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A Fifth of Doom

I've joked that I'm spending everything on liquor and ammo. After writing this column, I don't think I'm joking anymore.

by
Stephen Green

Bio

October 20, 2013 - 11:49 pm
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For what it’s worth, $2,000,000,000,000 is the amount of stimulus Paul Krugman once assured us was needed. Between the first two rounds of quantitative easing, the Fed’s asset purchases program, and deficit spending, it’s likely that the economy has experienced about $10,000,000,000,000 (that’s Trillion again with a T) in stimulus since 2009.

And still the economy remains on trillion-dollar life support.

Why?

A few possibilities:

● Encouraging Dependency. The Department of Health and Human Services has a budget in 2013 of $941,000,000,000. If HHS were a country, it would be the 16th richest in the world, between South Korea and Indonesia. If HHS were a state, it would be bigger than any of them except for California, Texas, and New York. HHS is bigger than the economies of Vermont, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Alaska, Rhode Island, Maine, Idaho, New Hampshire, Delaware, West Virginia, Hawaii, New Mexico, Nebraska, and Mississippi combined. The District of Columbia is about the same size as HHS — and you can’t imagine that’s a coincidence.

● Debt Overhang. There’s that $17,000,000,000,000 we’ve racked up, plus millions of mortgages still left underwater from the Great Recession.

● ZIRP. The Fed’s Zero Interest Rate Policy is supposed to make borrowing cheaper, but instead it’s made saving more expensive. People — especially people on fixed incomes — have to sock away more and more money to make up for the lost interest on their deposits.

● Concentration of Wealth. D.C. and its environs are now some of the richest in the country. Many of the country’s best go there not to create wealth, but to redistribute it. We’re undergoing a disastrous intranational brain-drain.

● Anemic Productivity Growth. Productivity growth is the real secret to wealth creation, but Bill Clinton’s Community Reinvestment Act, combined with Alan Greenspan’s and Ben Bernanke’s easy money policies, diverted trillions of dollars into housing — and houses are not productive assets. Instead of figuring out inventive new ways to create wealth, our best finance guys were coming up with inventive new ways to create debt.

● Obamacare. We’ll never know how many full-time jobs were lost, how many will never be created, or which small businesses will be induced to stay that way instead of pursuing robust growth. But Obamacare is just getting started, and already it’s turning us into a part-time nation.

That’s not all, of course. There’s higher taxes, the regulatory explosion, the chaos on Capitol Hill, Dodd-Frank, and the administration’s war on cheap energy, to name five more. Least defensible of all might be Obama’s hectoring of job creators, on par with FDR’s slander of businessmen as “malefactors of great wealth.” I’ve noticed a “screw you, too, buddy” attitude from local businessmen toward the president; they’d rather sit on what they’ve got than risk any further confiscations or demands. And I suspect that attitude isn’t limited to my little mountain neighborhood.

What’s an otherwise optimistic American to do? I joked on Scott Ott’s PJTV Trifecta segment last week that I was spending everything on liquor and ammo. But after writing this column, I don’t think I’m joking anymore.

(Artwork created using a modified Shutterstock.com image.)

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Stephen Green began blogging at VodkaPundit.com in early 2002, and has served as PJMedia's Denver editor since 2008. He's one of the hosts on PJTV, and one-third of PJTV's Trifecta team with Scott Ott and Bill Whittle. Steve lives with his wife and sons in the hills and woods of Monument, Colorado, where he enjoys the occasional lovely adult beverage.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
It would be better to distill your own liquor on your own land and use it as barter, for years in was the exchange medium in rural hill country. Also investing in buying cigarettes might help, after the second war German which had had its industrial and infrastructure base blown to bits by FDR and Joe Stalin, cigarettes were used by starving Germans in order to obtain food.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Stephen, I'm trying to imagine how ordinary Americans handle ordinary commerce if the US Dollar dies. Barter using liquor? Is our economy so large that we destroy faith in all currency or are there sane countries that can survive our crash? For example, would the Canadian Dollar survive our insanity? Frustrating because eventually nobody will buy our debt.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
You may want to cut back on the liquor expenditures. Ammunition isn't cheap you know...
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (25)
All Comments   (25)
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Sorry folks, this has nothing to do with the video but it is important. I'm looking for a way to ask the Trifecta team to debate the issue of a States Convention to Stop the Federal power grab. I just read that the State of Virginia has just filed to call a States Convention ostensibly to stop The President and The Federal Governments over-reaching power grab and the Presidents rule by fiat or decree. I thought this was a good thing until I was told that a States Convention could possibly change of affect The Constitution. The State Convention could be hijacked by the Progressives and change The Constitution for worst. What is the truth about this? Should we support a States Convention or does it pose a threat to The Constitution? PLEASE HELP GUYS!
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Liquor and ammo. If you can find the ammo.

And iOS 7 sucks.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Joe Biden once told a black audience that "they want to put you back in chains."

What he didn't tell them is that these days chains are made of EBT cards and Medicaid.

Democrats are fond of tugging those chains just to remind them who owns them.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
As someone who can easily see the folly and danger in all of this, it remains a puzzle that others of supposedly above average reasoning ability cannot see it. I think the underlying enabler of this collective head-in-the-sand posture is the Fed and its use of quantitative easing. This is essentially a slow reduction in the value of domestic and foreign wages, dollars and US note holdings. The fact that we all play along while the Fed prints $85 B each month is global acknowledgement that just being able to keep things from not blowing up is the best bet in the world right now.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
"keep things from blowing up" I meant to say
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
It would be better to distill your own liquor on your own land and use it as barter, for years in was the exchange medium in rural hill country. Also investing in buying cigarettes might help, after the second war German which had had its industrial and infrastructure base blown to bits by FDR and Joe Stalin, cigarettes were used by starving Germans in order to obtain food.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Distilled liquor is an excellent medium of exchange and store of agricultural produce that cannot otherwise be preserved. The Whiskey Rebellion was due less to a Puritanistic abhorrence of alcohol, than the government wanting both its perceived share of the agricultural produce so converted AND to suppress a barter economy that avoided new US currency.

In addition to the "Black powder and alcohol" noted elsewhere; medicinal skills, supplies, and field expedient substitutes. Other things of use would be the ability to make containers for storage or cooking [pottery and baskets, etc.], and the ability to fabricate metal items. Communications would be a handy skill. The idea is to go down a step in technology and commerce, and hopefully only one step.

Mr. Green, your shopping list is a good start. If you ask, I suspect that more than a few of us here could give you additions, and leads to tutorial texts.

Subotai Bahadur
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Stephen, I'm trying to imagine how ordinary Americans handle ordinary commerce if the US Dollar dies. Barter using liquor? Is our economy so large that we destroy faith in all currency or are there sane countries that can survive our crash? For example, would the Canadian Dollar survive our insanity? Frustrating because eventually nobody will buy our debt.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Silver eagles.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
As I unnerstan' it, basically EVERY other nations currency is denoted by Dollar$.
U.$. Dollar$ is what lies in their treasury's to give value to their money.

Scary huh?
And the music goes round and round and it...
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
OMG it's Harry Mudd!
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
Y'know, they almost green lighted a spinoff with Harcourt Fenton Mudd as the lead char.

Coulda been, shoulda been.

Oh well.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
“Black powder and alcohol,
When the states and the cities fall,
When your back is against the wall;
Black powder and alcohol.” —Leslie Fish

Lyrics at ‹http://www.prometheus-music.com/eli/filk/blkpowdr.html›; song at ‹http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGJ7E0TkVa0›.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you haven't found them before, I commend to your attention two other Leslie Fish songs: "Jefferson and Liberty" and "The Day It Fell Apart". Being Filk songs, they have been filked themselves in interesting ways.

Subotai Bahadur
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
You may want to cut back on the liquor expenditures. Ammunition isn't cheap you know...
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Usually I can't stomach your brand of lightheartedness, particularly that type of headline used here.......but, "Hey!" you may well say.......it got some attention!

But, this sentence rings true:

" Concentration of Wealth. D.C. and its environs are now some of the richest in the country. Many of the country’s best go there not to create wealth, but to redistribute it. We’re undergoing a disastrous intranational brain-drain."

"Intra-national" is an excellent term. It will lead to our increasing decline.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is madness of Biblical proportions. As a matter of fact the book of Revelations (literally the unfolding) talks abut how all the wealth of Babylon will be gone in one hour. It's not hard to see how that could happen.
What happens then is the question. Does Barack Mugabe print up 3 trillion dollar bills to buy a pack of gum with? Or does the irresistible force (politicians) meet the immoveable object (lampposts)?
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
that would be the Book of Revelation, actually.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes. The Revelation (singular) of St. John.

Be careful, however. Every generation for 2000 years has had a contingent that was absolutely positive theirs was the "terminal" generation.

They were all wrong. It wasn't The End and they had to face a normal death.

The sad truth is, nations and empires rise and fall on a regular basis, and often for the same, time-tested reason: debasement of their own currency.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
which was historically referred to as the Book of the Apocalypse...
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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