What’s going to bankrupt the U.S.?

One Australian wingnut suggested that healthcare was the problem; but I’d say it was the actions and policies of G.W. Bush.

$87 billion, with person and car for scale

The $87 billion page shows what the $87 billion dollars asked for by Bush and the $315 billion dollars spent on Iraq and Afghanistan by mid-2006 would look like if stacked up.

U.S. dollars arrive in Iraq, 2003

And here’s the story of the U.S. under G. W. Bush sending U.S. $12 billion in shrink-wrapped $100 bills to Iraqi ministers and the notorious contractors. That’s 362 metric tons or about 400 U.S. tons. The U.S. doesn’t know where it went or who got it. That was in 2003:

The US flew nearly $12bn in shrink-wrapped $100 bills into Iraq, then distributed the cash with no proper control over who was receiving it and how it was being spent.

The staggering scale of the biggest transfer of cash in the history of the Federal Reserve has been graphically laid bare by a US congressional committee.

In the year after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 nearly 281 million notes, weighing 363 tonnes, were sent from New York to Baghdad for disbursement to Iraqi ministries and US contractors.

President Obama is not responsible for the 8 years of mismanagement and overspending overseen by Bush, and the $800 billion bailout started by Bush after letting the dogs of Wall Street run mad was probably the only way to prevent a worldwide Great Depression. If anyone has bankrupted the U.S., it was the Republicans and their profiteering hangers-on.

Wall Street’s Ponzi scheme

Wall Street used classic Ponzi scheme moves to create gut the U.S. economy while giving themselves ever-larger bonuses.

[Janet] Tavakoli told the IMF:

Wall Street gave mortgage lenders large credit lines (similar to credit card debt) and packaged the loans into private-label residential mortgage backed securities (RMBS). Most of the RMBS was rated “AAA” … But many RMBSs were backed by portfolios comprising risky fraud-riddled loans. Most of the “AAA” investment was imperiled, and subordinated “investment grade” components were worthless. Wall Street disguised these toxic “investments” with new value-destroying securitizations and derivatives.

Meanwhile, collapsing mortgage lenders paid high dividends to shareholders (old investors) and interest on credit lines to Wall Street (old investors) with money raised from new investors in doomed securities. New money allowed Wall Street to temporarily hide losses and pay enormous bonuses. This is a classic Ponzi scheme…

Who benefits from religion?

A good question to ask about why organizations exist is to ask, “Who benefits?” Political parties exist to help their members to influence what laws are made and how they are enforced–in other words, to get into power and benefit the interests of their own social class.

For example, farmers usually have influence greater than their numbers would suggest by voting as a bloc on their issues, such as farm subsidies. Farmers are paid for not growing certain crops, because that keeps the price of food up and gets them more income–a wierd form of group socialism that harms the poor who are trying to eat and feed their children but benefits farmers.

Actors and dancers and artists believe that the arts should be subsidized for the good of the country’s culture and reputation. It’s incidental that subsidizing the arts would give more of them a living doing what they like to do.

Being a priest is a wonderful way to get an income without actually having to produce anything. However sincere, he gets paid to utter magic words and make mystical signs and ask for miracles, just like the witch doctor of a village. And with as much reality behind him.

Winn Feline Foundation

The Winn Feline Foundation supports research into the health of cats, veterinary treatment, and so on. The give research grants.

This project was approved but requires funding. Please help with your generous donation today.

09-008: SNP analysis in rapidly progressing feline autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease
Robert Grahn, PhD; University of California, Davis; $13,557

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) in the domestic cat results from a mutation in the gene PKD1. Knowing a cat has this gene does not tell a veterinarian how severe the disease will become or how long the animal will live a comfortable life, however, because other genes influence the progression of the disease. Several of the other genes that contribute to the proliferation of the disease have been identified in humans. These genes have yet to be investigated in the cat. This study will identify mutations that are correlated with severe disease progression. Knowing which genes are affected may impact the course of therapy and will aid in decisions regarding treatment of cats with polycystic kidney disease.

Gambling ban could reverse recession

Research, summarized in a hefty book,  is showing that gambling is a drag on the economy. Our governments have become addicted to lottery winnings. Small, authorized lotteries were once a mainstay of local charities; but since the Ontario government has gotten into gambling in a big way, that souce of funds has been reduced to a trickle. Meanwhile, the people who gamble are often those who can least afford it, and the money they spend moves out of the community.

The report refers to international gambling in the U.S., which takes money out of the country; and to crime spawned by gambling. Perhaps that’s the crime of fixing competitions; legalizing gambling was supposed to cure the crime of violence against defaulting gamblers.

The report observes that Russia has improved its economy since it banned most forms of gambling in 2006 – 2007.

Perhaps it’s time to go back to the old system, where if you wanted to bet on the horses you had to go to the race track. It could bring back a lot of the smaller tracks and improve employment options.

In related news, researchers have found that a drug used to control alcoholism also reduces the urge to gamble. So some of the people gambling the rent money perhaps simply can’t help it.

Fiscal responsibility

Let’s see how the recent run of U.S. presidents have done in the matter of balancing the national budget:


Reaganomics didn’t work. “Trickle-down” didn’t work. Cutting taxes for the rich didn’t work. The 1995 decision to de-regulate the banks was foolish and was denounced at the time as the making of another boom and crash. As a friend of mine said, “They’re just re-touching the X-ray.” (re and old joke: “We can’t cure you but…”) Did you know that more money is taxed from the poor and given to the well off and rich in subsidies such as tax-deductible mortgage interest than is given to the poor?

Unnecessary invasions of middle-eastern countries are very expensive. George Bush Jr. added five trillion dollars to the U.S. national debt. The decision, late in Bush Jr.’s presidency, to let a major bank go under kicked the supports from under the economy and caused values to slip drastically in  very short time, with consequences up and down the line.

President Obama was handed a Great Depression in the making. The normal ways of dealing with it are not going to work. The course of action he is following, recommended by the best economic advice he can find, is what got us through the Great Depression in the end and laid the foundation for the prosperity of the 50’s and 60’s.

Economic woes

The Toronto Stock Exchange lost 9% of its value today.  Thanks to Wonkette for the succinct explanation:

the current global recession… was caused by unmitigated over-leveragingof fanciful mortgage-based securities whose existence was encouraged by artificially cheap and unscrutinized credit and the resulting collapse of those securities’ values and the resulting credit crunch combined with the deeply intertwined decline of the real estate, construction, mortgage, investment and commodity markets, which was the primary and undisputed cause of the halt in consumer spending which has unarguably created a feedback loop of unemployment, debt default, foreclosures and negative economic activity all over the planet Earth

They said they weren’t going to do that any more, after the last one in 1929.

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