Posts Tagged ‘Deficit’

The Cliff, oh the cliff!

November 17, 2012

This winter situation is covered with frost,

and summer’s plenty is all but lost.

Our nation’s budget’s been tempest-tossed,

with funds and revenues far beneath our cost.

 

Just how we got here, my mind is miffed,

while our budget-crunchers stretch and sift.

Many years now, our spenders squander; our deficits drift

with a fiscal load too heavy to lift.

 

Whether we plunge or lunge, Congress has a tiff,

because revenues are lethargic and taxes are stiff.

If we cut out this or don’t collect that, and now, what’s more–what if?;

You see our fiscal sense, long ago, hath plunged over this cliff.

 

Just how far we fall

is impossible to call.

Winter and spring will squall, and summer will stall;

we’ll find ourselves at another cliff next fall.

 

What else is new? You question me. I’ll ask you.

You say it’s false and I say it’s true:

our debts are too many; our funds are too few.

Who knew?   But I’m not to blame. Surely it’s you!

Glass Chimera 

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So this is what it’s come to

February 6, 2012

As a working citizen of these United States, I am struggling with this notion of personal responsibility.

Many leaders, most notably our President, speak publicly about the idea that everyone is duty-bound to “do their fair share.” This is certainly true.

How do we construct a society in which everybody can be incentivized to “pull their own weight?”

Almost everybody seems to be running out of money. The government is gone hog-wild with uncontrollable spending. Its as if we’ve got a monster perpetual motion societal machine that grinds up resources and assets and then extrudes them as public benefits–“benefits” if you’re poor, “profits” if you’re rich.

Some people game the system and do really well at it; they come out smelling like a rose, and richer. The liberals call these “the rich,” or the “1%.” The Dems and the Occupyers  want to up the ante on these opulent types by raising their tax rates, so that there is more for the rest of us. I’m not so sure the system actually works that way. Once assets get ground-up in that perpetual motion spending machine, maybe they’re lost forever. Maybe they come out in a black hole somewhere out in space beyond the demoted Pluto.

Other Americans, on the low-income end, barely get by. They wander around looking for employment, and get public assistance–welfare, subsidies, disability, and whatnot. But there seems to be a dropping point, a precipice, at the end of a slippery slope of public assistance. If po’ folks have been on the dole long enough they forget (or do they?) how to really look for work. Do they forget how to think like a person who needs a job and must go out and just dam-well find one? Like, the next-one-that-comes along! What if it IS McD’s? What if they DO have a diploma that is irrelevant to our present situation? Do they, instead of taking that minimum-wage insult, then choose to ease on into the public fix? Will they drift into our 12-step welfare enablements until they have at last lapsed into a prison of their own making?–a hazy cubicle smoked-up with cigarettes, beer, narcotizing tv, maybe little pops of legally-acquired or not-so-legally-obtained pills? These are the ones that the Repubs and the Tea Partiers want to cut off, because they are not pulling their weight.

In my helpless opinion, we’ve got dead weight on both ends–the rich skaters and the poor slackers–and there’s very little we can do about it. The Dems and the President cannot fix it; the The Repubs and Romney cannot fix it, although they claim that they can. Ha! We’ll see about that round about this time 2013. Furthermore, Congressional supercommittees, God help ’em, have passed the buck as business as usual.

I certainly don’t know what to do about it, so I guess I’ll just go to work this Monday morning–thankful that I have a job– and hope for the best, and pray: May God help us work this dam mess out in some kind of way that every citizen will somehow find cause to  somehow “do their fair share.”

So you see I’m praying for a miracle here. But I have faith in God.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress

Foundation for Debt Ceiling Research

January 8, 2012

Now is the time for all top dawgs to come to the aid of their country, y’all.

I’m talking about heavy hitters like Warren Buffett and Donald Trump, people whose impact can really make a difference.  If Donald and Warren want to contribute their money-gathering expertise to our national improvement, I propose they should organize three great charitable fundraising events. I’m suggesting that these guys do it because I’m just, like, one little guy with a big idea. But these two have the real wherewithal to get something done in the interests of balanced fiscality.

So, the first  fundraiser would be a prize-fight in Atlantic City featuring George Soros v. David Koch.

The second would be a fight in Las Vegas between Bill Ayers and Charles Koch.

The third would be a tag-team wrestling match with the four heavyweights in Chicago.

Referees would be Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid.

Rush Limbaugh and Chris Matthews would serve as the official voices of USA Spurts.

All proceeds would go to the brand-new Foundation for Debt Ceiling Research, to be fiduciarially managed  jointly by Goldman Sachs and ACORN.

So Warren and Donald, when you get a minute, give me a call and we’ll get going on this thing.

Glass Chimera

The Horizon of Deepwater (a prose gusher)

June 28, 2011

In the fall of 2008, the Treasurer of the United States, Henry Paulson, convinced the President and the Congress to bail out the financial industry so that the whole damn system of passing money and electrons around would not fall apart.
So Mr. Bush, with legislative help from the Reps and the Senators, injected seven or eight hundred billion of public money into the big banks and the big crap-shooting insurer that backed up those banks, along with the two huge quasi-public mortgage underwriters. At least that’s the way this taxpayer remembers it. Help me out here if my facts are a little amiss.
At the time, those powers that be had convinced us, in the frenzied imminent panic of falling markets and a deflating housing industry, that the entire structure of the way we do business in America and even beyond America would fall apart at the seams if we didn’t meet Mr. Paulson’s recommendations.
Of course we’ll never know if that universal implosion of American business and international commerce would have happened or not. The banks got their money, and we are still in a big mess, although not a catastrophic one as big as it might have otherwise been haha. We’ll never know. Instead of the sky falling on us with incalculable damage, we have been  able to creep through a couple of lean years in which the ever-present spectre hound of the double-dip has been constantly at our heels, baying for blood or possibly just for red ink, which looks like blood. These days, who knows the difference between any real thing and its hyped-up digitized alter-ego.
Now we’ve come full circle, and have got the same situation over again, except this time its not Hank having fits, but the chicken-littles who warn us of that debt ceiling bogey beast that will devour our already-suspect financial stability and digest it, and then egest our fiscal credibility with overly-copious liquidity in turds not easily disposed of.

A little greece carefully applied will move things along nicely.

Meanwhile, the ratings agencies, the Moody, S&P and the Fitch, are making their obligatory noises of warning, walking their own wire of credibility while keeping fingers in the air to see which way the wind will blow.
Where were those rating agencies in 2008? What were they doing when they should have been sounding the alarms about derivatives and CDS and MBS and CDOs? Same as what they’re doing now–waiting to see which way the wind will blow to tip or not tip over our unwieldy bowl of  cards, 2011 version.
So now, if those stubborn, ole fashion Repubs in Congress relent and allow the Dems and themselves  to keep flushing paper and electronic dollars while running both the deficit and the debt ceiling into deepwater default–what will happen then, huh?
We’ll never know. When they’ve made their deal and then the Fed and Treasury have a new batch of paper and electrons to swish around  in the bowl of toil, we’ll never know what torrent of troublesome irresponsibility has have been flushed down into that great poseidon-adventure pipeline that dumps its dootee out who knows where, the ocean or somewhere, probably some unstoppable severed pipline a hundred miles off the gulf coast. We’ll never know. But at least we’ll still have money to play with, just like in 2008, and we can stay in the game with the blessings of the bondholders. Flush on!

Glass Chimera

the China Syndrome, 2010 version

October 2, 2010

I encountered Today’s Mystery Question in a comment by Ken E. Zen, following the Economist’s analysis and discussion of Paul Krugman’s call for trade protectionism.

The Mystery Question is:

“How much of our Sovereign debt is being bought by China or simply reprocessed through the Federal Reserve?”

I must mention, though, that the runner up for Mystery profundity was signalled by an earlier commenter, rewt66, when he brought up the ages-old tragi-comic conundrum of human activity: Unintended Consequences?.

King Nevuhhadnuttin’s dream

January 7, 2010

King Nevuhhadnuttin had a bad dream and he was trying to figure out the meaning of it but he couldn’t and so he called in the wise satraps and the council of advisers; then seemingly out of nowhere, but actually it was from the jailhouse,  this wise woman Danielle steps forward and with mucho aplomb poses this mysterious enigma wrapped in a question:
“The other side? The other side of what?”
And King Nevuhnadnuttin exclaims: “That’s it! That’s exactly what I”m wondering, and what I’m frantically asking, in my dream just before I wake up.”
And Danielle calmly continues, “Precisely, O King, and allow me to describe your dream, for I have discerned it and I can interpret the meaning thereof.”
“Go for it!”says he. “Knock yourself out.”
Then saith Danielle: “We’re careening down a slippery road; the brakes are failing; further down the slope ahead of us in the frozen darkness is a precipice and we’re going to slide right off it into sheer unsupported air.  Here’s one guy speaking urgently from  the back seat pleading the driver to stop spending money because if we don’t we’ll slide right off the edge and plummet to insolvency and fiscal ruination that will lead to societal disintegration and national chaos.
“But over here in the passenger seat is another guy warning with controlled alarm in his voice that we’ve got to keep the money flowing and make it possible for most everyone to keep spending dollars and the only real danger is we have not yet  thrown enough money at the problem  and if we cut off the Fed supply the fall from the precipice will be very bad and our recovery will be long and protracted at best.
“So the driver–and I’m talking about not only you, O King, but your entire realm and every person in it (how’s that for high stakes pressure, huh?)–is worriedly weighing these two opposite warnings, and trying desperately to apply the brakes but finds it impossible while the passenger says just let the thing go because if we build up enough downhill momentum–not to worry–we’ll launch beyond the precipice fast enough and far enough to land on some terra firma which is surely on the other side.
“‘The other side? The other side of what?'”
“The other side of the balanced-budget misconception,” saith Danielle. “You see, according to the prevailing Keynesian wisdom, balanced budgets are an obsolete notion that no longer have any real meaning. They’re just relics from the past–holdovers from ages long gone, like the age of gold, when monetary value was tied to gold, and the age of silver when we were using silver certificates for currency, and the age of bronze when all our value was linked to industrial production, and the age of iron when times started to get hard, and now the age of iron mixed with clay when everything falls apart.”
“Falls apart?”
“O, not really, O King. I was just kidding. We’ll be okay. Have you thought about declaring a jubilee?”
“A what?”
“A jubilee. Free all the debtors from their debts, and let every person and family just take ownership of his/her/their domicile and vehicle.”
“Say what?”
“Just kidding, O King, it would never work, too disruptive and unorthodox–definitely not a workable strategy.”
“Right, Danielle. That would be a…uh…can of virtual worms.  Now who’s dreaming?”
“Me, I guess. I have a dream too.”

Carey Rowland, author of Glass half-Full