Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Putting the US deficit into perspective

Need to raise revenue for the government?

That's easy, simply tax the rich.

The United States, like the majority of Western nations, is spending itself into oblivion at worst and massive civil strife at best.
There is some good economic news. The red ink the US is swimming in is not as bad as projected in February. Yes, at $1.471 trillion, it's still huge – 10 percent of the nation's gross domestic product – but an improvement of $84 billion from earlier estimates.

But bad news still looms large. In the next fiscal year, according to the mid-season review released by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Friday, the US deficit will be $150 billion more than earlier projections. It is expected to come in at $1.416 trillion, or 9.2 percent of GDP.

The White House, which released the change in budget estimates, was careful not to overplay the changing numbers.

“These are not substantial changes and nothing we want to make too big a deal about,” said Peter Orszag, director of the OMB in a press call with reporters. “The economy remains weaker than we would like and the unemployment rate higher than we would like.”
So, how the heck much is 1.4 trillion dollars?

Is it actually possible to increase taxes on the rich and deal with the debt (assuming that there's no impact on employment or investment)?

I thought, why not simply confiscate
all of the wealth that the rich have? That ought to solve all of the problems. Right?

I looked up the Forbes
list of world's billionaires that are domiciled in the United States and are doing business and paying taxes there.

The richest person on the 395 name list is Bill Gates with $53B, followed by Warren Buffett with $47B and a gap back to Larry Ellinson at $28B.

Now, here's the kicker - and the sobering reality check for the soak-the-rich left - if you confiscated ALL of the wealth of these 395 people in order to fund the debt (which means it would need to be sold to overseas interests, of course, as there'd be nobody rich enough in the US to buy it anymore) then how much would you raise?


1.328 trillion dollars.

You'd still need to find another $143B to break even for the year! And your wealth creators have now got nothing! Good luck with that...

Here's another way of looking at that $1.471 trillion deficit.

Consider the following: there are 113,146,000 households in the US, which means that in just one year each household now has an extra $13,000 added to its debt. No wonder the Congressional Budget Office describes the debt situation as unsustainable.

Competition from emerging economies in China, India and Brazil, coupled with declining birth rates, undermine the modern Western (immoral) indulgence of giving people money who haven't earned it while putting the bill onto the next generation...and the one after a gigantic, populate or perish, Ponzi scheme.

2010 is a momentous year in world history, I believe, as history will mark it down as the year that the welfare state, in its current form, ended.

(Nothing Follows)

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Labor "moving forward" to victory

If there's been a more banal political slogan in Australian history than Labor's "moving forward" then please let me know.

The first poll published after the calling of the August 21 election comes from Galaxy and shows that the government holds on to its 52-48 lead.

I commented recently that before the last election, which Labor won with a 53-47 margin, their Betfair odds were $1.31.

The current odds are as follows:

The odds support the 52-48 poll so, unless one side or the other puts their foot in it big time, then we've got another three years of Labor government to look forward to. How much more debt will they be able to pile onto our kids? It's remarkable that the modern, "progressive" left has no care for the financial health of the economies of which they're supposed to be custodians.

(Nothing Follows)

Friday, 16 July 2010

The A-Z of the Labor government's incompetence

This one is doing the rounds of the Internet and highlights the absolute disaster that our Labor government has inflicted upon the poor, old taxpayer for the next umpteen years.
Rarely has a government promised so much, spent so much, said so much, and launched so many nationwide programs, and delivered so little value for money and expectation. Two years of Kevin Rudd has produced 20 years of debt, and most of it cannot be blamed on the global financial crisis. This alphabet soup is self-inflicted.

Asylum seekers. Unless the government can show otherwise, it appears that about 98 per cent of asylum-seekers are getting Australian residency. In contrast, the latest figures from the United Nations refugee agency show most asylum applications worldwide are rejected. The bulging Christmas Island detention centre has become a grossly expensive sham and a mockery of a core election promise.

Beijing. Supposedly Rudd's strong point, the relationship with China deteriorated badly last year after a series of serious missteps with Beijing.

Computers in schools. A million computers promised to schools, one for every student. This turned out to be much harder than it sounded.

Debt and deficit. The Rudd government inherited a massive $90 billion financial firewall when it came to office, via a federal budget surplus, the Future Fund and two infrastructure funds. In two years the budget has gone from $20 billion in surplus to $58 billion in deficit. Net federal debt has gone from zero to a projection of between $130 billion and $180 billion. It took the previous government 10 years to dismantle the $96 billion debt mountain that it inherited. It took Rudd one year to build it back up again.

ETS. The Copenhagen climate conference was a disaster. Rudd's emissions trading scheme is abstract, complex, expensive and polls show about 80 per cent of Australians do not understand or trust it. A T-shirt produced by Newcastle steelworkers distils the political problem: "Rudd's ETS: Higher Prices. Lost Jobs. 0.001 degrees cooler."

Fuelwatch. Big promise, empty outcome.

Grocerywatch. Ditto.

Hospitals. Ditto.

India disaster. Last year Australia degraded relations with the two emerging Asian superpowers.

Juvenile justice. The plight of young Aborigines is worse than ever, with ideology trumping pragmatism. Children are shipped off to violent foster families while government exhibits a mesmerised inertia in the face of pockets of endemic violence.

Kaiser. The aptly named Mike Kaiser, former ALP Queensland state secretary and state MP, became the umpteenth poster boy for the Labor patronage machine this month by landing a $450,000-a-year lobbying job with the national broadband network. The job was not advertised.

League tables. The government's one-size-fits-all league tables for schools, plagued by glitches and misleading data, is another centralised scheme that serves as a substitute for tackling the union-imposed rigidities on teacher performance.

Migration. Permanent migration to Australia surged 550,000 during the first two years of the Rudd government, the highest two-year increase in history. This is at odds with the government's rhetoric on reducing Australia's carbon footprint. It was also never mentioned before the election.

National broadband network. Last year the Rudd government spent $17 million looking for a private partner to co-build the network. The process yielded nothing. The government will now build and operate the network itself at a cost of $43 billion. A money sink.

Opposition theft. The Rudd government inherited the strongest budget position and banking sector of any major Western economy, which protected Australia from the global financial crisis. The government pretends this was all its own work.

Power. The national solar power rebate is a political debacle. The GreenPower scheme has failed. The renewable energy trading certificates scheme is in disarray.

Question time. Question time has blown out by 50 per cent over its traditional running time because of long ministerial answers and incessant points of order, while the time devoted to answering real questions, rather than Dorothy Dixers, has shrunk to less than 30 per cent of question time; a blatant corruption of the process.

Roof insulation. Send in the fraud squad. A good idea gone bad. Rampant false billing and over-charging. Cowboys everywhere. People dead. Houses unsafe. Systemic overspending. A hapless bureaucracy detached from the realities of the building industry.

School spending. The $16 billion Building the Education Revolution scheme is bloated with systemic overspending and over-charging. The problems were encapsulated by a builder who told me: "My company is involved in the BER work and it involves mismanagement, overcharging, schools being railroaded into decisions not in their interests, all hidden behind a smokescreen. It is the country's most expensive political stunt ever." Another money sink.

Tax increases. The federal budget in May will begin to reveal the consequences of panic, hubris, overspending and waste as the government seeks to offset its profligacy with higher fees and taxes. Superannuation was just the start.

Union power. The unions, having bankrolled Labor's election campaign in 2007, have received their payback, with an increase in union rights and powers. Union muscle-flexing is back, from the mining sector to small business. Endemic corruption, blackmail and violence in the building industry was finally curbed by the Australian Building and Construction Commission. Julia Gillard is shutting it down.

Vanity. See B, K, O, Q and U.
Whitlamesque. Spendthrift programs. Empty rhetoric. Self-congratulation. Deficit spending. Debt blowout. Two years of the Rudd government produces 20 years of debt and poses the question: worse than Whitlam?

X Y Z Generations X, Y and Z They will be stuck with the bill.
What amazes me is that Labor voters can read through this list and still manage to find positive things to say about the government such as the "Sorry" to the (non existent) Stolen Generations and, supposedly, keeping us out of recession.

All they've done is to ensure that we will have a weaker economy over the next couple of decades than we otherwise would have. They have guaranteed higher interest rates and higher unemployment, though the effects of those are still to hit.

China's growth is said to be slowing. How much debt is this government going to have? $100B? $200B is probably closer.

It took 10 years to pay off Labor's previous $100B debt. How long will it take to pay it off this time around?

The implementation of left wing policies can only lead to unwelcome, bordering on immoral, outcomes.

(Nothing Follows)

Friday, 2 July 2010

Ongoing collapse of the UK

Yet another example of the societal collapse in the UK:
A BBC commentator has apologised to a 16-year-old British tennis star after saying she had "puppy fat" on live television.

David Mercer made the remark while discussing Laura Robson's weight as she played her second round juniors match at Wimbledon, The Sun newspaper reports.

"I suppose the one thing that I have at the back of my mind at the moment, is Laura mobile enough around the court?," Mercer said.

"Perhaps a little puppy fat at the moment, the sort of thing you'd expect her to lose as she concentrates on tennis full-time."

Robon said she was not fazed by the comments.

I've spoken to the guy who said it. It's not a big deal," Robson said.

"It's just his opinion. You know, I don't really care."
Since when has it become politically incorrect to use the term 'puppy fat'???

These people are crazy and the UK is doomed.

Good to see that the kid herself is not in the least bit offended by it all, which must annoy those self-appointed overseers of society who make a living by being offended on behalf of everybody else.

(Nothing Follows)