Category Archives: Debt

Rich Republicans Denying Desperate Americans Funds Don’t Get That The Small-Government Ship Has Sailed

COVID-19, Debt, Foreign Aid, Hollywood, Politics, Republicans, Ron Paul, The State, Welfare

From Mitt Romney to Rand Paul, quite a number of oleaginous Republicans are opposing President Donald Trump’s push for bigger $2,000 stimulus checks.

These Republicans have “expressed concerns that $2,000 checks would cost the government too much money. Increasing the original $600 direct payments would mean the government would have to borrow another $464 billion.”

Has Rand Paul lost it? He says,

“I think giving money to people, though, who are already working—look, my kids are working and don’t need a check. They’re not rich, but they don’t need a check. And most working Americans don’t need a check right now,” he said.
“It’s a really foolish, eggheaded, left-wing, socialist idea to pass out free money to people,” Paul went on. “So I part ways with the president on giving people free money.”

It’s when politicians point to their kids as exemplars of ordinary working stiffs—that the gag reflex kicks in.

As to “free money”: The money is the people’s money returned to its rightful owners. You, sir, are getting free money. Politicians, paid out of taxes, are thieves–never wealth creators, but, rather, wealth consumers–and worse, parasites.

The Bill squanders minted money overseas and stateside, such as on  authorizing “a Smithsonian Women’s History Museum and a National Museum of the American Latino.” Foreign aid, of course, being a government-to-government grant, seldom helps anyone but the corrupt bureaucrats in charge of its dispersal.

Here is what’s in the “$2.3 trillion COVID-19 relief and government funding bill“:

  • $4 billion for New York’s MTA as part of bailouts for mass-transit systems.
  • $15 billion earmarked toward grant programs for live entertainment venues such as Broadway.
  • $7 billion toward expanding broadband access.
  • $1.4 billion for a construction of a wall on the southern US border.
  • A new law saying that violating copyright laws with unauthorized online streaming will become a felony punishable by five years in prison for first offenses and 10 years for repeat offenses. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) pushed the provision.
  • A rule saying the US Postal Service can no longer deliver e-cigarettes.
  • $500 million earmarked for Israeli defense purchases, including to equip the Iron Dome missile defense system.
  • $250 million over five years for Palestinian economic aid, which was pushed by New York Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey.
  • $2.5 million for “Internet freedom programs in closed societies”
  • $10 million for “gender programs” meant to help women get education and start businesses in Pakistan.

To their credit, Trumpian Republicans—Senators Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Susan Collins, David Perdue, Kelly Loeffler and Deb Fischer—have distanced themselves from the inappropriate objections, coming from their camp, to money for desperate Americans whose livelihoods have been destroyed by state response to COVID.

However, other Republican senators—John Cornyn, James Inhofe, Martha Blackburn, Pat Toomey, Roy Blunt, Rand Paul, Mitt Romney—have demonstrated a corporate, Beltway sensibility, as detached as that of the Democrats.

Most ludicrous is that these Republicans still believe there’s a case to be made for “small government.” Have they looked at the debt clock? Do they think the American State will ever again be small; can ever be shrunk?

The Small-Government ship has sailed and some Republicans don’t even know it.

On Motherhood

Debt, Ethics, Family, Gender, Kids, Morality

Via LinkedIn (where you can join me, too):

On being a mother: A little long, but still achingly poignant. Every single mother can identify:

Related reading is “Are you My Mother?”

Emily Wilson, a classicist, offers these insights:

“There is a deeply rooted idea in our culture that mothers, far more than fathers, are responsible not just for picking up the toys and changing the nappies, but also for how the child turns out in the end, for good or ill.”

Ms. Wilson’s conclusion:

“Mothers are all different, because they are all human. The good enough mother is one who gives her child what it needs to grow up. The good enough child is one who manages to grow up, and in doing so, is able to recognize her mother’s humanity.”

 

Pandemic Preparedness And America’s Mañana Mentality

COVID-19, Debt, Economy, Free Markets, Healthcare, Political Economy, The State

The dynamics of state regulation and ownership aside, there is no ignoring our American mañana mentality. Consume in the present; worry not at all about tomorrow’s supplies.

Doesn’t that epitomize the state of America’s coronavirus pandemic reserves?

Via the LA Times: “A disaster foretold: Shortages of ventilators and other medical supplies have long been warned about.”

The nation needed larger caches of standby medical supplies and hospitals that were better prepared to handle a surge of infected patients.

A decade later, the coronavirus crisis is exposing many of the same gaps. Inadequate supplies of protective masks, ventilators, intensive care beds and other medical resources are forcing mass closures of schools and businesses and restrictions on everyday activities as public officials rush to slow the virus so America’s medical system isn’t overwhelmed.

the Government Accountability Office … the federal government’s leading internal watchdog, has issued a steady stream of reports about poor pandemic planning. …

The GAO, public health experts and others issued a steady drumbeat of warnings that America would sooner or later face a widespread infectious disease outbreak or a major bioterrorism attack and was woefully unprepared. …

… In both 2018 and 2019, U.S. intelligence agencies issued insistent warnings in their annual Worldwide Threat Assessment.

“We assess that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or large-scale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability, severely affect the world economy, strain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support,” the 2019 report noted.

AND, Making the case for investments in material and hospital planning has long been challenging as most people have difficulty envisioning a major disaster, acknowledged Dr. Eric Toner of Johns Hopkins University, an authority on pandemic preparedness.”

Hospitals also are under pressure to keep margins thin and eliminate spending on staff and supplies that aren’t used all the time.

And, in government-regulated hospitals, which are the majority in the US,

The budget crunch represents a particular challenge for so-called safety-net hospitals, institutions that serve many uninsured patients and those covered by Medicaid, and consequently collect less revenue. These same hospitals are now expecting a large surge in coronavirus patients but have limited resources to ramp up staffing and add intensive care beds if needed.

“Cash is very limited,” said Charlie Shields, chief executive of Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City. Shields said the finances are under even more stress since the hospital canceled elective procedures and shut down its dental services to prepare for the pandemic, moves that reduce hospital revenue.

In case you imagine the US has a free-market in medicine, here are a few statistics that’ll shock you, via The Economist:

The country has over 6,000 hospitals. Only 1,300 or so are private for-profit institutions; the rest are non-profit or government-run. The lack of an overt profit motive has done little to rein in prices …

In any event, the defining characteristic of the Unites States is debt—public and private, macro and micro. America is a debtor nation. A natural shift must take place in the economy from a credit-fueled, consumption-based economy, to one founded on savings, investment and production.

Thanks To Private Enterprise Ingenuity, Not Government Frugality, The US Is Not Venezuela

America, Business, Debt, Economy, Government

Venezuela’s inflation is 46,000 percent a year, “which in turn is largely caused by the printing of money to finance the government’s deficit of 30 percent of GDP.” (“Venezuelan cash is almost worthless, but also scarce,” Economist, July 12th, 2018.)

“In FY 2017, the federal deficit was 3.4 percent of GDP. This year, FY 2018, the federal government in its latest budget has estimated that the deficit will be 4.2 percent of GDP.” (https://www.usgovernmentdebt.us/federal_deficit_percent_gdp.)

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the United States was worth about 19 trillion US dollars.

Thanks to private enterprise ingenuity, not government frugality (see US Debt Clock), the US is not Venezuela.