On the next four years: decline

Supposedly we are now in for some “change” or something – some vague bettering of America. I’ve already seen many people wax poetic on Obama and what he’ll do – as if he’s the only man up there in Washington. That concept is frightening just for the royalty without the ermine bit of relying on one man to make all the decisions. But he’s not the only guy up there. There’s two houses of Congress – and one of them is to be controlled by the Republicans – who probably will not be that cooperative with Obama, unless, of course, it is to expand presidential and governmental power even more – in the hope that when they get in then they’ll get to use the toys, rather than the “opposition.”

The economy will continue to suffer – for the problem lies not so much in the policies of this administration per se, but the accumulation of what Obama’s done and the past presidents too. For instance, farm supports will continue – billions spent to control the prices of commodities, billions given to corporations to grow or not grow as the dictates of the Agriculture Department ordains. This of course not only takes tax dollars out of the hands of those who can use them – but gives them to people who don’t really need them – and raises the price of foods for everyone – and how transferring money from one group of citizens to another all to keep the price of food high is good for America I don’t know. Of course, with prices so high, the “poor” – a larger group than ever apparently – and those on Food Stamps – will be given more money from still other tax papers, to buy the high price food – in a sense paying for the same goods twice.

Meanwhile, taxing the rich – I’ve seen some commentary from friends that they are all for taxing the rich – and well, that never quite works either. Seems the idea is to tax the rich and “all else remaining equal” this new revenue will continue unabated to pay for the largesse – only, well, no – for eventually the rich will no longer strive to be rich. And indeed, new rich are prevented by both disincentive and by taking the money in the first place the rich won’t be able to invest it back into new things. And so the revenues from the rich will decline. And the few billions they think they’ll haul in will wind up to be a few billions less. Yet, because the spending will increase to meet the new tax level, then the deficit will grow still higher.

Ah, yes, the deficit – neither party has a plan to reduce it – they think we’ll grow out of it by some magic of math that no one can see yet. The belief seems to be that with all this government “investment” in this or that company, or some new legislation decreeing “affordability,” or “fairness” or some other fine word, and with the new tax revenues, then all this new money will be put to pay back the debt – which it won’t. Weirdly – supposedly, all this new money and revenues is both going to help the middle class and the poor and pay down the debt and pay for new and wondrous programs too. And when you spend the same $10 three different ways on the same day, thinking you apparently have $30 when instead you have $10 – well, $20 of the spending won’t happen. Given a shiny new program or more funding to existing programs and of course a special beautiful new building for all the new bureaucrats or paying down the debt – Congress folks will go for the first options. And thus, the debt and deficit will continue – and the concurrent economic beating reality of it will continue.

Unemployment will remain high – probably go higher too. Oh, sure, it’ll wobble, perhaps even a point or two up or down – but what is also true is that all the new businesses that regulations will prevent from happening, and all the expansions that will never happen, will mean that there are precious few new jobs to be had at all. You can’t take the money from a rich man who was about to build a new factory and give it to a new program, and still expect the rich man to build his new business, can you? Well, yes they can! And they do. In fact, the entire premise of new taxes and regulations is that no one will make any decisions relative to the new information and situation, but will continue on as they were before without a change to anything. The idea is preposterous, of course, but the consensus of economists today is this weird idea of “all else remaining equal” and it’s just not true. So, expect unemployment to remain high. Expect too, as companies continue to not hire, for the government to complain, and expect soon a law requiring companies to hire more people. Yes, I can see many in Congress thinking they’ll rid us of unemployment by simply decreeing that companies hire people. I can also see the government hiring all these people too.

This last idea, usually bandied about as “conservation corps” and “Help America Brigades” and such, well, where is the money to come from to pay them? Ah, taxes on the rich! So we take the rich’s money which they would build a factory, and give it to the unemployed so he can work a government job – and then, the rich won’t make more to be taxed, and then the deficit spending will start to cover the salaries of the newly hired. It’s a vicious cycle. Many governments in history have done it; it never ends well.

Supposedly too this “Affordable Health Care” – which is mere words on paper decreeing lower prices – will make life wonderbah. Bah. What is already happening is that the government, to save money, is lowering the prices of medical services that doctors can charge, and weirdly, doctors are no longer providing the services. For instance, in Arizona, with Medicaid – as the program expanded, as the paperwork increased, and as the money a doctor could earn fell, the number of doctors willing to take Medicaid patients decreased – leaving the poor with wonderful health care provisioning on paper, but none in reality. Doctors are health care, not the prices they charge. So, we’ll have less doctors for more people – and this is supposed to be for our good, for now, it’s “Affordable.” Yes, well, after the town burns housing might be decreed to be cheap all the live long day – but if there’s no housing at all to be had what then is the point of the cheap price? Perhaps now the government will have to simply order the doctors to serve. Since they have student loans, I’m sure it won’t be such a leap to say “if you owe student loans you must doctor to whom we say.” Perhaps doctors who graduate will be ordered to work in this place or that, not of their choosing, so that good doctors are available. Of course, that will further disincentivize (egad, what a word,) anyone from going to med school in the first place.

Then too the government will continue, perhaps increase even, it’s “investments” in the growing of this or that industry – which will be billions shoveled to cronies for nothing. Already nearly every single investment by the government has gone belly up – for the government hands out the investments on politics, not mathematics of business. Whom is connected? Not whom has the best idea. The dream will live, the numbers won’t work – and instead of going with the numbers, they’ll continue with the dream. Governments don’t invest well because while the bureaucrats without a doubt do a fine job bureaucrating, they certainly can’t make the decisions about the best investments and when to pull the plug on the dying carcass of the failed businesses. Indeed, the bigger the failure, the more tax dollars must be now shoveled in, for there is face to lose, and a seat in the Senate that can’t be given up for having made the mistake, and nefarious forces are thwarting the good government backed company, so competition will be made “fairer” – oh, the proposals to order successful companies to cut their prices or raise them are easily enough made; they’ll be made.

The more meddling in the price structure, the more meddling in the investments and start ups, the more disastrous it will become – and thus more tax dollars needed to keep those good jobs and the good investment – while anyone making a buck the old fashioned way will be taxed more for having been the success – for they must have done something nefarious, no?

I could go on and on about the unintended consequences of the acts of government, and layer in ever more details. Here’s the broad view – and of course, some will quibble, because they will be of mind to say “but there’s a law!” Yes, well, math doesn’t pay attention to laws. You can’t order a company to sell something for less than what it costs to produce and expect it to live. Come the subsidies, come the strings with the subsidies, and come the continued “corporatizing” of America – aka, a sort of benign fascism, or a benign Fabian socialism – and a continued decline in the economy, which, by government measure, will simply never be the fault of what the government is doing, but everyone else is the guilty party, with a law required now to reign them in. And it’s all “affordable” because the law says so. Yah, sure.

This would have happened under Romney too – he may have done it a bit different – different cronies for sure, and perhaps putting the same provision in section 1 while Obama puts it in section 2 of the new law. And too Romney would have a different cast of characters with the exact same mind set as the cast hired by Obama. I do not wish to impart to Obama any sort of “he’s destroying America” looniness. I’m not a birther, or much of a conspiracy maven. Nor am I sure that all the bad guys around Obama that so many lament are much different than the bad guys around Romney. In fact, the consensus they hold is identical – even if the source they proclaim for the consensus is different. If you think endless more government investment in the economy is good – it matters not if you think it comes from Marx or the Bible – its the math, not the words.

And the math of the nation is not good. Neither party, in their bipartisan consensus, is seemingly remotely aware of this. So, expect continued decline. Of which the only good thing that may come out of it is two fold: One, that the Democrats will be blamed and they stumble and fall and loosen their grip. More of the “independents” and the waverers will leave the party, and so the Democrats will grow more fundamentalist in the socialist theories, however couched in American terms and phrases. And their vote totals will decline – for as the economy declines in fits and starts they will call for more of the same, or stronger government involvement still – which will make the economy worse, and perhaps, prayerfully, turn off more people to the Democrats. The remaining will be shriller.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are going further and further into a sort of Medieval Theocracy and superstition – the Fundamentalist Christians will say that the loss is because Romney was a cultist and not a Christian. It will come because they will say Romney wasn’t anti-gay enough. And now that gay marriage won in four states, it would seem that all the bad economic news will be imparted to God’s view of the nation – and thus the Fundies will get more fundy, and they will get more power within the Republicans. And perhaps more shrilly, they will blame the economic decline on the gay folks being allowed a moment of peace.

And too, supposedly we’ll have gay marriage just everywhere! Ha! The president has already said it’s for future generations, which we already knew, since the nation has been, um, evolving on the issue for decades with no end in sight regardless of who won. And also, regardless of who won, gay folks would have been better off as gays, even if worse off economically – for, we as gays are just unrelated to everything else. Even if Obama pulls off a miracle (or Europe tanks so bad, and the rest of the world too, that they will be forced to move their wealth to the US which will give us a temporary boost,) and the economy turns around a bit for a while– gay folks will still need be dealt with – under the same ideas that existed. Which are crazy ideas, but they’re traditional.

But all the laws about gay folks will remain, and all the marriage laws in the states that have them. And the new marriage laws are going to be fought in courts now – expect the onslaught to begin by Monday, of course. And yet, gay folks will continue to win the hearts and minds of all Americans regardless of what laws are for or against us, or which don’t include us and which do – for no president for or against us has done much in this regard, and we have no program or agenda, or national organizing group, and the usual trappings of a “movement” – but we are merely the gay guys coming out to our families, and which no law on earth can stop or promote. And I don’t need a president to be “for” gay marriage in some abstract sense, I need the guy next door to come help me and the beau put up a new gazebo in the garden. I need regular people on my gay side, not politicians. And we gays won people to our side long before any politicians came to support us. Indeed, politicians are late in the gay games.

So, I’m sanguine, and will marvel as people are surprised at the continuing decline. I’m going to be saying “I told you so,” many times in the next four years. And I will be told I’m not with the mainstream. And I think, yes, well, you in the mainstream, in your boat, the falls are ahead and you’re partying like there’s no tomorrow – and what will happen is that your boat will go over the falls. And you still won’t listen to me, trying to throw a rope of less taxes, less government, less rules, less regulations and less interference in the lives of the people by government – and you all will think that the chain the government throws you will not weigh you down and drag you over the abyss. It’s going to get ugly economically soon, and well, be aware that I told you here first – it makes no difference that Obama won, or if Romney would have –

For it’s the system and the consensus – that’s the problem. Not who runs it. Enjoy the decline folks. Enjoy.

 

 

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