* * *
None of these need to be "normal" if we fix what's wrong with our tax code. Stop the growth of government spending, reduce the size of government, cut off the influx of illegal aliens, reduce taxes, get rid of ObamaCare, end Obamanomics.
This CNN article says the "new normal" includes:
*Long-term unemploymentNone of that needs to be the case.
*Renting over owning
*Saving over spending
*Staycations over vacations
*Higher taxes for the rich
The first and last points are due entirely to government consuming more than 20% of GDP, and carrying debt over and above the annual GDP. Unemployment remains high now because businesses don't know what's going to happen with Obama in charge and a Democrat congress ready to rubber-stamp whatever he wants. Businesses already face higher taxes due to ObamaCare, and because the Democrat Regime refuses to do anything about the impending expiration of the Bush tax cuts. They're also worried that we'll get "cap and tax" in one form or another, raising energy costs, and that we'll get a new value-added tax, which will make absolutely everything more expensive. Besides that, the Democrats' runaway spending spree is threatening to cause massive inflation.
Greater savings rates, and people spending less on vacations--I don't think those are bad things. Americans don't save enough money. And spending thousands of dollars per year on vacations is stupid. You don't have to go to Europe or Hawaii (or elsewhere) every damn year. Find stuff nearby you can reach by car, and go there.
Or, y'know, considering that tourists abroad always go and do things they could just as easily do at home, why don't you just go out to dinner at that new bistro down the street and save yourself the $5,000 you'd spend on a trip to France?
"Renting over owning"--I think the reasons given in the article are specious. A sensible person doesn't treat his house like a giant ATM machine, but lets the value accrue and pays it off. I think second and third mortgages (and the refinancing merry-go-round) are over, but owning real estate is still a good investment.
What you will see less of is unqualified buyers buying houses--people who shouldn't be buying a house in the first place--but the decrease/stagnation in real estate prices is a temporary phenomenon: the housing bubble burst, and it took a lot of wealth with it; we have to recover from that. It'll take time, but sooner or later the real estate market will recover. It has to; the laws of economics say it cannot be otherwise: there is a finite amount of land.
* * *
Middle class in the US is going away. Of course it is; think about it. Taxes are going up, all over the place. Wages are not. Unemployment is at record levels and inflation is just over the horizon. The government is spending $1.50 for each dollar of revenue, and we're running out of people to whom to sell our debt.
On top of this, we have the Democrat Regime which is dead set on increasing the size and scope of government, and on raising taxes even further. The Democrat Regime is highly anti-business, anti-growth, and anti-prosperity. The policies they advocate concentrate power and money in Washington, D.C. and leave little for the private sector.
We'll be left with a few rich and a lot of poor, and nothing between, if this goes on. The Democrats like that idea because it gives them a large voter pool. If you're dependent on government you're not going to vote for people who are against government programs; if the majority of the people in the country are poor, it means power for Democrats.
Incidentally, I'd like to see the same scene as that picture in that article only with a wider angle lens. Obama did not give anyone, particularly the middle class, anything like a tax cut; I have to wonder how many people were in that idiotic group in the photo.
* * *
We already know that Obama doesn't give a rat's ass about anyone but himself. I mean, he wants to shut down offshore drilling; he doesn't care if that puts people out of work. Hell, those people will then have to vote Democrat, won't they?
Boortz says, "The only reason I can fathom? Pandering to the environmentalists. All of you 23,000 people can go to hell, we've got an agenda and interest groups to appease." No, Mr. Boortz; Obama himself is the environmentalist. He's the one who said, in as many words during the campaign, that he wanted to make coal prohibitively expensive.
Look at the way Obama is treating gays; he's not doing anything for them that he said he would. Why? Because it would make him even more unpopular than he is now, and he knows it.
He doesn't care about anyone but himself.
* * *
I find it interesting that no one who opposes this new monastery in Wyoming has to worry about being labled a "bigot" or a "racist" or anything.
...of course it's a Catholic monastery, and the monks there make coffee blends and sell them. The horror! How can that small town ever survive such a travesty? I mean, it's not like these guys are muslims who just want to build a VICTORY MOSQUE or something; these guys are Catholic monks who want to sell coffee via the Internet! I don't think the American way of life can stand such depradations!
* * *
Yes that was sarcasm.
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As if I needed any more evidence that nightclubs are places for shallow, stupid people.
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"Law enforcement is weak in the Philippines, and hostage-takings for ransom are not uncommon." That's because the Philippines is virtually a third-world country.
A lot of these stories come from Manila, because that's where most of the money is. Foreigners rarely seem to go outside that area; and those who do are placing themselves at risk of kidnap etc. (On the plus side, if the ransom is paid, the hostage is released.) When I was there I--knowing this--never went anywhere without a native guide.
There is a pretty large Chinese presence in the Philippines. In some ways the Philippines is to China as Hawaii is to Japan: a common tourist destination and a haven for investments. The Chinese would find the Philippines useful if American dominance of the seas could be reduced.
Don't worry, China! Your boy Obama's working on it!
* * *
Here's an idea: don't park your expensive car in a tow-away zone. I look at the Nissan GT-R with nothing but disdain because its transmission costs $20,000 and is made from paper mache and glass.
...if you're the kind of douchebag who parks where he's not supposed to, maybe you shouldn't do it in an all-wheel-drive vehicle with a fragile drivetrain.
* * *
Weerd sez "Think before you ink."
Fungus sez, "Think before you ink, then don't get the ink, because chances are you're just a hipster douchebag who is getting a tattoo to 'express your individuality' and you'll be just like all the other hipster douchebags who got ink for that reason."
My favorite "tattoo schadenfreude" story is of the college git who sued a tattoo artist for misspelling his tattoo. He wanted it to say "villain" but it came out saying "villian". Neither one of them bothered to consult a dictionary before applying needle to skin.
Okay, if you're the kind of brainless wonder who thinks a tattoo saying "villain" is cool, get the fuck out of the gene pool right now. You're not; you're a shit-for-brains undergrad. If you actually were a villain you wouldn't need a tattoo announcing it to all and sundry.
Gadzooks, where the hell is my tire iron?
* * *
Take a look at this graph.
Here's where it came from.
Yeah, those Iraq war deficits are really crushing us, aren't they?
Do you see alarming deficits or trends from 2003 through 2007 in the above chart? No. In fact, the trend through 2007 is shrinking deficits. What you see is a significant upward tick in 2008, and then an explosion in 2009. Now, what might have happened between 2007 and 2008, and then 2009? Democrats taking over both houses of Congress, and then the presidency, was what happened. Republicans wrote the budgets for the fiscal years through 2007. Congressional Democrats wrote the budgets for FY 2008 and on.Thanks, Democrats!
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I'm linking this Alan Caruba piece solely because of the editorial cartoon that heads it. Energy is bad for birds.
* * *
"Big stampede" for ObamaCare in New Jersey. Two people have signed up!
* * *
Vox Day points out an amazingly fatuous statment by the New York Times:
The Justice Department decided last week not to bring charges against Tom DeLay, whose unethical conduct represented a modern low among Congressional leaders. The decision is a reminder that some of Washington’s worst big-money practices remain either legal or far too difficult to prosecute. Mr. DeLay, the Texas Republican who had been the House majority leader, crowed that he had been “found innocent.” But many of Mr. DeLay’s actions remain legal only because lawmakers have chosen not to criminalize them.Emphasis is Vox Day's.
...Vox Day correctly makes an analogous statement: "...actions such as selling cocaine and whipping slaves remain illegal only because lawmakers have chosen to criminalize them."
In other words, Tom Delay managed to escape punishment for actions that the liberal elite didn't like because...he didn't break the law.
Damn that pesky "rule of law" thing!
* * *
Yet another entry in the "if this is so, where the fuck is my goddamned check?" department:
"'It’s standard operating procedure' to pay bloggers for favorable coverage, says one Republican campaign operative."
So now not only are the oil companies paying me for my anti-AGW stance; the GOP is paying me for my conservative stance.
Why ain't I rich?
* * *
Anyone who sues me is in for a rude surprise but I suppose I need this. *sigh*
* * *
Vox Day on the economy again, this time at WND, and this is what I've been saying:
...there is no recovery. This will surprise those who make the mistake of taking the media at its word because the Business Cycle Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research has resolutely declined to declare an end to the 2008-2009 recession to this day. This is why all the recent talk about a "double-dip" recession is absurd. It is so absurd that anyone who now uses the term in an unironic manner should not be taken seriously as an economic commentator.Emphasis mine.
The only reason that there was even an illusion of a recovery is due to the use of GDP as a proxy for economic growth. The problem is that GDP counts government spending as economic growth, so therefore the stimulus plans have added around $1 trillion in statistical growth.</b> Now, federal numbers never add up when one government report (in this case the budget) is compared to another one (the BEA's GDP), otherwise the U.S. economy would have enjoyed 7 percent growth on the basis of the stimulus packages alone. Even if we accept the BEA's lesser number of 2.4 percent growth in the second quarter of 2010, though, it is clear that the economy will be seen as contracting even by the government measures once the stimulus money runs out. And despite its best efforts, Washington will soon learn that paying bureaucrats to shuffle paper and harass the citizenry does not generate economic growth.
See why we have such a big deficit? It makes the Democrat Regime look better than it actually is. Of course that big deficit is going to fall squarely on your kids' shoulders (if you have kids). Thanks, Democrats!
Six reasons the economy is in trouble. Reason #7: Democrats are in charge.
* * *
The FOID card application went out in today's mail, finally. So, in about six weeks, I should be able to go buy a gun, if I so choose. (And bullets.)
Maybe someday I'll get to build myself an AR-15, like all the cool kids.
* * *
Tomorrow promises to be hot, but this evening should be cool. Thursday is expected to be the coolest day this week; maybe I'll change the Jeep's oil on Thursday.
I last changed its oil in November. Yeesh. Well, that's about 3,000 miles ago, and it's got a 6-quart sump, so it probably doesn't matter all that much.
At least I managed to get the "east 40" cut this afternoon. The lawn mowers are all low on gas and I don't have any on hand, so tomorrow when I run errands I'll have to pick up the oil change stuff AND gas for the mowers AND groceries AND a storage container for emergency foodstuffs. That's four stops already; pray that there won't be a fifth. (There will be. I have to go to the bank. *sigh* Oh well.)
And once that's done, finish the grass--but with the "east 40" done, the rest is easy-peasy, probably not more than forty minutes' work if I take my time.
Well, get it all done tomorrow and then I can take it easy on Wednesday. Unless something else crops up.