Amerika

Posts Tagged ‘entitlements’

Growth Of The Entitlement State Spreads Leftism Like A Cult

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

Many people are wondering what happened to their nice stable nations, and why the people they knew growing up have been replaced by herds of angry and violent Leftists. The short answer is that government grew these people.

First, it adopted an explicitly socialist worldview — welfare, diversity, equality, entitlements — and used this to raise people who expected that the only way to fix a problem was to have government dump money on it and imprison anyone who dissented.

Next, government encouraged a change in immigration patterns, so that many people are ethnic and racial hybrids, therefore are upset that they do not have a heritage and outraged at anyone who does. This began in 1965 across the West.

Finally, these kids went to schools run by government, which somehow the voters somnambulated their way into rationalizing as a good thing. Free school meant free daycare so Mom could work and the household could have two incomes, which was great because thanks to immigration and sexual liberation, there was too much labor and so no one got paid very much.

But what really did it was the growth of the entitlement state. We shifted from a naturalistic view of civilization, in which government was there to protect an organic civilization, to an entirely artificial and socialist one, where government is the civilization and is expected to provide for its citizens.

As Matt Briggs relates, the growth of entitlements — payments directly to citizens — is the biggest story of the past century, and shows why government is rearing a crop of alienated but Left-leaning people:

Stream: The Most Depressing (Government) Graph

…If the federal government were as small as it was in 1900, it would today spend the same $180 per citizen as it did then. Given population growth, this would imply a current budget of around $59 billion. The actual budget is $3.6 trillion, which is sixty times higher. Customs duties alone would have paid for a good chunk of the $59 billion. And there would have been no need of an income tax.

The government is now sixty times more intrusive, sixty times more bureaucratic and Byzantine, sixty times more pervasive. The trend in spending increased fifty-percent over the last decade.

You might say, “It doesn’t matter what the government spends as long as it keeps pace with economy as measured by the Gross Domestic Product.” Yet the government spent at the rate of 3% of the GDP in 1900, soaring to 21% now. The shape of that curve is not much different than the spending per capita picture.

This is what a gradual transition to socialism looks like, and the same is true of Europe. Starting in the 1930s, when political uncertainty caused economic disasters, governments began to get everyone on the dole in some way or another. If that looks like a bribe, perhaps there is some truth to it. Citizens dependent on government tend to be more compliant and less prone to revolution.

With this transition comes a change of outlook. People no longer want to foster situations where good things can happen, but insisted on standardizing all things through force of government, which requires adopting a universal standard for all people. That in turn requires obliterating differences between us and turning us into a grey, casteless, raceless, atheistic and cultureless mass culture.

This universalism explains the new intolerance of the Left. When someone believes in one right way for everyone to do everything, then any failure to comply with that should be punished. When government is the source of all good things, those who go against the official ideology are enemies not just of the state, but of the people, and must be destroyed.

As we leave The Age of Ideology behind, that type of outlook will increasingly find itself in decline and disfavor. But if we want to see its roots, we can see them in exactly what our founding fathers feared: the rise of government as a cause in itself, and the corresponding production of an angry mob who will strike down any who do not conform to the plan.

This mob behaves like a cult, gang or terrorist organization, and it is gaining in prominence because Leftist policies are failing, which provokes a defensive reaction against all non-Leftist thought:

We would hang out at an anarchist library in Sydney. Here a bunch of people on the dole gather enough money to rent out the space and run a bookshop. It’s like extremist networking.

I came to believe that war was a symptom of bigger systems at play in society and they were the real enemy, like white supremacy and patriarchy. Antifa believe these systems need to be smashed through a process of ‘de-platforming’ to save the world. People who don’t necessarily agree on everything are united to attack their common enemy — anyone in the right wing of politics.

…They believe historically their roots were fighting Nazi oppression. They run a website which is updated every couple of weeks with a hit list of right wing names. They believe if these people are allowed to speak, society will suffer. So, they must be pushed back.

Leftism, or the philosophy born from egalitarianism, requires that equality be the most important goal of every person. Those who are not Leftist are increasingly finding that they cannot huddle in the center, mainly because one is either an egalitarian or not an egalitarian, which means anyone who does not see equality as the goal of civilization. Thus all non-Leftists are Rightists to the cultist.

The rise in Rightism worldwide, triggered by dissatisfaction with the globalism and diversity programs that were transforming our nations, provoked the rise of this radical Leftist cult, essentially causing ordinary Leftists to fear the failure of their ideals, and as a result radicalizing and mobilizing to counteract what they view as a threat to their self-esteem:

Dr Troy Whitford, a lecturer in Australian history and politics at Charles Sturt University, says Antifa members tend to be disaffected male university students. Many have joined the cause in recent years to counter far-right groups, such as the United Patriots Front (UPF). “Whenever you see a rise in radical nationalism, you see a rise in counter groups as well,” he says.

…”Look at some of the demonstrations between Reclaim Australia and anti-fascists, and you actually find anti-fascists are the ones throwing the first punch,” he says.

…Antifa members adopt the term “no platform” when confronting far-right groups – meaning that their aim is to shut down entirely their rallies, protests and propaganda.

Those who want to entirely block out something else either fear it, want to eject it from their society, or want to escape it as a negative stimulus. For most, it is enough to be able to avoid it, and so they reject it in public. Antifa, on the other hand, want to blot it out entirely whenever expressed anywhere, which is what “no platform” means.

Someone who has dedicated his entire life to a system and depends on thinking that this system is good in order to feel good about his place in the world, when confronted with doubt, must either accept that his past actions were broken or will have to rationalize his behavior, meaning that he must argue backward and find some way to explain to himself that what exists is good, especially if he thinks it is not.

Kids who have grown up under the entitlement state, received its propaganda through education, and now depend on it for hopeful future employment or social benefits will tend to rationalize and then strike out against any who point out that the emperor has no clothes. Those who interrupt the vision of our society as good must be destroyed, in the views of these indoctrinated children.

This pathology also corrupted conservatives. As Leftism won time and again, and especially pushed the culture war to its conclusion, the average conservative simply rationalized what was happening as good and so accepted the Leftist goals and methods, eventually becoming a de facto Leftist himself. This led to years of defeat as conservatives compromised principles and were circumnavigated time and again.

Leftism grows when government supports it and in the West, by adopting the entitlement and social welfare programs of the socialists, we have created an incubator for future Leftists who fear any alternative way of life to the one they have known. They lash out in hatred and fear, and by doing so, create the conditions for separation of Right and Left into separate societies.

By Removing State Tax Deductions, Trump Is Forcing States To Take Responsibility For Bloated Budgets

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

All of life comes down to the choice of whether you choose a human order or an order based in nature, God or gods, and logic. If you choose the human order, you will forever be playing into the victimhood-scapegoat spectrum, where you have to blame others for the consequences of your own bad decisions.

Donald Trump just struck back at centuries of American prole-bloat by proposing to deny federal deductions for state taxes. This is a classic conservative move which supports localism by localizing responsibility.

If you are in California, and paying 6% of your income in tax to the state, you no longer have Uncle Sap to absorb the cost of that. Instead, you see it as what it actually is: a cost that California is passing on to the rest of the nation. After that happens, you will be more wary when you turn on the television and see the politicians have a new program for “free” benefits. Nope, not free anymore.

Voters in New York could approve whatever insane edicts came from their political class and shrug it off because they were not paying for it. They paid taxes, sure, but then deducted those, so the end result was that no more money came out of their pockets. If they cannot take that deduction, they will see their tax load as it truly is, which is an insane amount of money, most of it going to parasites.

Now, instead, the burden is shifted back to those with the power of the vote to change it. When California comes up with another set of free benefits, the voters have to realize that they are paying for this as well. When New York’s chattering classes decide they want another ideological crusade, the voters know they are going to feel the pain for it.

Even better would be if states and federal government adopted a flat tax. No one votes who does not have some skin in the game. But in the long term, pretty much anyone with a pulse recognizes that 60% of our taxes go toward Leftist wealth redistribution programs and that if we cut those, we could pay almost nothing in taxes.

Many have even snapped to the awareness that their high property taxes are mostly going to fund schools that are more expensive than those in any other advanced nation, mainly because our diversity load is so high and we refuse to send anyone home for total ineptitude or bad behavior.

For many years now, Americans have viewed the wealth of their fellow voters as an infinite cornucopia upon which they had a blank check to draw for any programs that increased “equality,” including civil rights. These costs were then hidden away as debt, assigned to long-term funds which were never fully paid, and otherwise concealed from the robotic, mindless voters.

Naturally, humans tend to be generous when voting with Other People’s Money (OPM) and so the proliferation of social programs was massive. If you are paying relatively little in taxes, and know that you can squeeze it out of people in other states or income brackets, why not vote to spend a little more, if you anticipate receiving more?

A vast shift has happened in the West. For over two centuries, we were drugged with the promise of Leftism, and then realized that even in its mild forms, it crushes our economies and changes us into hopeless people, much as it did in the Soviet Union. Trump’s counter-attack on taxes is part of the reversal of this Leftist wave and the return of accountability, sanity, duty and responsibility.

The Real Privilege In Amerika Is Helplessness

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

We are held hostage by idiots. Most people are not particularly useful. Some of these are not useful at all, and they know it, and so they demand that we swear upon the graves of our grandmothers that we will pay for their survival, forever and ever, amen. These people reek of detestable entitlement.

What these people want is life without any responsibility. This is not restricted to lower class minorities. Everyone who can think of a new gimmedat thinks they are entitled. If you ask them what their contributions are, they will point to a successful career of inventing new free stuff from government and claim that they “gave” you what you were “owed.”

This stems from the fundamental goal of Marxism. Karl Marx’s bumpersticker quote is “From each according to their abilities. To each according to their needs.” This is getting played out in the West via demotism. It doesn’t take the individual long to figure out what gets rewarded and what gets taxed. Soon these individuals form the crowd and press their needs upon the producers in synonymy. This overwhelms the ability of the state to function in a rational and strategic manner. We can thus get the following surreal results.

Venezuelan resident and Twitter user @KalebPrime first made the discovery July 14 and tweeted at the time that on the Venezuela’s black market — now the most-used method of currency exchange within Venezuela according to NPR — you can get $1 for 8493.97 bolivars. Meanwhile, a “WoW” token, which can be bought for $20 from the in-game auction house, is worth 8385 gold per dollar.

This is what socialism gets you in the end. It only leads to death. President Maduro has all but admitted Venezuelan Socialism has miserably failed. He has held a sham referendum to claim a democratic mandate to rewrite his country’s constitution. Technically, it still exists, but Maduro’s party picks all the members of the body set up to rewrite the document. Constitution Fetishists take note: whether the document is a Magna Carta or a Masta Charga, it only just says what the strong people with guns tells it to. The biggest gang with the guns in Venezuela are the people demanding gimmedats that Venezuela will never be able to deliver.

But this is just Venezuela. Any good Alt Righter will disparage the genetic stock in question and therefore doubt that it’s really socialism at work here. To which I ask them, how about the genetic stock of Connecticut? Here’s what 24/7 Wall Street tells us about Connecticut.

A typical Connecticut household earns $71,346 in a year, considerably higher than the national median income of $55,775. With such high incomes, residents are better able to afford more expensive homes. Connecticut’s median home value of $270,900 is among the highest nationwide. A portion of every state’s population is extremely wealthy, and the share of such high earners is especially large in Connecticut. More than one in 10 households earn $200,000 or more a year. Connecticut’s relatively high education attainment rate partially accounts for the high incomes in the area. More than 38.3% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree compared to 30.6% nationally.

So how is this working out for them?

Connecticut, the richest state in the nation, has racked up $74 billion in debt. Its finances have more in common with Puerto Rico than Massachusetts, as the home of America’s financial wizards struggles to pay off its massive obligations big as the bills come due on decades of mismanagement.

While ballooning payments for public employees’ guaranteed pension and health benefits for public employees and teachers are the main cause of Connecticut’s fiscal misery, the state continued borrowing with the abandon of a teenager let loose in a Forever 21 with her parent’s credit card. Jobs lost during the recession have not returned. Its youth and future tax base is fleeing for New York and Boston. Fortune 500 companies are following them out of town.

A belief in Marxism’s fundamental tenet will kill any economy. You cannot tax productive innovation and hard work at the expense of privileged helplessness. People learn how to become more and more helpless. People with higher g-loading will just figure this scam out faster. The shaved monkeys are depraved when it comes to doing whatever gets them more bananas and an occasional gold star on the tips of their noses.

It doesn’t matter what people start out as. You can tell me that Connecticutters are way smarter, better and whiter than Venezuelans all day. None of it matters; none of it will make Marxism work. In the end, we are all going where Connecticut and Illinois already are. Connecticut and Illinois will probably go where Venezuela currently is. The real privilege in Amerika is helplessness. This leads to socialism. Socialism leads to death. We all know where it will take us after we are gone.

Democracy Implodes As Pension Bomb Detonates

Friday, May 26th, 2017

As Alexis de Tocqueville warned, at some point people realize that they can induce politicians to bribe them with money taken from taxes, and they will spend tomorrow on today and leave nothing behind. In the liberal democratic West, this takes the form of spending on entitlements, specifically pensions which have created a massive shortfall that will cause the collapse of Western democracy.

In private industry as well as in government, a pension tsunami is going to destroy solvency entirely. Pension shortfalls are bankrupting cities and despite projected taxes from new immigrants will not be solvent at a federal level either.

The fad and panic that is diversity was in fact cooked up in order to fund pensions from the people born in the 1940s and has not brought in the revenue that was hoped for, but has instead drained other social programs, on top of financial collapse of the entitlement programs which are the biggest addition to our budgets since the 1950s.

Democracy voted for free stuff, and figured it would pay it off in the future. Now the bill is due, just in time for those receiving the bulk of those benefits to eat them up in medical end-of-life costs and then perish, leaving their children and grandchildren to be born as debtors to failing nations.

Now we see how it will all end: through a pension tsunami shortfall bomb that will end Western governments:

Longer life spans and disappointing investment returns will help create a $400 trillion retirement-savings shortfall in about three decades, a figure more than five times the size of the global economy, according to a World Economic Forum report.

That includes a $224 trillion gap among six large pension-savings systems: the U.S., U.K., Japan, Netherlands, Canada and Australia, according to the report issued Friday. China and India account for the rest.

…“Pension underfunding is the climate-change moment of social systems in the sense that there is still time to do something about it. But if you don’t, in 20 or 30 years down the line, society will say it’s a huge problem.”

Right now, people are looking at the best case scenarios in order to claim that this problem can be fixed. But it cannot. Our industry thrived through several booms that now turn out to be bubbles, and the high costs of diversity plus low returns from our diverse population ensure that we will be facing other shortfalls as well.

As usual, democracies vote themselves into oblivion, and as this becomes clear yet again, even the dunces in charge will recognize that liberal democracy has collapsed just like the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany or Napoleonic France. Yet another attempt to make egalitarianism functional will have perished, leading us to conclude it cannot work at all, and that people are indeed not equal.

But first we must see the last act of the opera. Democracy will never cut entitlements because to do so is political suicide. Trump is trying, but all those checks and balances to prevent “tyranny” ensure that he will not succeed. Planning to fix the pension bomb will require austerity measures now and radical saving of money that politicians and voters both want desperately to spend.

Instead, democracy will borrow itself into collapse. In order to pay for these social programs, the first world countries will take out more debts. The debtors will soon own those countries, but find that nature is a cruel mistress, and that what they have purchased is no longer worth what they paid for it. In the meantime, Western governments will find themselves in the true death spiral of paying more in interest on past payments than they can take in per year, even though they will surely crank the taxes up to the maximum.

While all of this is happening, all of the other fond notions of voters and politicians will come crashing down as well. The environmental crisis will bloom first in crashing food species, and next in unstable ecosystems. Diversity will detonate into balkanization, which will shatter internal commerce by interrupting shipping, which will have to go through dozens of tribal areas and pay tribute. Our blithe foreign policy will collapse in many small wars. Proliferation of weapons will make them more interesting. And many other ways as well.

Governments at that point will have the ugly choice between hyperinflation and default, and they will choose hyperinflation in order to dodge the blame. But with costs rising exponentially, currency value crashing, and past debt requiring more than can be delivered, liberal democracy will die an ugly prolonged death that will victimize the voters who approved all this nonsense years ago.

And no one will pity them.

They Admit It: “American Prosperity Depends On A Non-White Future”

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Listen. Listen quietly. Wait patiently. If you take enough time, your enemies will tell you exactly what they think. Give them the space and they will eventually justify themselves to you, and then you can see the plan in full.

One of the leading business publications in the world, Bloomberg News offers us the clearest statement of white genocide ever offered in the media:

If the U.S. economy is going to prosper, it needs to keep taking in immigrants. Fertility is below replacement levels, and no country has discovered a way to raise native birthrates. That means that immigration is necessary for the survival of the Social Security system and the solvency of pension funds.

It is so blatant that you might have missed it: immigration is needed to pay for the pensions for Baby Boomers, and it is necessary because we are not having as many babies as occurred in that boom. Our largest and most Leftist generation ever is fading out, and in the ruins of a society ravaged by their political ideals, there is not enough wealth to keep them in a state of comfortable retirement.

They even tell you in the next few lines:

Immigrants will allow small cities to grow and expand their tax bases, instead of shriveling into ghost towns. Immigrants support the housing market and the stock market. They take care of elderly Americans and provide invaluable skills for U.S. corporations. Without continued robust immigration, the U.S. population will shrink and gray, and the country will start having the same problems as aging societies like Japan, South Korea, and East Europe.

They are promising yesterday its retirement funds by sacrificing today. As usual, drugged by the dogma of egalitarianism, business and voters assume that all people are the same, so they can move in a bunch of third world people and have America keep operating just as it has. They are relying on their laws, economic theories, Constitution, and police power.

We know this is true because Europe is doing the same thing:

Western governments are broke because of their social programs and yet cannot reduce them because the voters will panic and rage.

The demographic squeeze could be eased by the influx of more than a million migrants in the past year. If many of them eventually join the working population, the result could be increased tax revenue to keep the pension model afloat. Before migrants are even given the right to work, however, they require housing, food, education and medical treatment. Their arrival will have effects on public finances that officials have only started to assess.

There are many problems with the immigration plan. First, it stimulates overpopulation by creating an escape valve from the already-overburdened third world, which in turn causes people to breed more because the cause of that overpopulation is a Tragedy of the Commons style need to have a large enough family to subsidize each person in old age, so when that family leaves, they make more of them. Second, it destroys Western civilization entirely by ethnically replacing its one unique component, namely its people and their genetics. Third, it assumes that people from third world countries will produce at the level needed, when if they could have done that, they would have back at home where living is cheaper.

Now you see the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News telling you what the rest of the mainstream media will not: the great rush toward diversity has always been about ensuring an easy retirement for people raised on the socialist programs of the 1930s.

They were told back in the day that these programs could not sustain themselves; they paid out more than they took in, and investing the money only made it unpredictable as to how much would be there in the future. And so, our society slipped itself on the needle of stealing from everyone to give to a subset of the group. We are addicted to funding our retirees.

Socialism always kills societies this way. When you give out free things, people shape their lives around a negative incentive to save and be responsible. For them, it is easy; all they have to do is keep going to work for thirty five or forty years and then they retire with a pension or generous social security. It is a paradise for workers, much like Soviet Communism promised to be.

But like all our great human failings, this one starts with a simple pitfall. People who are working for the system, instead of working to achieve results, are not effective or efficient. They phone it in and do the minimum they must do in order to avoid criticism from others. In turn, the quality of output falls, and so does the value of the economy.

This rushes us into a death cycle. Millions work long hours at jobs doing tasks that ultimately are not necessary, just so their bosses can get promoted for being effective at the ineffective. They are taxed mercilessly and that money is dumped on the underclass, which spends it on consumer products. This puts money into fast motion, and causes the economy to switch to demand-based economics.

Right now, we are being erased as a people so that a generation can get the benefits it voted for after being promised them by people who knew the scheme would never work. What do they care, they got their retirement benefits already, and all of them are hoping to be very dead by the time the bubble pops.

Look at what else they are celebrating:

But even more encouraging are the numbers on interracial marriage. Marriage is proof that diversity isn’t just creating tensions between new and unfamiliar neighbors, but positive and lasting social bonds. A new report by the Pew Research Center provides some amazing numbers. Half a century after laws against interracial marriage were struck down by the courts, the share of new marriages that are interracial has risen from 3 percent to 17 percent. For black Americans, the rise in intermarriage has been particularly strong.

With unique races gone, you will have nothing but your job, government ideology and consumer shopping. This will create the perfect citizens: a grey race of people without culture, values, heritage, customs or religion. The perfect raw material to be shaped by the machine of government and media.

Amazingly, your leaders think this is a good idea. To them, the voters are dupes — here they are correct: even smart people in groups vote like morons through compromise, the lottery mentality and gaming the system — who will approve ridiculous schemes. A politician realizes that either he offers free stuff, or the next guy will, and that guy will take the election. So they all lie.

We know this means the end of the chance for the West, shattered by two world wars, to rebirth itself. With the loss of its people, so goes the possibility of their civilization. And all of this to pay for votes, bought with social welfare entitlements programs we could not afford, so that people would feel comfortable in an obviously declining, unstable society!

The U.S. is becoming more integrated at the regional, neighborhood and household level. Americans say they like diversity, and they are voting with both their feet and their ring fingers. The future of the U.S. as a successful multiracial nation isn’t assured, but it’s looking more and more likely. And that should be good news for the U.S. economy, since it means growth won’t create noxious social divisions.

Listen again. They tell you their fears: they fear noxious social divisions, meaning that they know diversity will not work. This is why they are rushing toward intermarriage, because if you destroy all of the races, then you have no social divisions. In other words, the same reason why they wanted class warfare; they want to eliminate all conflict through pacifism, and make us all obedient sheep.

The only way out of this mess is to stand up against diversity and its parent theory, egalitarianism. You cannot say that all people are equal and not invite the world to come live among you. But a group composed of every race has no race, and a country for everyone is a country for no one. Oh well, at least the Me Generation will have comfortable retirements as civilization dies out around them.

How Western Governments Will Fall

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

The French New Right author Guillaume Faye writes that the post-collapse democratic governments of the current era will fade away through a “convergence of catastrophes” which happen as all of their poor decision-making detonates simultaneously.

For many, this seems impossible because we perceive our societies as strong. The money flows, the media seems so informed and powerful, and we have these giant militaries which should be able to conquer anything short of Godzilla. And yet, doubts persist: how long can a society as indecisive and parasite-laden as ours continue to survive?

Most likely there will be a touchstone for this convergence of catastrophes which conveys to the ordinary inert and blithe person that things are really going wrong. If history is any guide, people will only really wake up and scream when their livelihoods are threatened. They can put up with the “death of a thousand cuts” of every product being worse, life being uglier, and work taking longer from year to year; after all, what else would they do with their time and money? They are mostly concerned with social factors, such as whether they appear likable to friends and neighbors, if they seem to be successful in comparison to their social group, and if they have something new to talk about. People live in small worlds, focused mostly on the biological imperatives of eating, reproducing, competing and dying.

This will go away when it finally sinks in that our governments are out of money because they spent it on entitlement programs, and that our future is to either default or go to some kind of managed economy like socialism, at which point the economic collapse will only accelerate. We got our first warning shots with the bankruptcy of Puerto Rico:

Puerto Rico announced a historic restructuring of its public debt on Wednesday, touching off what may be the biggest bankruptcy ever in the $3.8 trillion U.S. municipal bond market.

While it was not immediately clear just how much of Puerto Rico’s $70 billion of debt would be included in the bankruptcy filing, the case is sure to dwarf Detroit’s insolvency in 2013.

After years of dumping money on citizens to combat poverty and racism, Western governments are seeing death at the fringes. Those are happening in minority communities for now, but soon will spread to others as these governments recognize that they cannot raise enough revenues to pay for the obligations of yesterday with the taxpayers of today.

In particular, the first of the entitlements are starting to fail as the union-given, state-paid and taxpayer-financed pension system begins its fiery end with obligations that will crash the economy hard:

Federal Reserve data show that in 1952, the average public pension had 96 percent of its portfolio invested in bonds and cash equivalents. Assets matched future liabilities. But a loosening of state laws in the 1980s opened the door to riskier investments. In 1992, fixed income and cash had fallen to an average of 47 percent of holdings. By 2016, these safe investments had declined to 27 percent.

…By some estimates, unfunded liabilities would triple to upwards of $6 trillion if the prevailing yields on Treasuries were used. That would translate into much steeper funding requirements at a time when budgets are already severely constrained. Pockets of the country would face essential public service budgets being slashed to dangerous levels.

In other words, the pension system bet on the economy growing forever in the midst of the Baby Boomer years, and that growth has not been realized as economies across the West decline as their people decline, mostly from existential misery brought on by the utter tedium and ugliness of modern society.

There is no way out of obligations that large. Couple that with large national debts, political instability, and the end of various market booms that have seemed to sustain us, and we see that a huge crash is coming. It in fact may resemble a Soviet-style implosion:

But the deeper problem for the Soviet Union wasn’t the oil price collapse; it’s what came before. In his book Collapse of an Empire, Russia’s great post-Soviet reformer Yegor Gaidar pointed out that during the long preceding oil boom, Soviet policymakers thought that they could walk on water and that the usual laws of economic gravity did not apply to them. Soviet policymakers didn’t bother developing a theory to make sense of their spending. They didn’t even bother paying attention to their results. The math seemed to work out, so they just assumed there was a good reason.

This is as true of the current Venezuelan leaders as it was of the Soviet leaders. The Venezuelan government, though it doesn’t claim to be full-fledged in its devotion to Marxism-Leninism, has been pursuing as absurd an economic policy mix as its Soviet predecessor. It has insisted for years on maintaining drastic price controls on a wide range of basic goods, including food staples such as meat and bread, for which it pays enormous subsidies. Nonetheless the Venezuelan government, like the Soviet Union’s, has always felt it could afford these subsidies because of its oil revenues.

Substitute entitlements subsidies for food subsidies. Replace oil wealth with the productivity of American industry. Refocus the picture: while the situation is not yet as dire as in Venezuela or the Soviet Union, the United States and European Union are going down the same path, with the same predictable results.

This certainty of doom provides an opportunity to finally replace our failing political systems with something that works, hopefully a monarchy, since those have no need for constant growth or government-style social spending. The West died long ago; as the ruins of its substitute replacement come crashing down, there is an opportunity to finally bring the old West back to life.

Shut down the government

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

different_types

The last time Republicans forced a shutdown of the government of the United States, life improved. Those who depend on entitlements for their existence tended to stay away, leaving society to those who are fully participating.

Many of us have a simple rule: if I must go to work, and pay taxes, so must you. We do not care if life has handed you a weak hand at the poker table, because although we do not talk about it, all of us have had to overcome some difficulty and find none to be truly insurmountable.

We also have seen how this country has swelled with people who quite simply do nothing but take. They demand the handouts, and if they do not get as much as others, they demand more. They feel they are owed these for various reasons related to their sense of being victims of the rest of us, but are unwilling to do anything to fix this situation. We now have a permanent class of dependents who will take anything they can get and are oblivious to the consequences.

Our elites do not notice because to them, the additional taxes represent a less significant chunk of their actual income, since their needs are met at a much lower level than what they take in. A man who makes $40,000 a year will feel more taxes acutely, but someone who makes $200,000 and needs $80,000 to live will not notice as much when taxes take a bigger bite. The man making less, who lives among those that government supports, will more acutely feel the pain of seeing others do as well as he does for doing nothing. Soon he will join them, unless he stubbornly insists on making his way alone for reasons of pride.

Government and its allies among the dependents has made itself rich and powerful on the backs of the middle classes. They are the cash cow which gives it power, and which it has now milked to the point of dryness. Once we had extra money, in part because our society functioned so well that we did not need every cent possible to buy insurance, private security, private medicine and private schooling to keep our families away from the dystopic chaos. Now, thanks to government incentives, our basic services are rotted away and we need every cent we have.

John Boehner thinks it a terrible idea to defund government and as a result shut it down. He could not be more wrong: the source of all of our problems originates in the ability of government to justify itself using humanitarian concerns, take whatever it wants, and then make itself more powerful. Shutting down government would savage the dependents and make the ordinary person who does the right thing more powerful. We might even make alternatives for everything that government does, at which point paying taxes becomes irrelevant. We can simply let the diseased and broken government die and create a new society based not on subsidizing the entitlement dependents, but on protecting those who do the right thing.

If we remove funds from government, its hold over us diminishes. Our problem now is not a lack of laws, but too many laws and no purpose and no sanity. Let us remove the bad laws, and the entitlement state which controls us, forcing our society to renew itself by reclaiming its institutions from this cancer.

Bait and switch

Monday, December 1st, 2014

bait_and_switch

In the beginning, communities recognize common interests and form small governments to accomplish shared needs more efficiently than each person individually performing them.

Communities contribute resources to build a strong policing force, deterring bad behavior more effectively than ad hoc gatherings of friends and family to brutalize miscreants after unwelcome acts have left their mark.

While the community and government are small, it is a bargain to contribute towards a sustainable and inexpensive system that serves the interests of many.

As government grows, it is increasingly able to unchain itself from the concerns of the community. Soon it establishes laws mandating citizens fund its arbitrary initiatives, and then government can thrive independently under threats of jail and property confiscation. At this point, government becomes a self-interested force much like a large corporation or special interest group.

Agencies gradually become large and recognize their lifeblood is collecting money from the wealthy and middle classes, focusing on money gained from citizens more than their established purpose. Some use a form of gerrymandering to win a democratic majority by funneling the income of the wealthy and middle class to the unproductive poor, while agitating the poor by claiming the wealthy and middle class pay no taxes.

The latest data show that a big portion of the federal income tax burden is shouldered by a small group of the very richest Americans. The wealthiest 1 percent of the population earn 19 per cent of the income but pay 37 percent of the income tax. The top 10 percent pay 68 percent of the tab. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent — those below the median income level — now earn 13 percent of the income but pay just 3 percent of the taxes. – AEI

Mature government institutions are unelected, unreviewed, and not subject to any standards. As self-serving entities without responsibility to the public, each desires expanding their size, power, and control over the citizens that serve it and are forced to sponsor its complex system that extracts their income and takes what it can without concern for the actual cost of services used. Government becomes a 50% tithing scheme, no longer a modest cost-saving servant acting on behalf of the community.

Under a large government, schools no longer attempt to educate, but rather to make children allegiant to the tax collecting state and agree with the worldview that large organizations rightfully govern a person’s life. Schools once taught the essential facts of the world and familiarity with the great works of civilization, but now indoctrinate and teach obedience to fashionable values convenient to the state. Basic skills drop, yet returning to earlier ideas and methods of teaching with proven success is forbidden.

Once government dominates society in such a fashion, mentioning the extent of its control becomes taboo. This creates a number of ripple effects as other types of market actors follow the pattern that government has instituted.

Our religions long ago gathered to provide spiritual insight, pause for sacred considerations, and foster togetherness on our mutual destiny, but now only gather masses to fleece them of money.

We previously had media that informed the community about important events and took care to truthfully and insightfully convey their broader meaning. People took this orientation for granted and soon factual content was replaced with triviality, celebrity drama, superficial and semi-fictional depictions of events to enforce ideological beliefs and maximize paralysis so readers and viewers can be shown profitable advertisements.

With our foundations devastated, we would likely do better starting our institutions anew, this time remembering that they either serve the needs of the community or mutate into aggressive and selfish parasites acting against our interests.

Creativity

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Societies die when they lose creative goals in common.

A creative goal involves making new things: building a society, becoming the best culture one can imagine, inventing new ideas or methods, or just fulfilling a cultural mandate. It is the opposite of the competitive society, where there is no goal and so the citizens compete for existing things.

As a society ages, it supports a number of people who are unable to conceptualize, plan or execute creative goals (even small ones). These people have only one role: as employees following orders. Even if they work in “creative” fields, these are those who use already existing knowledge.

Over time, these people thrive under the leadership of the creative. At some point, however, a popular uprising deposes the role of those leaders. It may be they got a bad leader or, more likely, the people who could not be creative overthrew the creative out of spite and resentment.

The result is a society divided over its future: does it aim for self-discipline and making new things, or focus on the different ways to divide up what it already has?

The group of lawmakers who participated in negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden have already identified more than $1 trillion in budget cuts.

Republicans want far more.

But already, $1 trillion in cuts is entering uncharted territory. The cuts would be some of the biggest in history. – CNN

The Republicans have perceived that America has a sick addiction to spending. If we want a future, we need to cut spending because otherwise, we will become inward-looking: all of our money and efforts will go toward maintaining what we do have, in a losing battle against debt.

Instead, we should cut costs, cut government, cut social programs and re-invest our cash into developing new industries, technologies and more efficient ways of having industry. Among other things, we could create a green industries boom, if new technologies are invented in that process.

Our Democratic friends would rather that we stop looking toward the future, and instead become more focused on how we redistribute money through our citizenry.

“I’ve said to some of the Republican leaders, you go talk to your constituents, the Republican constituents, and ask them are they willing to compromise their kids’ safety so that some corporate jet owner continues to get a tax break,” Obama said. “And I’m pretty sure what the answer would be.”

Obama’s solution is a populist one, meaning that it sounds good to the greatest number of people.

He is echoing an old Democratic line: raise taxes on corporations and the rich.

However, he is ignoring why we keep such taxes low in the first place. We want to encourage the money to stay in our nation and invest in it. We want that money to be re-applied to development.

Even rich people serve a public interest by in many cases owning large estates covered with forest, which they keep in mostly pristine state.

If we tax too much, we will drive those corporations away from our shores, encouraging outsourcing and offshoring.

Ending the tax break for owners of private jets, for instance, would only save a few billion dollars, hardly enough to fund the Food and Drug Administration.

“I understand the populist appeal,” Sawhill said. “But those numbers are very small.”

The Democrats are working the mob into a frenzy: “Go get those rich bastards!”

The truth is that taxing the “rich” will not close the hole. Not even increased corporate taxes will. We will merely drive those people into keeping their wealth elsewhere. (The target group, those who earn over $250,000 per year, are upper half of middle class at this point, in the age of cheap money with little backing it. They are not “wealthy” in the practical sense of not needing to work.)

We cannot beat this debt by greater taxation. Further, greater taxation sabotages our economy, making the debt more painful as our currency devalues.

Other spending categories that have grown rapidly since 2000 include: anti-poverty programs (89 percent faster than inflation), K–12 education (219 percent), veterans spending (107 percent), and Medicare (81 percent). And despite all the pressing national priorities, lawmakers approved over 9,000 earmarks last year at a cost of $16.5 billion.

[…]

Of course, not all future spending is inevitable. In the 1980s and 1990s, Washington consistently spent $21,000 per household (adjusted for inflation). Simply returning to that level would balance the budget by 2012 without any tax hikes.

[…]

An additional graph shows the changing composition of federal spending since 1962, as entitlements have crowded out defense. – Heritage

Looking at the image above, we see one thing clearly: entitlement spending has risen dramatically since the rise of Democratic power in the 1990s.

Even more, government spending on its citizens has been the fastest-rising area of spending since 1950. If you hear people talking about Keynesianism, you are seeing it in action here.

Keynes wrote his magnum opus (General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money ) in 1936, in the midst of the Great Depression. People were just beginning to learn that rampant speculation could, indeed, cause the economy to collapse. Keynes proposed government as a debt sink that regulated the value of currency by spending vast amounts to keep the economy going.

Up until recently, people thought Keynes was correct. He may in fact be correct; however, he may have underestimated the secondary consequences of Keynesian economics, namely that they like Socialism cause a leveling of worth and thus a kind of monetary entropy, where all investments become somewhat random and thus vast instability prevails.

In the meantime, his influence has caused government to balloon and even more, for entitlement spending (the opposite of “discretionary spending” such as the military) to explode, all of it being spending by the government on its citizens, including welfare, healthcare, education, and other big expenses that were virtually unknown before 1950.

Image from Business Insider.

Tax the rich? Cut defense? Tax corporations? These are fake answers designed to keep idiots busy thinking something is “being done,” while the real profits head out the door and are converted from our declining currency into other sources of wealth. (If you think dollars will be worthless real soon, use them to buy yen before that event.)

The real problem here is the concept of entitlement itself:

  1. It’s huge. Over half of the budget is entitlements. Further, it breeds more of itself, because each expenditure adds more bureaucracy, more laws, more policies and more people in both public and private sector dependent on the jobs they sponsor and the people they support. A job without profit behind it is not a “made job” but a dependent job, meaning that it does not contribute to the economy, but takes money out of it without creating more wealth for us all.
  2. It fails. Entitlements are ineffective at reducing the problems they claim to address. As extended government subsidies, they treat the effects but not the underlying causes; as bureaucracy, they encourage keeping people “in the system” to justify its existence. Even more, they often create more problems than they solve. Medicare engendered a vast labyrinth of regulations which many corporations and individuals take advantage of. In the meantime, more people than before have problems finding medical care.
  3. It corrupts our outlook. Entitlements create a mindset of gaming the system, where the idea is to get as much for yourself without necessarily adding to the collective wealth through effort and creativity. When people are subsidized, they have no incentive to add to the collective wealth, so the vast majority of people take more than they give. This creates a culture of gaming the system, where people become resentful and opportunistic. Even further, it demands that we create a dogma of justification for our gaming the system, such as “equality” or “justice,” which in turn corrupts the meaning of those terms. Entitlement culture is bad for our psychology.

If you want to be embittered, be embittered at that last item. The same culture of do-nothing that destroyed the Soviet Union now thrives in America through make-work jobs, a large entrenched bureaucracy, a huge welfare state and many incompetent people who make predictable mistakes and then expect government to bail them out.

The tendency toward gaming the system kills what is vital about a society. It corresponds to the victim mentality of 1980s teen movies: if you feel like a victim, you can in turn overthrow those above you and force them to give up their power, wealth and popularity. However, you’re still the person who could not create those things in the first place.

Entitlement culture savages these things:

  1. Values. If we all deserve subsidy for being human alone, there is no way we can make choices about what values we want in our towns and cities. Instead, we must accept everyone, and accept that everyone now has money to spend however they see fit, even if it’s crazy. This forces us all to accept crazy, and we’re supposed to smile about it.
  2. Natural selection. In a healthy society people are rewarded for being exceptionally good, and everyone else is tolerated unless incompetent, but incompetents are thrown out for being useless (traditionally, in America we’ve run our incompetents off to Mexico or Canada, who wised up and started sending them back with interest). When you introduce the subsidy, everyone is guaranteed survival, which specifically helps the incompetents (everyone else would have survived anyway). As a result, you have a huge population boom in the incompetent zone, propelling you further along toward Idiocracy.
  3. Self-reliance. When the idea that is that we all fix our own problems, and there is no subsidy waiting to descend from heaven to save us, people tend to be responsible. They get their own act together, discipline themselves, and find a path in life. When it doesn’t matter whether you’re disciplined or not, and even if you screw it all up you get the equivalent of a salary, a culture of do-nothingness is created. People just hang out, or pin their hopes on illusory dreams. Why worry? Government will save us.
  4. Organic society. An organic society is one that grows naturally from an agreement over values. People of like minds and abilities get together and start a new civilization up, and it grows. This type of society requires little enforcement because people generally agree on what is good behavior and what is bad. When subsidies intrude, a powerful central government is required to hand out the money and enforce good behavior. This means that a false standard has taken hold and will replace the organic one.

The above are things that we all claim to want, at least if we talk ourselves through which of the options is best. No one wants idiots — they will only admit they want natural selection when you talk them through the process like a Socratic dialogue:

Socrates: What ails you, Aetheryus?

Aetheryus: My society is awash in idiots!

Socrates: How do we fix that?

Aetheryus: Send them away!

Socrates: You want to give our tyrant the ability to choose who is good and who is bad?

Aetheryus: No!

Socrates: So we need another way, like some kind of test, or even a challenge.

Aetheryus: Yes!

Socrates: Like natural selection?

Aetheryus: No! Yes! No — wait, natural selection is bad, amirite?

Civilizations die when they go from cultures of creativity to cultures of internal competition. They stop striving for anything, turn inward looking, and bicker themselves to death.

Luckily, this process can be restarted. All it takes is for us to reverse the culture of gaming the system, reverse the perverse notion of equality, and rip out the dead wood and start over, this time building it to last.

The upside of poverty

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

When I was young, I was disadvantaged in many ways. One of those many ways was extreme poverty. That terrible condition that, apparently, nobody should ever be allowed to be in.

Things were different back then: nobody cared overly much about poor people being poor. There was a welfare system in place, for people who had been poor long enough to acquire status as perennially poor, and they were helped, very little, as long as they had an address. Which meant, of course, that they were were not all that poor, but that they were grown up.

I was horribly poor, had been raised in a hostel for unwanted or problem boys, and at age fifteen, booted out into the real world, as an apprentice truck mechanic, paid roughly a third of what it would have taken to survive at a subsistence level.

I endured this, losing weight, the while, not realizing I was free to simply quit, for around six months, until one wintery morning, in the dark and snow, I discovered that my bicycle had been stolen, and now I would have to walk the ten miles to work…

After several miles, I stuck my thumb out and lo: a university student picked me up and said he was going all the way to London (UK). At a stroke, deciding to go with him, my life changed, totally, and for ever.

There were people called “hippies” in London, who seemed almost as poor as me, albeit more colorful, and I teamed up with a few of them, sleeping rough and starving to death.

I mean what I say: I probably ate one stale doughnut every three days, and this went on for a year, or more, while I froze, got soaked, caught colds and the flu, and was deprived of sleep by the Metropolitan Police, who would somehow find me, no matter where I was laid out, every twenty minutes, all through every night.

Homelessness has become quite the issue, lately, at least to people who have never been homeless. I have often been without a home, and have known many others in the same state. Mostly, such people are in that state because they prefer it. No more of that pesky cleaning, or vacuuming! It does come with a downside: once one is homeless, things become very difficult to turn around again. Going back to having a home is an uphill battle! But not to those who prefer being homeless.

Why am I writing about this? Because I was not poor in my own eyes. I was not disadvantaged, in my own eyes, other than being almost completely mute. This was my life, and I was totally free, for the first time. But the most memorable thing about all of it, was this:
Being so malnourished, so wet, and so cold, for so long, I would go to sleep at night, thinking – as I drifted off – that I probably wasn’t going to wake up in the morning.

I became so used to this outlook, that I unwittingly embarked upon a spiritual quest to discover as much about life and its mysteries, as I could, in whatever time remained to me.

I remember being amazed, each morning, as I shivered my way into consciousness.

Still not dead! Amazing how long it takes a body to die! Miraculous!

And this is the point:

People may be rich, comfortable, or poor. No one state is really any better, or worse, than any other state. One is what one is. And to whomever is in whatever state, it is their normal state. They have nothing else with which to compare it.

Being poor gives one endless time: to dream, to relax, to think, to meditate, to converse with others who have this much free time. To walk, endless miles, across whole countries, in the absence of transport, or the means with which to pay for it.

But most of all: fasting sharpens and elevates the mind. Sages and seers fast, purposely, to obtain such results. Jesus did his forty days and nights, in the desert, and just look what happened to him…

Insisting upon handing out the means, to the poor, to still do nothing, but now be able to afford a cosy bolt-hole, drink, drugs, and a complete non-need to provide for themselves, robs them of any chance of becoming what they might otherwise have become. Not to say that all poor people would become enlightened, or even wise, given the opportunity to do their own thing, but to place them half-way to where others are, at no cost of effort to them, is questionable at best. Certainly it is meddling with outcomes.

Let the rich be rich, and the comfortable, comfortable. But let the poor be poor, as well, until they find ways to make their lives work, by themselves, and for themselves. Poverty is a teacher unlike any other: everybody knows that adversity is a more effective teacher than ease. Don’t they?

In my own case: I have had innumerable adventures, brushes with death, revelations and experiences unobtainable to people who could afford to have them. I travelled to many countries, plan-less and penniless. And still I am not dead. Not yet!

Adequate wealth finally caught up with me, when I was ready enough, that it would not immobilize me with all the comfort adequate wealth can bring. I work harder, today, than at any point in my past. Not because I have to, but because I want to. Doing nothing, for long enough, is about the most lethal thing there is, for a human.

Long before the body succumbs, the mind dissolves into oblivion.

To tax those who produce, in order to ensure that those who do not produce, never will, is about as crazy as anything could be. There are always exceptions: disasters that require assistance to overcome; individual cases of dire need. Charity is important, and will always have a place. Guaranteed hand-outs, for life, to people who do not have as much as those who produce, also has a place:

In the garbage can of counter-productive, seriously bad ideas.

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