Thursday, June 9, 2011

At Debt's Door

The funny thing about today's cartoon is that it's absolutely true. Not only does Mrs. Johnson owe the government $527,000...but so do you! That's your share of the $61.6 trillion in government financial commitments that your elected representatives have promised you'll pay. And this isn't metaphor, or some imaginary pie-in-the-sky number that means nothing (like "jobs created or saved" or "days not weeks")'s a real bill, just as real as your credit card bill or utility bill, and you've really got to pay it. Or else.

A little shy on cash in these jobless times? Then your spouse can help pay it.
And your kids. And their kids. But don't expect your neighbor down the street to pay it for you; after all - his family owes the government $527,000 too...just like every other family in America.

Okay, so the government fat cats spent a half-million bucks they didn't have, quite possibly while they were drinking heavily, and put your name on the IOU. They'll never try to actually
collect it, will they?

Yes, they will. They
must try to collect it or see our nation collapse...and soon. Which is perhaps why their debt collection methods are getting to be quite a bit less subtle than they used to be.

As a case in point, this week a Federal SWAT Team broke down a man's door, dragged him into the lawn, and handcuffed him in front of his children...because the man's estranged wife had fallen behind in paying back her Federal student loans. And we'll bet
she didn't owe a half million like you do. You'll be lucky if you only get waterboarded instead of taking a live round above your eye and having your body dumped in the North Arabian Sea.

Frankly, we'd like to see every household in America receive a bill like the one shown below. Not as a campaign stunt, but as a real honest-to-gosh bill that
has to be paid.

Perhaps it's the one thing which could finally awaken people to the nightmarish economic realities of our times and make them demand accountability from the free-spending political hacks who have willfully stolen our money
and our future.

Coming soon to a mailbox near you!


Angry Hoosier Dad said...

People's lack of understanding of this crisis is highlighted by the headline I just read before I came here: "Obama holds a commanding lead over Republican challengers in 2012". It's selective polling, I know, but never count on the LSM to tell the truth...not when there's a meme to push. And never underestimate American's propensity to sleep through a disaster, often until it's too late. Pray God they wake up soon.

robert said...

Cloward and Piven knew what they were talking about. At least when they were talking about how to destroy this country.

Suzy said...

Not funny. :-(

I guess its getting harder to be funny these days, with the sort of things going on in our country.


John the Econ said...

What is even more scary is the level of taxation that would be required to just prevent this from getting worse, much less pay it off. At their current rates of growth, just Social Security and Medicare alone will eventually exceed the entire annual output before the end of the century. To be clear, that's not the entire Federal budget, but the entire economy!

So in theory, just to sustain entitlements, at some point your tax burden would have to be 100%. Of course, it will all come crashing down long before that, since who's going to bother working if the state is going to take 100% of your labor?

My question to progressives has been this: At what point can I consider myself your "slave"? When the state takes 50% of my labor, like it nearly does now? Or will it be 75%?

Chuck said...

And, the final gotcha is: the amount owed is growing! They want to "invest" more money they don't have on boondoggles only the criminally insane could think up! $527,000 today … even more tomorrow!

I’m with Suzy … Not Funny, and yes it is getting harder and harder to find even a shred of humor in any of this. They’ve already floated the idea of nationalizing (stealing) IRAs, 401k, 403b and any other individual retirement plan funds. You know they will. They have to, because the alternative it to shrink the size of government and take it back to its Constitutional roots. They would have to get out of EVERYTHING the government has no business being involved in. Eliminate ALL subsidies. Eliminate all the loopholes and exemptions that give favored status to one person or group over another.

Seriously, there is no way needed reforms are going to happen when 49% of Americans are getting a free ride and 2% like it that way for the power and control it gives them. Poof – a 51% majority.

A government lawyer has argued that the “mandate” to buy insurance isn’t really a mandate because if someone doesn’t want to buy insurance (or pay the penalty), all they have to do is EARN LESS! See, you have a choice! How incredibly stupid!

America has been called the last best hope for a mankind plagued by tyranny and deprivation (Ronald Reagan) and it would appear that tyranny and deprivation have become an integral part of the fabric of this great nation.

God bless us, every-one.

I will now take a short mental trip to my happy place, because I just depressed me.

Andrew said...

Default is inevitable, per the history of other countries in similiar straits. The Weimar government was just trying to inflate their way out of SOME of their debt when they triggered runaway hyperinflation by mistake, and destroyed everything.
There are always ways to profit from the collapse of a country (ask Soros)and always ways you can protect yourself and family. But we are going down. Sadly those in government responsible will mostly escape mob wrath because the mobs won't comprehend who to go after.
Government indoctrination and MSM have done their work well.
At dinner the other night with several bright 30-something news reporters, I was struck at how completely they are a product of the system. Not just that their worldviews differ from mine, that's fine, but their selective uncritical ignorance of key forces, key events in recent history, etc. They knew nothing of the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, know little or nothing about America prior to their college years (2000-2005, and can't explain how any of the major processes of government or finance work in the real world. They assume that a 14 Trillion dollar debt is just fine, that Dems and Repubs are Good vs Evil, that all other cultures in the world are 'just like us' and 'we all want the same things'. They're in their mid 30s but speak and think like 13 year olds. Much of the MSM are cynical sellouts, but an astonishing number are sincerely useful idiots like my dinner companions.

Chuck said...

@Andrew - that has to affect how the food tasted, unless of couse conversation during the meal didn't take place.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Angry Hoosier Dad- People just seem to have a huge blind spot about this issue. In part because politicians keep telling them "don't worry, we'll get the evil rich to pay your share." Only there aren't enough "evil rich" in America to pay everyone's bills...and there will be fewer and fewer "evil rich" as the government continues to disincentivize earning in general.

@robert- The current spending practices in Washington are absolutely indistinguishable from a deliberate plot to destroy the country.

@Suzy- No, it's not funny...even though I tried to throw in a few punchlines in the commentary to keep things light.

@John the Econ- The math is relatively simple and it says that we're screwed beyond belief. Yet the media doesn't want to report it, and the politicians don't want to act on it.

And yes, "slavery" is absolutely the right word to use when the government takes the fruits of your labor by force. And sadly, even enslavement of the productive won't prevent economic collapse - it will only allow the political leeches to feed a bit longer before the host dies.

@Chuck- Of course the government will be coming for our IRAs, KEOGHs, 401Ks and any other assets or savings we have. They'll have to go where the money is - whatever form it takes, and whoever's pocket it's in. When income taxes and capital gains taxes aren't enough, there will be asset taxes on savings accounts, homes, cars, jewelry, and real property of any kind. And the people who aren't paying those taxes will vote for it...just as they've always done.

@Andrew- Occam's Razor suggests that we don't need to look for conspiracies when circumstances can be just as readily explained by ignorance. And ignorance is what's on full display in your group of bright 30-somethings, as well as in virtually every member of Barack Obama's administration. They know nothing of how the world or the economy works, and because "everything's worked fine" in their short lives, they assume that it always will.

History holds no lessons for these people, because they don't understand that history is organically and inextricably linked to now. Without seeing that connection, they're fatally blind to cause and effect.

Chuck said...

@Stilton - History holds no lessons for them because it doesn't exist. It is the past and has no bearing on the future. The present doesn't matter either, because everything will be better in the future. And I don't exaggerate. Just listen (if your stomach can stand it) to Nasty Pelosi in this interview:

Lee The Voice said...

Is it O.K to pay my $527.000 in Federal Reserve notes?

Pete(Detroit) said...

When I went to school, we were (mostly) taught stuff. If we learned stuff, we felt good about it. Now they teach 'self esteem' and we have people who are ignorant, and feel good about it.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Lee The Voice - I don't see why not!

niteowl said...

The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.
-Vladimir Lenin

Lenin understood that Communism could not take root while there was a vibrant middle class. The bourgeoisie could be divided into the haute bourgeoisie and the petite bourgeoisie. It was easy to turn the people against the haute bourgeoisie, the uber rich, by appealing to their basest emotions: envy (Look at all they have, while you have nothing!), and greed (We should take their wealth, and give it to you!) It was more difficult to turn the people against the petite bourgeoisie, the middle class – those people who had risen above the need to trade their labor for subsistence wages, from their own efforts. These were skilled craftsmen (tailors, cabinet makers, etc), the merchant class, and the educated class (doctors, lawyers, engineers). After all, unlike the haute bourgeoisie, the petite bourgeoisie lived alongside the proletariat. They shopped at the same markets, sent their children to the same schools, went to the same church; they were friends, they were neighbors. They were an inspiration, an example of what hard work and dedication could provide.

So, when Lenin talks of “…crushing the bourgeoisie…”, he isn’t talking about the haute bourgeoisie (he planned to simply confiscate their property); he’s talking about the petite bourgeoisie – the middle class! And how did he plan to accomplish that? Through immoderate government spending (which would lead to inflation, removing the incentive to work hard), and taxation to pay for that spending (again, to ultimately remove the incentive to work hard.)

Stop me when any of this starts to sound vaguely familiar…

Colby said...

@Lee the Voice: I'm going to use the toilet seat method if I end up forced to pay.

The Federal Government pays $4,200 for a toilet seat, so I'm just going to send them 125 toilet seats and we should be even. You can get these at Wally World for about 5 bucks, so I'm going to come out smellin' sweet, only $625 poorer! Damn, I'm smart!

Oh, crap! I just gave a way my plan. You all can buy hammers or something; the toilet seat thing is MY idea!

Chuck said...

@niteowl - Exactly. This has been the Liberal playbook for years. The only thing that has held the end result at bay is that we occasionally get a short reprieve in the form of a Reagan, or a conservative majority in the house/senate that sometimes even manages to back things off a bit. Unfortunately it always seems to be one step back towards freedom followed by two steps forward in the direction of socialism.

pryorguy said...

Seems to me that the prez has accomplished pretty much what he set out to do! This is a problem of such magnitude that things ARE gonna "change" out of necessity as nature and economics runs its course!
I feel this is only phase one though, because you KNOW he is counting on a second term! Better hold onto your butt then! Very scary. If this guy is not the antichrist, he is his first cousin! The whole bunch on the left is evil in my opinion. I put together a strip along with a column about this on my site at if youd care to read it.

Suzy said...

The only way to fix this is to basically stop giving anybody ANYTHING. Seriously. Make people get out there and work...pick cotton if they have to. I don't care what they do...a job is a job...we need to stop this handout thing we have going.

There should be like a 2 year warning and then bam.... everybody works for themselves unless they have a serious health problem or they are retired (and I don't mean retired at 52 either.) Families need to pitch in and help each other...neighbors helping each other...and good grief, some people need to just plain learn how to WORK!!! Welfare started out as a helping hand...its become a lifestyle...and that lifestyle has to STOP.

Pete(Detroit) said...

niteowl - you had me at "Lennin"

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@niteowl- Thank you for the quick and entirely accurate assessment of what's going on. Well done!

@Colby- The toilet seat payment method! Brilliant! I'll have to look to see what other pricey barter items the gummint needs...

@proyorguy- As you say, things ARE going to change; it's unstoppable at this point. The question is whether we can crash land this economy in a rocky field and skid to a smoldering stop, or whether it's going to fly full speed into a cliff face.

And I like your cartoon site - I can't wait to see some of your actual drawings!

@Suzy- More and more, I'm feeling the same way. If we have to change our medical system (and taxation system, and our constitution) to make sure deadbeats can get free medical care...then stop giving away the free medical care. Let people know that if they show up without insurance, they're going to be turned away. Period. Want to show a softer spot for kids? Okay, we'll treat the injured kids but take away parental custody because A) if you can't afford it, you can't afford kids, or B) if you can afford it but didn't buy it, you're knowingly putting your kids at risk.

Harsh? Maybe...maybe not. I think you'd see a lot of behavioral changes occurring when these rules actually got enforced. And of course, the alternative is to keep doing what we're doing now and forcing the entire system to collapse - at which point there won't be care or "safety nets" for anyone, no matter how worthy. And that will be harsh.

Andrew said...

@Stilton, dead on. If the system collapses, if/when the overburdened lifeboat capsizes from too many trying to scramble in and all are back in the freezing water, that's going to be harsh beyond imagining for most.
Plenty of historic precedents for how collapse plays out;replayed often.

IMHO martial law is inevitable, whether imposed by our nominal leaders or by our occupiers (take your pick of blue helmets, Chinese uniforms or Blackwater armbands). It will be 'temporary', until it isn't. The able-bodied who can work will be formed into manual labor battalions, for most the first labor they've ever experienced. The tens of millions with no useable skills and no capacity for unskilled labor will be relocated and never seen again. The sick, the old, the unpromising will meet with triage liquidation; see Stalin, Mao and Hitler. "Alas, Babylon" and Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here" are good starting sketches.
Those who think the Clo-Piven strategy will usher in a new utopia of magic, unicorns and rainbows will be astonished, but like most of us they won't be around much past Phase One.

WindRider said...

Another happy thought: That Federal SWAT Team that broke down a man's door? It was from the Department of Education!

I don't know if they were wearing brown shirts.

howardfrombroward said...

ever notice that the mobs flocking to community organizers have absolutely no job skills, can't build homes or factories or schools, are unable to create the food they want to consume via farming and butchering. these clamoring folks are useless destructive drones.

pryorguy said...

@Andrew...bravo! Tough talk for tough times, and even tougher truths! What good does it do for people (especially our leaders) to hide their heads in the sand and pretend this scenario is not looming on the horizon? Better to prepare for the worst by making sure it does not go that way!

Lee The Voice said...

Oh, good!. That means I can pay their bottomless debt with their worthless money. :)

bradys bearss said...

The Weimar government was just aggravating to aerate their way out of SOME of their debt if they triggered delinquent hyperinflation by mistake, and destroyed everything.


Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Bradys Bearss- Yes, it's funny (not) how easy it is for things to go badly out of control in circumstances like that. Which is to say circumstances like these.

Marynals said...

Not funny. :-( I guess its getting harder to be funny these days, with the sort of things going on in our country. :-S