America Goes Dark, by every Progressive’s favorite economic demagogue and Obama cheerleader, Paul Krugman, blames America’s economic and infrastructural demise on…you guessed it…the greedy rich people hoarding all that cash.
However, a commenter at the end of the article really brought it home when he completely destroyed Krugman’s soliloquy with this brilliant bit of logical deconstruction, quoted here in full for posterity to review when they’ve run out of other people’s money.
I am a Democrat that voted for President Obama. I do not agree with Mr. Krugman’s government spending philosophy to get us out of the economic morass. Government finance is no different than an individual or a co…mpany… if you spend more than you make, you will go bankrupt. Mr. Krugman advocates that the government keep spending while we raise taxes on the rich to compensate.
Well, I guess I fall into his “rich” category. I own a global business. I employ 150 folks full-time in India, 60 folks full-time in the US and 5 in the UK. My company made a before tax profit of $1,800,000 last year. I personally bring home less per year than I pay in taxes. Why? Because as an LLC, every bit of profit I make is taxed on my personal taxes. I bring home around $185k and pay around $600,000 in federal taxes. The rest is plowed back into the company to hire more folks and buy additional infrastructure. Also, I pay employee health and dental care, retirement benefits, 401k matching, long and short term disability and dental. I don’t borrow anything to do this.
That extra 4% of federal taxes (once the Bush tax cuts expire) will cost me an additional $70,000 or so. On top of that, the President advocates increasing the cap on Self Employment tax. The new taxes would add an additional $22,000. I am looking at around $92k in total additional taxes. So, some of you would say deduct from your $185k take home. Others would say, simply don’t hire an additional two employees or cut some of those rich benefits you give to your employees.
Either way I go, you have just taken $92,000 out of the hands of someone who can use that money to increase America’s wealth… either by adding employees or buying additional computers, etc. So, since the government will take it from me… where should that money go? To bailing out banks? How about bailing out someone in foreclosure? Hmmm… maybe you could use it to bail out the states or the local governments. California perhaps? How about Bell, California?
The Twitter feed @SpeakerBoehner posted 20 minutes ago:
When will Dems get serious about cutting spending to help end uncertainty facing job creators so they can get back to creating jobs?
The Dems are not serious, Mr. Speaker. You should not entertain any imaginations and fantasies that they will reach across the aisle, except in an attempt to break your arm. Think of them as domestic terrorists who have planted and are protecting a debt bomb to blow up the country so they can establish a socialist “democracy”. They are an enemy, not a friend.
Instead, you need to get serious and start proposing real cuts. $60 billion in an ocean of trillions of dollars of deficit spending is an insult to the good people who voted you into office.
Did you hear us? It’s NOT GOING TO BE ENOUGH.
Stop playing around and get serious. You need to define them for who they are…an enemy of freedom. Float a bill threatening to charge them all with treason if you have to.
“Deficit spending,” concluded Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors (1987-2006), “is simply a scheme for the hidden confiscation of wealth.” And that is precisely the prescription necessary to establish Democratic Socialism.
Speaker Boehner is on Meet the Press getting chummy with David Gregory who is asking him about birthers and Eric Cantor is yukking it up with Wolf Blitzer but not one member of the House leadership made it to Phoenix this past weekend to attend the Tea Party Patriots Summit, which is the finest example of not dancing with the one that brung you I can recall.
The old House guard is stuck in 1995, fighting the Battle of Newt’s Hill, haunted by the casualties –even though the House was not lost then and the Clinton presidency was saved by Ross Perot and Bob Dole. The remnants of the GOP class of 1994 learned nothing, apparently, and forgot everything they should have remembered, including the part about shaping the political battlefield with specific proposals made far in advance of actual votes and demanding your opponents counter.
Like the dog that finally caught the ice cream truck it had been chasing all these years, the House GOP is perplexed and frozen, unwilling to declare what needs to be done.
Unwilling, it seems, to lead.
Perhaps Scott Walker, John Kasich and Chris Christie could spend a day with the House GOP and lay out for them what it takes, including a willingness to get into the fray and make the case even if 49% of the audience is booing.
Modern America is finding out that even though immigration from across an Eastern or Western ocean is relatively easy to control, immigration from a large southern and northern land border is not.
Let’s do a quick thought experiment: How would things be different today if the American Indians had the technology, the capability, and the unity to secure their borders when the first groups of Europeans began to arrive? Some suggestions:
There might not have been nearly as much extermination of indigenous people by foreign disease
There would have been more protection of Native American language
There would have been more preservation of Native American culture
How many others can you think of?
Since early times in this country, and in others, leaders recognized a need to control the borders from foreign influences as they sought the best good for themselves and/or their people. We live in a highly imperfect world, and there are no signs that erasing natural or unnatural borders will mitigate this hard fact of life. So, there should be no shame in protecting one’s borders other than not doing it fully. Borders protect language, culture, economics, religion, ethics, morals, and a host of other properties of a successful nation. The Romans knew this. The Persians knew this. The Assyrians knew this. The Chinese knew this.
Fast-forward to the modern era. Whatever has happened in the past, there is nothing that can be done to reverse it. Endless and recursive reparations could be paid and frequent and deep apologies made for many generations in many lands (not just the U.S.) and it would never change a thing about historical events. What is happening now is of the utmost importance because the course we’re charting will lead to outcomes that our descendants will have to live with. We do not have the right to make a bad decision on their behalf.
Below I will outline my own reasons for protecting the borders of the United States of America. They’re not what you think they are. I am a European mutt, with the blood of ancient Celtics, Danes, Welshmen, Normans, and Irishmen running through my veins. My particular ancestors (the ones whose histories I could trace), despite an initial few awkward encounters with Native Americans, largely came to live peacefully with the country’s prior inhabitants and, to my knowledge, none of them ever owned a slave. I am a private citizen, not a politician running for any office. I owe allegiance to no political party (I’m an Independent) or ideology other than that of freedom and justice for all and a preference for the rule of law over the rule of kings, tyrants, or the mob. I enjoy listening to talk radio for insights and perspectives from personalities and callers alike, but likewise owe zero allegiance to any particular personality. I listen to them all as I make my own effort to think critically and act logically.
Why America’s Current Borders Should Be Protected From Illegal Immigration and Invasion by Foreign Powers
Reason #1: Protecting Economics and Entitlements
This is where liberals and conservatives should see eye-to-eye. Conservatives don’t want any more burden on their tax dollars than they’re already stuck with. Liberals don’t want to lose their entitlements due to budget cuts or state and national bankruptcies.
When my wife and I were first married, we attended church in a Latino congregation. I believe every family but one (the Bishop’s) was living in the U.S. illegally. It wasn’t a secret. It just was. We served them as best we could with our meager newlywed resources, but mostly we tried to help them help themselves out of poverty, encouraging them to get their papers in order when it seemed appropriate to ask them to do so. But many still relied on what the government provided, despite their immigration status.
My uncle, a Gringo like me, was a factory manager in Mexico most of his working life. We visited him in Guadalajara and in Hermosillo and his son continues to work there to this day. His family’s ties there because of his work there are very strong, even leading to the adoption of my youngest cousin from just across the U.S. border.
So, in my pre-Clinton days, I was pro-NAFTA. What wasn’t to like? No tariffs, people have jobs, and everyone’s happy and healthy when we all cooperate to expand our economic base. Right?
Not so fast. NAFTA has been a qualified disaster as far as worker’s rights on the Latino side and retention of jobs on the U.S. side. My uncle always treated his employees exceptionally well. Because of that, he was well loved and well-respected by everyone who worked for him. And, the companies he has worked for did a fair job of it with or without his help. But, let’s face facts. The reasons a U.S. company moves its manufacturing operations to Mexico or any other developing country, is largely for cost savings. (That means they’re looking for cheaper labor and a lower standard of living.)
In a broader sense, by granting amnesty and having open borders, we would quickly open our nation up to too many dependents who likely won’t be able to contribute back in the same measure or more as they remove from the system until the 2nd or 3rd generation. Allowing all comers, under the guise of “allowing free markets to flourish”, to pour into the country and use up its benefits without contribution, regardless of documentation status or desirable characteristics (preferably non-criminals and people who don’t belong to MS-13 or the Latin Kings), is a way to ensure that entitlements from prison funding to Medicare/Medicaid, to the world’s best health care system, to Social Security will fail–and fail hard.
Kind of like it’s doing now.
My grandmother was living in Arizona with my mom about 30 miles north of the Mexican border. She had moved back there after 30 years of being away from the area she had been a school teacher in prior to retirement. I remember her telling stories about the cute Mexican kids and how much she enjoyed teaching them in a Nogales elementary school.
But she also told me stories of how Mexicans and people from points further south crossing a then relatively unenforced border would break into houses quite regularly to steal whatever they could find that would finance the rest of their journey into the U.S. She had often contemplated putting a sign on her windows and doors saying, “Don’t bother…everything’s already been stolen” just to keep them from breaking windows and busting door locks.
In 2005, she fell and fractured her hip. Upon arrival at a Tuscon hospital emergency room, she was told to have a seat and someone would be right with her.
Hold the phone! Have a seat? Broken pelvis here!
The ER was in triage mode. You see, there were so many Latino folks there that evening, many of them fellow travelers of immigrants who had gotten critically injured in car wrecks or immigration raids or gang violence and needed medical help, that they had to treat the life-threatening situations first. Since Grandma wasn’t bleeding out, she and my mom would have to take a seat and wait.
Eight hours later, Grandma was admitted to the ER. By then, she was deep in shock and had been sitting on a fractured pelvis for all that time.
Hospitals in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Texas, and now other states are having to accommodate illegals, sometimes ahead of citizens, because of fears of bad PR or financial impacts if an immigrant dies or sues the hospital. The fact that they’re operating at a loss with patients who can’t pay for services is apparently worth mitigating a visit from the ACLU.
Reason #2: Everybody’s Doing It
Mexico, for example, protects its southern border from Central American immigration incursions. They know what problems we’re experiencing as a result of our porous border and they’re learning from our mistakes. Though, they are actually more ruthless now about it than we’ve ever been.
Mexico also protects its interests from American economic and cultural incursion by requiring us to present all kinds of documentation when we cross the either of their land or sea borders. Just try going to Mexico without the proper documentation sometime and see how far you get before you’re stuck in a jail cell desperately asking for a phone call so you can pay enough mordida to get out.
Reason #3: Safety and Security
History is ruthless in telling us one inescapable fact of human existence. There are good guys and there are bad guys. Some good guys live in tribe A and some bad guys live in tribe B. Likewise, there are bad guys in tribe A just as there are good guys in tribe B. The difference between them is who wields power and influence. The logical tautology is that it’s best for the good guys to wield the power and influence. A corollary to that is the idea that if you have a good thing going, it’s probably a good idea to keep it safe from disruption by outside influences.
And guess what? It’s relatively easy for radical Islamonazi terrorists having Middle-Eastern characteristics to cross the southern border undetected. They do this, and have been doing it for years, with the help of anti-American narco-trafficking drug lords who only want guns and money to further protect their cartels.
In 1994, I was in a Guatemalan/Mexican border town. The village had come to be known among locals and foreigners alike as “Little Tijuana”. A man in a crowd tried to engage me in conversation in English and ask me for assistance in getting to the U.S. to see his family.
I was young and naïve at the time, and he looked like any other Guatemalan mestizo I had ever talked to. The fact that he was talking to me in English didn’t raise any red flags. Lots of Guatemalans did that when they saw Gringos like me. It simply never crossed my mind to ask him further questions about his circumstances.
Seeing that I was friendly, and probably detecting my naiveté, he offered his background of his own accord, telling me that he was a Chechen rebel who had fled the conflict with Russia to seek financial assistance for the Chechen resistance effort from his brother in Los Angeles. Then he lifted up his shirt and showed me a bloody bandage. Then he uncovered the bandage to show me a gaping, but healing bullet wound. He had two other fully healed bullet wound scars on his right forearm and left shoulder.
Well, that was certainly exciting for a country bumpkin like me living in a foreign land. And who wouldn’t want to help a “freedom fighter” with such an effort, especially if it was against the “Ruskies”? I told him I didn’t have those kinds of contacts or resources, but as the humanitarian I endeavored to be, I gave him my family’s phone number and address in case he needed someone to call or visit when he got to the States and ask them to look up his family’s phone numbers and addresses. That way he could get in touch with his family and they could help him and the war effort against the Russians.
It wasn’t until after 9/11 that I began to look into this whole Muslim thing in more detail. I was also interested in that my aunt was of direct Middle-Eastern descent, 100%, but her parents were Lebanese Christian, pro-American immigrants who arrived here legally.
American language is overwhelmingly English. Everything we read, from street signs to newspapers, is English language. Some would like our government to publish its documents, including tax forms, in multiple languages so we can seem to be more incluuuuuuusive.
We’ll also be more broke than a nag horse walking into a glue factory if we do that. The compliance burden of just the IRS tax code alone is in the tens of billions. You can already get tax forms in Spanish, so we know that at least half of the compliance cost is represented by a foreign language. But can you imagine translating every other government form, let alone traffic signs, DMV tests, building permits, etc. ad nauseum to the mix?
Reason #5: Protecting Culture
America’s heritage is a beautiful mosaic of music, art, literature, food, history, and the way people live their lives. I wouldn’t trade that for the world. I also wouldn’t trade it for a Latin-American free-for-all mass immigration that would ensue the moment we grant amnesty to anyone wanting to come here. Such an influx of a single culture would threaten to overwhelm and eventually erase the varied international, intercontinental cultures we have now, replacing them with a largely Latin-American one. Don’t get me wrong, I love Latin-American culture to death. It’s my favorite, actually. But that’s not all I’d want to see every time I set foot outside my door.
Reason #6: Protecting Jobs
This pretty much goes without further argument. In the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression, and one that is predicted to get even worse, I don’t think we can afford to flood an already overburdened labor market with more laborers. And Americans will do any job if they get hungry enough.
Reason #7: Protecting Immigrants and their Families! (Imagine that!)
“What about the families!”, I’m always hearing. “If we deport the moms and dads, then the kids will suffer! The families at home they send money to will no longer get their remittances!”
A dear friend from Guatemala, after whom I named my first daughter, married in Guatemala and she and her husband had a little baby boy. Then, hearing that money in America grows on trees and falls from the sky, he got dollar signs in his eyes and went north. He said he’d be back in 6 months to a year, which is a common thing for a Guatemalan man to say to his wife just before he abandons her to go to the U.S.
Two years later, having not heard anything from him and desperate to know anything about her husband and father of her child, she left her toddler son with her mother, borrowed the family’s life savings, and paid a coyote for passage to the U.S. border. After weeks of traveling, she and the other paying passengers were unceremoniously dumped somewhere along the Arizona border near Nogales. She only found that out later, and was lucky to live to tell that tale, because their group wandered in the desert for days looking for civilization. Some died. She almost did.
Now she lives in Los Angeles, California. Her husband is cheating on her and she’s bound by her honor to pay back the over $5,000 she borrowed from the family savings as she slowly scrapes by cleaning hotel rooms and waiting tables. She madly misses her young son, who is now growing up without a mother and a father, and who only knows her and his father by photographs and telephone conversations. She wants so much to return, but hubby isn’t interested. He’s chasing the dream, even though they’re barely paying the bills.
When she told me of her intent to try to find her husband in the States, I offered to do it for her but I begged her not to put herself in harms way by making the dangerous journey and crossing the border. She now goes between wishing she had listened and hoping her husband will come to his senses, pitch in to pay her debt, and return with her to raise their son. After what she experienced coming here, she wisely rejects any suggestion that they send for her son to come to them here in the same way they both did.
Good Guys vs. Bad Guys? What is this, a Spaghetti Western?
One might argue, how do you tell the good guys from the bad guys, especially in an era of inclusion (moral relativism) and tolerance (competing political and religious ideologies)?
You can tell good guys from bad guys by how they treat their own people and others. It helps even more to compare such things within the context of their nation’s founding principles and ideals for a better society.
It appears that I’ve just left the door wide open for direct criticism of only America, because only imperialist, capitalist America has done bad things in the world, right?
If you believe that, I have a few books on the Holocaust and a couple of good web sites tracking the various ongoing genocides in Africa to send you. If you’d like, I’ll even send along a body count estimate of the various dictatorships and Communist regimes this world has suffered under in the past century. Call now and you’ll get a free outline of the way ancient cultures used to treat each other that will make you grateful to not have been living in times when life was nasty, brutish, and short.
America, on the other hand, has acted to repair the damage and to improve conditions in ALL the countries it has ever invaded or fought with.
America has fallen far short of the vision of the Founders in recent decades, it’s true. But one thing unrevised American history teaches us is that, despite our warts of slavery and injustices towards Native Americans, both terrible things in their own right, the populace at large was not doing those things out of hatred or spite. They were acting within the confines of their own chronology. They were living in their own minds, culture, and times, and were doing the best they could with the knowledge they then had. They didn’t have the benefit of jumping ahead to the future and realizing how their actions were going to affect so many people. And it does us no benefit, nor does it exact any real vengeance, to denigrate dead people by posthumously applying our values and judgments to their times.
Columbus didn’t have microbiologists in his day to advise him of the dangers of contacting indigenous peoples.
Columbus didn’t have bodies of university professors and UN human rights commissions to advise him on multicultural issues that might arise from the way he and his men interacted with native San Salvadorans according to the European customs and cultural assumptions of the time.
Columbus didn’t have a time machine to go forward and realize that, not only had he not reached the Orient, but that the gold he sought was largely all the way on the Rocky Mountain end of a mainland continent hundreds of miles away from his initial landing spot.
It’s not collectively America’s fault that it was successful. It’s not collectively America’s fault that free markets require fiscal and personal responsibility to function properly. It’s not collectively America’s fault that people become addicted to drugs that happen to be sourced largely in other countries and trafficked here across our southern border. It’s not collectively America’s fault that people make poor decisions to join narco-trafficking gangs and immigrate here and import third-world problems into our cities and towns and neighborhoods.
But it will be America’s fault, collectively, if we fail to rein in the insanity of our unenforced borders. Future generations of all cultural and national backgrounds rely on our decision today to responsibly build and enjoy a strong nation.
Unlike Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia, who also found ObamaCare to be unconstitutional, Judge Vinson addresses the Administration’s fallback argument that the Constitution’s Necessary and Proper Clause justifies the law even if the Commerce Clause doesn’t. He writes that this clause “is not an independent source of federal power” and “would vitiate the enumerated powers principle.” In other words, the clause can’t justify inherently unconstitutional actions.
Did it really take all this hassle and division and power-grabbing to come around to a ruling that amounts to a 7th grade civics lesson? And the ruling, in favor of 26 states, was only 78 pages long, not 2,300!
Apparently for the Constitutional-Scholar-In-Chief, it’s time for some “judicial review” of the basic principles of the Constitution. And brevity.
Aftershock is not your typical “make millions on short selling stocks” type of finance book. It’s also not so laden with technical and obfuscative jargon that you feel like you’ve been trapped in a room with Alan Greenspan.
Aftershock is more of a macroeconomics book by macroeconomists, but written in terms that anyone with a high school diploma could understand. The authors, David Wiedemer, PhD, Robert A. Weidemer, and Cindy Spitzer make predictions not just of near-term financial events, but also uncover the larger evolutionary pattern of economics from what we know now to the next stage. They can do this with a remarkable degree of confidence because they were the ones who correctly and descriptively predicted the events of 2008, which they call America’s Bubble Economy (authoring also a 2006 book by that name).
So, why do you, the average blog reader, care about this book when so many others have written similar books? Because this book is decidedly NOT similar to other finance and economics books. It is based on analysis of long-term trends coupled with true economic drivers and stressers. There is absolutely zero “cheerleading” (if anything, they are rather gloomy throughout the book) and the political undertones are remarkably neutral, veering neither left nor right, but going straight down the road of objectivity. From what I could tell, the authors are not trying to sell certain financial instruments for their benefit, although they do point out certain ones that could do well in an Aftershock economy.
The best way to introduce what Aftershock is mostly about is to present the first four bubbles they predicted to pop around 2008-2010.
Appendix A describes in detail the forces driving the collapse of these bubbles and Appendix B proposes a set of likely solutions.
The first two parts of the book cover such topics as The Bubblequake (Phase I), The Aftershock, a global mega-money meltdown, how not to lose money, how to cash in on the chaos, and what Aftershock jobs and businesses will look like.
The third part of the book talks about the new economy that will necessarily evolve from the Aftershock and how holding that new view in 2006 helped the book’s authors to correctly predict the current Bubblequake. It also delves into the psychology of why leading economists and financial advisers, including Alan Greenspan chose to ignore what was right in front of them even when doing so was obviously to their detriment (hint: cheerleading). Part three is rounded out by a look ahead to the post-dollar-bubble world.
Yes, I said “post-dollar”. Meaning, there will be no more dollar. The prediction they make, in a rather politically detached manner, is that the next logical level of progression is what they’re generically calling (because such things have yet to occur, let alone be named) IMUs, or International Monetary Units, that will be mostly, if not totally electronic in nature.
If you’re still reading this, you’re probably to the right of center. And religious, or at least have one eye on the Book of Revelation. But I have to tell you that my reading of this book is that it, again, is decidedly not taking a right vs. left or religious vs. atheist position. They’re really, with a straight face, saying that the only possible outcome after every other solution is exhausted, is for currency to stabilize at the international level, starting with the G8 economies and gradually spreading to G20 economies and then to the rest of the world (with the possible exception of people in Papua New Guinea still bartering with shells). Wiedemer argues that this is the only way to reduce or eliminate inflation.
Here’s where I disagree with the authors. They state that there will not be all the political upheaval and war as typified in fiction literature or apocalyptic thinking. There will be a huge amount of societal turmoil and a lot of psychological pain as people adjust to this new reality, and lots of domestic violence, but no real political upheaval.
Where I think they are especially falling short in the analysis is in ignoring China. China has much to gain by the collapse of both the U.S. government debt bubble and dollar bubble. It would essentially give the Chinese government carte blanche to divide up the U.S. however it likes economically.
They also downplay the idea that economic vacuums left behind after the collapse of the dollar would not be taken advantage of tyrants and dictators. But, to be fair, the purpose of the book is to entertain economic predictions and to proscribe much of the political analysis in the interest of brevity and staying on task. That’s fine. I’m just hoping they will include the political ramifications in a future book or that someone will write a politically-focused book that is complementary to their analysis.
Bottom line: If you read this book, prepare to have your eyes opened widely and forcibly. You’ll never look at your wallet or credit cards the same way ever again. You’ll start thinking of contingency plans for when inflation drives the price of your house through the floor. You’ll begin to seriously consider at least 6 months if not a year of food storage for the really rough times ahead.