Monday, 1 August 2011

By on August 1st, 2011 in government, politics

08:31 – News reports say there is a budget deal, pending approval by both houses of Congress. Unfortunately, it seems that those in Congress who supposedly favored fiscal responsibility have folded, settling for a deal that includes a huge boost in the debt limit in return for no real spending cuts. The lunatic left, led by Obama, Reid, and Pelosi, have gotten nearly everything they wanted, most particularly putting off a real accounting until after the 2012 elections. Those of us who favor fiscal responsibility have gotten almost nothing. Make no mistake: this so-called deal is no deal at all for those of us opposed to big government and irresponsible spending.

The discussions center around cutting about $2.5 trillion in deficit spending over ten years, or roughly $250 billion per year. The problem is, we currently deficit-spend about that much every couple of months. In other words, each month, every month, we spend $125 billion to $150 billion that we don’t have. Looking at it that way, it should be obvious to anyone that $2.5 trillion over ten years is a drop in the bucket. Even if all those so-called cuts are actually implemented, which there is nearly zero likelihood they will be, we might see the increase in our deficit over the next ten years change from, say, $25 trillion to $22.5 trillion. So, ten years from now, we might have, in 2011 dollars, only a $37.5 trillion debt rather than a $40 trillion debt.

Of course, that’s not really going to happen. There’s not enough money on the planet to fund US deficits and debt at those levels. The inevitable result is that we’re going to come up against hard financial realities. As Thatcher warned, we’re going to run out of other people’s money. There are three ways out of such a problem. We can grow out of it. We can inflate out of it. Or we can default. We’re not going to grow out of it, which leaves inflation or default as the only real alternatives. Either of those is a disastrous solution, but most rational economists would probably agree that default is the lesser of the two evils.

Work on the biology book continues.

13:36 – Geez. Now I understand why Barbara uses her MP3 player in her car. Radio stations have become unlistenable. Back in the days when I spent a normal amount of time driving, I used to listen to WFDD, which is our local university public radio station. They played lots of classical, baroque and other music that wasn’t played on commercial stations. Now they’re all talk, talk, talk. And radical left talk at that. WKRR, formerly known as Rock 92, and which I now call CRAP 92, used to advertise 58 minutes of music per hour. Boy, has all that changed.

A friend is out of town on a long weekend, and asked me to pick up his mail and paper. It’s about a five minute drive to his house. So I turned on CRAP 92 as I backed out of the garage. There was a constant stream of commercials, including one for female facial hair removal, that lasted until about 30 seconds before I got to his house, when they started playing a rock track from the 70’s. I picked up his mail and paper and put them in the house. I couldn’t have spent more than five or six minutes in there. When I returned to my truck, CRAP 92 was again running commercials, which it continued to do for the five minutes or so it took me to drive home. Geez. And the real bitch is that when they’re not running commercials that doesn’t mean they’re running music. They have two morons named Chris, who sound like their combined IQs would have trouble breaking 100. They yuck it up for minutes on end, wasting time that could have been used for playing music. I conclude that anyone who listens to CRAP 92 regularly must also be a moron.

I don’t understand why commercial radio stations still have any spectrum. Both the AM and FM bands are some pretty useful bands, and they’d be a lot more useful put to purposes other than wall-to-wall commercials and morons blathering on. The government should reclaim this bandwidth, along with the bandwidth allocated to OTA television, and put it to better use. If it were me, I’d simply make it illegal to run any kind of commercial or otherwise paid-for material on the public airwaves. That’d kill commercial radio and TV stations quickly, and we could then use that wasted spectrum otherwise.

12 Comments and discussion on "Monday, 1 August 2011"

  1. Chad says:

    I work for a large regional bank and at the last officers meeting someone asked one of the EVPs what they thought about this debt ceiling issue and the response was, “We think it’s a bunch of political theater and they’ll reach a deal at the last minute to increase the ceiling.” Seems so.

  2. BGrigg says:

    I would say most definitely so. It’s high farce, and yet the majority of Americans can’t look up from their singing/dancing/hoarding shows to notice. I see this as nothing more than confirmation to the politicians that they are not only in the drivers seat, they’ve got the keys and locked all the adults out of the country.

  3. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    But the reckoning is coming, inevitably. I told Pournelle in 2000 that I expected the US to default on its debt within 20 years, and I see no reason to change that estimate. We can keep going as we are for maybe another decade, maybe. But the longer we wait to do something serious about solving the problem, the worse it’s going to be when the crash finally happens.

    Europe is currently finding out the hard way that it can’t afford the social welfare programs it’s allowed to grow and proliferate. In that respect, we’re actually in much better shape, but even we cannot afford what’s been promised to people. I just hope when the masses revolt and start hanging politicians from lampposts, they remember to hang not just the then-current ones, but also all of the ones who got us into this mess.

    We can probably keep Social Security and Medicare going a while longer. We can’t afford ObamaCare or Medicaid. And yet I note that, while Medicare cuts are on the table, Medicaid cuts are not. I wonder if that’s because Medicare is a hot-button issue mostly for older voters, who tend conservative, while Medicaid is a hot-button issue mostly for poor voters, who vote overwhelmingly Democrat. Nah, I must just be cynical.

  4. BGrigg says:

    Agreed, the crash cannot be averted forever. My reference to high farce is the theater going on in DC, with neither party offering anything more than a variation on the same theme of tax and spend.

  5. ech says:

    The lunatic left, led by Obama, Reid, and Pelosi, have gotten nearly everything they wanted, most particularly putting off a real accounting until after the 2012 elections.

    What they didn’t get, and has their base going ballistic, are tax increases. (One congresscritter twittered that the deal is a “Satan sandwich”!) Also, the debt limit increase is in stages, with the second stage only happening if certain targets aren’t hit.

    One provision I would have insisted on is a freeze on civil service pay raises (in place for this year) AND a freeze of automatic step increases (not in place right now). Both of these are more or less in effect at most government contractors – only our top 10% got raises last year (a couple of percent) and promotions are very, very hard to get. In addition, we’ve got mandatory uncompensated overtime for many of our full-time workers. When government contractors are laying off in the thousands, the civil servants can share the pain.

    Expect at least one of the ratings agencies to downgrade US debt due to total levels of indebitedness, not the debt ceiling. If two of the three agencies do it, there will be a major meltdown in the financial markets.

  6. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Well, as I said earlier, I have no objection whatsoever to tax increases, as long as they don’t fall on those of us who are currently paying taxes. That’s about half the population. IIRC, the top 3% earners pay about 50% of income taxes, and the bottom 50% pay 0%. In fact, it’s worse than that, because many of them actually pay negative income taxes, getting “refunds” for taxes they did not pay.

    That’s why I proposed eliminating the standard deduction and the personal exemptions while reducing the income tax percentages to be revenue-neutral for those of us who already pay taxes. You’d think the Democrats would be all in favor of this proposal, since it increases taxes on a whole lot of people who are currently paying nothing. But I’d be willing to bet that the Democrats wouldn’t support such a proposal.

  7. Chad says:

    You’d think the Democrats would be all in favor of this proposal, since it increases taxes on a whole lot of people who are currently paying nothing. But I’d be willing to bet that the Democrats wouldn’t support such a proposal.

    Of course not. A disproportionate number of people in the lower income brackets are minorities. So, only a racist would suggest increasing their tax rate.

  8. Miles_Teg says:

    I have to wonder what this congressperson has been smoking:

    Democratic Congressman Maxine Waters was one of the 161 representatives who refused to vote for the controversial bill.

    “It may be the single worst piece of public policy to ever come out of this institution,” she said.

    “I cannot support this bill, this rule, and I urge my Democratic colleagues not to be complicit in a Republican plan to eventually cut Medicare, social security, Medicaid and investment in our future.

    “All while asking the rich to sacrifice nothing.”

  9. Jim Cooley says:

    Maxine Waters is an “empowered” black woman from predominantly black, lower class Oakland, CA. I needn’t say more, except that she’s facing an ethics probe and is pulling out all the stops to thwart it.,0,3479183.story

  10. Stu Nicol says:

    “I don’t understand why commercial radio stations still have any spectrum.”

    I think that it is due to the fact that the average IQ in the general population is declining.
    However, that is why other segments of the population are listening to Sirius and XM Satellite Radio. I have them in my vehicles and they offer a variety on music genres in a commercial free format. Well,…..the commercials are self-serving by boosting other Sirius Satellite channels and not over the counter commercial products or services.

  11. Dave B. says:

    Bob, I agree with you about the quality of modern commercial radio broadcasts. However, somewhere there are people who listen to that stuff, and evidently some of them have money, because if there weren’t listeners with money, there would be no advertisers. The last time I checked, the idiots who own radio stations have the same first amendment rights as the idiots who own newspapers and the idiots who own TV stations.

    I don’t think that the government should do anything about the problem. Sooner or later, either we’ll all turn off our radios or well, we won’t have a country worth living in.

  12. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Well, I would agree, except that they’re consuming public spectrum that would better serve other uses. It’s not like they bought the spectrum or pay any annual fees for it.

    Also, to paraphrase J. Walter Thompson or someone, 99.9% of advertising is wasted. You just don’t know which 99.9%. Just because there are businesses foolish enough to waste their money buying ads on radio doesn’t mean that advertising pays off for them.

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