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Is Our Belt Way Too Tight? A Remarkable Capacity For Self Delusion

Posted by admin | Posted in Inside the Beltway | Posted on 11-08-2011

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Is Our Belt Way Too Tight? A Remarkable Capacity For Self Delusion

First you notice that your kidneys hurt, then you realize that your lower extremities are running out of blood and oxygen. Is it some dreaded fatal disease? No! It is simply the reaction to a condition that can be easily relieved. Just loosen your dam>ed belt! Unfortunately our beloved nation is not as easy to cure from the same disease. Our inside the beltway crew are still flailing away and calling for an MRI to expose the culprit responsible for their pain.

 

Our new President is, well, new to the job. That is the kindest thing I can say for the bright young man. Our Senate is on the other hand as old and corrupt as the senate of Rome during the Reign of Claudius. Yes that is the term, corrupt. They are not capable of thinking for the good of the nation, only the good of a few of the protected species inside the beltway. A Zoo is a better place to test for survival of the fittest than Washington D.C. in our time.

 

It would be nice if we could find a way to couch this recent set of failures related to our Financial Crisis in simple partisan terms. Both sides of the aisle have been relentless in their pursuit of mediocrity verging on incompetence. Now they are flailing away at the Crisis far on the wrong side of that line. I wish I could really blame someone and cry for their defenestration at the least. Unfortunately the fault lies not just in our leaders but in ourselves.

 

That conclusion has been reached by watching as the high priests of economic policy bless the Stimulus Package to nowhere. The expenditures are small enough that no one can say they have totally spent all of our future income in one swelled foop. But the numbers are large enough to make the eye and mind quail. So far it looks like we have, by now, committed one and a half trillion dollars to our efforts that are supposed to save our economy.

 

Between the stock market and the devalued housing stock in the country we have lost over ten trillion dollars in asset valuation since this began in 2007. The infusion of one and a half trillion dollars back into the economy has done and will do nothing very useful. Oh yes there will be winners and losers, in the collapse of economies there are always winners and losers.

 

The winners will be those who stole the money in the first place and those with their hands in the public till right now. The losers will be those who actually do the work of our nation. The politics of our time have created a chasm between the interests of the wealthier investor classes and the interests of the working classes. Of course the divide is always there. It is now very much larger than it has been in the last sixty years.

 

The preferential tax treatment of income from wealth invested over income from work is huge. It is enough to punish everyone who works inordinately. Added to that is the fact that now wealth is protected in many ways by policy. Work is readily removed and transported to a location far from our workers home. This is not a cry for class warfare, it is a statement of how polarized our government’s view of the world has become.

 

Our representatives are looking at the world through the eyes of their advisors. The lobbyists and leaders of our financial and industrial giants have a huge impact on our legislative process. That has impacted our regulatory apparatus. It has demolished any resistance to making the companies that are too big to fail still bigger and more inefficient. The core of the issue of any stimulus package is who pays and who benefits.

 

If you look at the current approach it becomes quickly evident that we are saving some big losers at the expense of the rest of us. It is also clear that we have reduced the value of the once mighty dollar, which is the value basis for all of our assets. That value will be continually declining for the next decade once the crisis is over and the winners and losers are evident. Thus in the end everyone actually loses unless they have invested in gold or oil or one of the more stable currencies in the world.

 

Of course I could be wrong and the rest of the world’s currencies might be so damaged that they decline faster than the dollar. That will not necessarily work to anyone’s benefit. Much of the rest of the world is already too poor to survive without our markets and those of Western Europe. Income declines in Bangladesh are not a problem, they are life threatening. We are lucky here, even when saddled with our beltway. That might be hard to remember just now but it remains true in spite of everything we have done to destroy our economy. Even the stimulus, when it fails will not destroy what is left. It will just wind up being one more marker directing us toward needed change.

Henri Reynard is an Author, Armchair Economist, Serial Entrepreneur, Science Buff and Political Junkie. Henri was born just before the beginning of this nation’s entry into WWII. He is politically to the right of Genghis Kahn and socially far to the left of Mao. His center is on the other side of the political circle from the people who are partisan by reflex. He has also claimed that he was raised by Foxes in the wild and now runs with Wolverines in preference to politicians. These facts are self evident in his writing.


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