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There’s Dave…

Sky News’ Jon Craig has posted an interesting piece on the latest Brown-sighting this evening. After Cameron’s highly adroit – even deft – performance in the US, it’s becoming pretty clear that, in absolute fact, Britain is far better off, both at home and abroad, now that she is finally being represented by a prime minister that isn’t either a) a hopeless attention-seeker obsessed with his own image rather than concerned with the needs of a country he laughably purported to lead or the world that he generally preferred to start wars in, or b) a socially inept weirdo with terrifying delusions of grandeur and a pathological inability to recognise, much less tell, the truth.

Jon Craig writes of the latter’s latest noises well-off performance:

So what did Gordon Brown do after his brief appearance in the House of Lords?
(See previous blog.)
Speak in the Commons during the third reading debate on the Finance Bill?
Er, no.
Pop down to Strangers’ Bar or the terrace for a few beers with old comrades?
Er, no.
The former Prime Minister, I can reveal, had already invited new Labour MPs elected for the first time on May 6 – about 70 in all – for a chat at 4pm in his grand and spacious new office on the top floor of Portcullis House.
An audience with Gordon.
Aah. So the room was packed, then?
Er, no.
Apparently, so my informant tells me, only about 10 turned up to listen to the former PM.
I’m also told that some of the bright young things turned up hoping to ask him worthy questions about the Alternative Vote referendum and other current topics.
But they were disapppointed to hear him talk at some length – no change there, then – about how the Tories kept trashing his record in power.
Oh dear.
In denial?
That’s what some Labour MPs are claiming.

Where’s Wally Gordon?

I’m quite surprised to be writing this, but Cameron is actually beginning to look great. Now that could just be because he’s normal compared to the two contemptible Labour has-beens this country and the world have been forced to tolerate for over a decade in unequal shares until very recently.

But he did look and sound great today – a real independent force. Having seen some of the clips of his performance with the latest incarnation of the US president, compared to the rather brittle-looking, slightly spiteful-sounding Barack Hussein Obama, he was, well, just great.

Hang-on, I know it’s early days, but it is possible Cameron is great – as in an unusually gifted statesman and leader (at least in the making).

One day maybe it’ll even become a famous quotation: “Andy Burnham [or whoever], you are no David Cameron! (You’re actually a bit like Tony Blair – but not quite as bad as Gordon Thingumyjig),” says someone or other who’s fairly famous in politics .

Hmm. Maybe not (yet). But he’s clearly better than Blair. And way, way, way better than the unspeakable (and nearly vanished forever anyway) Brown. We might still be in the ‘thank God for small mercies’ stage of Cameron’s premiership, but there can be no denying it: there were one or two glimpses of greatness there today.

What a contrast!

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Hayward: Bleak Prospects

It’s getting pretty clear now that the United States government will settle for nothing less than the destruction of BP as punishment for the environmental and economic impact of the disastrous Gulf oil spill. This is the conclusion that a lot of people have now if not reached, then are certainly nearing. After BP’s flat footed and presentationally poor chief Tony Hayward’s performance in front of a bunch of nauseating US administrators yesterday, which demonstrated his stamina but nothing more than that, no one in their right mind can dismiss the idea that BP is gravely ill. The oil leak is bleeding it anaemic. Credibility, credit worthiness and gargantuan sums of money are all being poured into the stratosphere. Pretty soon, all that will be left is the name.

The evidence for this pessimism? The Telegraph’s report today, which has been covered widely in the US on Fox and CNBC too, that the cost to BP for its liability will top $100 Billion should be enough, shouldn’t it? No company can withstand that kind of bill and remain intact, no matter how large it is. That’s the kind of money that takes down entire middle-sized countries. United States congressmen and women don’t give two hoots about that, however, this being an election year. All they care about is the hysterical US public opinion. It’s a simple calculation that US politicians from the pisspoor president down have made: ‘the more we hurt BP (shake it down and pump it dry) and dogwhistle the anti-British meme, the more votes we get’. It’s as pathetic as it is dismally feeble as it is dishonest.

BP will be gone by the end of the year. I’ll put money on it.

The economic, political – even the historical – implications of this are truly frightening (particularly in terms of just how rotten the United States political classes have become) but they’re separate issues that I’ll have a stab at in a later post.

Or maybe someone else, if they accept the basic premiss (that BP is finished), could have a go.

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It has consequences, this incomprehensible, outmoded, spiteful anti-British venom of Obama’s.

For instance, for it to be sustained, this poor President must deny the reality of the true impact of his cheaply political, unthinking, bargain-basement, anachronistic Brit-bashing. That ‘true reality’ is framed rather neatly by Iain Martin this evening:

If President Obama can break off from crafting his next anti-British Petroleum soundbite, it might be worth him checking out the ownership structure of BP and pausing for a moment. It appears that 39% of the shares in the company are American owned (25% by U.S. pension funds and 14% by individual American investors). According to BP’s figures, 40% of the stock is owned in the U.K.

So, the company not paying, limiting or delaying payment of its dividend (as Mr. Obama has demanded as retribution for BP causing him so many problems — no, I mean desecrating the Gulf of Mexico) would impact directly on rather a lot of American investors, and those with pensions.

Who is going to tell the president? Perhaps it could be British Prime Minister David Cameron, when the pair talk on Saturday in an attempt to limit the diplomatic damage from the crisis.

No wonder serious US stockmarket commentators are getting a little nervous about Obama’s loud mouth. BP is a massive multinational, with investment interests in the US that at least parallel those of the UK – and we’re talking hundreds of billions here, all told – not just market value. If BP Plc goes down, which is what the idiot Obama and his fellow administration coat tail morons seem to want, then BP Inc will have already died – and that one, giant company’s politically induced failure could take the entire, fragile world economy down with it.

Taking out a company as big as BP just because you want to look tough could trigger another depression – globally. People should understand that that’s the desperate game Obama has chosen to play, but just doesn’t understand.

This terrible political decision tree should be seen for what it is, and then he (Obama) should be seen for what he really is, and then, once the dawn of clarity has finally set in, anything he says or does from here on in should be stoically resisted, on both sides of the Atlantic.

The fact that Cameron hasn’t even made a decent position statement on this travesty yet tells me one thing, however. Ordinary Americans and Brits still have at least one thing in common: our respective political leaders are basically first order and ineffective world class shits!

Now that’s the real “Special Relationship” that I’ve had the privilege of enjoying for many decades (thanks to my roots).

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I stand by my opinion that Tony Hayward has done enough diplomatic and other damage with his foot-in-mouth mismanagement of the Gulf disaster to warrant his dignified exit, an analysis with which a former head of Shell Oil Inc. on Radio 4 this morning appeared to agree with, at least in part.

However, it would be fair to add that while Hayward has undoubtedly been poor in the face of a near-hysterical US media maelstrom whipping up public outrage, the behaviour of Obama has simply been beneath contempt. The man is unfit for the office of the Presidency. It was no accident, for instance, that when I watched the opening of that live press conference on the latest US posturing over Iran (again, suspiciously timed), I honestly and completely believed Obama was talking about BP again!

But then I realised, he was being far too diplomatic. Never once would he have said “I want to kick Iran’s ass”. But to him, apparently, it’s fine to do that with a major multinational company. Think it’s not comparable? Well, you’d be right. Telling that lunatic Ahmadinajacket that he was about to be given the proverbial, presidential ass whoopin’ of his life would have had zero impact on the zombie relations between the two nations and certainly would have had no discernible economic effect.

Compare and contrast Obama’s pathetic posturing and filthy, insulting language – and threats to abuse his own nation’s system of law to make it pay and pay big – with BP. Remember, without there actually having been a trial to find out just who really is ultimately responsible for the disaster – my money is on the US government – this kind of thing from Obama is calculated to be prejudicial not against BP Inc, but against the mother company. It’s deliberate! It’s also working. Forty percent plus of the value of that company’s shares has been destroyed so far.

That’s about £60billion to you and me. And the point is, it could well be you and me that end up on the receiving end of the Obama asskicking because our pension funds are taking a hammering as a consequence of this big mouthed/small minded man. Our oh-so wonderful ally, led by such a person as this, seems perfectly happy to sit back and watch Britain humiliated once more. It’s sickening. Whether Ben Brogan thinks so or not, that “special relationship” the Westminster villagers love to drone on about? Hey, Ben. It’s over.

BP didn’t kill it, Obama did.

BP (BP “Inc”, lest we forget) has done all it can to clear up this mess, so I agree with those who say lay off them (that doesn’t mean lay off the accident prone Hayward, however). The real villain of this piece as it turns out? Ladies and gentleman, I give you the most unpresidential president since, er, the last one – Barack Hussain Obama.

Witty.

But for Britain, sadly, this really is no laughing matter.

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It is finally beginning to dawn on people that national bankruptcy is now a real possibility, thanks to the gargantuan levels of public debt generated by the so-called short-term ‘stimulus’ packages and vast budget deficits designed to mask the effects of the recession. It seems our own government, incapable as it is of running an economy in a period of apparent, relative plenty let alone during a downturn, now that it has decided to cling on to power till the bitter end needs some urgent lessons in what constitutes a ‘tough choice’. Janet Daley points out in her typically clear-headed article this evening that people are clammering for some fiscal and monetary conservatism. I fear her call will fall on the prejudiced and therefore deaf ears of a left wing government.

So which kind of “tough choices” do you fancy? The ones that involve spending – as in, which bits of government expenditure would you choose to cut – or the ones that mean tax rises? You may as well start thinking about this because those will be the options available to you at the next general election.

The outlines of the parties’ campaigns have now become clear. Labour, whoever is leading it, will be fighting the last war: trying to revive the demonic vision of “Tory cuts”, as if they were somehow more fearsome than the Labour cuts that are already in the pipeline simply by virtue of being Conservative and hence inherently evil. But what even Labour spokesmen will be forced to admit, as indeed some of them did last week, is that – in the absence of serious spending reductions – the only way to fill the cavernous hole in the public finances will be through substantial tax rises. So while both parties will talk of having to make “tough decisions” – which is to say, of you having to endure some unpleasantness – they will mean rather different things by it.

She carries on by pointing-out (rather better) what yours-truly said a few days ago: Labour are being utterly dishonest in suggesting they are not going to have to cut spending – indeed have planned to do so already, but wish to fudge the issue by cutting spending stealthily. Brown’s nail-chewed gnarly fingers are all over this approach. It’s certainly not his second choice (and second rate) Chancellor’s desire to hide from the public the scale of the problem the nation faces, as his consistent drift away from ‘the message’ has amply demonstrated, something that very, very nearly cost him job. But Brown and his stealth cuts are what we will have to endure. The problem is, they will not go far enough and will not be managed properly.

Daley then turns to the issue of tax rises, which is what this is fundamentally all about. Spending cuts, whichever way they arrive, as far as I’m concerned are a fait accompli. Even with the outlandish ‘trampoline recovery’ suggested by Darling, cuts are inevitable. As the budget deficit spirals to 110% of GDP and total debt liabilities rocket to upwards of $10 trillion-plus (380%+ of GDP) there is no alternative: you just can’t sustain that level of borrowing because the likelihood of the plug being pulled by the bond market and the whole rickety framework coming crashing down increases with every new sale. It’s got to be paid down at some point no matter what happens. Without aggressive spending cuts, tax rises are inevitable but their impact on an economy in recession will be to kill a fragile recovery in 2010/11. Another downturn – the dreaded double-dip recession – will become a forgone conclusion. Unemployment will begin to shoot-up even further and tax revenues will decrease even more in spite of the higher rates. It would be a disastrous course to pursue, and yet Labour in their folly seem set to do just that. Hopeless.

It’s perhaps better to look at a less partisan publication, then, for a bit of guidance on this subject. There’s no better or worse place to look than The Economist. In this article of June 11th, the alternatives not just for Britain, but for the US too, are made crystal clear. It’s worth a read, but here’s the key part:

Broadly, governments should pledge to clean up their public finances by cutting future spending rather than raising taxes. Most European countries have scant room for higher taxes. In several, the government already hoovers up well over 40% of GDP. Tax reform will be necessary—particularly in places, such as Britain and Ireland, which relied far too much on revenues from frothy financial markets and housing bubbles. Even in the United States, where tax revenues add up to less than 30% of GDP, simply raising tax rates is not the best answer. There too, spending control should take priority, though there is certainly room for efficiency-enhancing tax reforms, such as eliminating the preferential tax treatment of housing and the deductibility of employer-provided health insurance.

The next step is to boost the credibility of these principles with rules and institutions to reinforce future politicians’ resolve. Britain’s Conservative Party cleverly wants to create an independent “Office for Budgetary Responsibility” to give an impartial assessment of the government’s plans. Germany is poised to pass a constitutional amendment limiting its structural budget deficit to 0.35% of GDP from 2016. Barack Obama’s team wants to resurrect deficit-control rules (see article). Such corsets need to be carefully designed—and Germany’s may prove too rigid. But experience from Chile to Switzerland suggests that the right budgetary girdles can restrain profligacy.

Yet nothing sends a stronger signal than taking difficult decisions today. One priority is to raise the retirement age, which would boost tax revenues (as people work longer) and cut future pension costs. Many rich countries are already doing this, but they need to go further and faster. Another huge target is health care. America has the most wasteful system on the planet. Its fiscal future would be transformed if Congress passed reforms that emphasised control of costs as much as the expansion of coverage that Barack Obama rightly wants.

All this is a tall order. Politicians have failed to control the costs of ageing populations for years. Paradoxically, the financial bust, by adding so much debt, may boost the chances of a breakthrough. If not, another financial catastrophe looms.

Can anyone imagine Gordon Brown, the man who destroyed pensions in this country in the first place, with his phantom ‘moral compass’ and his precarious standing within his own party, being the right man to take such radical action as raising the retirement age in Britain to, say, 70? There is no way, either, that he can be the right man because he is incapable of opting for what is, to socialists at least, the counterintuitive move of boosting output by actually lowering tax rates, thereby increasing tax revenues. Neither is he the man to cut spending aggressively across the board for a couple of years in order to lend the country some sort of financial credibility again, after he encouraged with pathological self-righteousness a credit-driven boom to overheat beyond the limits of sanity and for the economy to fly apart as a consequence. It seems there is no way he can be the ‘right man’ in any sense whatsoever for any job associated with the UK economy.

You can’t employ a wolf as a shepherd. We need a change of government – and how!

Incidentally, if you think Britain’s debt levels are catastrophic, spare a thought for the poor old Yanks (who’ve just hired a wolf of their own). According to this article, the true figure for US debt liabilities is now so large once ‘off balance sheet’ numbers such as pensions and healthcare are taken into account, it has long since overtaken the capacity of metaphorical hyperbole to illustrate its scale. US debt levels have now transcended the space-time continuum and blasted off into hyperspace. The figure is so large now, it’s forming its own gravity well and everyone and everything is being sucked into it.

According to Richard W. Fisher, the president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the unfunded liabilities of the US Social Security and Medicare system stand at $99.2 trillion today. That figure is not a misprint. If the US government plans to keep operating the Social Security system and the Medicare system, then the official federal debt really is $11.3 trillion plus $99.2 trillion, or $110.5 trillion. Why does our government state that its federal deficit is only slightly north of $11 trillion (with the term “only” a relative term, given that the true US deficit is about ten times greater than the “official” government figure)? Over the years, the US government has stated several reasons why they don’t include unfunded obligations in their official debt figures, with one of the most common reasons being that these programs are optional and can be cut at any time.

However, this practice is tantamount to a corporation omitting the cost of its health benefits program from its operational expenses even though it has promised its employees health care benefits. If the government is omitting the expense of the nationwide Social Security and Medicare programs from its budget, is this an admission that these programs will soon be history? Given the fact that a $110.5 trillion deficit puts every American family of four on the hook for more than $1.45 million, it seems unlikely that those of us that have paid a lifetime of Social Security taxes but are still many years away from eligibility will actually live to see the benefits of doing so.

This article’s conclusions ring true for a UK facing problems just as grave – if not moreso because our economy simply does not have the capacity, flexibility or the potential for rapid growth that a superpower like America still most certainly does.

The government may attempt to implement the tax solution but it is probably more likely that when push comes to shove in the political arena, they will have to axe either the Social Security and Medicare programs, or maybe even both. If you think this outcome is unfathomable, consider that for these two programs and their associate benefits to survive, $99.2 trillion either has to be raised through taxation or cut from programs that have already promised funds. There is no other solution to this problem, other than to attempt to inflate the $110 trillion deficit away. Furthermore, when debating the realm of discretionary spending cuts to refill the government’s coffers, this avenue, in reality, is not viable either, simply because cuts from any other programs other than from those of national defense and national security won’t be large enough to make an impact. In the end, it seems as though most of us still believe that a bankrupt government can provide the backbone for an economic recovery.

“Axe social security and health care. Are they mad?” you hear the Labourists cry. No, not mad, my delusional lefty compatriots. Just broke.

As a friend wrote me the other day, summing-up the lunacy of our respective governments pretty neatly:

10 trillion dollars here, 10 trillion dollars there, pretty soon you’re talking real money…

It’s worth remembering, folks, historically things have turned out very badly over a lot less than a massive international debt crisis. Someone somewhere needs to get a grip. David Cameron must be the first.

Read Full Post »

It is finally beginning to dawn on people that national bankruptcy is now a real possibility, thanks to the gargantuan levels of public debt generated by the so-called short-term ‘stimulus’ packages and vast budget deficits designed to mask the effects of the recession. It seems our own government, incapable as it is of running an economy in a period of apparent, relative plenty let alone during a downturn, now that it has decided to cling on to power till the bitter end needs some urgent lessons in what constitutes a ‘tough choice’. Janet Daley points out in her typically clear-headed article this evening that people are clammering for some fiscal and monetary conservatism. I fear her call will fall on the prejudiced and therefore deaf ears of a left wing government.

So which kind of “tough choices” do you fancy? The ones that involve spending – as in, which bits of government expenditure would you choose to cut – or the ones that mean tax rises? You may as well start thinking about this because those will be the options available to you at the next general election.

The outlines of the parties’ campaigns have now become clear. Labour, whoever is leading it, will be fighting the last war: trying to revive the demonic vision of “Tory cuts”, as if they were somehow more fearsome than the Labour cuts that are already in the pipeline simply by virtue of being Conservative and hence inherently evil. But what even Labour spokesmen will be forced to admit, as indeed some of them did last week, is that – in the absence of serious spending reductions – the only way to fill the cavernous hole in the public finances will be through substantial tax rises. So while both parties will talk of having to make “tough decisions” – which is to say, of you having to endure some unpleasantness – they will mean rather different things by it.

She carries on by pointing-out (rather better) what yours-truly said a few days ago: Labour are being utterly dishonest in suggesting they are not going to have to cut spending – indeed have planned to do so already, but wish to fudge the issue by cutting spending stealthily. Brown’s nail-chewed gnarly fingers are all over this approach. It’s certainly not his second choice (and second rate) Chancellor’s desire to hide from the public the scale of the problem the nation faces, as his consistent drift away from ‘the message’ has amply demonstrated, something that very, very nearly cost him job. But Brown and his stealth cuts are what we will have to endure. The problem is, they will not go far enough and will not be managed properly.

Daley then turns to the issue of tax rises, which is what this is fundamentally all about. Spending cuts, whichever way they arrive, as far as I’m concerned are a fait accompli. Even with the outlandish ‘trampoline recovery’ suggested by Darling, cuts are inevitable. As the budget deficit spirals to 110% of GDP and total debt liabilities rocket to upwards of $10 trillion-plus (380%+ of GDP) there is no alternative: you just can’t sustain that level of borrowing because the likelihood of the plug being pulled by the bond market and the whole rickety framework coming crashing down increases with every new sale. It’s got to be paid down at some point no matter what happens. Without aggressive spending cuts, tax rises are inevitable but their impact on an economy in recession will be to kill a fragile recovery in 2010/11. Another downturn – the dreaded double-dip recession – will become a forgone conclusion. Unemployment will begin to shoot-up even further and tax revenues will decrease even more in spite of the higher rates. It would be a disastrous course to pursue, and yet Labour in their folly seem set to do just that. Hopeless.

It’s perhaps better to look at a less partisan publication, then, for a bit of guidance on this subject. There’s no better or worse place to look than The Economist. In this article of June 11th, the alternatives not just for Britain, but for the US too, are made crystal clear. It’s worth a read, but here’s the key part:

Broadly, governments should pledge to clean up their public finances by cutting future spending rather than raising taxes. Most European countries have scant room for higher taxes. In several, the government already hoovers up well over 40% of GDP. Tax reform will be necessary—particularly in places, such as Britain and Ireland, which relied far too much on revenues from frothy financial markets and housing bubbles. Even in the United States, where tax revenues add up to less than 30% of GDP, simply raising tax rates is not the best answer. There too, spending control should take priority, though there is certainly room for efficiency-enhancing tax reforms, such as eliminating the preferential tax treatment of housing and the deductibility of employer-provided health insurance.

The next step is to boost the credibility of these principles with rules and institutions to reinforce future politicians’ resolve. Britain’s Conservative Party cleverly wants to create an independent “Office for Budgetary Responsibility” to give an impartial assessment of the government’s plans. Germany is poised to pass a constitutional amendment limiting its structural budget deficit to 0.35% of GDP from 2016. Barack Obama’s team wants to resurrect deficit-control rules (see article). Such corsets need to be carefully designed—and Germany’s may prove too rigid. But experience from Chile to Switzerland suggests that the right budgetary girdles can restrain profligacy.

Yet nothing sends a stronger signal than taking difficult decisions today. One priority is to raise the retirement age, which would boost tax revenues (as people work longer) and cut future pension costs. Many rich countries are already doing this, but they need to go further and faster. Another huge target is health care. America has the most wasteful system on the planet. Its fiscal future would be transformed if Congress passed reforms that emphasised control of costs as much as the expansion of coverage that Barack Obama rightly wants.

All this is a tall order. Politicians have failed to control the costs of ageing populations for years. Paradoxically, the financial bust, by adding so much debt, may boost the chances of a breakthrough. If not, another financial catastrophe looms.

Can anyone imagine Gordon Brown, the man who destroyed pensions in this country in the first place, with his phantom ‘moral compass’ and his precarious standing within his own party, being the right man to take such radical action as raising the retirement age in Britain to, say, 70? There is no way, either, that he can be the right man because he is incapable of opting for what is, to socialists at least, the counterintuitive move of boosting output by actually lowering tax rates, thereby increasing tax revenues. Neither is he the man to cut spending aggressively across the board for a couple of years in order to lend the country some sort of financial credibility again, after he encouraged with pathological self-righteousness a credit-driven boom to overheat beyond the limits of sanity and for the economy to fly apart as a consequence. It seems there is no way he can be the ‘right man’ in any sense whatsoever for any job associated with the UK economy.

You can’t employ a wolf as a shepherd. We need a change of government – and how!

Incidentally, if you think Britain’s debt levels are catastrophic, spare a thought for the poor old Yanks (who’ve just hired a wolf of their own). According to this article, the true figure for US debt liabilities is now so large once ‘off balance sheet’ numbers such as pensions and healthcare are taken into account, it has long since overtaken the capacity of metaphorical hyperbole to illustrate its scale. US debt levels have now transcended the space-time continuum and blasted off into hyperspace. The figure is so large now, it’s forming its own gravity well and everyone and everything is being sucked into it.

According to Richard W. Fisher, the president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the unfunded liabilities of the US Social Security and Medicare system stand at $99.2 trillion today. That figure is not a misprint. If the US government plans to keep operating the Social Security system and the Medicare system, then the official federal debt really is $11.3 trillion plus $99.2 trillion, or $110.5 trillion. Why does our government state that its federal deficit is only slightly north of $11 trillion (with the term “only” a relative term, given that the true US deficit is about ten times greater than the “official” government figure)? Over the years, the US government has stated several reasons why they don’t include unfunded obligations in their official debt figures, with one of the most common reasons being that these programs are optional and can be cut at any time.

However, this practice is tantamount to a corporation omitting the cost of its health benefits program from its operational expenses even though it has promised its employees health care benefits. If the government is omitting the expense of the nationwide Social Security and Medicare programs from its budget, is this an admission that these programs will soon be history? Given the fact that a $110.5 trillion deficit puts every American family of four on the hook for more than $1.45 million, it seems unlikely that those of us that have paid a lifetime of Social Security taxes but are still many years away from eligibility will actually live to see the benefits of doing so.

This article’s conclusions ring true for a UK facing problems just as grave – if not moreso because our economy simply does not have the capacity, flexibility or the potential for rapid growth that a superpower like America still most certainly does.

The government may attempt to implement the tax solution but it is probably more likely that when push comes to shove in the political arena, they will have to axe either the Social Security and Medicare programs, or maybe even both. If you think this outcome is unfathomable, consider that for these two programs and their associate benefits to survive, $99.2 trillion either has to be raised through taxation or cut from programs that have already promised funds. There is no other solution to this problem, other than to attempt to inflate the $110 trillion deficit away. Furthermore, when debating the realm of discretionary spending cuts to refill the government’s coffers, this avenue, in reality, is not viable either, simply because cuts from any other programs other than from those of national defense and national security won’t be large enough to make an impact. In the end, it seems as though most of us still believe that a bankrupt government can provide the backbone for an economic recovery.

“Axe social security and health care. Are they mad?” you hear the Labourists cry. No, not mad, my delusional lefty compatriots. Just broke.

As a friend wrote me the other day, summing-up the lunacy of our respective governments pretty neatly:

10 trillion dollars here, 10 trillion dollars there, pretty soon you’re talking real money…

It’s worth remembering, folks, historically things have turned out very badly over a lot less than a massive international debt crisis. Someone somewhere needs to get a grip. David Cameron must be the first.

Read Full Post »

Difficult to argue with any part of this first class article from excellent American newsblog, Intermex Power:


Britain’s New Revolution Expected to clean out House of Commons
By Richard W. Rahn

LONDON

Imagine reading a news report that “U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi resigned this morning, and it is expected that more than half of the members of Congress will either resign, choose not to run again or be defeated in next year’s election.”

This statement might seem to be a fantasy or a dream come true, but it is equivalent to the headlines the British public was treated to this past week. Effective June 21, Michael Martin will become the first speaker of the British House of Commons to resign since 1695 (a mere 314 years ago). The Times of London reports the expected “departure of 325 [out of 646] members of Parliament as a result of forced resignations, retirement, and defeat at the polls would represent the biggest clear-out of Parliament since 1945.”

The trigger to wholesale slaughter of the British political class was a series of revelations by the London Daily Telegraph about the abuse of expense accounts by more than 170 members of Parliament (MPs). One wealthy member charged the taxpayers for cleaning a moat around his country estate. Another charged more than $50,000 for his extensive gardens, which included $3,000 for a floating “duck island.” Yet another charged more than $120,000 for his second home, including tree work. And it goes on and on.

The Telegraph “has established that many MPs – more than 200 in total – who employ relatives have been able to claim extra expenses as a result of the arrangement.” At a time when Britain is in an even deeper recession than is the United States (gross domestic product dropped at an annual rate of 7.4 percent last quarter), citizens are outraged by their high-living politicians and civil servants. Until recently, members of the British Parliament were paid very modestly by and European Union standards and had small allowances for staff and expenses.

However, since the Labor Party took control 12 years ago,many MPs have begun to look at their job as an entitlement (as do many in the civil service) rather than an honor and a duty. The just-disposed speaker, a former union leader, is famously quoted as saying, “I only took what I was entitled to” (ah, but by his definition).

Unfortunately for British Conservatives, the scandal has not involved just members of the Labor Party, but also some prominent Conservative MPs. A friend who was a conservative MP during the years of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher related to me how appalled and angry – like the British public – he was about the rise in double standards by the political class over the past couple of decades. Unfortunately, this is true on both sides of the Atlantic.

The following quote comes from a Brit (Robert Colvile), but could not the same comments be made about what is happening in the United States “It is the general feeling that there are people who are using our money to fund lifestyles far beyond the average voter’s – and using their position to exempt themselves from the rules. Ordinary citizens are fined for sorting their rubbish incorrectly, or making an error on their tax return. MPs reconfigure the tax system to their own advantage. … We are hemmed in by laws and regulations they are free to ignore.”

The revolution taking place in the United Kingdom has occurred because people have the Internet and a new Freedom of Information Act that give them the ability both to acquire information about how the politicos spend their money and to spread that information to others. The British press also seems to have been a lot more aggressive than much of the mainstream media in the United States in ferreting out information about official wrongdoing and abuse.

Should not taxpayers have the right to know the details of the spending by each member of Congress, including each’s office allowance, expense account and nonchargeable use of government aircraft, limos, etc.? Congress has just voted to require that we ordinary citizens use smaller and less safe cars in the name of combating global warming, but do you really think the leaders in Washington will give up their large limos? Mrs. Pelosi claims she needs a private jet to go back and forth to her district in California because of “national security.” Have you noticed that the blanket national-security claim is often nothing more than a cover to provide privileges and lack of transparency for the political elite?

Have you wondered why the average federal employee in the United Statesmakes about 50 percent more per year ($75,000 versus $50,000) than the average private-sector worker yet has almost zero chance of getting fired and has a very rich pension and medical insurance program?

It is unlikely that Americans would enjoy the freedoms they have today if the British had not led the way with the Magna Carta (1215) and the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The day the British forced their speaker to resign was the same day (May 19) that the voters of California said no (by a 2-1 margin) to proposed propositions that would have led to more government spending and increased taxes but yes (by a 3-1 margin) to a proposition that prohibits elected officials from getting a pay raise when the government was running a deficit. (Is there any doubt that U.S. voters, if given a chance, would vote for the same pay freeze for Congress?) Will a new American revolution follow the British one in dethroning much of the political class?

It’s nice to know the democratic rage is catching-on again worldwide. It’s nice to know the visceral, powerful, righteous anger we, the people, currently feel for our venal, petty, dishonest incumbant political representitives has begun to rub-off beyond our borders. All of it can lead only to positive outcomes.

And to think: both directly and indirectly, we owe it all to Guido Fawkes. Astonishing. Baffling!

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