March 25, 2012

This is the most disturbing thing I've read in a long time.

A big quote over at Instapundit. Click on the link. Oh! It's Mark Steyn. He's always predicting the end of the world. I feel better now.

Not really.

66 comments:

Bill said...

"Great Caesar's bust is on the shelf. And I don't feel so well myself."

Yeah, Steyn the happy warrior has been sounding a lot like Derbyshire lately. Not good.

Bob Ellison said...

WRT big economies and/or currencies collapsing, I keep thinking: "who you gon' call?" China? Europe? Brazil? The USA is still the safest haven. I don't know what that means for the long term, but it makes me less worried than Steyn.

ddh said...

For Obama, American decline seems not be a bug but a feature--a desirable feature.

oldirishpig said...

2 scenarios: the little dominoes fall first and capital rushes to the US, so we enjoy a burst of prosperity before we collapse and are screwed; OR the big dominoe goes first and we're all just screwed. Pick one.

The Concrete Dog said...

all gods fail

once upon a time
long ago
i was a god
a very small god
but still

the rains did not come
even aftr they gave me
gift upon gift

the once mighty incas
soon disappeard
all that is left
ar some rock buildings

maybe the usa
will be anothr stop
on the tours
of lost civilizatns

Tank said...

Well, we were spending 160% of income a couple of years ago, then we did it again, then again, now we're doing it again, next year we'll do it again, then the year after that again ....

What could go wrong?

But, if Romney/Santorum + Paul Ryan can grasp control, then we'll only be spending 140% year after year.

That will save us.

DEAD COUNTRY WALKING !!!

Looks like a nice day.

La la la la la......

DADvocate said...

I'm sure the Chosen One will stand on the Mount and feed us talapia and brioche. Have no worries, my children.

mesquito said...

For generations national politics has consisted mostly of stealing from the future to buy votes in the present. Guess what today is?

Bob_R said...

Well Paul Ryan trots out his tepid budget which balances some time around the birth of my great grandchildren (if any) and the usual suspects react like he's murdering widows and orphans. Derb's right. We're doomed!

Pogo said...

I hve been taught that despair is a sin, but...

I have veered into despair repeatedly in the past three years.

The US is like Whitney Houston right now.
Our usual cocktail of overindulgent social spending wasn't enough.

So we added on tons of crony spending and Medicare for all, and wrapped it in a tight ball of massive regulations. What could possibly go wrong?

They tried to make us go to rehab and we said no, no, no.

Tank said...

I like this part from Steyn's column:

There’s a famous exchange in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. Someone asks Mike Campbell, “How did you go bankrupt?” “Two ways,” he replies. “Gradually, then suddenly.” We’ve been going through the gradual phase so long, we’re kinda used to it. But it’s coming to an end, and what happens next will be the second way: sudden, and very bad.


When I first read that passage many, many years ago, I did not understand what that meant. Of course, I do now. The amazing thing is that the sudden part has not yet arived. But, someday it will. I used to think I'd be dead and gone by then, but I no longer think that.

Jon Burack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

I'd start issuing 200 year discount bonds. No payments for 200 years.

roesch/voltaire said...

I am taken aback at how these budget hawks always ignore the huge costs the war hawks have cost this country- as though the two are not connected, and instead dribble on about entitlement costs etc. As Acemoglu points out, the wealth of a country is closely correlated to the degree that the average person can share in the growth of the economy, and that is becoming the greater problem in the US.

Jon Burack said...

Count me out on this. I like Steyn, but I think he is hyping this in a way he himself does not fully comprehend. I am with Ryan all the way. We need a plan that eases us out of the debt/deficit syndrome, and in fact easing out of it is the only way we will get out of it. A sudden retrenchment would make the problem worse and generate political chaos as well. All it takes to solve the problem is recognizing its inevitability. If Ryan's views were accepted by the political class the steps to ease out could be taken with minimal pain.

But with some pain. The problem is well evidenced by Wisconsin, where a tiny amount of pain was asked of a fairly well off sector of the society and it reacted as if it was the downtrodden of Les Miserables. As long as that is the reality, the political class will take that cue and hide from the problem. Paul Krugman, the perfect spokesman for the political class, keeps telling us there is no problem because interest rates are still low. So just keep borrowing till the cows come home. I do think the ground is shfting out from under his views and will soon shake up politics sufficiently to start to reverse what Obama has done. I am not polyanish, exactly, but I do not see a point to playing Chicken Little the way Steyn does. First off, he does not know enough to make the dire predictions he makes. Secondly, NOTHING good ever comes of acting out of desperation. In that sense, his hype is almost as much of a problem as Obama's and OWS's about inequality. It is time for everyone to grow up. America DOES NOT mean everyone's income must always be better than their parents' income. We are all going to tighten our belts. Why does that bother people so much? That is the real problem. So suck up and deal.

rhhardin said...

The usual way out is to grow out of it, which would mean a reversal of the regulatory bureaucrat state.

That means paying off our stupidly taken on debt with future productivity, but giving future productivity a chance to happen.

Nobody owns future productivity yet, so there isn't an interest group, except environmentalists of course.

Epstein on regulations, um somewhere... here.

Epstein is a thousand times better in audio than in print.

John M Auston said...

Why is a gallon of gas twice what it was when Obama took office?

Well, let me see . . . perhaps because a dollar now buys only half as much?

It's not the Oil companies. It's not the speculators. It's not supply and demand.

Wait. Yes it is supply and demand. But not of oil. Of dollars. They've inflated the currency and halved its value.

Gas prices are just an early indicator of the consequences of that. Food is next.

And the MSM, the supposed 4th estate, is telling us nothing about it. And has no intention to do so. It's Big Oil. It's Bush. It's any Republican.

Dark times are coming, my friends.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

This, the confluence of reality and liberalism. Indeed, our days seem to be numbered in terms of fiscal solvency. Steyn uses comparative terms to illustrate. To deny, is complicity with the man behind the curtain.

The illusory nature of the leftist prevents him/her from seeing the impending disaster.

Layer upon layer of really good-looking wallpaper, until the once-comfortable space has been consumed.

I pray for our country, but am convinced that disaster is unavoidable. Too many Machiavellian egos.

All gods fail is right.

PackerBronco said...

The quote of the year for me is:

Geithner: "You are right to say we’re not coming before you today to say we have a definitive solution to that long-term [debt] problem. What we do know is, we don’t like yours,”

At that point Geithner and the whole Obama administration should have resigned because if they don't even have a plan to propose, then why the h*ll should they be in office?

Quayle said...

Squirrel!

The real danger is that some frontrunner candidate plans on wiping the etch-a-sketch clean.

That's where the focus needs to be.

enicar333 said...

"No organization can survive corruption and ineptitude at the top forever. And we’ve had the worse political class in American history for a while now, though its rottenness has really accelerated lately."

Economic hardtimes are hitting everywhere, just like the current trend of ineffective and clueless Leaders.

Watch for debt-shackled Lee Ent. to begin charging for access online to the WSJ and it's affiliates.

"Lee Enterprises, parent company of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, announced Wednesday that it will introduce digital subscriptions in most of its 52 markets before year’s end."

Will the Racine Journal Times then be sold, or closed?

VeganBoy said...

What can't continue, won't. An immutable law parlously ignored.

DADvocate said...

dribble on about entitlement costs etc

Of course, you'd rather dribble on about defense spending although its about 30% less than it was in 1965, although we've had a slight rise lately. Engitlement spending has quadrupled since 1965.

http://blog.heritage.org/2011/08/21/chart-of-the-week-defense-spending-has-declined-while-entitlement-spending-has-increased/

enicar333 said...

An excellent watch on a beautiful Sunday:

Professor Niall Ferguson: Empires on the Edge of Chaos.

The intro can be safely skipped - you will enjoy the rest. Very entertaining and informative.

Enjoy.

Quayle said...

But seriously, there is no hope that we'll ever grow the economy enough to get on top of our debt.

The only possible solution is that we inflate our way out.

And we'll do that (we are doing that already) by 'printing' the dollars to pay off the Chinese and other US debt holders - dollars worth, say, 40 cents compared to power of the dollars we borrowed.

And that's fine if we are OK living with the big domestic downsides that (a) the aged on a fixed income get squeezed, and (b) the price of global things will go up, like, as was mentioned, oil.

Oh, and the Chinese may take umbrage at being paid back, in real terms, half of what the loaned us. And if they are sufficiently insulted, they could start a war. So, there's always that.

And there is that little problem of the world suddenly deciding that U.S. debt is toxic (for reasons stated above) so we could wake up one day and find out that nobody in the world wants to accept our offer to be paid a net (real) negative interest rate for the privilege of lending the U.S. their money.

On that day we will financially collapse.

I'm thinking that no amount of Obama apologizing to the world will make them want to take a real interest rate of -40%.

Those wacky foreigners - they just don't know how wonderful and special and brilliant we are here in the U.S.

They just don't appreciate us.

edutcher said...

Steyn assumes, along with many others, the political class runs the country, but nothing really happens without enough people getting mad - or scared.

We're approaching that stage, but things will have to get worse (and they appear headed that way) before they get better.

Ann Althouse said...

He's always predicting the end of the world. I feel better now.

Not really.


Steyn lost his mojo after tangling with the Thought Police in the Great White North, but he says nothing a lot of "mean-spirited" Conservatives and Republicans have been saying for 80 years.

We've known it all along, so why are we so surprised now?

ddh said...

For Obama, American decline seems not be a bug but a feature--a desirable feature.

It would make Mommy the Commie so proud of her little boy.

roesch/voltaire said...

I am taken aback at how these budget hawks always ignore the huge costs the war hawks have cost this country

Ah, yes, it's all the Republicans' fault.

Until you look at the numbers and see that the welfare system (and that includes the Social Security empire) cost us much more and all we have to show for it is decaying cities and an underclass that can't decide whether to keep pumping out more babies or abort them so the party never stops.

Maguro said...

I am taken aback at how these budget hawks always ignore the huge costs the war hawks have cost this country- as though the two are not connected, and instead dribble on about entitlement costs etc.

You could eliminate the entire DoD and still not be halfway to eliminating the deficit, so entitlements will have to be dealt with at some point. It's gonna take more than raising taxes on the super-rich, too.

The Crack Emcee said...

Gee, Ann, why don't any of you geniuses highlight this line?



I think it's because you voted for this nonsense and now, one way or the other, you're preparing to double down.

You and Insty have been applauding this mad hurtle into oblivion, screaming "bigot" and cheering on Rush.

And - like when voting for Obama - you simply can't admit you're wrong.

But, in every way, you couldn't be more so - and most of your readers, too.

Please, show us more plates of over-priced bird food, because it's nice to see where the money's GONE.

I'm sure those assholes are putting it somewhere useful.

It's all as inspiring as a bullet to the skull.

The Crack Emcee said...

Oops - the line:

"A second-term Obama would roar full throttle to the cliff edge, while a President Romney would be unlikely to do much more than ease off to third gear."

Come on, you morons, root for it!

Jay said...

roesch/voltaire said...
I am taken aback at how these budget hawks always ignore the huge costs the war hawks have cost this country- as though the two are not connected,


I always enjoy watching clueless people like you pretending that spending what we spend in 1 year of social security outlays in a 10 year war effort in Iraq is some sort of fiscal catastrophe.

Freder Frederson said...

You want to make a huge dent in the deficit, don't do anything. Letting the Bush era tax cuts expire (after all, they were only supposed to be "temporary") will reduce the deficit faster than anything anyone has suggested.

Paco Wové said...

"I have veered into despair repeatedly in the past three years."

Cheer up, Pog'! Why, just yesterday, I think, G. Mahal was assuring us the that U.S. can do whatever it wants to do, mathematics and physical laws be damned! 'Cause we're just that awesome!

CWJ said...

Freder,

I've never seen a scenario that supported your statement. Care to provide one?

Maguro said...

You want to make a huge dent in the deficit, don't do anything. Letting the Bush era tax cuts expire (after all, they were only supposed to be "temporary") will reduce the deficit faster than anything anyone has suggested.

The Bush tax cuts have expired. The current extension was passed by a Democratic congress and signed into law by President Obama.

Original Mike said...

"We are all going to tighten our belts. Why does that bother people so much? That is the real problem. So suck up and deal.
"


I think that's right. I was appalled at the reaction to Walker's budget actions. I'm only a little less well off than before. If the Wisconsin budget didn't get fixed I'd have been a lot less well off down the road. Our country's in the same boat. Grow up, people.

bagoh20 said...

I'm pretty convinced that there is no solution short of catastrophe. In the last decade and especially the last 5 years the problem has grown so bad so fast that the reforms necessary to turn it around are now gonna be drastic. 40% of the of country doesn't want to do any of it, and another 40% don't want to do what it will take.

I think all we can do is elect a Romney because that's the best we're gonna get elected, and then push Ryan type reforms to make the collapse less painful, and put us at least in a place where good fortune like another technology boom or very cheap energy will save our ass.

I love this country, and I do think it's really that bad, and not because of politicians - because of us. We are the problem. We have all the power, and all the responsibility and we won't act, because we don't agree. As in 1941, we need something to unite us and it may have to be economic disaster.

The fact that half the nation is willing to elect the fastest spender in history at a time when it's clearer than ever that spending is is at catastrophic levels shows you where the real problem is.

cubanbob said...

Hmmm about 18 months ago I bought AUD at an average cost of $.94 USD and invested the funds in AUD time deposits averaging 5.50%. Today the exchange rate is $1.05 USD to the AUD. Sorry to say Ann but would appear that Steyn is right.

RV speaking of ending unwninnable and unbelivably costly wars isn't time to pull out of LBJ's War On Poverty? We can no longer afford the welfare industrial complex. Time to bug out of that war as well, don't you agree?

roesch/voltaire said...

Okay Jay I get it, on the balance you prefer spending some 10 billion dollars on a wasteful war the has left over 20,000 of US citizens wounded vs an equal amount which provides a safety net to society and which leaves no dead or wounded-- I think you clearly state the values, or lack of them, and position of the Budget Hawks.

I ♥ Willard said...

There's absolutely nothing to worry about, Professor. Remember these wise words from Dick Cheney:

"Reagan proved deficits don't matter."

I ♥ Willard said...

"I always enjoy watching clueless people like you pretending that spending what we spend in 1 year of social security outlays in a 10 year war effort in Iraq is some sort of fiscal catastrophe."

Unlike fake conservatives like Jay, I believe we should pay for our expenses as we incur them.

cubanbob said...

Freder Frederson said...
You want to make a huge dent in the deficit, don't do anything. Letting the Bush era tax cuts expire (after all, they were only supposed to be "temporary") will reduce the deficit faster than anything anyone has suggested.

3/25/12 10:24 AM

Lets start by raising your taxes and eliminating your entitlements.

Fen said...

roesch/voltaire: Okay Jay I get it, on the balance you prefer spending some 10 billion dollars on a wasteful war

Such a simplistic view.

The costs of the 9-11 attacks on the US Economy was $2 trillion.

And that wasn't even a WMD attack: http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/sudnik.pdf

You act as if the cost of doing nothing is zero.

Simplistic.

cubanbob said...

roesch/voltaire said...
Okay Jay I get it, on the balance you prefer spending some 10 billion dollars on a wasteful war the has left over 20,000 of US citizens wounded vs an equal amount which provides a safety net to society and which leaves no dead or wounded-- I think you clearly state the values, or lack of them, and position of the Budget Hawks.

3/25/12 12:34 PM

No dead or wounded? Obviously you have never been in an inner city in America. Funny how those pathologies have risen by leaps and bounds since LBJ's War On Poverty.

Damon said...

Ostriches - each and every one of us to some extent. The meme that you don't have to take responsibility is engrained and not likely to change.

Someone OUTSIDE the US is going to have to turn off the spigot.

Jay said...

roesch/voltaire said...

Okay Jay I get it, on the balance you prefer spending some 10 billion dollars on a wasteful war the has left over 20,000 of US citizens wounded vs an equal amount which provides a safety net to society


Except for the fact that the "safety net to society" takes money from those earning $30,000 and gives to those with net worth's in the millions.

All while having an unfunded liability of over $50 trillion.

But it is a safety net!!!

Jay said...

I ♥ Willard said...


Unlike fake conservatives like Jay, I believe we should pay for our expenses as we incur them.


Sock puppet:

Start listing the federal agencies you support closing since none of them are covered by discretionary spending.

Can't wait to see your list, idiot.

Jay said...

roesch/voltaire said...

Okay Jay I get it, on the balance you prefer spending some 10 billion dollars on a wasteful war the has left over 20,000 of US citizens wounded vs an equal amount which provides a safety net to society


Oh, and by the way, providing for the common defense is something the government should try to do.

Your bankrupt "safety net" not so much.

JAL said...

Concrete Dog -- glad to see you back.

Missing a bunch of old friends.

JAL said...

Actually I found the Instapundit / Steyn bit -- and the Canadian's comment (Fredder take note of his comment on Canadian health care)-- pretty disturbing.

Had no idea it was Steyn. Could not hear any laughter in the words.

ricpic said...

Steyn always chuckles. No matter what heavy s**t he's laying down. "We'll all be living under a bridge in 5 years. And if we don't die of hypothermia the bridge will fall down and kill us all from lack of maintenance... heh heh...heh...heh heh heh."

Which maybe means Steyn is suffering from Pogo's definition of despair. Nevertheless it can be annoying.

ricpic said...

I disagree with Bagoh that "We are the problem." Today I was reading an article about LBJ's massive enlargement of government programs and spending. Did you know that Republicans voted at higher percentages for his Great Society horror show than Democrats? I didn't. But that's what "we" have been faced with at election time for over half a century: two statist parties. So how were we to stop or even slow down the unfolding catastrophe. Especially since a catastrophe is only perceived by most when it's too late. The Tea Party's attempt to wrest control of the Republican Party back from statists indicates that we are now awake and in large numbers are at least trying to avoid going over Niagara Falls.

I ♥ Willard said...

Can't wait to see your list, idiot.

Dear Jay,

Please try to keep your anger in check. I realize that you are an unpleasant person, but that doesn't excuse you from making an honest effort to be well-mannered.

Now, apparently I need to remind you that you stated support for an unfunded war in Iraq. Unlike fake conservatives, I believe in paying for our expenses as we incur them.

I don't see how you can be confused by this simple principle although I suspect you still are.

Have a great day.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I believe that one or more Western States (Wyoming I think)have put through their legislatures disaster plans in the event that the Federal Government collapses.

The idea is that at some point in the near future, there may be a total collapse of Federal power for whatever reason. War, economic collapse, civil war.....what ever.

The States have instituted emergency procedures for being able to 'go it alone' or with bordering states and to be able to protect their own citizens, food and other resources.

That this is an actual thought and plan by States is chilling.

Prudent...and based on reasonable assumptions. But chilling.

David said...

The world will end.

It's just a question of the timing.

America falling into the financial abyss is not the end of the world.

It won't be end of the world for you BUY GOLD!

David said...

Bob Ellison said...
WRT big economies and/or currencies collapsing, I keep thinking: "who you gon' call?" China? Europe? Brazil? The USA is still the safest haven. I don't know what that means for the long term, but it makes me less worried than Steyn.


Run for Congress, Bob. You will fit right in.

cubanbob said...

Willard the government is borrowing $.40 for every dollar it spends. Please enlighten us on how you propose to pay for the portion of the spending that is borrowed on a pay as you basis. Besides abolishing the defense department what else would you cut?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It won't be end of the world for you BUY GOLD!

Pish tosh.

I'm buying canned tuna, peanut butter, wheat, tomatoes, scotch, wine and ammo. The Armageddon Pantry is doing quite well.

You can't eat gold. You can shoot a deer or goose.

Bumsurf said...

My children are all educated adults who voted for BO last time around. Mark Steyn's opinions have never been on their reading lists despite the urgings of their Old Man. I have given up worrying about their futures. When it gets around to, "I told you so!" there won't be a damn thing we can do about it. We are screwed.

John Lynch said...

We can't keep borrowing 40% of our budget year in, year out.

Our budget mess isn't that complicated. Everyone tries to make it hard to understand, but the problem is simply spending money we don't have. In enormous amounts.

It won't continue much longer.

Rusty said...

But. But, but....
We can afford it!


garage mahal said...
Who but a Class A moron doesn't know that Medicare is subsidized?

Your position, and the position of insurance conglomerates, and the politicians they pay off, are identical. They are laughing at idiots like you all the way to the bank, as they scheme to drain you for every penny they can, while denying you everything you paid for. This country can do anything it wants to. It can easily provide a quality affordable health care system for everybody. It just doesn't want to. Why? We're a stupid country full of stupid people like you.



The idiocy continues unabated.

Steve Koch said...

It is like a supports for a bridge getting washed out. It isn't superficially obvious so the superficial people don't get it. By the time they do get it, it will be too late.

Federalism would help here, too. Put most of the load back on the states (where it belongs), drastically reducing the fed gov size, cost, and power. Each state deals with its own problems as it sees fit.

Some states will do well, some won't.

Steve Koch said...

Restoring federalism also radically decreases the probability of a federal gov dictatorship.

wyo sis said...

This country can no longer "easily afford" anything.

Jay said...

I ♥ Willard said...
Unlike fake conservatives, I believe in paying for our expenses as we incur them.



And considering we are funding HHS, DOJ, EPA, Commerce, and all the rest with borrowed money, you want them closed, right, idiot?

Jay said...

I ♥ Willard said...
Can't wait to see your list, idiot.


I don't see how you can be confused by this simple principle although I suspect you still are.


Clown:
I'm not the one refusing to start listing what should be cut from the budget.

You are, despite your silly should pay for our expenses as we incur them commentary.

Why do you think that is?

Sofa King said...

Now, apparently I need to remind you that you stated support for an unfunded war in Iraq. Unlike fake conservatives, I believe in paying for our expenses as we incur them.


And if they can't be paid for...? Contrary to the assumptions of many liberals, it is not actually possible to raise taxes to arbitrary levels.