Twittering to Death
Posterity's Debt To Me
Coping with Deflation
FDR & History
Lead us not
What Fools, We Mortals
My Immigrant Relative
The Eloquent Pogo
Unionize School Children
Hucksterism Gone Wild
EMAIL US HERE:y.com
"When the world hears of the
Obama amnesty, millions more from Latin America, Africa, Asia and the
Middle East will be coming. And if they cannot get in legally, they
will walk in, or fly in, and overstay their visas.
"Why not? It works."
People love to argue about issues
too big for them to individually do anything about. Collectively
they have clout, but political opinion is generally split right down
the middle which maintains a national confusion. As far as we
can tell the United States has evolved into a welfare/warfare state
spending far beyond its means. Garrison Keillor calls liberal
welfarism governmental "kindness." Conservatives, on
the other hand, appear to want to play down the welfarism but maintain
a robust military presence around the globe. The economy cannot
stand too much of either....welfarism or warfare, particularly with a
high rate of infrastructure decay in the U.S. begging for
attention. (See CBS's "Sixty Minutes"
Something's gonna give. Just
what...and when...is anybody's guess.
People Don't Hoard Nickel Coins
But a few
odd-balls do on the off chance it may be profitable.
| "The US Mint
will probably catch on pretty soon and change the metal composition
in nickels to all zinc or maybe even cheap steel. There has
been talk of discontinuing the penny and the nickel altogether and
just rounding up or down to the nearest ten cents. Greshamís
law will kill the present nickel one way or another." Hoarding
and paper currency have far less relevance today than in generations
past. Thanks to on-line banking and credit/debit cards people
don't carry much cash any more. But Larry LaBorde has dashed
off a short essay that brings us up to date on the pros and cons of
stashing some change in a bucket or jar.
Fifty years ago
some Americans put dimes, quarter-dollars, and half-dollars in cigar
boxes in hopes of a payoff. Today the 1964 dime contains $1.18
worth of silver. Could the copper/nickel 5¢ piece contain
enough metallic value to be worth accumulating?
can be deadly.
Or, at least, terribly inconvenient.
cynical (but not necessarily inaccurate) view of debt . . . is that
banks loan out imaginary money they donít really have, which money is
'collateralized' by capital they do not really have, which is, in turn,
based upon central bank printing presses which create money out of thin
air which the central banks donít really have. But then when debtors
have trouble repaying onerous loans, the bankers seize real
debt is not necessarily a bad thing, unless you are wallowing under a debt
load you cannot pay off. The U.S. federal govewrnment is in just such a
position. As of Tuesday the official public debt, as published by
the Department of the Treasury, was $17,965,853,482,963.66!
This is just shy of $18 trillion, a
dollar figure most Americans cannot begin to fathom - - so they don't
worry about it very much.
Economists amuse themselves with notions that a public debt is no
particular burden as long as it doesn't exceed a certain level of the
Gross Domestic Product. But a minority school of economists warn
that the public debt is a time bomb poised to explode with enormous impact
upon the living standards of modern civilization.
Some observers are suggesting that a "Jubilee" be declared and
the debt just be written off. Bondholders and other creditors would
be devastated - but it would certainly ease the pain upon future
There is not room in present political conversation for talk of dealing
with debt, but there will be in early 2015 when Congress returns to the
subject of either raising the public debt ceiling or doing away with the
| "As we near some
sort of attempt at compromise regarding the future of Obamacare, you
will hear from health care workers that we need to bring the focus
of medicine back on the patients. The past few years, in which there
has been a well-intentioned desire to control costs through
bureaucratically oriented goals, the role of doctors and nurses has
morphed away from patient care. They have found that their role as
'documenter of services rendered' through electronic medical records
and coding for billing purposes has significantly taken away time
spent with patients." SURVIVING OBAMACARE
Jackson brings to mind the old fashioned concept of medical
care...that is, a truly patient-centered business in which more time
is given the patient than the mountain of paperwork and the web of
computing that's required of each visit. Certainly,
accuracy and good record keeping is important but when the doctors'
offices have more people doing office work than nursing backup
something is amiss.
Patients have complicated matters, too, by forgetting they are
paying customers of a professional service they require. As
such they are entitled to know the actual cost of the service they
buy whether or not most of it is paid by insurance....which they
also buy, or receive through the generosity of others.
Christmas ads used to begin
Our staff curmudgeon
says "Bah! Humbug!" to holiday hucksters..
"I am begging family and friends to give me nothing for
Christmas. My closet bulges with more clothing than I will ever need
between here and the grave. My shelves sag with odds and ends that
are collecting dust. There is no room on my walls to hang anything,
although I could probably make way for a Monet. My library is packed with
my favorite books and I need no more. What I yearn for is less
booty! I have come to long for those unencumbered days of yesterday
when I really treasured the few things I had." Hucksterism Gone
is from a kind of confession by our staff curmudgeon, penned in
2006. He is a retired huckster whose attitude about the December
gift giving orgy has not changed.
He is happy to immerse himself in the music and cheerfulness of the
Christmas season, but is sad to think of the woe caused by pressure to
spend money on gee gaws just because somebody in a red velvet suit says
it's the thing to do. Moreover, running into debt to do it is
Another economic time bomb.
| "We now have a total of $1.22
trillion in outstanding student debt. Student debt is now the
largest non-housing debt sector in the U.S. Student tuition has
risen by 538 percent since 1985. This current generation is going to
college at the most expensive time in history."
looking for something to worry about should look into the ticking
time bomb called "Student Debt." Student debt and
automobile debt are growing at rates far higher than wage
increases. In both instances consumers are being conned into
thinking the value of cars and college training are worth it.
But then come the horror stories of new car buyers going upside down
on their vehicle debt, and college students entering the job market
with thousands of dollars of debt on their shoulders which takes
them years to pay off - if they ever can.
overload is hardly a healthy way to start one's work career.
Lower oil prices have an adverse effect on fracking development.
"We should relax the rules on drilling in Alaskaís Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge, which has 10 billion barrels of oil locked up. We should
use as an economic weapon against OPEC the 700 million barrels in the
Strategic Petroleum Reserve. We should allow the export of oil from the
United States to enable us to cope with OPEC cutbacks. We should build the
Keystone XL pipeline, and the other oil and gas pipelines between us and
Canada now sitting in limbo."
either the raving of a maniac or a conclusion reached after sober
investigation into the "oil price war" presently affecting the
energy production business. THE OIL WEAPON
What to do if your heating source
Hunkering down for a polar vortex.
Do you have a
plan in case electricity is unavailable for an extended length of
time? Folks in northern climes give more thought to this than those
of us in the sunny south, but the weatherman says a polar vortex is
bringing sub-freezing temperatures this way. Mix a little moisture
into the picture and visions of snapping power lines dance in our
Daisy Luther has written an excellent guide to surviving at home in the
event of power outages. We recommend it. STAYING WARM.
These programs have expanded through
the years in good/bad times and under Democrat/GOP administrations.
The federal government cannot tax us sufficiently to pay for them.
WAIT! Before you grab your
keyboard and dash off a blistering denunciation of this list give us the
favor of sixty seconds to explain.
||1. Social Security
2. All other income support programs
such as disability insurance and and unemployment compensation.
4. All other health programs such as
5. All programs for education,
job training, and social services.
This list of federal
programs reflects the yearning of the American public to erect
compassionate programs to help citizens achieve life goals they may not
otherwise reach without a variety of federal financial "safety
nets." The sad thing is - kindness and generosity of politicians
in Washington is far greater than the money available in the national
Treasury to pay for them. Sad to say, the government cannot spend
ten cents on any programs that it has not first collected from individuals
via taxation, or by borrowing funds to be paid back in the future through
compassion is a lovely concept. It has enormous appeal. The
idea of a benevolent federal government helping citizens with a variety of
subsidies has won many an election for politicians. It has also set
the United States squarely on the road to financial ruin. What to do
about it will be one of the hot button issues in the next half of this
Voegeli has examined this dilemma closely in two books: "America's
Limitless Welfare State" and "The Pity Party: A
Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion." Note:
Voegeli is not opposed to the concept of compassion. It is
the politically LIBERAL programs of taking whatever is wanted from the
pockets of current producers and handing it to a rapidly expanding
population of non-producers. A welfare state must eventually respond
to the iron laws of nature and implode.
consider themselves patrons of "the politics of kindness."
On the other hand, they regard conservativism as "the politics of
cruelty, greed, and callousness."
ideological battle shifts into high gear it ought to be a pip.