The NEW Illustrated Guide to Mendacity and Folly in the 21st Century.
Posted on | August 8, 2011 | No CommentsWell, it only took about a week to recover from Otakon…and the preparation for same. This year’s biggest anime convention on the East Coast gathered over 31,000 participants–most of whom I didn’t see because I was down in the bowels of the Baltimore Convention Center, plying my wares. Thanks go out to Matthew from the Artists Alley staff for checking with legal about parody status. And thanks to everyone who stopped by my table to admire my art-hi Alanna!–and double thanks to anyone who bought anything!–as well as to my neighbors in the surrounding tables. especially Hooked on Chibis and Lori of Pandora. Lots of other people, too many to name (including a lot whose names I forgot to get–old age :-/)
In the meantime, one national crisis ended–we actually decided to pay our bills–and another began. After months of wrangling over whether or not we’d actually pay the money we owed people, Standard and Poors decided we couldn’t be trusted to actually pay our bills when the invoices arrived. Duh! No brainer there. If you loudly complain about how you’re not going to pay your bills, won’t your landlord get a bit antsy about whether or not you’re going to pay the rent? Same as our landlords. The Chinese.
Of course, we’re incensed that S&P actually downgraded us. Hey, we complained, but we’re paying–aren’t we? And what about that 2 TRILLION dollar error in your calculations? Huh? Hey–aren’t you the guys that said Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers were good risks?
Well, S&P fessed up that this was more of a political decision than an economic one. Ooops, never mind that profit-taking by the bear market over there (I’m sure that THAT was more than a bit of consideration as well). But you can’t fault the political judgment. We spent months in a virtual standstill over whether to pay our bills because a minority in Congress is holding our government to ransom. Give in to our demands or we’ll shoot the dog. Ahh, patriotism!
Buried on page 4 of the S&P apologia–which no one seems to have read besides Louise Hartmann–damn liberals, flaunting their literacy!–”Republicans in the Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues.” Now while this does not actually reference the reason why we were downgraded (to forestall the fish-shaking by the one or two conservatives who might actually read this), but it DOES state why we’re in a deficit crisis. We’re losing money because we refuse to raise taxes, especially to raise taxes on the people who might actually have the money to pay them! What a concept–it’s positively Newtonian in scope. Maybe someone in S&P has actually READ Adam Smith instead of simply bowing at his statue in the halls of Capital.
As long as we are held by this insane up-is-down notion (based on the appropriately named–and discredited–Laffer Curve) that somehow lowering taxes will raise revenues–and by the solemn oaths taken to Grover Norquist, whose avowed goal is to drown government in the bathtub–we’re going to have problems with out-of-control deficits. Unless we cut every government function except the Defense Department–and we’ll have trouble there too as we continue to farm out the legions to the auxiliary barbarian mercenaries (based on the notion that for-profit armies are somehow cheaper than the government-sanctioned one). And we’ll deserve a less-than AAA rating. Hey, I have an idea, why don’t we eliminate the salaries of elected officials as well? That way, only people who could afford to hold office could actually run. We could call them, I don’t know, the nobility?
I’m afraid Paul Krugman is wrong–we’re not going back to the Gilded Age. We’re headed back to feudalism.