Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Markets Are Failing

And, of course, the sole reason is that our Federal Reserve and other central banks aren't printing enough money. Or that governments won't help the big banks. Or both. Probably both. As a NYTimes article says:
"It is the fear that governments may not ride to the rescue that seems to have unnerved markets."
Ah, so now we have it. The government is no longer forming a (nearly nonexistent) safety net for the banks - the same banks that make risky investments on purpose, overextending themselves and keeping little money actually in hand so they can make more money, and then depend on the taxpayer when they inevitably begin to fail.

The fact is that, if banks would make better business decisions, they would have nothing to worry about. If they would just learn to say "no" when a risky investor came along, they would get into far less trouble. Sadly, the profit motive is too much of...well, a motive. But I see no reason why they shouldn't pay the price.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

No Matter What Your Problem Is...

Government is, obviously, the answer.

At least, if you're a Democrat. Or a Republican. Or a statist. But this list is becoming repetitive.

It's something I've slowly come to realize about the people around me: no matter what the question they are faced with, or the problem that is confronting them, government inevitably, at some point, becomes the answer. Or, more properly, government money. Which is, of course, only our money taken from us by force then being immediately regurgitated into a behemoth system of government agencies and programs.

That network of agencies and programs is precisely what people have come to depend upon. I'm convinced, at this point, that the "American dream" as it existed for our forebears on Ellis Island is nothing but a pipe dream, a quixotic fantasy that is fostered by the optimistic denizens of American suburbia. That dream has been strangled by the idea that, no matter what goes wrong, government has money for us.

Democrats live this out in their rhetoric - that is, blatantly telling us exactly how they think all problems should be solved. Poverty is rampant? Well, we should steal more money from every citizen in the country to (sort of) solve it. A teenager is pregnant and wants an abortion? Well, we've stolen some money precisely for that purpose! There are people who can't keep their opinions to themselves and live with other people? Well, legislation should fix that right up!

Republicans are, in some ways, more devious. Their ideas of government intervention are more subtle. Most of them actually think they are for limited government and free markets. But then a question arises as to how, exactly, to stop abortions, and it becomes clear how they think - obviously, government is the only entity that can stop that...not individual action, with people reaching out to their fellows. Saving corporate interests, protecting big money, stopping crime, fighting the forces of chaos...all those things are jobs for the government. Quite obviously.

But for the life of me, I can't understand why. Perhaps it can be traced back to the fact that people don't want to be responsible for things. It's far more comfortable to let somebody - or something - else take care of it. This might give rise to the apparent inability of any politician to put their money where their mouth is and actually help a poverty-stricken community or reach out to single mothers and help pay medical bills. Perhaps that's just how governments work; they are inherently designed to reduce their subjects' intellectual capacity to zero through entertainment and then become the answer to everything.

But given our federal government's track record, I can't fathom the overwhelming trust that is placed in it. Our government can't stop a cave-dwelling Saudi with a core base of a couple hundred followers whose sole assets are a satellite phone and an ego as big as Betelgeuse, despite a pantheon of security guidelines, two massive wars and, of course, denying that the Taliban ever offered to give him up. But we can totally and completely trust it to successfully stop a kid from shooting himself up on a cocktail of drugs in a back alley. And we can totally trust our government's plethora of health and safety regulations to never let a drug get recalled. Ever.

All that's not even touching on the fact that the government is the biggest advocate of legal plunder in this country. You can get fined for letting rainwater run off your property! (That's actually a measure being considered in my hometown at the moment. Apparently, my town gets little enough rain as it is, so we don't want it falling on concrete. Exactly how property owners are supposed to prevent that is anybody's guess.) Before we know it, they're going to be fining us for breathing.

Oh, that's right. We release CO2 at every exhale. Us evil polluters, breathing all over the planet.

So I suppose it comes down to this.

Through some twisted process, government has become the ultimate solution to every problem. Because it's so good at solving things. And somehow, if we could just get a different person in there, real solutions would come along, and life would be dandy. If we could just squeeze a little more money out of somebody, all our problems would be solved. Jenny would have a good school that didn't fill her mind with fluff, Rob wouldn't be living in a tumbledown apartment complex in the middle of the Projects, Sarah wouldn't be pregnant at 16 and contemplating an abortion, and Timmy wouldn't be down the well.

Oh, and grandma would be baking apple pie.

If only.

Here's the deal, folks. Government has proven over and over again that it ruins everything it touches. The economy, the medical industry, schools, roads, puppies, the post office, important founding documents, libraries, other countries. They can't get involved in anything and it end up better than when they started. A new administration is not going to change that. More money and more power isn't going to change that. It will just give them more opportunity to twist more out of us.

We're all addicted to government programs. And we all know addictions aren't good. Let's break the government habit. Who's with me?