Sunday, 6 November 2011

By on November 6th, 2011 in government, politics

08:16 – The G20 conference ended in failure as far as the EU was concerned, with the other nations telling the EU that they wished them well but they were going to have to come up with the money themselves to bail out the euro. The problem with that is that the EU simply doesn’t have the $3 trillion to $5 trillion it needs, just for a start, to bail out Italy, Spain, and France, not to mention the other smaller nations that are under threat. Meanwhile, while the G20 was sitting around the table discussing what emergency measures to take to save Italy from collapse, Berlusconi fell asleep. Twice.

The other G20 nations pushed for the European Central Bank to address the crisis by monetizing the debt by printing euros. Lots of euros. Euros by the ton, literally. At this point, the only solution, bad as it is, that anyone can see is for the ECB to inflate the euro dramatically. But the ECB is having none of it. And they’re right, if not in the short term, certainly in the medium- and long term. At this point, the eurozone is going to take a huge economic hit no matter what happens, as will, to a lesser extent, non-eurozone EU countries, and, to a lesser extent still, the rest of the world. Right now, all the arguing is about who is going to take how much of that hit, and how.

The takeaway lesson from all of this is that government and the economy is too important to be left to the politicians, nearly all of whom are, at best, mediocrities. That’s why we need strong Constitutional protections that will handcuff the politicians, limiting the damage they can do. A rigid balanced-budget amendment that makes no provision for exceptions, including in time of war, would be a good start.

14 Comments and discussion on "Sunday, 6 November 2011"

  1. OFD says:

    Agreed, Robert. And if the State was a helluva lot smaller than it is now, these problems wouldn’t rise to the level of utter catastrophe which affects everyone else on the planet, sooner or later.

    And poor Silvio; it must be tough on an older guy to have to keep up with the young chicks these days and the high life. He should get into a rigorous workout routine, maybe link up with Taki on that.

  2. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Here is a scary thought. In ten years, “oldies” will mean rap music.

    But this is an even more scary one: in the next 6 months, the US Treasury plans on issuing bonds to raise $846 billion to keep government spending afloat. That is 35% more than during the same period last year.

    Now all through the summer, the Chinese have been dumping US Treasuries, Europe sure won’t be buying any of these issues; who do Paulson & Co. think will buy this increasingly worthless stuff? And to top it all off, a recent poll of US economists showed well over half believe the Ben Bernanke will begin another round of quantitative easing, QE3, in January.

    Meanwhile, nobody we elect will stand against government debt. The Tea Party proved itself to be the same hypocrites as all the rest — over half actually voting to increase the national debt ceiling, instead of doing what they promised, in order to get themselves elected. Furthermore, the Tea Party committed itself to getting a Balanced Budget Amendment passed. Uh, where is that?

    Looks like we will be joining the EU in racing as fast as possible to a sure-fire crash and burn.

  3. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Looks like we will be joining the EU in racing as fast as possible to a sure-fire crash and burn.

    Wait a minute. Weren’t you the one who swore the euro was rock-solid and everything was going to turn out fine?

  4. OFD says:

    Some of us out here knew full well that the Tea Party clowns were gonna be a huge disappointment and once a few of them got in and tasted the fruits of statist power and potential wealth, they turned right around, as expected, and did the expected thing. Let that be a lesson to us all. And they have basically been one-issue carny barkers anyway, not giving a rat’s ass about our disastrous and ignorant foreign policy, national sovereignty, the state of our strategic industries or very much at all about what the lefties like to call “hot-button” social issues.

    I’ve been reading Steyn’s and Patrick Buchanan’s current books and I am thinking they are too optimistic. This “civilization” is, even more so now than when Ezra Pound mentioned it, “…an old bitch gone in the teeth.”

    The Brits had a huge empire and ran it pretty well for a long time and then they turned it over to us and naturally we flubbed it, big-time. Theirs ran for four-hundred years and ours is being piddled down the drain in fifty, not that I am in any way, shape or form a fan of Empire, far from it. Either get in the business of it and do it right, or don’t get into it at all and stay home and mind your own fucking business.

  5. SteveF says:

    I was expecting the elected Tea Partiers to be suborned by the system in short order. Even not paying much attention to politics and not knowing a thing about most of those running, all I had to do was look back to the Earth-shattering 1994 Republican Revolution (in which an Earth-shattering 10% of contested seats changed hands) and how little of their promised agenda was enacted and how quickly the firebrand freshmen became a part of the system.

  6. BGrigg says:

    Regarding the TEA Party clowns. Perhaps they realize that being a part of the system is the best way to change the system?

    Nah, I don’t believe it, either.

  7. OFD says:

    I hear ya, Steve; I also remember with bitterness in my heart and violence in my soul the infamous Contract with America, which turned out to be so much birdcage liner.

    And Mr. Grigg; I am also an unbeliever. Become part of this rotten system and you have sold yourself, and most likely, cheaply. Mrs. OFD and I both worked in state gummint, she for 2.5 times longer than me and at a much higher level than me, but we both witnessed the rampant laxity, inefficiency, waste, political infighting, backstabbing, treachery, and halfwit drones being rewarded for longevity rather than merit or performance. And this is a very small state; picture this on the scale of our Fed Leviathan. And then wonder why it is almost everything they touch turns to shit.

  8. Chuck Waggoner says:

    I hope I have not implied that the EU will somehow escape unscathed — they certainly are not going to get out of this cleanly, — and the way the debtor countries are handling things, the longer they draw things out, I think the worse the adjustment will be. Greece has managed to mightily piss off the people who could have kept the bailouts coming. Looks like Silvio is now on the same self-destructive course. If they cannot have it their way, then cause as much trouble as possible. We will see where that gets them. No further than it did the LA suburb of Watts, I think.

    There is going to be a liquidation of assets against debt in the EU, and that means a significant loss of capital worth that will set things back from years to decades, just as it did in the US back in 2007/8. How far they will have to step back probably increases with every fight the debtor countries raise — and that is going to hurt both rich and poor nations.

    My primary contention is: the EU will remain intact (except maybe for Greece, unless it stops acting like Watts); and the old currencies are absolutely dead. Any country that tries to resurrect theirs will be the walking dead — in far worse shape than riding with the euro. There is no way back to the past. None. If they try, well, that is not going to be a pretty picture for them, IMO. That is the way of the Third World countries, not modern, competitive ones.

    Nor is there a way the richer EU nations can get out of paying debts of the poorer. What they instituted is a Federal concept, and if they did not provide the correct political environment for it, then they will have to. And that means less autonomy for every nation — which almost all have indicated they are ready to accept. There is no other route to the modern future; the alternative is a road to poverty and possible barbarism.

    Meanwhile, the EU WAS accomplishing the same thing that has happened in the US — a rejuvenation of the South. Obviously that will now be slowed, but it will happen eventually, and the southern region of the EU will be more productive as a result.

    I do think we have reached the point where no one is going to buy into further sovereign debt of either Europe or the US. Those days are over. IMO that means more trouble for the US ahead. Nevermind that elected legislators ignore the electorate’s wishes regarding debt; soon, they will have no choice in the matter — more debt will not be a possibility. Unfortunately, not heeding the electorate likely means we will all suffer much more than if they had.

    Frankly, I think the US political system, as evolved with lobbying and money-grubbing that is the very definition of corruption and makes shysters of everyone who walks into Congress, needs as much or more reform than Europe’s.

  9. Miles_Teg says:

    Chuck wrote:

    ‘Here is a scary thought. In ten years, “oldies” will mean rap music.’

    Don’t worry Chuck, radio stations only play 60s-80s here and I think will be doing so for the forseable future. Is it the same in the US?

  10. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Radio in the US is in a nosedive. This morning, I wanted to listen to some nice reserved-type music while I was cleaning the kitchen — either classical or orchestral. There is nothing even REMOTELY like that on radio in Tiny Town or Indy. It’s either rap, country, 7 different kinds of rock, talk, 5 Christian religious music stations, or 4 different stations, each at a different part of this week’s Garrison Keilor show (a kind of folksy, homespun old-time radio show). Heck, I’d even settle for jazz from the station where my shows still play overnight early Sunday morning, but they had a church service on. Currently there is NO oldies station; only 3 classic rock stations.

    I’m going to get a Squeezebox Internet receiver for each room that counts, and just listen to the Internet. Broadcast radio is a has-been medium.

    We once had a station that played “beautiful music” (instrumentals of pop songs) in Indy. There is probably a niche making a living playing that kind of music, but none of the big corporate-owned stations here will touch such a format. They would rather lose money chasing the same music that 7 or 8 other stations play, but only one or two will make a killing at. With 7 or 8 others playing the same format, most are going to lose money. But if you are losing money, whatever you do, do NOT try anything different or creative.

    One of the engineers at the former beautiful music station here keeps it alive on the Internet

    Sometimes he still uses the original old 1960’s Schafer mechanical automation system, but mostly it comes off a computer running StationPlaylist automation out of New Zealand.

  11. Chuck Waggoner says:

    I am still toiling in the Linux vineyard. Things have been too busy lately to focus only on that, but with persistence, I am finding that most problems lay in one of three areas: file permissions; configuration files; or dependencies.

    The first two do not seem to present that much problem anymore; usually, I can figure out what needs to be changed on my own (“ls -l” under the right user is your friend in telling you what process executables are not accessible to that user). Dependencies are something different, however, because most often there is not enough error information for me to narrow what the problem is. Today I had the experience of some programs that refused to install, because dependencies were missing. Even the Synaptic package manager in Ubuntu refused to install the dependencies. Obviously something is going on beyond my current level of Linux expertise. But Linux is like learning a foreign language — if you keep at it, you finally get it.

    I have been at this long enough now, to see that automated methods to get configurations right is slowly becoming more common. This was a problem when Win95 appeared. Remember how many .ini and .cfg files had to be manually tweaked to make things work? Same deal with the current state of Linux; in fact, I have said before that Linux — in general — seems to be about where Win98 was when it came out.

    The problem with Linux, however, is that automating configuration files is not as simple. There was only one Windows OS, but there are a half-dozen variants of Linux, each requiring different setups to get working. The developers are not usually willing to automate things for every variant, so such stuff is dependent on groups in each variant community, who will take on the work of automating setups and configurations for installation. JACKD, a virtual patch panel for routing audio, is one example. Six months ago, it was a bear to get JACK working; now, a new version and plug-in module means it works (in Ubuntu) after installation with no further configurations necessary.

    Next challenge is to get the JACK connections for the brand-new release of Rivendell radio automation to show up in JACK. Rivendell changed the method of making those show up, and I have yet to find where it went.

  12. Miles_Teg says:

    Perhaps I’ve introduced some bias, because I almost always switch stations if they aren’t playing Classical/Baroque/Sixties-Eighties. I *always* switch stations, or use the Off button if they’re play rap or talkback.

    Last night I was driving to get some health food from a nearby Malaysian restaurant and the three FM stations that are normally so reliable weren’t playing anything remotely listenable, for 10 minutes each way. Very annoying as the car is the only place I listen to the radio.

  13. Dave B. says:

    The Tea Party “Clowns” have accomplished something since being elected. President Obama’s $450 billion stimulus package hasn’t passed yet. Also, it’s not being called a stimulus, but rather a jobs bill. Without the Tea Party, there would have been no $1.2 trillion dollar spending cut attached to the debt ceiling extension.

    Yes, the Tea Party supported politicians are forgetting why they were elected. We need to remind them. They haven’t accomplished as much as I would like, but without them, the mess would be even worse.

    We are going to keep having to remind our politicians why they were elected. They work for us, not the other way around.

  14. dkreck says:

    What? No Radio Espanol? At least every third station on the dial here in California is La Musica, La Musica. (that’s FM, AM is probably half)

Comments are closed.