There’s always something to howl about

“Greece is the word, is the word, is the word…”

Some of us, here on BHB and elsewhere, have been arguing that a collapse is coming.  A financial collapse due to the almost incomprehensibly fraudulent practices of the local, state and federal governments.  A fraud so immense that most of us can’t even begin to wrap our minds around it.  In my home state of California, just to give one example, people still discuss the budget deficit of $19,000,000,000 to $25,000,000,000 depending on who’s talking.  (Yes, those numbers are in billions.)  They do that to avoid discussing the unfunded liabilities that are now well over $500,000,000,000.  Yes, that is $500 billion.  No, no other state is even within a factor of that.  Yes, that means the state of California is completely lost; there is no possible way back to solvency.  This ends with a massive federal bailout and/or bankruptcy.

My point here is not California, because California’s problems are dwarfed by the massive theft and malfeasance that has happended on the federal watch.  I mention them only by way of example, and in that California best portends what’s happening.  What’s interesting, but not at all surprising, is that California does not portend what’s to come.  For a glimpse through that window we can look to Wisconsin.  Today.  Why there?  Why not California?  Simple: there’s no pain in the Golden State… yet.  The good people here continue to elect politicians based on the size of their promises.  So, while the 8th largest economy in the world burns to the ground, no one seems to notice because nothing is being done about it.  In Wisconsin, on the other hand, (where the budget deficit is only $3.1 billion) the Governor has set out to make some changes and all hell is breaking loose.  Chief among these changes is to rid the state of the absurd concept of collective bargaining for state workers, which is nothing more than institutionalized bribery. Imagine a situation where the owners of a company – those in charge of employee pay and benefits – owe their position to the workers of the company!

Union Rep: “What we want is a pay raise and greater benefits.  If you give us those, we will support your legislation to pass the costs on to future generations 20 or 30 years hence AND, more importantly, we’ll support you for re-election.”

State Government Rep: “Boy, it sure makes sense that you guys are union.  Please make my re-election campaign check out to…”

Take a look at the footage coming out of these Wisconsin protests.  Lots of Hitler and Mubarak comparisons to the Governor.  But that’s not the comparison I see.  I’m thinking Greece.  You remember Greece, right?  The riots, the murders, the moral outrage by unionized workers who might actually have to shoulder some responsibility for a crashing economy?  Didn’t think that would happen here?  Too civilized?  Too democratic?  Too …?  What?  It’s coming here.  Wisconsin is just a little precurser.  Wait until California begins its death slide.  Worse yet, wait until the dollar collapses…. (Oh yeah, that’s coming too.  I’m certainly not the first person here to say that, and I won’t be the last. But the dollar will collapse.  Our debt levels aren’t recoverable and even still they’re spending.  The fed has not only monetized the whole shootin’ match, but they’ve been spending dollars they printed on their own, without even telling anyone.  What other alternative is even remotely possible?)

Look at the numbers at the top of this article.  Click on the links and do your own research.  Then come back and suggest a rational path out… I’ll just wait here, watching the protestors in Wisconsin go 3-alarm nuts because they might, over the long term, stop being paid more than they could ever possibly earn in the private sector doing the same work.

“Greece is the word, is the word, is the word… ” or maybe I’m thinking of the wrong song.  Maybe it should be – progressive to free marketeer – “It’s your money I want (your money I want), ooh, ooh, ooh…”


36 Comments so far

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Real Estate Feeds, Tom Hunter, Real Estate Ninja, Mark Risley, My REALTY and others. My REALTY said: “Greece is the word, is the word, is the word…”: Some of us, here on BHB and elsewhere, have been arguing that a… […]

  2. Jeff Brown February 18th, 2011 10:08 am

    The first time I heard anyone comment about ‘the dumbing down of America’ I was a freshman in high school — 1965. I don’t argue about it now. In fact, I refuse to debate the topic, as it’s so Captain Obvious to anyone with an IQ north of their body temp.

    The other reason is due to what I was taught about stupid people. Calling them stupid is not only counter-productive, and akin to beatin’ a dead horse. But mainly, if they are indeed stupid — they can’t help what they think or say being, you know, stupid.

    Meanwhile, we get what we have now in CA. We’re completely outnumbered. It’s hopeless beyond despair.

  3. Brian Brady February 18th, 2011 12:11 pm

    “A whole bunch of politicians who came before me on the local level and the state level made you promises that they couldn’t keep. And they knew they couldn’t keep them when they made them. So, I understand you being angry. But I suggest to you, respectfully, don’t be angry at the first guy who told you the truth.”
    –Governor Chris Christie to disgruntled Jersey cop

  4. Sean Purcell February 18th, 2011 12:50 pm

    I agree Jeff, that we are beyond hope, but not because so many of us are stupid (though that group is certainly well represented), but because so many of us went to sleep and gave the wheel over to someone who told us want we wanted to hear. I’m an optimist at heart and I like to think we’re seeing people of average to better intelligence beginning to wake up; too late for California, but still…

    @Brian – perfect. Your comment is a peek into the next post I’m queing up: Time to say the things most don’t have the guts to say. (And as you know, I’ve got a lot of gut…)

  5. vladimir gagic February 18th, 2011 1:17 pm

    No, economic problems in Greece have absolutely nothing to do with the United States. Greek debt is in Euros, not drachmas, and is thus essentially debt in foreign currency. That is why Greece is having financial problems, not because the country is spending too much but because they surrendered their currency to join the Eurozone. American debt is in dollars, and thus the federal budget deficit is just a number. It does not represent a bigger issue like an external constraint on spending. The deficit would only be a problem if the economy was overstimulated causing inflation, which clearly it is not. Deficit hysteria in the time of downturn is nothing more than nonsense. That is why the UK is having so many problem with the Tories recent austerity policies.

  6. Sean Purcell February 18th, 2011 3:58 pm

    Vladimir, no doubt moving to the Euro was a bad idea for every country involved. That’s the nature of collectivist thinking. But if you’re suggesting that Greece’s massive labor unions and socialized markets aren’t to blame…

    Their debt as a percentage of GDP is currently estimated at 144%. You don’t think that’s a spending problem? Play this out. What if they had never joined the Euro zone. What would their currency have done that could possibly account for such unbridled spending? Being pegged to a central command style currency is bad, no doubt. But the unions and the politicians of Greece lit their entire country on fire and you’re concerned with the fact that they used Euro sanctioned matches to do it?

    “Deficit hysteria in the time of downturn is nothing more than nonsense” IF you believe that deficit spending works… ever worked. Could ever work. Of course, it can not (and does not) because the very premise is flawed. You can not steal from me and give to someone else and expect a net gain. Nor can you print money (steal from my children & grand children) and give to someone else and expect a net gain. The lost productivity I (and my posterity) experience dwarfs any productivity gained by “investing” in people and enterprises that are, by definition, unproductive.

    Look at GM. They are building cars again. Hooray! Isn’t that productive? But imagine what we’d have if that money hadn’t been stolen from me (and posterity) and given to such a failure. Imagine a more innovative, more streamlined company coming along and building cars. Imagine what happens when people are left to their own entrepreneurship? Instead, we all own a piece of a company I didn’t think was worth owning even before it became a ward of the state.

    American debt is in dollars, and thus the federal budget deficit is just a number. It does not represent a bigger issue like an external constraint on spending.

    I don’t even know where to begin with that statement…

  7. Jim Klein February 19th, 2011 9:42 am

    Sorry, Vladimir, your position just doesn’t hold up. While it’s correct that the denomination of debt and/or spending can add all sorts of twists to the matter, it can’t hide what’s really going on—the theft of production AND the incentives not to produce.

    You’re also correct that deficit spending in times of turmoil won’t necessarily bring a system down. Nearly any company is familiar with these sorts of challenges, whereby debt can be increased in order to build better production, and hence profits, down the line. Politically, it may be to accomplish an absolute necessity, like stopping the Axis powers from taking over the world.

    The thing is, that’s not what’s going on these days. The deficit spending is being taken AWAY from productive uses. And if that’s not bad enough, the future commitments are not for increases in production, but exactly the opposite…infinite sinkholes directing wealth toward less productive uses, like fulfilling the pension obligations to those who caused most of the problems in the first place. Or building trains that will run at huge losses until the Sun blows up.

    Sure, inflation caused by an overheated economy–which doesn’t happen anyway without Fed cooperation–isn’t in itself a terrible thing. Neither would be deflation caused for the same reason, with a perfectly static money supply. This is the point–that it’s not the denomination that matters, but rather what’s being denominated. And what’s being denominated these days is ever-decreasing production, with people being paid not to work and the rest being paid to work in accordance with Govco-mandated rules that when all the fluff is stripped away, amount to taking away the value that each of us has to offer when we work.

    So yes, the debt will necessarily have to be monetized, else default is guaranteed. And just as soon as the Chinese debt-holders realize that getting something–devalued currency–is better than getting nothing–default–they will pick up the phone and say, “Sell!”

    You should revisit your theories that afternoon.

  8. vladimir gagic February 19th, 2011 1:29 pm

    Deficits follow downturns as the unemployed do not pay payroll taxes and seek benefits. To eliminate the deficit, put people back to work. That is why austerity is failing in the UK. The deficit is only a problem when an economy is growing.

    The Chinese do not hold any American debt. They have merely traded their dollars for bonds from the dollars they receive selling to American consumers. That is nothing more than a reflection of the trade deficit, nothing more. The US government, as any sovereign currency issuer, has no real debt. Comparing the Federal government to a company or household is nonsensical. Keynes figured all this out back in the 1930s and it is how the US exited the great depression. Even austere economics will admit deficit spending, as part of the New Deal and WW2 armament, is what ended the great depression, not spending cuts.

  9. Jim Klein February 19th, 2011 4:19 pm

    > The Chinese do not hold any American debt. They have merely traded their dollars for bonds…

    I’m not sure what you think debt is, so we must be speaking two different languages. I wasn’t commenting on how they came to hold the debt, just that they have it. Which they do.

    > Keynes figured all this out back in the 1930s…

    That’s a good one, Vladimir…I’m trying to keep my humor too!

  10. Vladimir gagic February 19th, 2011 5:18 pm

    “Being pegged to a central command style currency is bad,”-

    Ugh, I take it you don’t understand the difference between a currency peg and a surrender, or for that matter, what central command currency means.

    Mr Klein, mock Keynes all you like but the historical fact is his General Theory is how the democracies beat the depression and created the middle class. That middle class is now almost gone thanks to neoliberlism.

  11. Sean Purcell February 19th, 2011 5:38 pm

    Mr. Gagic, I fully understand what a “pegged” currency vs “adopting” a different currency means. And “command style currency” doesn’t mean a damn thing other than as a descriptive. I was definitely being shorthanded, as it’s difficult putting any time into a conversation with someone who does not understand debt, spending or macro-economics. Your thoughts on Keynes alone have been debunked for what… a decade? Two decades? The “Great Depression” was only Great because of the anti-market, anti-logic, anti-history actions taken under the name of Keynes. WWII armament? Are you serious? Please reread Mr. Klein’s comment and spend some time understanding stolen productivity and the concept of capital’s highest and best use. (Hint: it’s the antithesis of government spending.)

    I’ll ask you again: please explain how Greece’s profligate spending and resulting debt-to-GDP nightmare would have been a non-issue had they not joined the EU and “surrendered” their own currency.

  12. Jim Klein February 19th, 2011 6:36 pm

    Yeah well, not only didn’t that “beat the depression;” there’s a very strong argument that those mistakes are a direct cause of the mess we’re in now. Though depending on your perspective, maybe you don’t think this is a mess at all!

    If you’d like to read a fascinating essay on the topic, written in 1938, try this…

  13. louis cammarosano February 20th, 2011 7:51 pm

    What is amazing is the majority of elected politicians (dems more so but a large number of republicans) are reluctant to cut spending in a meaningful way.

    Timothy Geithner, Obama’s Treasury Secretary said the other day that his boss’s budget is unsustainable, yet it is being pushed as the budget to pass.
    Knowingly speeding up toward the ice berg.

  14. vladimir gagic February 20th, 2011 8:13 pm

    Self-satisfaction and bluster, despite what Mr. Purcell may believe, is no substitute for economic literacy. He has plenty of the former, but sadly for this fair blog, little of the latter. “Shorthand” is merely a poor excuse for ignorance.

    Regardless, what separates dogma from reality is fact, and the facts speak loudly. One need simply look at the recent headlines regarding Cameron’s austerity measures, the exact same measures Mr. Purcell wants for the Collectivist States, oh excuse me, the United State. From today’s google news: Murdoch’s sky news writes “Expats Stay Away From Austerity Britain”, from CNBC “UK Slouches Into Austerity Recession”, and so forth. Austerity has failed the UK, and that ancient democracy is not slouching to a double dip recession; it is headed for a depression. The same will happen to our great democracy if Mr. Purcell and like get their dangerous way.

    As far as Greece, I do not have the energy to educate Mr. Purcell, so I will simply direct him to

    I have done my part. If Mr. Purcell and his like, whether from cynicism or ignorance, do not see the danger to our great nation, a danger much more ominous than China, Al-Quieda, etc… then that is his failing, not mine.

  15. Greg Swann February 20th, 2011 10:45 pm

    > Self-satisfaction and bluster

    Much of this comment consists of the fallacy ad hominem. Defend you argument all day, but leave the characterizations of your opponent(s) out. Thoughtful people know that proof-by-contempt is a specious argument, and it’s against our comments policy in any case.

  16. Jim Klein February 20th, 2011 9:51 pm

    Louis…”When you want to understand someone, just look at what business they’re in.” Politicians are in the business of taxing and spending.

    Vladimir, it’s not a terrible thing to believe that Sean (or his like) is misguided in his view. Hey, disagreement is part of what makes the world go ’round. What’s terrible, and downright rotten, is that you (and your like) can’t have what you want unless Sean (and his like) produce it. That makes it theft, plain and simple. There has never been a book that rationally justifies thievery and there never could be. All there are, are books that say they’ve done that, and dupes willing to believe it.

    That’s why democracy sucks—too many dupes willing to believe that maybe thievery is okay. It never is, and never will be. End of story.

  17. Jim Klein February 20th, 2011 10:44 pm

    BTW, Vladimir…if Garrett’s discourse in “The Revolution Was,” was too detailed, you can get the story behind the story here, written a mere 12 hours ago:


    Skip the post-script; he’s got it pegged in less than 175 words, and even those can be reduced to a mere 27…”Not one of these [presidents] could have laid a finger on the course of this nation without the anti-concepts and crummy little lies of the so-called intellectuals.”

    That’s what happened, and that’s what you’re defending. Yes, as you put it, “the facts speak loudly.” At least we agree on THAT!

  18. Greg Swann February 21st, 2011 7:18 am

    I thought this was interesting:

    > the basic conflict in American politics is individualism vs. collectivism

    This is why the libertarians are lost, too. Our problem is not individualism vs. collectivism. That’s a symptom. Our problem — everywhere, through all of human history — is egoism versus everything else. There is nothing we can set up for ourselves that we will not destroy if virtually every individual human being is pursuing self-destruction most of the time within his own mind.

  19. Vladimir gagic February 20th, 2011 10:58 pm

    “that’s why democracy sucks”???

    That statement, more than anything else, proves why I am right and you are wrong.

  20. Sean Purcell February 21st, 2011 1:11 am

    Mr. Gagic, believe it or not, you and I weren’t that different until recently… at least in approach. I was never a Keynsian of course, but I was a Republican – big R. I was, as you seem to be, quite sure of how things worked and my responses were often as not knee-jerk. But luckily for me, I kept a small sliver of my mind open. Sometimes, and especially with Greg, I went kicking and screaming down some philosophical path, but I went just the same. When asked a question I answered it, something you have avoided here. When given an answer I questioned it with the best logic I had. And eventually, I came to see things in a whole new light. It was not easy giving up the regurgitated pablum I’d been taught for years, but once your eyes are open you have little choice: give it up or bury your head.

    I mention this because there is much to be learned on this blog. You may decide I have nothing to teach and you may be right. But I can certainly offer some advice: When asked a question, answer it. That gives people who disagree with you a chance to further their point and engage in an educational conversation. If you disagree with someone, ask a question rather than attack them. Again, this provides people who disagree with you a chance to further their point and engage in an educational conversation. Leave some part of your mind open to what’s being explained and exposed here, especially if it comes from Mr Swann or Mr Klein.

    In keeping with my own advice, I followed your link and read the blog post. It explains a lot. According to Mr. Auerback, “a government can never go insolvent in its own currency.” This is apparently because it can always print more. There is an inherent problem with that assumption: it ignores the free market. (Actually, there are a number of problems with that assumption, many fo which would be solved if money had any meaning at all.) The free market dictates the value of the dollar and the free market says if you increase the money supply, you lower its value The more money the Fed prints, the less value it has. This is a problem currently growing exponentially.

    Mr Auerback also suggests that if a government “is insolvent as a consequence of holdings of foreign debt then it should default and renegotiate debt…” (emphasis mine). What do you think happens when a country defaults on its debt? All future debt will require a higher interest be paid, once again lowering the value of the currency.

    Mr Auerback goes on to lament the lack of capacity for the public sector to provide employment due to the divorcing of fiscal and monetary policy in the EU. He’s also unhappy that the non-sovereign countries can only spend what they take in taxes. They can’t just spend whatever they want?!?! I think that’s where we came in.

    Ignoring the markets, rejecting the consequence of their actions and believing that government is the answer are all examples of thinking developed by the intellectuals mentioned in Jim’s comment. Mr. Auerbach writes nicely, but his premise is collectivist and the stealing of wealth by one group to give to another does not work – can not work – as I explained in an earlier comment.

    Best of luck with the open mind.

  21. Sean Purcell February 21st, 2011 1:16 am

    Democracy, by definition, will lead to theft. That’s just one of the reasons why the forefathers did not select democracy when writing the Constitution. We are, unfortunately, living out the truth of democracy’s inevitable result right now all over America. Wisconsin is the most current example, but I’m betting California will be the loudest.

  22. louis cammarsano February 21st, 2011 3:48 am

    thanks jim

    two quotes explain why it is inevitable that a democracy will eventually be saddled with unsustainable debt

    “every one wants to live at the expense of the state except they forget the state exist at the expense of every one” frederic bastiat

    and from ben franklin

    “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.

  23. Jim Klein February 21st, 2011 9:16 am

    Greg, I just wrote that myself elsewhere. I think it’s right, from an epistemic perspective. Obviously egoism is the solution–the fact of the matter–but you can’t get to egoism until you have an individual! That’s the fact of the matter too, of course, and politically everything has turned to tribalism.

    Hence, wherever you got it, I think it’s accurate to say that “the basic conflict in American politics is individualism vs. collectivism.” In my comment elsewhere, I added on, “Either you believe in the sovereignty of the individual or you don’t. End of story. It’s time to make up your minds.”

  24. Greg Swann February 21st, 2011 10:19 am

    > wherever you got it

    Billy Beck, from the post you cited.

    > you can’t get to egoism until you have an individual

    There is no alternative. All organisms are discrete, and each individual human being is a creature of undeniable, inescapable ontological autonomy.

    > you can’t get to egoism

    As I’ve shown repeatedly, here and elsewhere, every normal genetic homo sapiens who is lucky enough to have human upbringing will become an individual human being — and a “natural” egoist — before any one of those human beings can adopt any alternative anegoic dogma.

    The question that would matter is this: Is the political individualism under discussion grounded in egoism, or in some variety of anegoism? I would apply the latter charge against Billy Beck’s individualism, along with Thomas Jefferson’s, Ayn Rand’s and every other kind I can think of. Anti-altruism is not egoism, nor is its primary focus even the self. Correcting other peoples’ bad behavior will do nothing to correct one’s own behavior. In that respect, anti-altruism is just another form of altruism. Marx wins again!

    It would be swell for Jefferson to win back some of the ground he lost to Marx, but it will come to nothing if “the sovereignty of the individual” is defended in anything other than the undeniable, inescapable ontological autonomy of each individual human being, and in the ontologically consonant adoration each one of those people can experience in the awareness of, memory of and anticipation of the expressions of that undeniable, inescapable ontological autonomy.

    To head off the objection: Would you characterize Billy Beck’s — or Ayn Rand’s — public persona as being an expression of self-adoration?

    Batman is always insane, even when he seems to be fighting on your side.

  25. Jim Klein February 21st, 2011 9:18 am

    > “that’s why democracy sucks”???

    > That statement, more than anything else, proves why I am right and you are wrong.

    What’s this…an assertion that mob rule is an axiomatic good? Do tell.

  26. Jeff Brown February 21st, 2011 9:51 am

    To those who believe in Keynes and taking fish vs teaching others how to fish, I have a thought. Here’s your pole, your bait, your net, some tackle, and a boat. Be warned, soon, my fish will no longer be in easy view or access — and my teaching days are officially over.

    Let’s see how your system works now.

  27. Billy Beck February 21st, 2011 10:27 am

    If you’re going to reify my “public persona” as me, then you lose, Swann. You have, for years now.

    I’m a better egoist than you.

  28. Greg Swann February 21st, 2011 10:27 am

    > I’m a better egoist than you.

    I could not wish more than that for you!

  29. Jim Klein February 21st, 2011 8:45 pm

    Firstly, inlookers should know that many years from now, this thread will be marked as the first time two homo sapiens ever actually argued about who’s the better egoist!

    That’s a momentous occurence if ever there were one; I hope we all live long enough to note its historical relevance.

    Greg, I get your point and completely agree that “ego-adoration” is the pinnacle. I still think my comment holds, particularly noting an epistemic perspective and a political context.

    I’ve never met Billy, but I know him awfully well for various reasons. I can’t speak about “public persona” since that’s a matter for polls. But if you’re asking if I think Billy is an ego-adorationist, then my answer is an unqualified “Yes!” And I say that even if he himself doesn’t agree, because I take that particular question as a matter of fact and not opinion.

    I know you pretty well too, and I know myself most of all. I seek ego-adoration very consciously, and you understand it better than anyone IMO. But to the best of my knowledge, Billy lives it and breathes it every waking moment of his life, and you and I would be fortunate to accomplish what he has.

    That’s admittedly only an informed guess, but I’ve been paying mighty close attention for a mighty long time. And if there’s one thing /I/ do better than nearly anyone, it’s pay attention!

    Also, I haven’t the foggiest idea what you mean with the charge of “anegoism.” If there’s one thing we all three understand, it’s that every instantiation of politics has been anegoic, at least for many thousands of years now. That’s what Billy likes to talk about, and study and analyze. It ain’t for me, just as your love of literature ain’t for me. You figured out what was for me back in the ’90s…seeking the love of a woman, and that’s the course I chose.

    PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT! Egoism is all about the only thing we share, the existence of our selfs…what that IS, what it MEANS and what we should do about it. The wonder of our lives on Earth is that we can each choose to do such different things with our own lives, and that others can gain and prosper themselves from that. As you understand, it’s a never-ending spiral built of goodness instead of badness. This is not under debate for any egoist, and socially it’s what capitalism is all about.

    I could go on and on, but for now that’s all I’ve got to contribute.

  30. Greg Swann February 21st, 2011 9:16 pm

    Oh, good grief. I tried to be gracious about this.

    I regarded this:

    I’m a better egoist than you.

    as an unwitting concession of everything I had just said:

    Anti-altruism is not egoism, nor is its primary focus even the self. Correcting other peoples’ bad behavior will do nothing to correct one’s own behavior. In that respect, anti-altruism is just another form of altruism. Marx wins again!

    I do love how much attention you have paid to the things I have written. But I do not believe that even you are seeing the world the way I do. Could be I’m wrong. Could be I haven’t been clear enough, as yet. Or it could be there is something that I haven’t seen clearly enough yet.

  31. Jim Klein February 22nd, 2011 7:05 am

    The wise man begins by examining himself. One of the reasons I consider Billy perhaps the finest writer anywhere is his incredible knack for brevity. That doesn’t mean he’s the smartest or the most insightful, and I don’t think anyone will ever take your crown away of understanding factual psychology, so you’ll always be King of the Hill at that IMO. Though I didn’t know you thought it was possible for another person to see the world as you do. That would be some neat trick.

    Anyway, they just don’t come any clearer than Billy, and this was a good example. And it’s a good example of how well I can pay attention.

    You wrote nothing that Billy didn’t say, and it only took him 6 words!

  32. vladimir gagic February 22nd, 2011 1:48 pm

    Mr. Purcell, I hope at the very least you now recognize that the US is not Greece and that Greece’s problems, whatever their remedy for their economic problems may be, having nothing to do with the United States.

    As far as currency devaluation by a sovereign issuer, Mr. Auerbach makes the point in the article that would lead to an increase in exports, and thus, jobs for that nation’s workforce.

  33. Sean Purcell February 22nd, 2011 9:37 pm

    Good Grief. Your understanding of my post is no better than your understanding of debt. Please point out where I said the US is Greece.

    Try to work this through: the government doesn’t produce wealth. The government doesn’t have a product or service for sale. But it does like to barter: it promises other people’s money to it’s employees in return for votes.

    Eventually, the ponzi scheme of criminal bribes and economic fraud comes face to face with the true producers of wealth. The beneficiaries of all this stolen largess demand their “entitlements” and have no issue using violent rhetoric if not actual violence.

    This is the fundamental problem here; it’s the fundamental problem in Greece; it’s the fundamental problem in all socialist and quasi-socialist economies. Your tangent regarding the inherent problems with a country giving up its sovereign money are interesting and probably more relevant than you understand given the actions of our own Fed, but are only indirectly involved in the central problem: theft of private citizen’s production and its transfer to a favored group.

  34. Jeff Brown February 22nd, 2011 9:46 pm

    Sean — step away from the keyboard. This debate is akin to you and I debating who’d win a fist fight between the two of us — time better spent gettin’ refills at Starbucks.

  35. Jim Klein February 23rd, 2011 7:00 am

    Gee, Jeff, I think he’s hitting the principles rather succinctly.

    > but are only indirectly involved in the central problem: theft of private citizen’s production and its transfer to a favored group.

    Yep, that’s it. For those of us who believe that A is A, theft is theft.

    > have no issue using violent rhetoric if not actual violence.

    Yep again…except that violent rhetoric can’t really pull off a theft from unwilling victims. The real problem with statism/socialism isn’t that it’s such a lousy principle, though it is. It’s that it maims, injures and kills.

  36. Greg Swann February 23rd, 2011 7:26 am

    > The real problem with statism/socialism isn’t that it’s such a lousy principle, though it is. It’s that it maims, injures and kills.

    From the New Hampshire Journal:

    “I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary,” Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Ma.) told a crowd in Boston on Tuesday rallying in solidarity for Wisconsin union members.