Tuesday, February 10, 2009

About Us, Without Us. . .

By a vote of 61-37, Obama's so-called stimulus bill has passed the US Senate. By no stretch of the imagination can this very, very left-wing porkapalooza (Powerline's term) of a bill be described as bipartisan, unless "bipartisan" is understood to mean agreement with whatever Obama wants. Three northeastern Republicans (Snowe and Collins of Maine, and Spector of Pennsylvania -- Republicans in name only) joined all the Democrats in voting for this bill.
For those of us opposed to this bill, which will bring us ruin, and, probably, war; there is, for now, nothing that can be done but to watch. Our fate is no longer in our own hands. Obama has won his chance to drive the bus over the cliff, and we just have to watch him do it.
Republicans have the small consolation of having their votes against this disaster registered: and an epic disaster it will prove to be. Our President promised us catastrophe unless his bill was passed. He will soon have his bill, which cannot be paid for by taxes, and for which the money cannot be borrowed. There will be nothing left but to run the printing press. The President will have his stimulus, and get catastrophe, anyway.


The Girl You Don't Bring Home to Momma said...

This is more than a little scary. I have my own negative opinions on our "President" so this doesn't surprise me. I guess I'll just have to hold my breath to see what kind of ruin it brings my way.

The Kitchen said...

Do people have any idea that this will begin rationed healthcare???

El Jefe Maximo said...

Isn't that trippy? But if you're going to have a government run system, and keep the costs of covering all those who can't afford it bearable (relatively) you have to ration health care; both in terms of who gets access to what, as well as how care is delivered.

Big companies with health care obligations (think, inter alia Detroit) desperately want national health insurance to relieve them of very expensive obligations (particularly to aging retirees covered under expensive union contracts).

The sums being talked about in all this bailing-out are incredible. Besides the TARP ($700 bil. or so), there's this "stimulus" which is between $825 bil or a $900 billion, depending on which bill (House or Senate) goes forward. On top of that is another $1.5 billion announced today by the new Treasury secretary in further relief for the banks.

All this is in addition to the regular budget, which is already broken. This takes no account of social security and medicare spending (outside the regular budget also).

We cannot pay for what is proposed with taxes, even doubling them would be insufficient...leaving the rest to be borrowed, which is done by the sale of Treasury securities. The government has increasing difficulty borrowing as is. The likely buyers with real cash are in Asia, particularly China, which holds gargantuan amounts of US debt already. This leaves printing the money.

This will produce a rapid fall in the value of US currency through (1) sales of US bonds and securities by people all over the world who wake up to how absolutely clueless the American government is; and (2) demand-pull inflation -- all this printed money will be chasing a diminishing amount of goods.

For us, the price of everything will go up, but the value of our holdings, particularly paper, will diminish, but real assets will suffer too, because the markets for them will decline. Mark-to-market accounting will make this last part harder than it might otherwise need to be.

Renters and debtors will be relatively better off than owners and creditors.

How, BTW, do you suppose the foreign holders of US assets (who have to hope for a US recovery to realize returns on their investments) are going to feel about the Americans cheating their creditors by paying them with worthless printed paper dollars? I don't think we will be able to afford imported knick-knacks or decent beer much at all once this is well and truly rolling. Pray we don't get a war out of it.

The Kitchen said...

Well said.
Just wait til the dollar becomes nuttin' honey - which will be very soon.
I read where Kaiser Permanante wants the almost-bankrupt state of California to pay for those 8 babies that the mom of 14 had. Why can't she come up with that money?? Ya know, like she did for her plastic surgery??
Oh, that's right - I keep forgetting - there's always money for those people to ahve what they WANT, but never the money for what they NEED.
Just wait til people start dying in droves, and the cancer research goes out the window - no one will have treatments if they are deemed too old, too sick, or anything else......
It's just astounding to me that people want the monies that are used locally to be handed over to the government to hand out for healthcare. Don't people realize that healthcare is going to be JUST LIKE the DMV or the post office? Except this time it will be their lives???

LFC said...

EJ: Interesting that you seem to prefer your economic views to those of 85% to 90% of economists, including Republican/conservative economists, who favored a stimulus package.
Demand-pull inflation? I doubt this is a near-term worry. In fact there hasn't been this type of inflation (as opposed to so-called cost-push inflation) in quite a long time.
Rationed health care? It's already rationed now -- by income. Those who can afford it get it, those who can't, don't.
"The regular budget is already broken." Whose fault is that, I wonder. Hmmm...

LFC said...

p.s. A high Chinese official is quoted in the Financial Times as saying China will continue to buy US treasuries even if the dollar depreciates. (See recent post "news roundup" at the Marx and Coca-Cola blog.)