I don’t have a lot of time for writing today, but before I didn’t have time, I had a bit for reading. So, I’m passing along two columns I read this morning that are both pretty interesting. The first is by Walter Russell Mead about the top 10 things we’ve learned from the financial crisis. It’s good, and I agree with almost all of it. We certainly do live in interesting times.
The world economy is like a person with a bad stomach flu; that horrible sick feeling keeps coming back. In 2008 it was mortgage-backed bonds and the failure of Lehman Brothers; last year it was the worst recession since the 1930s; this year it’s the European financial crisis. We still don’t know where this is going; there is plenty of good news out there. The National Association of Business Economists is upgrading its growth forecast for the US in 2010; China remains strong; the IMF is upgrading its growth forecasts worldwide. On the other hand, some of the world’s smartest investors are buying gold like there was no tomorrow, there is talk about a new global meltdown, and the world’s financial markets seem ready to plunge on the slightest whiff of bad news.
The second is a piece on Pajamas Media pointing out that the Mexican President’s pants are on fire. One thing I’ve learned through my study of history: always be very scared when politicians want to take away the citizen’s guns. It all comes down to power and money.
President Calderon’s assertion that Mexico has seized around 75,000 guns and assault weapons in the last three years — and that more than 80 percent of them came from the United States — is a bald-faced lie. It simply is not remotely connected to the truth.
Time to get political again. That’s really why I have this blog, after all; this is where I feel free to speak my mind and if it annoys someone out there, bummer. For those with blood pressure issues, I have my family blog that’s entirely safe from such things. Today though, on this blog, I’m linking to this spectacular entry by Dr. Zero over at Hot Air Blog. It’s called “A Word to the Weary“, and it basically says, yeah, things are bad, but don’t give up. Keep fighting. It’s a scary, wonderful, and inspiring post. It’s not a rah-rah Republican piece, but centered upon freedom. The start:
I get a lot of email from people who ask if the final degeneration from capitalism to collectivism is now inevitable. Entitlements are never repealed, after all, and we just got saddled with a back-breaking entitlement, piled atop a national debt that was already crushing us. It seems like it would take a miracle just to undo the damage Barack Obama has done in a single year… and that would just get us back to where George Bush left us. Dependency, unemployment, economic contraction, and socialist politics are a perpetual-motion engine of national decline.
A couple points I’d like to make. First, don’t ever mistake this: neither party can be absolutely trusted with your life, happiness, and freedom. Keep them honest and be willing to turn on them in a heartbeat if you catch them betraying their promises. Second, I have no idea how bad or chaotic these political and financial upheavals are going to be, but I am fairly certain that the past few years represents just the tip of the iceberg. Anyone with a lick of sense sees our national debt and projected deficits over the next decade and can see that.
When that systemic crash does come — and it will — how bad and painful it will be is being affected by our actions today in a very real way. It can be looked at as a sliding scale. The more dependent the citizenry are upon the machine of government, the more painful the crash will be. The more independent they are, the softer the transition will be.
Daniel Indiviglio over at the Atlantic has a post that references a great chart on the USA Today. It shows that every household in America now is committed to $668,621 of debt, including both Federal and private debt. Now, be honest: where do you think this will end? It won’t be a happy happy joy joy place, I can assure you of that. The sad part is that when I propose that perhaps the government borrowing trillions to get us out of the problem of having trillions of debt isn’t the best of ideas, a large swath of the country thinks I’m insane.