unixronin: Galen the technomage, from Babylon 5: Crusade (Default)

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unixronin: Galen the technomage, from Babylon 5: Crusade (Default)
Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 01:57 pm

So writes the Wall Street Journal, referring to a GAO report due to be released imminently in compliance with a provision instituted last year by Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), that essentially requires the GAO to audit the Federal bureaucracy every year.

The agency found 82 federal programs to improve teacher quality; 80 to help disadvantaged people with transportation; 47 for job training and employment; and 56 to help people understand finances, according to a draft of the report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Perhaps Congress could use the services of a few of those last 56 agencies.  The report is expected to list between $100 billion and $200 billion in duplicated spending.  (That's 7% to 14% of last year's $1.4 trillion Federal deficit.)  In addition, many of these agencies have conflicting goals and regulations.  For example, as cited in the WSJ article, Federal agencies are urged to reduce electricity consumption, yet at the same time encouraged to buy plug-in hybrid vehicles.

unixronin: Galen the technomage, from Babylon 5: Crusade (Default)
Wednesday, December 8th, 2010 01:54 pm

The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.  Cliché, sure, but it's more true than at any time since the Gilded Age.

So says Business Insider, and they show 15 graphs to support it. Granted, this is not entirely a balanced view; the two distribution-of-wealth pie charts show that almost the entirety of wealth in the US is held by the upper 50% of the population, and a third of it by the top 1%, with a similar (and unsurprising) imbalance in stocks-and-bonds ownership, but neglects to mention that the same 50% of the population also shoulders essentially the entire Federal tax burden, with the top 1% paying 25% of it.

Also follow the links to this article about how the American middle class is being systematically wiped out, a process which is only being accelerated by US Government policies that are making it an act of foolhardy stupidity for US corporations not to relocate as much as possible of their operations offshore, and this article which asserts that it really makes very little difference whether the Bush-II tax cuts are extended or not because it's already m according to the author — mathematically impossible for even the existing Federal debt to ever be paid off.

If you took every dollar out of every single wallet, out of every single mattress and out of every single U.S. bank and sent it to the government you wouldn't even make that big of a dent in the national debt.

So can't the U.S. government just go out and create more money and solve the problem?


You see, under our system the creation of more money is also the creation of more debt.

You should probably follow on from there to this article about how the US monetary system really works, too.

I see only one way out of this for the United States, and that is for the people of the United States to first fire the entire present government of the United States, and then repudiate the debts of that government.  Of course, this would almost certainly precipitate a global financial crisis (yes, another one).  But, honestly, so would the other option, which is to continue on this path until the US goes bankrupt.  That course would put the crash off for a while, at the cost of it being even worse when it eventually comes.

Frankly, the entire world needs to open its eyes and see that the investment banking industry has spent at least the last thirty years building a house of cards out of imaginary cards, having agreed among themselves to pretend that the cards are real, and laughing all the way to their offshore banks with the profits.  They have turned the banking industry into a way to siphon wealth out of the global economy without putting any corresponding value back.

unixronin: Galen the technomage, from Babylon 5: Crusade (Default)
Monday, November 15th, 2010 09:39 pm

"In a stunning admission of just how job-killing and business-crushing the new health care law really is, the Obama administration has issued a staggering total of 111 Obamacare waivers (and counting) so far."

So who's on the [deeply buried] Obamacare waiver list?  Well, this one's almost guaranteed to make you either laugh or cry:  Aetna.  What does it say when one of the largest medical insurers in the United States has to have a waiver from a law that sets a mandatory minimum standard for the medical coverage it's allowed to provide to employees?

The list also includes MacDonalds, Dish Network, and the United Federation of Teachers Welfare Fund in New York, among more than a hundred others and counting.

What does it say about an administration when they grant dozens upon dozens of exemptions from a law that they spent months upon months selling to the American people as the ultimate solution to our health care problems?

A very good question, indeed.

The truth is that the U.S. health care system was deeply broken before Obamacare, and after the new health care law the U.S. health care system is still deeply broken.

Before Obamacare, the U.S. health care system was all about making as much money as possible for health insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry.  After Obamacare, the U.S. health care system is still about making as much money as possible for health insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry, only now we all have to deal with more suffocating layers of government bureaucracy and much higher health insurance premiums.

I really can't add much to that.

unixronin: Galen the technomage, from Babylon 5: Crusade (Default)
Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 09:22 am

Just sniffing the breeze ... I've been getting one holy hell of a lot of special offer promotions from Barnes & Noble lately.  The latest one, in today's mail, is 50% off all after-holiday merchandise (understandable) and all DVDs and Blu-Ray discs 3-for-2.  It makes me wonder:  Is B&N in trouble that they're not talking about publicly, and trying to whip up revenue any way they can?  Did their Christmas season sales fall far short of expectations because hardly anybody has spending money to spare?

We have $125 in B&N gift cards sitting here.  If B&N might be on shaky ground, I'm wondering whether we should use them now while we know we still can.  Has anyone heard anything...?

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unixronin: Galen the technomage, from Babylon 5: Crusade (Default)
Friday, October 23rd, 2009 10:55 am

Today, Washington politicians can busily “solve” one problem, knowing that unintended consequences from that “solution” will keep them and their friends all very busy tomorrow.  The people are ultimately left suffocating under the burden of Washington’s helping hands.  It is coming to a point where our economy, our dollar, and indeed, the rest of the world have had about all the help from Washington that they can stand.

— Ron Paul

This is something I’ve been saying for at least ten years now.  It is not in Washington’s interest to actually FIX problems.  Any problem that they actually successfully fix is one that they can’t use in the next term’s election campaign or to justify part of the next fiscal year’s budget.  The way our government currently works not only tolerates, but rewards bungling, incompetence, inefficiency and waste.  So of course we get more bungling, incompetence, inefficiency and waste.

As Ron observes, “Sadly, whatever is bad for the greater economy is good for the economy and job market in DC.”  America, and America’s government, operate at cross-purposes, because it is not in the interest of America’s government to govern America effectively and responsibly.