Moral Decay Plus Welfare Equals…

This – from the Daily Mail:

While many families are worrying about how to afford Christmas this year, one jobless single mother has revealed she receives so much in benefits she has £2,000 to spend on designer gifts, clothes and partying.

Mother-of-two Leanna Broderick plans to buy 20 presents for each of her children, including Burberry and Ralph Lauren outfits, iPads and gold jewellery.

The 20-year-old, who has never worked, claims nearly £15,500 a year in state handouts…

Whatever you do, don’t you dare get mad at the girl.  She’s just doing what she’s been told to do.

She was told it was ok to have sex before marriage, then she was told it was ok to be on welfare…and then the welfare system pays her more than entry-level work and, presto, you’ve got a “welfare queen”.  If you get mad at her then you are just being absurd:  this is the system of incentives provided and she has reacted to them in a perfectly reasonable manner.

And, of course, this does happen here in the United States as well – there are millions here who have no incentive to work because welfare benefits, of various types, are either equal to or greater than what can be earned by entry-level work…and even if you have a circumstance where the welfare is slightly less than a 40 hour a week, minimum wage job, not having to go to work beats going to work if its only a matter of 10-15% total income difference.

Yes, of course it is a disgrace – it is better than a lot of welfare situations where mom is a drug addict or some such (at least she does seem to be treating the kids well), but its still a horrid destruction of a human being, and apt to be repeated in the next generation by her daughters who will likely live by their mother’s example…and may not be so lucky on the drug-addiction issue.  We have, in some areas, several generations of people who live like this – who don’t work, never have worked and don’t even know what working is like.  And as liberal policies go their natural course, more and more people are hooked on welfare of one sort of another and yet more and more people develope a disconnect between work and reward.

There is a way to cure this, but it would take some guts and some willingness to genuinely reform the economy.

The guts part of it is this:

Total welfare benefits – from whatever source – for a physically fit person under retirement age must never exceed 80% of the value of a full time, minimum wage job.  They can be up to 100% of a minimum wage job if the welfare recipient is married and both persons have resided at the same address for 365 consecutive days or longer.  No additional benefits may be provided for children born while receiving welfare benefits.  That will take guts because to propose it is to immediately get howls of “racist!” and “hater!” and other such nonsense thrown at you.

The reform the economy part goes like this:

If we are to restrict welfare benefits like that, then we’d better buckets of entry-level jobs for these people to start working at – and that means manufacturing, farming and mining jobs, so we’d better restructure our economy for production rather than consumption and that will require much smaller government, a hard currency and a high cost for personal debt.

Or, we can just keep going as we are until we reach that tipping point where too many hands are in the till and the whole thing collapses.  That is, at most, four or five years from now.  So we’d better choose wisely…



A Republican Class War

As most of you know, I ceased being a supporter of Capitalism a few years back and switched over to being a Distributist.  The genesis of the shift was my growing realization that Big Corporation and Big Government were two sides of the same coin while the very rich – for all their being demonized in liberal rhetoric – are for the most part liberal Democrats.  I cannot perceive a way for us to finally win – win where we can amend the constitution and thus undo the liberalism which is destroying us – unless we take out the whole of the enemy arrayed against us.  Since I figured that the Capitalist system was actually in alliance with the socialist system, I easily found myself slipping in to Distributist beliefs – which, to boil it down, are that nothing “too big to fail” should be allowed to live.  That a man, working hard and living frugally, should be able to by himself support his wife and children.  That almost all political decisions which affect the day-to-day lives of citizens must be made at the lowest level possible.

In the 2012 election we got a bit of confirmation of my views – 8 of the 10 richest counties in America were carried by Obama.  The rich like Obama.  They voted for him.  They donated to his campaign.  Do you think they actually believe that Obama’s “tax the rich” rhetoric is directed at them?  It isn’t.  And they know it.  You see, as I’ve been saying for years, “tax the rich” is a mere propaganda phrase for the Democrats.  They portray themselves as being on the side of the poor and the middle class and their most effective argument in this portrayal is their repeatedly announced determination to “tax the rich”.  But here’s the thing – they never, ever tax the rich.  They tax the middle class and dress it up as a tax on the rich.  They say they want “millionaires and billionaires” to pay their fair share….but a “billionaire” in the tax code starts at $200,000.00 a year.

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What is Wrong With America? We Don’t Like “Dirty” Jobs

This could be Part 1 of a 10,000 part series, but one of the problems I’m always yammering on about it is our failure to understand that prosperity only comes when you make, mine or grow things.  Keep in mind that I consider my own work pretty much useless as compared to what any plumber, auto mechanic, doctor or drywall installer does in the course of the day.  There is some point in what I do, but I don’t kid myself in to thinking that the world would be worse off, fundamentally, if my entire job title was scrubbed from the books.  The trouble we have is that people who are government bureaucrats, college gender studies professors, lawyers, think tank employees, etc believing they are doing something as important (or even more important) than those people who grow our food and make our clothes.

As we look for ways to fix our nation, one of the most important tasks will be to re-invigorate the concept that work – real work – is honorable.  That the man or woman getting dirty day by day to ensure we have the necessities is doing something 2nd in importantce only to raising children (the fact that we don’t consider raising children to be that important – as we can see in the liberal attitudes towards stay-at-home-mom Mrs. Romney – is an article for another day).  As it turns out, Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame from television has written a letter to Romney on this very subject.  To quote:

…I shared my theory that most of these “problems” were in fact symptoms of something more fundamental – a change in the way Americans viewed hard work and skilled labor. That’s the essence of what I’ve heard from the hundreds of men and women I’ve worked with on Dirty Jobs.Pig farmers, electricians, plumbers, bridge painters, jam makers, blacksmiths, brewers, coal miners, carpenters, crab fisherman, oil drillers…they all tell me the same thing over and over, again and again – our country has become emotionally disconnected from an essential part of our workforce.  We are no longer impressed with cheap electricity, paved roads, and indoor plumbing. We take our infrastructure for granted, and the people who build it.

Today, we can see the consequences of this disconnect in any number of areas, but none is more obvious than the growing skills gap. Even as unemployment remains sky high, a whole category of vital occupations has fallen out of favor, and companies struggle to find workers with the necessary skills. The causes seem clear. We have embraced a ridiculously narrow view of education. Any kind of training or study that does not come with a four-year degree is now deemed “alternative.” Many viable careers once aspired to are now seen as “vocational consolation prizes,” and many of the jobs this current administration has tried to “create” over the last four years are the same jobs that parents and teachers actively discourage kids from pursuing. (I always thought there something ill-fated about the promise of three million “shovel ready jobs” made to a society that no longer encourages people to pick up a shovel.)…

Precisely – now, what does Mr. Rowe want?  He continues…

…Certainly, we need more jobs, and you were clear about that in Tampa. But the Skills Gap proves that we need something else too.  We need people who see opportunity where opportunity exists. We need enthusiasm for careers that have been overlooked and underappreciated by society at large. We need to have a really big national conversation about what we value in the workforce, and if I can be of help to you in that regard, I am at your service – assuming of course, you find yourself in a new address early next year…

Rowe goes on to note that he wrote Obama the same sort of letter four years ago and never heard back…but it appears that Romney has now read the letter.  Romney is unlikely as a man to lead us on a revolution – but curiously enough he is more likely than Obama (for all the “fundamental transformation of America” that Obama is on about, all he’s really doing is consolidating something that Chesterton predicted more than 100 years ago – that the Ruling Class would call itself “socialist”, put us all in property-less economic straightjackets and, straight faced, tell us they care about the little guy).  I hope that Romney really ponders the letter and starts to talk about he issues raised.  Cutting taxes and spending; very important.  Reforming our regulatory system; vital.  But unless we become an America of working people doing the dirty job of building civilization brick by brick and girder by girder, then we’re ultimately doomed.

Doomed to an Economic Depression?

Lots of bad news out there, today – US unemployment rate rose to 8.2%, Eurozone unemployment rose to 11% (ours is probably right there, too, but the Eurocrats haven’t, it seems,  figured out how to fudge numbers as well as Obama’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has), a host of bad news out of China indicates a possible “hard landing” for that economy, which will take Australia and Canada (major commodity suppliers to China) down with it, what amounts to a bank run in Greece and the start of one in Spain…and, yesterday, I read an article which I hope was a bald-faced lie because it says the derivatives market (something I don’t fully understand but from what I can gather it is nothing but a bunch of ponzi scheme garbage) is leveraged to 10 times global GDP…and there’s simply nothing to back all that garbage up.  So, are we doomed to a Depression?

The answer is “yes” and, also, “it started in 2008”.  For you liberals out there, this will provide you a bit of comfort:  Obama is not at fault for it.  On the downside, though, just about everything he has done has ensured that it not only won’t get fixed, but will actually get worse.  He hasn’t been alone in this, of course – Ben Bernanke at the Federal Reserve (as well as other central bankers around the world) has piled on the harm with all his money printing.  The problems of the global economy are as follows:

The world uses fake money – money just printed up by central banks and backed by nothing.  Fake money allows insolvent banks and governments to keep themselves afloat but it works out to the systematic stealing of the money of wealth-creators.  If you work hard today and earn a dollar what will happen is a 100th of a penny of it will be stolen tomorrow…that 100th of a penny isn’t so bad, but after 10 years it works out to quite a lot of the dollar you earned.  Fake money essentially allows failure to be masked – what is economically counter-productive can be kept going because you can keep passing fake money through it.  That you are all the while eroding the entire economy does not show up for a while, but show up it will.

We allow governments to pile up debt.  Government debt is not an “investment”.  An investment is when you take some of your own money and provide it to someone else who has worked out a plan to generate more wealth than was put in to it.  So, I have $100,000.00 and I see some guy in a garage with what I think will be a great product and I give the $100,000.00 to him to start up manufacturing – next year, the guy in a garage is a guy in a factory and he pays me back $125,000.00 while he, himself, is worth $250,000.00.  Government spending can provide some useful things, of course, but even when it does it isn’t like that.  A road facilitates commerce but it doesn’t actually return money on the money spent.  If the government spends a billion dollars building a new road its not like the government will get 1.5 billion dollars back on it next year.  True, the economic activity stimulated by the good road will result in a broader tax base but its still not an “I loan you money for your wealth-producing enterprise and I get paid back with interest while your wealth-producing enterprise just goes on and on making more and more wealth”.  So, even in the best of circumstances (a needed road), government spending is not an investment; even less so is government spending an investment when it goes in to things like high paid bureaucrats, subsidies to favored groups, welfare, etc, etc, etc.  It still might be something desired overall but it isn’t an investment.

Even worse, though, when the government spending is not out of current revenues but is borrowed against future revenues.  When we spend tomorrow’s money today on government we are not only not investing but we are de-investing…because every cent borrowed by the government is a cent which can’t be borrowed by persons and enterprises in the private economy who would use that borrowing to create new or expanded sources of wealth creation.  Whatever benefit you might get from such borrowing will be short lived, at best, and may actually harm the economy because the money borrowed by government is all too often to be wasted by the sundry sorts of graft common to government.

What started in 2008 and continues to this day – masked by a gigantic amount of fake money and government debt – is the logical and easily predicted outcome of a system which has at its bottom fake money and government debt.  I’m only astounded that it has kept going as long as it has.  Shows the power of people to blind themselves to reality – and our short-sightedness.  We listen with amusement to tales of what prices used to be…never thinking for a moment that, hey, the reason prices used to be lower is that our money was worth more and what the heck happened to our money?  It is when we create wealth that we get prosperous – when, that is, we make, mine and grow things.  Nothing else does it.  10,000 law degrees, 100 government departments and bureaus and the next 50 social media sites – not a single bit of wealth being created.  The next time a farmer plants a corn crop?  Wealth created.  The next time a miner digs in the earth?  Wealth created.  The next time someone makes a pair of pliers?  Wealth created.

In order for this wealth creation to happen we mush have three things:

1.  Investment money for wealth-creators to start up or expand their wealth creating enterprises.

2.  Reliable money which holds its value over time so that investors can safely invest for long term wealth creation (fake money, on the other hand, moves investors to protect their wealth by looking for the highest rate of short term gain).

3.  A tax and regulatory system which encourages money to flow in to wealth creating enterprises while laying the burden of proof for new regulations upon those who would impose them (not, as now, simply imposing them and then asking the victims to prove they aren’t necessary).

Investment money will primarily come from paying down government debt.  We’ve got $15 trillion of potential investment money sitting in the form of US government bonds.  Entirely wasted there – we need to balance our budget as swiftly as possible so that each year more and more of the $15 trillion becomes available to the private economy.

Reliable money would best come from returning to the gold standard but people have been so relentlessly propagandized against such currency that it would be a hard sell.  Our best option, for now, is to require Congressional action for increasing the supply of money – whatever we do, don’t leave in the hands of central bankers to go “cntrl-p” whenever their Bankster buddies are in trouble.

As you can easily see, neither of those things can be fixed as long as liberals have any say in the matter, let alone any real efforts to tackle tax and regulatory reform.  Essentially, fixing the problem requires a clean sweep of our liberal Democrats – though even if we did that we’d have no end of trouble from the RINOs.  What needs to be done to fix things, after all, is the gutting of a politico-economic which the current beneficiaries don’t want to let go.  A long, hard war is required – but we take each battle as it comes.  The first one comes on November 6th – then we can start actually fixing our economy and emerging from the Depression.


Our Really Lousy Housing Market

From Zero Hedge:

In its schizophrenic manner, the media across the country lamented the housing-starts numbers, which were ugly: 571,000 annualized in August, down 5% from July, down 5.8% from August 2010, and down 75% from its peak of 2.3 million in January 2006. But for the housing market to heal, that number should be near zero for years.

18 million vacant units, that’s the problem. While some people dispute that number, everyone agrees that the inventory of vacant units is huge. Whether it’s 18 million or 12 million doesn’t change the problem. It only changes the duration of the healing process. This is the hangover from the housing bubble when the industry built millions of units for speculators who never had any intention of living there. And now, no one lives there…

Believe it or not, even out here in Las Vegas some new homes continue to be built – and I can’t see why.  To be sure, if someone actually came up to a home builder and specifically ordered a new home built, I could see that.  But we’re actually arguing right now over whether a developer should be able to start a new, high-end housing development near Red Rock canyon (I’m forthrightly opposed…first off, because we don’t need additional housing in the metropolitan Las Vegas area, secondly because I don’t want to see the Red Rock area marred by another round of cookie cutter houses…and if you do come to visit Las Vegas, do head out to Red Rock; you’ll not be disappointed and its not a long drive…you can even go horseback riding out there).  That aside, the article is right – we should be building zero new homes…now and for  many years.  We’re already glutted…and now that the courts have ok’d it, the banks are about to proceed with another very large round of foreclosures.  The problem will get massively worse before it ever gets better.

As for what to do with all the construction workers – my best idea for them is to shift them over to manufacturing, farming and mining…and, of course, whatever related construction will be necessary for an expansion of those industries.  We simply do not need houses…not only are we over-built but we’re running out of people to put in the houses, anyways.  The Boomers are retiring and, if anything, downsizing their housing…the follow-on generations are much smaller.  The idea that housing will be a core component of American wealth creation is over with  – it won’t be, not for another 50 years, and even then only if we throttle the Culture of Death and start having children again. There will always be a need for some home construction, of course…houses do deteriorate over time, but we’ll not need as much home construction as before.  And perhaps our home builders instead of throwing up cracker box houses can work on building houses designed to last a century with no major repairs?  More brick and stone, less drywall and stucco-over-chicken wire?  Housing which uses wind and solar to provide some  of their own electricity?  Houses that dispose of more of their own waste?  Maybe houses with bigger lots and built to make a neighborhood look normal rather than manufactured?  Just a thought…

A complete re-working of our economy will be necessary in order for full recovery to occur.  As I’ve endlessly harped upon – Making, Mining and Growing things.  We can’t live on home construction, auto manufacturing will never be as premier as it once was…and the cool, electronic gadgets are nice (and we should strive to lead the world in this area) but they can’t provide the literal tens of millions of jobs we’re going to need.  Only getting out there in to factories to make our own mundane items – clothes, tools, etc – and mining our own wealth out of the ground and growing not only our own food, but the world’s food will do it.  And in order to get there, we have to re-work our tax and regulatory systems to ensure that those who are willing to make, mine and grow things are left unhindered and, indeed, fostered by government action.  And even then, good people, it will be 20 years before American prosperity returns fully.

But, we can do it, if we want…now, do we want to?

Obamunism! Unemployment Claims Jump

First time claims for unemployment came in at 428,000 against the “experts” expectation of 410,000; continuing claims are at 3,726,000 against an expectation of 3,700,000.  What I really want to know – in both first time and continuing claims, the expectation was that they would decline.  Who expected this?  Why?  What bit of information out there would lead any financial prognosticator to expect a decline in unemployment?

I think we’ve simply got a bunch of idiots – public and private sector – running the economy.  People who don’t know how things are made, mined and grown and can only predict things based upon assumptions on borrowed and printed money.  For crying out loud, things are lousy out there…you’d at least expect some caution and have the prediction be for things to remain as lousy as they were last week, not get better.

Aside from that, we are seeing more and more indicators of a double dip recession here in the United States while Europe shows ever more signs of financial implosion (day by day there is a new rumor floated of some miracle money to come through to bail out Europe…eventually, they’ll run out of rumors).  Obama’s jobs bill will do nothing to get us back to work but even if we manage to make things improve, the coming crash of Europe will be a huge hit to our economy.  Only a complete re-working of our economic life to make all taxation and regulation geared towards wealth creation will get us permanently out of this mess…and that can’t happen as long as any liberal, anywhere, has a say in what goes on.

Median Male Earns Less Than in 1968

From Zero Hedge:

While the fact that a record number of Americans are living in poverty should not surprise anyone at this point, what should surprise many is that according to Table P-5 of the Census report of (Lack of) Income, the median male is now worse on a gross, inflation adjusted basis, than he was in… 1968! While back then, the median income of male workers was $32,844, it has since risen declined to $32,137 as of 2010. And there is your lesson in inflation 101 (which we assume is driven by the CPI, which likely means that the actual inflation adjusted income decline is far worse than what is even reported). The only winner: women, whose median inflation adjusted income over the same period has increased by 188%. That said, it is still at 65% of what the median male makes. So injustice all around…

Why has this happened?  Because since 1968 we have gone about destroying – via taxation, regulation, lawsuits and “nimbyism” – the ability of Americans to make, mine and grow things.  We can’t all answer phones in call centers, nor can all of us be computer programmers.  We have to make things, mine things and grow things…we have to produce wealth.  If we do, then wages rise…if we don’t, then they stay flat or decline.

It is time to restore the American economy be removing the barriers to wealth creation.  We have to allow people to work for a living – if we do, then wages will start to rise, fewer people will need government assistance and our overall finances – public and private – will improve.  If we don’t, then we die as a nation.  It is as stark as that.

And in order to do all that, we must over turn the current Ruling Class – they are in charge of Big Government and Big Corporation.  They are very well off and don’t care at all about how the average American lives.  They live in a world where struggle is non-existent, the family is unimportant and God is forgotten. As long as they are latched on to us, things cannot improve.  Remember that as we go in to 2012…anyone who is unwilling to shake up the status quo is unworthy of support…and the more revolutionaries  (ie, TEA Partiers) we can elect, the better.