PUMP IT UP

72 comments

Posted on 18th February 2011 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

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Down in the pleasure centre,
hell bent or heaven sent,
listen to the propaganda,
listen to the latest slander.
There’s nothing underhand
that she wouldn’t understand.
Pump it up until you can feel it.
Pump it up when you don’t really need it.

Elvis Costello – Pump It Up

I had been planning an article based on the Green Day song – Static Age - about the propaganda, lies and misinformation that are endlessly directed at the American people by the government, the mainstream corporate media, and the wealthy elite that control the levers of our society. Then Barack Obama presented his 2012 Budget proposal, including his 10 year projection for our country. I know you’ve heard the term Peak Oil, but the term that came to my mind when I saw Obama’s budget was Peak Bullshit. I thought that would be a great article name, but some sites wouldn’t like the foul language. I was in a quandary until the Elvis Costello song Pump It Up came on the radio while I was driving to work. Down in the pleasure center of Washington DC, the propaganda, slander and most blatant lies are spoken without a hint of guilt or even the faintest whiff of shame. The politicians in Washington DC on both sides of the aisle believe the American people are stupid, gullible, apathetic and easily manipulated. They may be right, but there are a few people out there who can cut through their bullshit and find the truth.

Obama, Wall Street, and the corporate mouthpieces in the mainstream media have been pumping up the American people for months with false data, unwarranted optimism, bank profits created out of thin air by accounting fraud, and attempting to create an economic recovery built on a foundation of sand, supported only by lies. The Obama budget is worse than a joke. It is a tragic joke. It amazes me that he can stand in front of the American people and present such a lie. The liberal media then unquestioningly presents the budget as a frugal cost cutting proposal that will reduce deficits and inflict painful cuts upon the poor American people. It would be laughable, if it wasn’t so sad. One look at Obama’s deficit projections for FY11 and FY12, presented one year ago, should be enough to convince you that no one in Washington DC has a clue what they are doing.

  Federal (Deficit)
Year Spending Surplus
2011 $3,834 -$1,267
2012 $3,755 -$828

 

Obama projected a two year deficit of $2.1 trillion. His current projection, just one year later, is $2.75 trillion. He missed it by this much.

The rocket scientists running our country underestimated the deficit by 31% in the space of one year. I suppose that is considered highly accurate for a government drone. Now let’s get some perspective on Obama’s projected FY11 deficit of $1.65 trillion. This is the projected DEFICIT. Do you remember back to the Clinton administration? Did you feel like your Federal government wasn’t spending enough? In 1998 the TOTAL SPENDING of the Federal government was $1.65 trillion. We now run deficits that equal the entire budget of the United States in 1998, without blinking an eye or questioning how we got here. The politicians have scared the populace into thinking that the country will collapse without the Federal Government spending $3.8 trillion of your money, every year.

Static Age

Can you hear the sound of the static noise?
Blasting out in stereo
Cater to the class and the paranoid
Music to my nervous system
Advertising love and religion
Murder on the airwaves
Slogans on the brink of corruption
Vision of blasphemy, war and peace
Screaming at you

I can’t see a thing in the video
I can’t hear a sound on the radio
In stereo in the static age  –
Green Day – Static Age

The politicians prefer their actions be bathed in shades of grey. The corporate payoffs, backroom deals, union arm twisting and selling of votes to the highest bidder are how business is done in Washington DC. They believe that if there is enough static noise being generated by the mainstream media, then the American public will be distracted and not notice they have destroyed the country. When analyzing Obama’s budget we need some perspective. Below is a chart showing actual Federal spending and deficits from 1999 through 2010 and projections from 2011 through 2021. My assessment is that the Great American Empire peaked in 1999-2000. The unemployment rate was 4% and 64.4% of the working age population, or 137 million Americans, were employed. Corporate profits were surging, along with the stock market. The Federal government was spending $1.8 trillion and generating budget surpluses of $236 billion. The National Debt of $5.7 trillion was only 57% of GDP. 

The decline of the American Empire can be seen in the chart of woe. The unemployment rate today is 9%. Only 58.4% of the working age population is employed. Eleven years after peak empire, the working age population has grown by 26 million people and the number of employed Americans has grown by 2.4 million. At least 64.4% of the population would like to be working. This means that there are 14.4 million people who would work if the jobs were available. The Federal government is spending $3.8 trillion and generating deficits of $1.6 trillion. The National Debt is $14.2 trillion, or 94% of GDP. Except for Wall Street banks and mega-corporations, small business profits are weak and the stock market is at the same levels reached in 1999. These are the truths you won’t hear from politicians or the mainstream media.

  Federal   (Deficit)
Year Spending % Change Surplus
1999 $1,702   $125
2000 $1,789 5.1% $236
2001 $1,863 4.1% $128
2002 $2,011 7.9% -$158
2003 $2,160 7.4% -$378
2004 $2,293 6.2% -$413
2005 $2,472 7.8% -$319
2006 $2,655 7.4% -$249
2007 $2,729 2.8% -$161
2008 $2,983 9.3% -$459
2009 $3,518 17.9% -$1,413
2010 $3,456 -1.8% -$1,293
2011F $3,819 10.5% -$1,645
2012B $3,729 -2.4% -$1,101
2013B $3,771 1.1% -$768
2014B $3,977 5.5% -$645
2015B $4,190 5.4% -$607
2016B $4,468 6.6% -$649
2017B $4,669 4.5% -$627
2018B $4,876 4.4% -$619
2019B $5,154 5.7% -$681
2020B $5,422 5.2% -$735
2021B $5,697 5.1% -$774

 

So now let’s assess the reality of Obama’s ten year budget. If you were to believe the reports in the media, you would think that Obama is cutting deficits and making hard choices. Amazingly, deficits plummet all the way down to “only” $600 billion to $800 billion after 2012. In the chart above, I ignore the revenue side of the equation, because Obama’s assumptions are beyond ridiculous. His assumption of the GDP growing from $15 trillion in 2011 to $24.6 trillion in 2021, a 64% increase, is a fantasy. During the last 10 years, GDP grew by only 51%. So, despite mind numbing debt levels, structurally high unemployment, peak oil, and a rapidly aging population, GDP is going to surge over the next ten years? I certainly believe that. Under the Obama budget, tax revenues will grow from 14.4% of GDP in 2011 to 20% of GDP in 2021. By comparison, the historical average is only 18% of GDP. Some of Obama’s tax revenue assumptions are as follows:

  • Raising the top marginal income tax rate from 35% to 39.6%. This is a $709 billion/10 year tax hike
  • Raising the capital gains and dividends rate from 15% to 20%
  • Raising the estate tax rate from 35% to 45% and lowering the estate tax exemption amount from $5 million ($10 million for couples) to $3.5 million. This is a $98 billion/ten year tax hike
  • Capping the value of itemized deductions at the 28% bracket rate. This will effectively cut tax deductions for mortgage interest, charitable contributions, property taxes, state and local income or sales taxes, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and unreimbursed employee business expenses. A new means-tested phase-out of itemized deductions limits them even more. This is a $321 billion/ten year tax hike
  • Massive new taxes on energy, including LIFO repeal, Superfund, domestic energy manufacturing, and many others totaling $120 billion over ten years
  • Increasing unemployment payroll taxes by $15 billion over ten years
  • Increasing tax penalties, information reporting, and IRS information sharing. This is a ten-year tax hike of $20 billion.

It is an absolute certainty that the Democrats will lose control of the Senate in 2012. Obama will never get any of his tax increases through a Republican controlled Congress. They are DOA. Therefore, his revenue assumptions are overstated by hundreds of billions every year. Even using his optimistic assumptions, the National Debt would reach $18 trillion in 2015. Using real world numbers, the National Debt will exceed $20 trillion in 2015. In what must be a gag, Obama says that interest on the debt will “only” be $500 billion in 2015. Hysterically, this would mean our debt holders will only require a crumbling empire to pay 2.5% on our debt. How about 5% as a minimum and 10% as a more likely rate? This would put interest on the debt between $1 trillion and $2 trillion per year. The collapse of America is a certainty if Obama’s budgeted spending and deficits play out. Somehow, the majority of Americans are overwhelmed with indifference. 

Overwhelmed By Indifference

Some of my friends sit around every evening
and they worry about the times ahead
But everybody else is overwhelmed by indifference
and the promise of an early bed
You either shut up or get cut up;
they don’t wanna hear about it.
- Elvis Costello – Radio, Radio 

Do you remember when the politicians of both parties were making dire predictions of Great Depressions, economic collapse and 10% unemployment if we didn’t pass their “save an investment banker” rescue package and the $800 billion “jobs creation” stimulus package? They assured the American people that these expenditures were temporary and were only being made to save the country. Before the crisis, Federal spending was $2.7 trillion. The talking heads at the Fed and in the White House assure us they saved the world. GDP is growing and Obama told me we’ve added over 1 million jobs in the last year. Sounds like the emergency is over. The $400 billion per year of emergency spending should now be rolled back, since it was temporary. Therefore, Obama’s budget surely must going from $3.8 trillion back down to a pre-emergency level of $3.0 trillion in 2012. Not quite. You see, government spending never goes down. His proposal shows $3.7 trillion of spending in FY12. Emergencies never end for a politician in Washington DC. Spending equals power and control over our lives. There will always be another emergency that requires more spending.

You are now hearing the spin from the ideologues on both sides of the aisle about their cost consciousness and desire to restrain spending. It’s all a load of bull. Bush and the Republicans added $4.3 trillion to the National Debt during their reign of error. Obama has matched Bush in the space of 2 1/2 years by adding another $4.3 trillion. There is no effort to cut spending. Obama’s budget shows spending rising from $3.7 trillion in FY12 to $5.7 trillion in FY21. The propaganda and misinformation being spewed from these corrupt politicians is mind numbing.

Again, some perspective is needed to realize how out of control our Federal Government has become. According to the BLS, inflation has risen by 33% since 1999. Real GDP has grown by 23%. The population of the U.S. has grown by 10%. The number of employed Americans has risen by 1.8%. The average pay for a Federal drone (aka worker) has risen by 58%, while the average pay for real workers has risen by only 30%. Therefore, the average non-government employee has seen a decrease in their standard of living as inflation has risen faster than wages. As you can calculate yourself, Federal government spending surged by 124% between 1999 and today. Have you noticed a doubling in service level, competence, educational scores, new energy solutions, or safety and security? What did we get for an extra $2.1 trillion of spending?

    

What we got was exhausting wars of choice, less freedom, less liberties, less safety, more rules, more regulations, more bureaucrats, more corruption, a financial collapse, and a government that has put us on a path to fiscal ruin. We’ve almost tripled spending on Defense. Are we safer? We’ve more than doubled spending on healthcare. Are we healthier? We’ve more than doubled spending on welfare. Are the poor less impoverished? We’ve more than doubled spending on education. Are our children smarter? The Federal government is out of control. When you hear a politician or pundit detailing the horrors of “spending cuts”, please keep in mind they are lying. There will be no cuts until they are forced upon the government by the looming collapse of our economic system.

Year Defense Pensions Health Care Welfare Education
1999 $333 $431 $332 $165 $56
2000 $359 $454 $352 $171 $60
2001 $366 $481 $390 $183 $64
2002 $422 $503 $427 $224 $78
2003 $483 $518 $469 $242 $91
2004 $543 $537 $509 $238 $96
2005 $600 $565 $549 $246 $106
2006 $621 $591 $583 $250 $128
2007 $653 $636 $642 $254 $102
2008 $730 $669 $671 $313 $102
2009 $794 $739 $764 $407 $91
2010 $847 $756 $821 $496 $140
2011F $965 $801 $882 $488 $130
2012B $925 $813 $866 $424 $121
% Increase 177.8% 88.6% 160.8% 157.0% 116.1%

 

Now the question is what do we do about it? I know my first inclination would be to do what that Iraqi reporter did a few years ago during a Bush press conference in Iraq. I’d love to throw my shoes at Obama and every lying corrupt politician in America, but the momentary feeling of pleasure would be snuffed out in seconds by a hail of bullets from the Department of Homeland Security thugs guarding these traitors to the American republic.

 

 

Below is my CHART OF DOOM. Using real world assumptions, the National Debt will reach $25 trillion by 2019. That level of debt would be 130% of a realistic GDP figure. The interest on this level of debt would likely exceed $2 trillion per year, more than the entire Federal spending budget in 2002. This chart will not come to pass. Our economic system will collapse well before we reach a $25 trillion debt level. This is already baked in the cake. There are not enough politicians willing to tell the truth and not enough citizens that want to hear the truth. The result will be default, insolvency, currency collapse, vaporization of wealth, chaos, and pain.  

The only way to avert the coming financial catastrophe is to go Egyptian on their asses. Maybe mobs of Americans surrounding the White House, Federal Reserve building and Wall Street bank headquarters would get their attention. It wouldn’t take a majority, but a minority of angry Americans willing to fight for the future of the country. The anger is building. More people are becoming aware. The internet is working its magic, just as it is doing in the Middle East. Those in control can keep pumping out their lies and propaganda, but the truth is plain to see, if you open your eyes.
 
“It does not take the majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush fire freedom in the minds of men.” - Samuel Adams 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

72 Comments
  1. MikeinAZ says:

    What is going on in Wisconsin right now is the tip of the iceberg. The elites, whether they are overpaid Government drones, over-egoed politicians, or investment bankers will do everything they can to continue to rape the public. We must fight every battle like it is our last, because it may be.

    18th February 2011 at 11:34 am

  2. StuckInNJ says:

    I propose that all future Budgets be revealed from Disneyworld. Don’t they have a section called Fantasyland?

    An alternative location would be Hollywood. In the background run the “You can’t handle the truth!” scene from A Few Good Men.

    The point I’m trying to make (probably poorly) is that BOTH the Dems and Repubs MUST MUST MUST continue the charade!! Jim, you and I and most everyone here agrees that what we have in America is one freaking gigantic Ponzi Scheme. In such a scheme, telling the truth brings down the whole system.

    It’s like being in a bad marriage. Both sides can’t stand each other but they play along — perhaps for the kids’ sake or the spectre of losing everything. But eventually the charade can no longer be played, the truth is faced, and shit hits the fan — usually with more force than if the truth were faced in the first place.

    This is where we’re at. Obama is playing Charades. And too many of us LOVE it!!

    18th February 2011 at 11:46 am

  3. StuckInNJ says:

    Admin —-> “The only way to avert the coming financial catastrophe is to go Egyptian on their asses. … It wouldn’t take a majority, but a minority of angry Americans willing to fight for the future of the country.”

    I’m in.

    Subsequent demonstrations would be led by 50% of Americans who pay no income taxes, 21,000,000 government workers (see Wisconsin), and a few million illegals ……. all demanding they get their shit back!!!

    18th February 2011 at 12:00 pm

  4. StuckInNJ says:

    “Classic Obama debt reduction: Add $2 trillion in new taxes, then add $1 trillion in new spending and, presto, you’ve got $1 trillion of debt reduction. It’s the same kind of mad deficit accounting in Obamacare: It reduces debt by adding $540 billion in new spending, then adding $770 billion in new taxes. Presto: $230 billion of “debt reduction.”

    from Bialystock & Bloom accounting

    18th February 2011 at 12:22 pm

  5. StuckInNJ says:

    “There will be great weeping and wailing throughout the land. People will nash their teeth and cover themselves in sackcloth and ashes. Babylon, oh Babylon, how the mighty have fallen!!” ——–> Book of Stucky, Chapter 2, Verse 8.
    .
    .
    “The president’s plan would give less energy assistance for poor households and less money for reducing neighborhood blight and beach pollution.” ————— > from LA Times

    “Some teachers likely would be laid off, colleges would get less money and Colorado would close four state parks and a prison as a result of the revised 2011-12 budget Gov. John Hickenlooper is submitting today.” ———————> from Denver Post

    “Grady Memorial Hospital will cut 100 jobs and may consider trimming programs to help bridge a $25 million shortfall in federal funding.” —————–? from Atlanta Journal

    “Funding would be eliminated altogether for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and AmeriCorps, the national service group.” ————————> from Boston Globe

    “Thousands of senior and low-income Delawareans would lose federal help paying their heating and cooling bills under President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal 2012.” —-> from Wilmington New Journal

    “Are we willing to cut millions of young people off when it comes to student loans that help kids and families on their college education? … If we’re cutting infant formula to poor kids, is that who we are as a people?” —————————–> from Obama hisself
    .
    .
    Cry me a fuckin’ river!!!! ———-> Stucky

    18th February 2011 at 12:37 pm

  6. MikeinAZ says:

    20 year look at our currency debasement:
      Historical Charts [X Close [/img]

    18th February 2011 at 12:38 pm

  7. kaylin says:

    Jim – maybe your next article could be “Walk Like An Egyptian” LOL

    18th February 2011 at 12:47 pm

  8. Kill Bill says:

    Clearly the 1% needs more tax cuts to abolish this debt.

    /snark

    18th February 2011 at 12:52 pm

  9. Guest Post: Pump It Up | Daringminds.com says:

    […] Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform […]

    18th February 2011 at 1:01 pm

  10. Reverse Engineer says:

    “The only way to avert the coming financial catastrophe is to go Egyptian on their asses.”-JimQ

    Walking like an Egyptian won’t avert the financial catastrophe, it will just end the pretend and extend charade and bring the house of cards crashing down all that much quicker. Which I am all for BTW, but by no means will we have averted a catastrophe. We will just have driven off the cliff.

    RE

    18th February 2011 at 1:09 pm

  11. bluestem says:

    From what I have been told by our Tx legislators, the primary problem with the state deficits are that they have been told by Wash. DC that the stated must prepare for hugh multibillion costs from Obamacare. athat , plud loss of revenues is creating most of the mess we are witnessing. Yet the MSM has said nary a word about this. John

    18th February 2011 at 1:22 pm

  12. PJ Vandal says:

    keep it coming, jim.

    my contribution on obama’s budget. Dear Mr. President.

    18th February 2011 at 1:49 pm

  13. j walker says:

    W I S C O N S I N ??!!
    which way?
    1. ppl can afford to pay….nice high benefits, and shld protest like in Wi. to keep them.
    .
    or 2. Conservatives Gov. in Wisc. is smart for putting all benefits etc on table
    because everything is up for reduction (including fin. firms wages, bonsus), incld. o’seas bases.
    Posted via http://vastbrowser.com

    18th February 2011 at 2:33 pm

  14. Smokey says:

    PJ Vandal,

    Nice.

    18th February 2011 at 2:38 pm

  15. StuckInNJ says:

    PJ Vandal’s article is worth the read!! Good stuff there. Indeed, PJ, fuck hope!!
    .
    .
    Other: Not sure where to put this. Thought it was quite interesting.

    U-HAUL Pricing — 26′ truck.
    San Francisco to Austin, $3,236,
    Austin to San Francisco, $399.

    Eat Sit CA!!

    http://www.newgeography.com/content/00784-u-haul-prices-migration-indicator

    18th February 2011 at 2:59 pm

  16. The Watchdog says:

    Honorable Mr. Quinn,
    You are a genius for coining the term “Peak Bullshit” and a bit of a wimp for not running with it.
    Keep up the good work.
    Ron Paul 2012
    Starve the Beast
    Crash JPM Buy Silver

    18th February 2011 at 3:08 pm

  17. plato_plubius says:

    Great Stuff Jim. I always enjoy how you tie in great powerful lyrics to make many of your points! It’s inspiring and has given me more respect for Green Day!

    Rage Against the Machine is another great politically-motivated band.

    This is one of my favorite songs:

    BULLET IN THE HEAD

    This time the bullet cold rocked ya
    A yellow ribbon instead of a swastika
    Nothin’ proper about ya propaganda
    Fools follow rules when the set commands ya
    Said it was blue
    When ya blood was read
    That’s how ya got a bullet blasted through ya head

    Blasted through ya head
    Blasted through ya head

    I give a shout out to the living dead
    Who stood and watched as the feds cold centralized
    So serene on the screen
    You were mesmerised
    Cellular phones soundin’ a death tone
    Corporations cold
    Turn ya to stone before ya realise
    They load the clip in omnicolour
    Said they pack the 9, they fire it at prime time
    Sleeping gas, every home was like Alcatraz
    And mutha fuckas lost their minds

    Just victims of the in-house drive-by
    They say jump, you say how high
    Just victims of the in-house drive-by
    They say jump, you say how high

    Run it!

    Just victims of the in-house drive-by
    They say jump, you say how high
    Just victims of the in-house drive-by
    They say jump, you say how high

    Checka, checka, check it out
    They load the clip in omnicolour
    Said they pack the 9, they fire it at prime time
    Sleeping gas, every home was like Alcatraz
    And mutha fuckas lost their minds

    No escape from the mass mind rape
    Play it again jack and then rewind the tape
    And then play it again and again and again
    Until ya mind is locked in
    Believin’ all the lies that they’re tellin’ ya
    Buyin’ all the products that they’re sellin’ ya
    They say jump and ya say how high
    Ya brain-dead
    Ya gotta fuckin’ bullet in ya head

    Just victims of the in-house drive-by
    They say jump, you say how high
    Just victims of the in-house drive-by
    They say jump, you say how high

    Uggh! Yeah! Yea!

    Ya standin’ in line
    Believin’ the lies
    Ya bowin’ down to the flag
    Ya gotta bullet in ya head

    Ya standin’ in line
    Believin’ the lies
    Ya bowin’ down to the flag
    Ya gotta bullet in ya head

    A bullet in ya head
    A bullet in ya head
    A bullet in ya head
    A bullet in ya head
    A bullet in ya head
    A bullet in ya head
    A bullet in ya head
    A bullet in ya head
    A bullet in ya head!
    A bullet in ya head!
    A bullet in ya head!
    A bullet in ya head!
    A bullet in ya head!
    A bullet in ya head!
    A bullet in ya head!
    Ya gotta bullet in ya fuckin’ head!

    Yeah!

    Yeah!

    18th February 2011 at 3:10 pm

  18. Thinker says:

    Many observers are saying debt is the next big bubble:

    The Fed Is Now Creating The Third Bubble In 11 Years

    18th February 2011 at 3:42 pm

  19. Administrator says:

    The latest cop-out

    Barack Obama has ducked the challenge of grappling with America’s medium-term deficit woes
    America’s budget

    Feb 17th 2011 | from PRINT EDITION

    IMAGINE you have developed a serious weight problem. Things have been going badly for you, and as a result you have been piling on the pounds; in the past three years your weight has ballooned by a shocking 10% a year. Your advisers all say that this will give you a heart attack: not immediately, but in the next decade or so. What do you do? Not many doctors would recommend a diet confined to items that make up only an eighth of your consumption (and were in any case often rather good for you), while slyly sticking to a plan to increase gradually the number of cream buns and cheeseburgers you eat every day. Yet that is exactly what Barack Obama has prescribed for the bloated American government.

    This week the president presented his draft budget for 2012. In its obfuscations, half-truths and omissions it is perhaps no worse than the budget proposed by the supposedly “small government” Republicans, which likewise concentrates on harsh cuts to small subsections of government spending. But from a true reformer’s perspective its only virtue is that investors in American treasuries may be so panicked by its inadequacy that, at last, change may result.

    Even though the economy has been out of recession for more than a year, America’s deficit is bigger this year than last, and Mr Obama’s budget still sets it at well over $1 trillion next year too. Yet the document supposedly cuts the deficit from 11% of GDP this year to 3.1% by 2021. That number is not credible. First, it is based on growth figures that are better than those projected by either the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office or private-sector forecasters. Next, Mr Obama assumes that he will be able to increase current taxes on the rich in 2012, despite the fact that he was unable to do just that last year when his party still controlled the House of Representatives; now he will have to deal with Republicans who are opposed to it. Other revenue-raisers look similarly fanciful.

    Finally, the budget plans to find $400 billion of savings in “non-security discretionary” spending over the next ten years. This category accounts for only about 12% of the federal budget, including worthy things like education, infrastructure investment, environmental regulation and many forms of aid to the poor. The cuts that Mr Obama is proposing are a very mixed bag. Some will be blocked by Democrats, others by Republicans. True, the latter have their own long wishlist of cuts, but there is precious little overlap.

    Go on, Supersize me

    Let’s indulge Mr Obama in his fantasy economics: imagine that he does reduce the deficit to 3.1%. Supposedly, that would stabilise government debt: but it would do so at a dangerously high level of around 80% of GDP, and as interest rates rise the target will become much harder to hit. And that is before you consider the biggest problem of all: as more and more baby-boomers retire (the first started to do so this year), their demands for pensions and government-provided health care will start to push the deficit sharply up again after that.

    Indeed, the real problem with both Mr Obama’s budget and the Republicans’ proposals is not so much the half-truths and fibs within them, as all the things they both left out. America needs to simplify its tax system and (slightly) increase its overall tax take. It needs to rein in its defence spending, which is currently equivalent to that of the next 20 countries combined. And it needs to tackle the gathering surge in entitlement costs. All these recommendations were made by the deficit-reduction commission that Mr Obama himself set up, but his budget conspicuously fails to take up any of them. Other debt-burdened Western countries have embarked on a stringent diet. America continues to gorge.

    Why not show a little leadership? In a routine that is becoming depressingly familiar, Mr Obama’s camp argues that the time for these things is not yet ripe. Rather than set out any bold proposals of his own, the president would rather leave it to Congress. Once congressional Republicans and Democrats have found some common ground, he will work with them.

    In fact, a small group of brave senators from both parties is already toiling away to just that end. But neither the president nor Republican leaders have had the courage to support them. In the absence of statesmanship, the chances are that only a crisis in the bond markets will provide the necessary impetus. Economic management by fiscal heart attack is not a very prudent remedy.

    18th February 2011 at 4:50 pm

  20. Administrator says:

    The budget for dummies

    Posted by Shawn Tully, senior editor-at-large
    February 17, 2011 10:27 am

    Forget about what’s being cut and what’s being funded. The key to understanding Obama’s budget is to look at a few simple numbers that tell the whole story.

    It’s hardly surprising that America’s taxpayers are thoroughly confused by President Obama’s new budget, since pundits and politicians are calling it everything from a model of fiscal prudence to a shameless manifesto for Big Government.

    So here’s my version of the Budget for Dummies, meaning intelligent people who lack the time or expertise to analyze the 1300 page document, but want to get past the headlines to understand what it means for our economic future.

    Here are the five big questions that Americans should ask, and the answers that the U.S. budget for fiscal 2012 provides.

    What’s the trend in “Total outlays?”

    That item — the total amount the government spends every year — is by far the most important single number in the budget. The bond investors anxiously monitoring America’s fiscal health care little about which categories of spending we raise or lower. What matters to them is the total. And surprisingly, the total is scheduled to rise sharply in the future.

    After a 2% decrease in 2012, spending pushes upward at a rate of 5.2% annually for eight full years, from 2013 to 2020. Remarkably, the outlays line is almost precisely the same as the budget “baseline” for the same period. Hence, the President’s new proposal shuffles the components, but does virtually nothing to reduce the total spending already in the pipeline. To be specific, the proposed budget spends $41.97 trillion from 2012 to 2020 and the baseline calls for just $190 billion more than that, a difference of just 4 tenths of 1%.

    So what about the reductions in discretionary spending? They exist on paper, but mainly because the budget reclassifies two types of outlays, the Pell Grants for education and transportation spending, as the “mandatory” or entitlement outlays. Plenty of new spending more than offsets the meager savings that remain, including such items as tripling childcare entitlements for the states, and big subsidies for high-speed rail. Needless to say, the main source of the spending increases — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — remain untouched.

    By 2020, spending would reach 23.7% of GDP. That’s 15% higher than the average of 20.6% from 1980 to 2008. And as we’ll see, the administration is projecting extremely optimistic growth rates for the future, especially considering the tax and debt burden the economy will be carrying. If the CBO’s lower GDP projections are correct, the Obama budget would lift outlays to 25% of GDP — near its post-War record in the stimulus years.

    How much of the “deficit reduction” comes from spending cuts vs. tax increases?

    We’ve pretty much answered that question, but it’s still a big one. In the new budget, some 92% of the total deficit reduction from 2012 to 2020 comes from tax increases. Counting on bigger revenues, as opposed to lower spending, sends a dangerous signal to the markets for two reasons. First, it’s extremely difficult to forecast how much higher rates on existing levies, as well newly-imposed taxes, will actually collect. Higher taxes tend to dampen future growth; as the economic pie shrinks, so do the expected receipts. We’ll examine whether the huge surge in tax revenues the administration predicts will actually materialize in a minute.

    Second, reductions in spending tend to be far harder to achieve, far more durable, and far more predictable in generating dollars for deficit reduction, than increases in taxes, where forecasts are often wildly optimistic, and radically wrong.

    How reliable are the outlay numbers?

    This is perhaps the most difficult question to answer. The budget projects that discretionary non-defense spending, on everything from education to transportation to Health and Human Services, rises at less than 1% a year over the next decade. If those numbers are adjusted for inflation plus economic growth, the deficit would be $300 billion or 30% higher in 2020.

    The budget also promises to find $321 billion in unspecified savings from 2014 to 2021 to offset the annual “doc fix” that increases budgeted Medicare payments to physicians, and another $150 billion over the next decade from eliminating waste and fraud, without identifying the waste to be eliminated.

    Another big unknown is the true cost of the new healthcare bill. Starting in 2014, all workers who aren’t insured by their employers are eligible for subsidies of as much as 80% of their families’ insurance premiums. The administration and the Congressional Budget Office are forecasting that few companies will drop their coverage — a highly questionable assumption.

    So the spending numbers are both growing rapidly and unpredictable. The only certainty is that outlays will be higher, possibly far higher, than the budget forecasts.

    How reliable are the revenue numbers?

    Here, the budget faces two problems. The first we’ve already touched on. Even with new taxes and higher tax rates fully in place, the actual amounts collected are hard to forecast. The administration is making extremely optimistic assumptions on that score. It’s forecasting economic growth averaging 3.4% from 2012 to 2020, well above the 2.9% projections from the CBO. Higher growth means higher incomes, and bigger receipts, and that’s just what the administration is counting on. In fact, the budget sets the percentage of revenues to GDP at over 19% from 2016 to 2019.

    That’s an enormous number that will only materialize in a booming economy.

    It’s highly possible that the higher taxes and ever-growing debt load will drive up interest rates and hobble the economy, driving receipts in the opposite direction.

    Second, the administration is counting on new types of taxes that may not materialize. For example, it’s assuming that the Bush tax cuts for high earners expire in two years, generating a windfall in revenue. It’s also planning to cap deductions for affluent Americans and impose a number of new corporate taxes including levies on coal and other energy companies. Congress failed to embrace those taxes in the past, so whether they’ll ever be enacted is not just uncertain, but unlikely.

    What’s the general message?

    Now that we’ve examined the numbers, let’s try to decipher what this budget is really telling us. Here, the message is clear. To understand what makes our economy grow, let’s imagine that the entire GDP is the holdings in your 401k. You want that money grow as quickly as possible, without taking undue risk. So you place your 401k dollars and the gains they generate in investments that keep compounding in value. To do that, you buy securities promising strong positive returns, dividend paying stocks, say, or emerging market bonds.

    The administration wants to “invest” a bigger and bigger share of GDP in high-speed trains and other transportation systems, green energy, and in maintaining government jobs. The President argues that those investments are the best way to enhance America’s competitiveness, and keep GDP compounding at a rapid rate. And that’s the thrust of his new budget.

    The opposite argument, advanced by conservatives such as Congressman Paul Ryan, (R-Wis) is that steering a larger and larger portion of GDP into the private sector is the best way to make economic growth compound at a rapid rate.

    The 2012 budget takes precisely the opposite position. The debate couldn’t be more fundamental. So, America’s taxpayers-cum-voters, where do you want your money reinvested? The value of your own 401k, the cost of your mortgage, and even your job may depend on which course you, and your government, choose to follow.

    18th February 2011 at 4:51 pm

  21. Robert says:

    Neither party has a solution. The Republicans/Libertarians would bankrupt government by endlessly diverting its revenue to the top 2% who control corporations and can buy whatever protection they need. Tax cuts are just another form of government spending. They would keep increasing the largest slice of the pie that goes to the smallest number of persons.
    Their ideological commitment is to greed.
    The Democrats would bankrupt government by endlessly spending on programs and grants to assist those who are in need; while never providing any means of reducing their increasing numbers. They would keep slicing the pie into smaller and smaller pieces. Their ideological commitment is to sharing (especially other people’s pie).
    Neither party has a measurable standard of success. They both rely on ideological faith.
    We need a party that will commit to baking a bigger pie, provide a rational plan to do so and an objective standard of success to be measured against.

    18th February 2011 at 5:30 pm

  22. Smokey says:

    Barack Obama is a good person, an honorable man trying to extract this country from a vicious economic cycle induced by the ignorance and greed of his predecessors.

    He represents ALL the people and is salvaging our battered reputation abroad. He is trying to work with republicans to support our troops and reign in spending, and work with democrats to help ensure dignity and honor for the unemployed.

    Many people are quick to criticize him despite the fact that it is extremely difficult to accomplish things in DC without a consensus. He has barely been in office for two years, yet is savagely attacked at every turn for doing too much or doing too little.

    I would urge you to give the man a chance. He was freely elected under the terms of our Constitution, and was put in office by the electorate of this country.

    He will serve a second term, and rightfully so. Although I am not positive, my guess is that by the end of his second term he may be widely regarded as our best president ever.

    18th February 2011 at 5:40 pm

  23. Bruce C. says:

    The elites who want a world government are getting very close to achieving their goal. Obama’s job is to sell just a few more lethal fiscal policies to the American people, and the Fed is doing its part to weaken the US dollar and hold things together just a bit longer. Obama has every intention to cripple the country and bring the American people to their knees. He will try to do it by bankrupting us via crushing interest rates. The only alternative is to make debt serving costs a priority and then cutting all other government spending by $300 to $500 billion per year for the next decade or so. The US may go down if this is done, but it is the only chance we have of righting things. Another year or two of monetary heroin will literally kill the American experiment.

    18th February 2011 at 5:41 pm

  24. Opinionated Bloviator says:

    The only “solution” that Obama has to America’s problems is “business as usual”. That is why the spending, printing and bail outing WILL continue until we hit the next leg of the economic collapse – currency crisis.
    It won’t be long now – Gold and Silver are climbing relentlessly upward and physical (not paper via EFT) reserves are being cleaned out. Get ready everyone…

    18th February 2011 at 5:53 pm

  25. Opinionated Bloviator says:

    Smokey – Put down the crack pipe and step away from the table.

    18th February 2011 at 5:54 pm

  26. Kill Bill says:

    Bwah, you dummehs, debt creation is the means to make rentiers of you and BOTH parties are planning to screw you.

    WTFU

    18th February 2011 at 6:31 pm

  27. Kill Bill says:

    Obama isnt or ever was a socialist.

    use your noggin.

    18th February 2011 at 6:32 pm

  28. Smokey says:

    This guy, Kyle Bass knows his shit about economic and financial matters. Fucking lights out. He made billions on the mortgage fiasco and real estate crash in 2006-2009.

    He may be the smartest investor I have ever seen. When he is on CNBC or any other program, I always drop whatever I am doing so I can listen to him.

    This link is for his investment letter and it is mind-boggling how smart this fucker is.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/48881153/Kyle-Bass-Hayman-Investor-Letter-February-2011

    18th February 2011 at 9:29 pm

  29. Jmarz says:

    Smokey

    Kyle Bass is fucking brilliant. He is certainly in the great investor group along with Bill Fleckenstein. Bill is a sharp dude as well. Anytime I hear Kyle speak, I listen with much focus and awe. He definitely knows his shit.

    18th February 2011 at 9:36 pm

  30. Administrator says:

    Smokey

    The scribid froze up when I tried to read it. What is Bass’ assessment?

    18th February 2011 at 9:50 pm

  31. Smokey says:

    Jmarz,

    Kyle’s message in general is that Japan, most of Europe, and the USA will have to choose between hyperinflation or default sometime in the next few to several years.

    His reasoning is compelling, although I will say that the Administrator and many here have been saying much the same thing.

    I believe Bass is particularly astute regarding global debt issues.

    18th February 2011 at 9:53 pm

  32. Rennerstump says:

    Rubber money is forbidden by the Constitution; so criminal Oath violators have been ruling the U.S. since 1913. 99% of all our problems are created by the rubber money rulers using Executive orders and federal regulations based on 2-10,000 page b.s language in the “laws” unlawfully passed by the Oath mocking Congresspersons since 1913. Both alleged parties”s members with few exceptions, serve many Oath mocking terms commiting High Treason on a daily basis! The Supreme Court and most federal judges have allowed open Fraud Upon The Courts as they allow these Frauds upon The Constitution into the Courts of the United States, as if they were “Constitutionally Passed Laws”. The Oath mockers even bribe Religion based Nations in direct violation of the Bill of Rights’ Congress Shall Make No Laws Regarding the Establishment of Religion” Bribery = “Foreign Aid”. Banksters, lawyer-gangsters, and Fiat newscreators aid and abet the Oath Mockers in all branches of the federal governments. illiterate criminals by the millions have driven the U.S. into the ground. The Solution is simple, put them on a Boat?? Doc

    18th February 2011 at 9:55 pm

  33. Smokey says:

    Administrator,

    You need to find a way to read it. You and he are on virtually the same page, but each of you have your unique way of conveying it in a style that is easy to read and very informative.

    Kyle’s letter is 17 pages. There may be a couple pages out of the 17 that were throw away pages, extra details on Greece and Iceland (balance sheet stuff ).

    But by and large, it is one of the best letters or papers of that sort that I have ever read. The ending was great especially, but nearly all of it was.

    I tried the link from here and it froze, but I tried again and it worked.

    If possible, you should read it. You would get more out of it than me, because a couple of things went over my head that would not go over yours.

    I may have initially accessed it from Financial Sense, when I was searching for Kyle Bass stuff.

    18th February 2011 at 10:01 pm

  34. Rennerstump says:

    Where is that Bad Boy, B.O’s longform Birth Certificate???, plus his admitted Daddy was a British subject, so he’s doubly a” Fraud upon this Nation” and the Chief Justice who swore him into office. An Aider and abbator to a felony is also guilty of a felony according to “our” Judges??

    18th February 2011 at 10:02 pm

  35. Administrator says:

    Smokey

    Is it true that Bass is calling for a Chinese collapse?

    18th February 2011 at 10:08 pm

  36. Jmarz says:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/Kyle%20Bass%20Feb%2014.pdf

    Here is Kyle’s latest piece. His facts and analysis are solid.

    18th February 2011 at 10:21 pm

  37. Smokey says:

    Administrator,

    Kyle is absolutely calling for a Japanese collapse. I have not heard or read any of his comments regarding China. As far as I know, he has not discussed the country.

    I may have missed something, but I have read and listened to every remark I could find from Bass over the past year.

    18th February 2011 at 10:24 pm

  38. Smokey says:

    THANKS JMARZ.

    I had no idea ZH had it.

    That is a perfect copy, easy to read.

    18th February 2011 at 10:26 pm

  39. Jmarz says:

    Smokey

    Agreed. I haven’t heard him discuss a China collapse either. I haven’t read a whole lot of his work but I have read enough and heard enough interviews to conclude he is sharp.

    18th February 2011 at 10:29 pm

  40. Jmarz says:

    Admin

    No problem. After you read his analysis, let us know what you think.

    18th February 2011 at 10:30 pm

  41. DBACKTIM says:

    Jim, read Kyle Bass’ Ocotober 2008 letter. It was something back then and so very relevant today

    18th February 2011 at 10:46 pm

  42. Smokey says:

    October 2008

    http://www.americanmadness.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/hayman-letter-to-investors-oct-14-final-version.pdf

    18th February 2011 at 11:09 pm

  43. buchanan-lite says:

    Do what I just did: go to “Draft Chis Christie for 2012″ website: http://www.draftchristie2012.com/ and sign up.

    Can you think of anyone else willing to tell the truth and do the major cuts, including SS, medicare, military…?

    18th February 2011 at 11:13 pm

  44. SSS says:

    You said to “go Egyptian” on the USG. I’m thinking about starting a rent-a-camel business. You in?

    camel_1819662c.jpg

    18th February 2011 at 11:31 pm

  45. Timeisrunningout says:

    Obama a good and honorable man? Smokey, You have got to be fucking blind. Let’s see, he has surrounded himself with leftists like Cass Sunstein and Van Jones, he has been mentored the likes of Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright, he continues to allow health care bill waivers for any corporation that evidently pays the right amount of fees into the DNC coffers. He gave away the Brits nuke secrets to get the Russians to sign the nuclear reduction treaty. He bows and kisses the ass of all our enemies while he disrespects what were our allies in the middle east. Hu Jintao comes in and mocks Obama by having a Chinese pianist play Chinese patriotic songs while they tell us to pound sand on strengthening the yuan. He is meddling in the affairs of state rights by trying to overturn Arizona’s immigration laws and now sending his community organizing team into WIsconsin to bolster the disruptive union protestors. He reneged on the missple defense systems for the Czech Republic and Poland., more allies thrown under the bus. He says that he wants to have a transparent process for change and then has closed door sessions on the house committee bills for the passing the health reform law. He supports the pay-as-go approach then Jim Bunning of KY gets reamed for holding congress to that statement and it totally gets disregarded after one media news cycle. He blocks the media out of certain WH actions. All the smart money is leaving this country as there is very little chances of the big government machine stopping this spending addition. You’ve got teachers making close to 100K a year for working 8 months out of 12 and looks what happens when the taxpayers say we aren’t going to take it anymore. Keep sending your donations to the DNC and maybe you’ll get your wish of 4 more years, that is, if the middle east doesn’t result in WW3 by then.

    19th February 2011 at 12:03 am

  46. StuckInNJ says:

    Note to self: Timeisrunningout does not un derstand sarcasm.

    19th February 2011 at 12:08 am

  47. Timeisrunningout says:

    ok, I admit it. I used to be on this site all the time and took about a year off. But these articles Jim posts are so damn good, I had to come back…..so my apologies to Smokey. On the Wisconsin topic, I swung by the Clock Tower Inn over in Rockford last night and neither the cowards nor the media were anywhere to be seen. They either left that location earlier or Obama put out the alert for the media to keep a low profile covering the AWOL senators from Cheeseland.

    19th February 2011 at 12:31 am

  48. Guest Post: Pump It Up | Stocks! says:

    […] Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform […]

    19th February 2011 at 7:42 am

  49. Pirate Jo says:

    “Can you think of anyone else willing to tell the truth and do the major cuts, including SS, medicare, military…?”

    I’m impressed by Chris Christie, based on what I’ve seen and heard so far. I’d be happy to see him or Ron Paul in the White House.

    Big headline this morning – the House has passed $61 billion in spending cuts. I’m quite underwhelmed by this. We’re looking at $1.6 TRILLION being added to the national debt this year. What we really need to do is cut spending by at least $2 trillion so we eliminate the entire deficit this year and then start paying down on the debt that already exists. Here is what I would do:

    1) Medicare gets a lifetime cap per recipient, starting immediately. It would be nice if, when you got old and your body started to wear out, there was enough money just lying around for you to get $2 million worth of care so you could extend your life by six months to a year. It would also be nice if we never got old and our bodies never started to wear out in the first place. Both of these ideas exist only in fantasyland. If you don’t have millions of dollars saved up for your own medical care, and neither do your neighbors, where do you think the money for your transplants and surgeries is going to come from? So far, it’s simply been borrowed and printed, and that cannot continue. Sorry to break this surprising news to you, but the money simply is not there, and spending more money on medical care isn’t going to make you live forever anyway.

    2) We get out of Iraq and Afghanistan. We also bring our troops home from most of the other places in the world where they are deployed. This falls under the “not our job” category, and we can’t afford it.

    3) Social Security gets its benefit age raised to 75 immediately. Rich people getting Social Security have their benefits cut immediately. It sucks to think of people paying so much in and not getting it back (I am one of them), but for decades now we have had people getting back a lot more than they paid in. A lot of people got everything back in a year, then drew benefits for twenty more years. More recently it takes more like five years to get your money back, but even the people in their late 60s are making out too well on Social Security.

    Sorry baby boomers and Xers, but that is where your money has been going for the last thirty years. The money you contributed is gone; its recipients have already spent it and then died, and it’s not coming back. If you pour water into a bucket that has holes in the bottom, the bucket ends up being empty when you’re ready to get a drink. If you don’t have enough of your own money saved up for a 25-year retirement, and neither does your neighbor, where do you think the money is going to come from? Past generations said “from the kids!” and happily bilked us for their own benefit. Are we going to be better people than that, or are we going to screw others, just as others have screwn unto you?

    Take all that anger and direct it into the solution, which means getting up and going to work every morning for more years than you had planned, and ensuring that no generation of Americans ever gets fucked in this manner again. If we are still going to have a welfare program for those who are a) too old to work, and b) too poor to support themselves, we absolutely must encourage self-reliance first and foremost, and make sure that the ONLY people getting this benefit are those who CANNOT work and who are truly poor. (And it doesn’t have to be a federal government program either – the states could handle it.)

    We absolutely must change our national mindset and adjust our expectations on this issue. Everyone needs to adopt the idea that they are responsible for providing for themselves by doing whatever they have to do, whether that’s leading a less expensive lifestyle and saving money, or by working longer. It is simply ridiculous to think you can spend the last 20-25 years of your life not working and that someone else will pay for it.

    These three cuts would eliminate the deficit for the current year and future years. Then we get rid of stupid departments like the Dept of Education, Dept of Energy, Dept of HUD, we end all agricultural subsidies, get rid of all foreign aid, and end all stimulus packages and bailouts. We use THAT money to pay down the existing debt. When the debt is paid off we can lower everyone’s taxes, and then we will be living in a country with a strong currency, no debt, and low taxes. We might actually have a future at that point.

    But THAT won’t happen, because no one wants to give up their free shit or stop playing cowboys and Indians in the Middle East. So here we sit, spending our time trying to figure out how to survive a currency collapse and not starve to death, instead of learning our lessons and solving our problems.

    19th February 2011 at 9:47 am

  50. Administrator says:

    Pirate Jo in 2012

    19th February 2011 at 10:04 am

  51. Jmarz says:

    Timeisrunningout

    Welcome back.

    19th February 2011 at 10:07 am

  52. MuckAbout says:

    Right on PJ! I’m one of those old bastards so keep up the good work. I expect to live another 30 years at least (unless TSHTF in which case, I’ll probably go really quick) and would love to live long enough to see your solutions implemented.

    Too bad it’ll never happen until the above TSHTF comes about and then it’ll be the hard, hard way.

    I’ll second Admin: PJ for Pres…

    19th February 2011 at 11:07 am

  53. Smith-n-Jones says:

    Timeisrunningout has his head up his ass. I’d like to inject some reality here about teachers, for one. My wife is a Special Ed teacher in an urban school in the bay area (highest pay and COL anywhere). 25 years of experience, top of the pay scale, Master’s plus 24 hours (more educated than I am) and she makes 68k and works her ass off. Her day starts at 8 a.m. and ends when she refuses to take any more parents calls at 10 p.m. or so. She gets 10 weeks a year off, not 4 months. So your FOX news talking points are, as always, pure bullshit. She might get a modest pension, provided CALSTRS does not go bankrupt before that because of all the fraudulent paper Wall Street conned them into buying. But for that hope of a pension, she gets payroll deductions of 9%. How many of you save that much? She also pays big union dues to keep her outrageous pay package coming. In other words, she does just about as well as a grocery store checker. She is not eligible for Social Security.

    Speaking of SS, I am one of the lucky ones who will one day be eligible for that “entitlement.” I have been making at or near the SS maximum for more than 20 years (bay area pay scales), meaning I have paid in something like 125k and my employer has matched that. Add another 17 years and the employer match and I will have paid in at least 500k to this ponzi scheme. There is no chance I will get a decent return on that. People a few years younger than me are even worse off. Entitlement, my ass. I call it generational theft.

    Both parties have utterly sold out the electorate and are both equally culpable for enabling the rape of the American middle class.

    The only good politician in Wisconsin (if such a thing is possible) is Russ Feingold and the voters threw him out for a lying jackass that will bend them over. Don’t forget, the newly elected governor of Wisconsin pushed through $140 million in new spending to reward his contributors and now declares that the public unions must be destroyed to pay for it.

    19th February 2011 at 11:33 am

  54. Dave says:

    Speaking of pumps…I just got back from Arizona. For two days, driving across Texas on I-20 I was amazed at the number of oil well pumps I saw in the Permian Basin, but LESS THAN HALF were active. I also saw hundreds perhaps thousands of wind turbines east of the Permian Basin and either there was no wind (then why are they there?) or someone got screwed, because 90% WERE NOT MOVING.

    19th February 2011 at 11:35 am

  55. Administrator says:

    Dave

    You didn’t stop at the wind energy station or the solar power station to fill up your car? Obama will fix that.

    19th February 2011 at 11:51 am

  56. old white guy says:

    congress has tha ability to stop it dead in it’s tracks. do you think they will?

    19th February 2011 at 12:07 pm

  57. Dave says:

    No Jim, I paid, on average, $3.00/gallon for gas but saw one Shell station listing at $3.71 while across the street I bought gas for $3.10. Shell wasn’t doing any business. 50% of the traffic was trucks. Don’t know whether they were full or empty. Most motels had only a few nightly patrons. I wonder how long the trip (5 days on road) would have taken using an electric car. I’d probably just be pulling into El Paso from Phoenix by now. I saw a lot of People of Walmart in Abilene TX.

    19th February 2011 at 12:14 pm

  58. MuckAbout says:

    @Dave: I’ve made the same trip a number of times. The wind turbines run whenever there is a breeze worth catching – something like 15 mph…. They take a bunch of data on wind speed before putting up those monsters and they won’t be installed unless the average wind is much higher than the minimum. Most of West Texas and all of the panhandle is prime wind country..

    Those non-pumping wells you saw were likely “resting”. Pumping oil isn’t like sucking it out of a pond or container. The oil is trapped in structures underground that give it up slowly – so most pumps will do their duty on timers scheduled so that oil drains out into the well area and gets pumped out periodically. The timing depends on the flow rate of the oil at the bottom of the well.

    MA

    19th February 2011 at 12:27 pm

  59. tofu mary» Blog Archive » Most everyone will be bankrupt eating weeds and bugs because they can’t afford food. says:

    […] Jim Quinn: Peak Bullshit | The Burning Platform […]

    19th February 2011 at 1:12 pm

  60. Timeisrunningout says:

    Smith-n-Jones,
    Ok, right away you use a typical left wing talking point and throw Fox news in the mix. First of all, I don’t watch Fox News as we decided to cut off the sewage spilling bullshit off and disconnect Direct TV a year ago. Secondly, I know a little bit about teachers. My mother was a high school teacher for 30 years, went back to school to get her master’s degree while she worked and raised 3 children including myself. If your wife only makes 68K in the bay area, she is underpaid. Right here in the great Obama state of Illinois, a grade school teacher that teaches gym makes 90K a year, the highest paid teacher in the school of less than 300 kids and happens to be the union leader. I know this because first, my neighbor is president of the school board and two, all the salaries can be looked up through various websites as they are public.

    The point is that everyone needs to feel the pain and we can’t keep raising taxes every time the pension system becomes unfunded or their health care costs go up. (thought Obama care would cure that?). The school boards have been strong armed by the unions, and when the unions don’t get what they want, they walk out and then the kids are out of school requiring the parents to stay home from work. So don’t tell me my head is in my ass guy just because your wife may be an exceptional teacher and is getting underpaid. The real challenge these days in the teaching world is what a teacher has to put up with for the pay. The root cause is not the state or school administration, but the useless parents and legal environment. The parents don’t back the teachers, let little Johnny smoke dope and tell the teachers to F-off and the teachers can’t do a damn thing because most parents don’t give a crap about their child’s learning. There too busy watching Desperate Housewives and having affairs with their neighbors instead of teaching the kids some discipline and making sure they have a good learning environment. However, this is not the taxpayers fault that you can’t discipline a child in school without worrying about the school getting sued. It’s the trial lawyers and Democrats who back them up.

    19th February 2011 at 3:51 pm

  61. Pirate Jo says:

    “The real challenge these days in the teaching world is what a teacher has to put up with for the pay. The root cause is not the state or school administration, but the useless parents and legal environment.”

    You’re almost there, but not quite. Go one more level: Why are these useless people having children and why do we put up with this legal environment?

    I say it’s because it hasn’t yet become painful enough for us to make bad choices. People will only change when the pain of change becomes less than the pain of staying the same.

    19th February 2011 at 4:40 pm

  62. AKAnon says:

    PJ “I say it’s because it hasn’t yet become painful enough for us to make bad choices. People will only change when the pain of change becomes less than the pain of staying the same.” How can it be painful to make bad choices when the system REWARDS bad choices? See “Death of an Entrepreneur”.

    19th February 2011 at 5:10 pm

  63. Pirate Jo says:

    Yes, right now the system DOES reward bad choices – you are right AKAnon. But think longer-term.

    19th February 2011 at 5:29 pm

  64. Punk in Drublic says:

    Wow. Not much I can say that hasn’t been said already. Great article.

    “Again, some perspective is needed to realize how out of control our Federal Government has become. According to the BLS, inflation has risen by 33% since 1999. Real GDP has grown by 23%. The population of the U.S. has grown by 10%. The number of employed Americans has risen by 1.8%. The average pay for a Federal drone (aka worker) has risen by 58%, while the average pay for real workers has risen by only 30%. Therefore, the average non-government employee has seen a decrease in their standard of living as inflation has risen faster than wages.”

    This doesn’t just scream out of control government, it screams empire in decline. According to shadowstats the inflation number is a lot bigger, making the decline even worse.

    19th February 2011 at 6:35 pm

  65. Iowan says:

    I wonder how much that government pay vs. private sector pay really says.

    1) The government doesn’t employ burger flippers and menial laborers, for the most part. It isn’t in the business of running retail, etc that commands relatively low wages because it is generally unskilled labor. I get the impression that most of those lower end services have been contracted out, at least at the federal level. I.e. cafeteria workers/janitors in federal buildings ect. So I would assume that moves these folks into the private sector. This would put the average federal worker as a more middle class to upper middle class paid worker. Mostly white collar.

    2) I don’t know where the source data for your pay chart comes from, it appears to be borrowed from someone else. Does it include self-employed workers? There are a lot of middle class jobs in that sector.

    3) What does the age structure of the Government look like vs. the Private sector. Based off of the BLS data from 2005 the average government worker was a older Gen Xer or Boomer. They will command greater pay. (See: http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/78xx/doc7874/03-15-Federal_Personnel.pdf )

    For the Federal Workforce:
    FederalWorkforce.jpg

    For the whole US workforce:
    AgeofWorkforce.jpg

    So the whole US workforce is considerably younger than the Federal Workforce, and will thus probably have lower wages just from the standpoint of pay increasing with experience. Hence, you can’t directly compare the Private Sector workforce to the Federal workforce using just average salary.

    19th February 2011 at 10:02 pm

  66. Iowan says:

    Admin – I’d put some time into delving through the BLS data on Government workers in the states if I could get posting status, and if it was of interest to you.

    19th February 2011 at 10:07 pm

  67. Administrator says:

    Iowan

    I gave you contributor status.

    20th February 2011 at 10:55 am

  68. TeresaE says:

    I third (fourth?) PirateJo for Pres.

    We are just so FUBAR. History has proven – time and time again – that the human animal and society will NEVER make hard choices. Look at Wisconsin for proof. 70,000 unionists gather (probably paid) to protest touching their piece of the government pie. How many, non-reported, NON-union, NON-retirement, tax-screwed have shown up?

    Probably not many. Mainly because we wouldn’t get paid, or would lose money, if we shut down and marched to show support for the cuts. Or, we are pussies whom don’t want to “confront” the privileged few and tell them/show them what we sacrifice so that they can work fewer hours, fewer day and fewer years before they retire with all sorts of pay and benes that we only get if we save for them ourselves AND pay for theirs.

    So, this is how it will play out until it can’t play on anymore. Truly sad.

    And frightening. GLA

    20th February 2011 at 5:54 pm

  69. ShakaZulu says:

    Mike in AZ,

    I too live in AZ. I too when I saw what is happening in WI thought “this is just the tip of the iceberg.” I almost got a tinge of optimism watching the protestors flooding the state capitol in Madison, but if Obama could he would round them all up into FEMA camps. The time for that hasn’t come yet. It will be violent. It will not end nicely. And it will come.

    20th February 2011 at 11:20 pm

  70. Reader says:

    Hey Y’all — for a really good look into the future, read up martinarmstrong.org, America’s number one political prisoner.

    His voice is sane and He has a good grasp of history.

    Salam Aleikum.

    21st February 2011 at 5:38 am

  71. TeresaE says:

    Shaka

    The protesters are “protesting” to keep the status quo. Unfunded liabilities, better than average pay and benefits and to keep the taxpayers’ monies going directly to them and their unions.

    This fills you with hope?

    Obama wouldn’t round up ONE of these protesters, they are on the same side as he is.

    It is any counter-protesters (aka “the taxpayers”) that would be rounded up. And, according to all reports I’ve seen, none have shown up anyway.

    21st February 2011 at 8:37 am

  72. The Watchdog says:

    “Peak Bullshit” explained in under 60 seconds:
    http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/11203562/

    21st February 2011 at 10:53 am

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