support any position or politician as long as it or he is in opposition to Trump.
To be fair many on the right have had similar shifts. They’ve dumped the neocon, crony capitalist dogma of the Bush years to back Trump while the Left has largely embraced that same dogma. I think to some extent Trump is a reflection of these shifting views rather than the cause, but I’m sure there are some who just believe anything Sean Hannity tells them.
I guess the only principled pundits and politicians all along were the neocons. They’ve remained firmly in the anti-Trump resistance and are ready to switch political allegiances to serve their only true concerns: Israel and endless war. God help us if the Left gets power again and allows these evil monsters to regain positions of influence in the Democrat party.
For what it’s worth, I think Trump’s trade policies are horrible, although I generally oppose the misnamed “Free Trade Agreements.” I support his overtures for peace with Russia and North Korea and his criticism of NATO while I disagree with ending the Iran deal. I favor lower immigration levels although making private business enforce the laws or building a wall are not my preferred methods for achieving that. I love how he disparages the Media and our suddenly sacrosanct intelligence agencies.
So says some “strategist” on NBC.
I’m sure she is. He’s not the typical brain dead puppet like Bush or Obama who just goes along with whatever the Banksters tell him. He seems to actually have at least a basic understanding of what the Fed does and how it affects the economy.My prediction: The Fed will raise rates after the election. They’ll have to. It will crash the markets and we’ll have a bad recession.
If it’s President Trump, the Fed will have nothing to lose so they’ll do it sooner than if Hillary wins. Trump will be blamed for bringing “instability” to the economy. He’ll nominate someone else and eventually replace Yellen. Whether he gets someone in there that will be at least somewhat responsible with the interest rates remains to be seen. I honestly can’t even guess what he’ll do.
If Killery wins they’ll do a very small rate increase. They’ll say we were “due for a recession” so it’s not her fault when the markets crash and people start losing their jobs. If things don’t turn around to where the government can claim GDP growth or lower unemployment in time for her re-election campaign, they’ll fuel another bubble with negative interest rates. Clinton will renominate Yellen if Yellen still wants the job. Otherwise she’ll nominate whoever is next in line from the board of governors.
How’s that for a prediction!
Rumors are that should Romney’s VP candidate ascend to Speaker of the House, he will “strong arm” Obama’s trade deal through Congress. This will simply reinforce the fact that the two parties work together to further the interests of powerful global corporations. To be anti-State is, in a sense, to be anti-Big Business.
There are plenty of reasons to oppose the TPP. It actually gives more power to bureaucrats to dictate the terms of trade. It supposedly has all kinds of nonsense about “climate change” and immigration that have nothing to do with trade. It’s a secret deal so that means Obama and the global elites who wrote the bill for him don’t want average Americans, Koreans, Canadians, Australians, etc. to read it because they know it will be unpopular.
But the bottom line is this: Free trade means the government getting out of the way and letting any citizens under its control trade with anyone they want. It doesn’t require one government to reach an agreement with another government. Free trade is unilateral. If we had free trade in the USA, then Americans could engage in unrestricted commerce with people anywhere on the planet. It wouldn’t matter what China or Japan did. Their citizens might have to abide by restrictive laws when trading with Americans, but Americans could do whatever they want.
That’s free trade. If you don’t like it then fine. Argue your case. But don’t pretend that TPP or NAFTA or GATT or any other government acronym advances free trade.
The annual influenza scare is upon us. It’s rather tame by 21st century standards. The powers that be aren’t claiming it’s going to kill all of us this time. But that isn’t stopping Uncle Sam from handing out some big fat checks to one of their favorite special interests, the American farmer.
Several Midwestern governors have declared states of emergency, opening the door for Federal funds. Why is it the State’s job to bail out poultry farmers when some chickens get sick? Is that somehow going to increase the supply of chickens? No, the sick ones are dead or dying. Money isn’t going to change that. The price of eggs, turkey, and chicken has already increased in accordance with the law of supply and demand. If you want chicken, you’ll have to pay a little more for it. Some people will choose not to buy chicken, and therefore people who really want it and are willing to pay the higher prices can still get it. The market works.
So what are the federal funds for? My guess is they’re just to help some of these giant agriculture corporations continue to turn a profit. I mean if they didn’t bail them out and Tyson or Perdue took a loss this year, does that mean the poultry industry would cease to exist? No one would ever raise a chicken again? Of course not.
I assume one argument is that it will help them deal with the outbreak so it doesn’t continue to spread, but again I have to ask, don’t Tyson and Perdue have the resources to deal with this? If the Feds didn’t hand over a couple billion, would they really just sit back and watch every single chicken in the USA die of bird flu? I think these questions answer themselves.
The pope tweeted this gem:
Inequality is the root of social evil.
I guess he hired Barack Obama’s speech writer. The great thing about Twitter, is that there is no room to elaborate on what you’re trying to say. Since any believer would have to admit that God didn’t create a bunch of clones who are all equal in ability, I’ll infer that “his Holiness” (as Catholics and politicians refer to him) means economic inequality. I guess Jorge thinks governments (or maybe the Church?) should decide how much wealth everyone gets and divide everything equally. Hasn’t that been tried before?
Apparently he had an earlier take on so called “Capitalism” that went like this:
“there was the promise that once the glass had become full it would overflow and the poor would benefit. But what happens is that when it’s full to the brim, the glass magically grows, and thus nothing ever comes out for the poor.”
Now people throw around the word “Capitalism” to mean different things. Perhaps Jorge meant the economic fascism we enjoy here in 21st century United States of America. I have plenty of issues with it myself, although I’m not overly concerned with inequality per se.
But let’s set that aside for a minute and just think about what he’s saying. Does he really believe the poor have not benefited from Capitalism? Does he think the poor were better off before all of the technological advances created by Western Civilization over the past 500 years? Were people better off when half of them died as children and the other half were lucky to make it to 50? Are the poor people in countries that have had bigger government and less economic freedom enjoying a better quality of life than poor Americans? Poor Brits? Poor Germans?
Catholicism tends to do much better these days in dirt poor, third world, backwater countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. It’s dying in Europe, the world’s richest continent. Perhaps the pope just wants everybody to be equally miserable so they’ll turn back to the Church. Or maybe I’m too cynical and he’s just plain dumb when it comes to basic economics. After all he is claiming that the “glass magically grows.”
Full disclosure, I am not now, nor have I ever been a Catholic. Still, I can’t find the part of the Bible where Jesus named a Pope and told everyone to listen to everything he says as if it was God himself talking. Maybe it’s in there somewhere. I haven’t read it cover to cover.
“It is not acceptable for people to work full time and live below the poverty line.”
So apparently the National Government gets to decide what’s an acceptable way for people to live their lives.
But putting that aside, the “poverty line” is a government construct as is the “minimum wage.” You can simply set the minimum wage high enough so that anyone working full time will be above the poverty line. Then anyone who can’t find a job for $7.25 (or the $10.10 that Lew would prefer) will be unemployed and collect government welfare. Problem solved. This is how Democrats think. They would rather a person not work than make less than whatever arbitrary hourly wage they come up with. The fact that someone could take a job for $5.00 an hour, learn some skills through that experience, become a more valuable worker, and then begin to earn a higher wage is irrelevant. After all, the minimum wage argument is to get ignorant people to vote for them and to appease Labor Unions who are some of their biggest campaign contributors.
To be fair, Republicans always go along with this for political reasons. They don’t like having this argument so they eventually cave and accept a minimum wage hike. The best you can hope for from them is a “compromise” where they agree to raise it slightly less than the Democrats want.
Still, I’m confused by the numbers. Someone making $7.25 an hour working 40 hours a week earns about $15,080 per year. If it’s a single person, they earned more than the government poverty line number of $11,490. However, if they’re trying to support a family of four then they need to earn $23,350 so they’re well below this. Now raise it to $10.10 and (setting aside the issue of all the people making between $7.25 & $10.10 who get laid off) the annual income is about $21,000. So they’re still not making enough to support a family of four above the Government’s own definition of poverty. Why so stingy then? Where did the $10.10 come from? Why not at least raise it to the $11.22 necessary to earn $23,350 annually since the State is clearly able to legislate poverty out of existence? Hell, if raising the minimum wage doesn’t increase unemployment as advocates insist, why not just raise it to $100 an hour or $1000 an hour so we can all be rich?
For more on this nonsense, I would urge people to read Murray Rothbard.
The Obama regime looks pretty bad right now. The sheer incompetence of the state is evident in a half billion dollar website that doesn’t work. Compare that with Amazon or countless other private sector companies that seem to be able to handle massive web traffic at a fraction of the cost. On top of that Obama has been proven a liar with his pledge that everyone could keep their health insurance plan if they wanted. I’m of the opinion that he probably didn’t know what he was talking about when he said this. He was just repeating what one of his handlers told him. But of course that’s just speculation. The fact that he’s a liar should come as no surprise because he constantly lies.
Now I would be against Obamacare even if it was going relatively smoothly right now. I oppose using violence to force people to buy a product. That’s what Obamacare boils down to. So I’m glad it’s going badly. Hopefully it will turn people who previously supported it against it.
But Americans should really take a closer look at the economics of this. First off, it’s absurd that the Federal government should mandate that all insurance plans contain a set list of things that Obama’s puppet masters apparently think are important: Fertility treatment, abortions, “mental health” treatment, etc. The individual states mandating these types of non-essential services be covered has contributed to the high cost of health insurance in the first place. Healthy people often are not permitted to purchase catastrophic plans in case they get sick while paying for the occasional routine doctor’s appointment out of pocket. Obamcare just mandates this error on a federal level making the problem worse.
Another point being conveniently overlooked is this idea, which the majority of Americans seem to support, that insurance companies should not be permitted to charge higher prices for people with preexisting conditions. This means a healthcare provider must agree up front to pay out more than they can ever hope to collect from a seriously ill patient. This is not insurance. The insurance company is guaranteed to lose money on the deal. The only way they can make up for this is for healthy people to pay higher prices for their insurance. Young healthy people probably would just go without this expensive insurance since they can wait until they get sick and buy it at the same price. So the government steps in and says they will penalize the uninsured. In other words, they’ll force you to buy it whether you want it or not. However, the cost of the insurance is likely to rise faster than the penalties. So this whole thing seems designed to fail. The insurance companies will either collapse, or the Feds will just start taking money to pay for your “insurance” the way they take your taxes. That is, they’ll just withhold it from your paycheck and hand it over to Cigna, Aetna, United, etc.
The main reason healthcare costs are so high is that few people pay out of pocket for any of their medical treatments. Even routine doctor visits are covered by third party health plans that people receive through their jobs. So rather than shop around and consider how much some medicine or treatment costs, they just accept whatever the doctor, hospital, or drug company says. After all, someone else is picking up the bill. This system exists mainly due to previous state interventions in the healthcare market. For example the reason most employers started offering healthcare plans in the first place was as a way around wage controls put in place during World War II. The idea that more government intervention and forcing people into ever more expensive insurance plans will fix the flaws in this system is ludicrous.