The story below is a reflection of the entitlement mindset that has proliferated for decades in Europe and the United States. It is a mindset of corruption, laziness, and entitlement that has been encouraged and exacerbated by the socialist welfare policies and programs that were supposed to help the poor and disadvantaged. Instead these programs morphed into a way for politicians to dole out benefits for votes. Generations have now become dependent upon the government for their subsistence from birth until death. The learned helplessness has been a key tactic for liberal/ left wing politicians across Europe and the USA. Keep promising people more free shit and they’ll keep voting for you. It works until you run out of other people’s money. Greece has run out of other people’s money. Now the blind can see.

The story below would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. The cancer of entitlement and corruption is so ingrained in Greece society that the patient can never recover. It’s too late. Southern Europe is dead entitlement states walking. There is no rescue plan big enough to save these people from their debt based delusions. Reality is really going to bite for these people.

We sit here across the pond and chuckle at this story about the island of the blind. But, we are only a couple years behind Greece and the ability to print more fiat currency will not save us. Chris Christie is right – we’ve become a paternalistic entitlement society. The 47 year War on Poverty has successfully enslaved millions into an entitlement mindset of not working, not caring, and gaming the system for everything they can get away with. This behavior and these programs have been actively encouraged by liberals and do-gooders looking for easy votes. The ridiculous solutions implemented since 2008 have made the situation 100 times worse as we have an all-time record of 47 million people on food stamps paying out $72 billion annually. The government has been paying millions of people to not work for 99 weeks. And now that the 99 week gravy train is drying up, millions have just realized they are disabled. The rampant fraud in the SSDI program is actively encouraged by Obama and his minions. The $132 billion per year is well spent for a few more voters. The Federal Government lets you into this lifelong program for depression, muscle pain, or being too fucking fat to get out of a chair. Anyone who doesn’t think millions are gaming this system should look at this little chart. The number of 50 to 55 year olds piling into the SSDI rose by 50% between 2007 and 2011. Wow!!! Our workplace safety must have really gone downhill in the last 4 years.


It is surely just a coincidence that as soon as the FSA got kicked off the 99 week unemployment rolls, the SSDI rolls began to surge. No fraud there.

The amount of fraud, waste and abuse in our Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamp, Social Security, SSDI and the thousand other entitlement programs runs into the hundreds of billions and would equal the national budget of many countries. Our entire country has become a cesspool of fraud. And it isn’t confined to the people of West Philly and old folks. The entitlement mindset extends into corporate America with their farm subsidies, ethanol subsidies, tax loopholes, hedge fund manager tax breaks, and about 60,000 more pages of payoffs and bribery disguised as tax policy. The average schmuck with their mortgage deductions and child tax credits and exemptions is also in on the game. Wall Street and the Arms dealers are extracting their trillion dollar pound of flesh from this bloated pig of a country.
Well guess what? This bloated pig has heart disease and a bad case of gas. The whole world is suffocating on debt that can never be repaid and promises that can never be kept. You’d have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to understand what is headed our way.

26 thoughts on “ARE YOU BLIND?”

  1. I was blind, but now I see.

    Ron Paul’s GOP Battle Reveals Some Truths About Political Parties

    by Ryan McMaken

    When things didn’t go the way the pro-Romney leadership wanted them to go, they simply created a new GOP to replace the old one. That’s what happened in Nevada when Ron Paul supporters managed to gain control of the state’s Republican Party apparatus at the state convention. In response, the pro-Romney and establishment Republican forces broke off and formed Team Nevada which is essentially a shadow Republican party. In addition, by pledging support to Romney, Team Nevada is receiving funding from the Republican National Committee. If all goes as planned on the Romney side, Team Nevada will provide Nevada’s delegates to the Republican National Convention. The duly-elected Ron Paul delegates, who were elected through state and local conventions in Nevada, will be barred from the convention floor.

    The many ways in which the old guard of the Republican party has repeatedly sought to disenfranchise Ron Paul voters and delegates are too numerous to count. Some cases have been noted by Doug Wead and by others with anti-Paul strategies ranging from smearing Paul supporters with carefully edited videos to having Paul supporters arrested for no reason.

    People unfamiliar with how parties have functioned historically, may be shocked by such things, but these actions are really just more of the same from the GOP and from American political parties in general.

    This year’s efforts to simply destroy anyone the party leadership dislikes are hardly the first instances of occasions on which an American political party has taken steps to nullify or ignore primary and caucus results that it did not like. For example, in 2010, Dan Maes, a businessman who ran for governor in Colorado against former Congressman Scott McInnis, was abandoned by the GOP after receiving the nomination. McInnis was heavily favored as the moderate, establishment candidate while Maes was regarded as an upstart from the populist and conservative wing of the party. Near the end of the primary campaign, however, McInnis was accused of taking money from an employer for written work he allegedly stole from someone else.

    McInnis’s support collapsed and Maes was able to win the nomination as the Republican candidate for governor. The GOP leadership didn’t care for Maes for a variety of reasons (some of them very good) and instructed him to pull out of the race so a candidate more to the party leadership’s liking could be appointed outside the established nomination process. When Maes refused, the party leadership threw its support behind former-congressman Tom Tancredo who ran on a third-party ticket. Maes was denied all financial support from the Colorado GOP and the RNC.

    The analogy here is less than perfect, of course. Maes was a political novice with a shady background, while Ron Paul is a twelve-term Congressman with a well-funded and highly-organized national organization. Paul’s base of support is broad and deep while Maes’s base was narrow and temporary. Maes’s campaign ran on issues quite different from those that drive Paul’s campaign, although both did draw support from the populist and anti-establishment wings of the Republican Party against moderate center-left candidates supported by the GOP establishment.

    This example coupled with this year’s all-out effort on the part of the GOP to prevent even the most mild dissent should make it abundantly clear to all by now that the GOP does not exist to grant a fair process to grassroots-supported candidates, or to adhere to any type of ideological consistency, or to even follow its own rules.

    In spite of the substantial differences between the candidates in these two cases, the Nevada and Colorado experiences help illustrate a few truths about how political parties function to enhance and maintain the power of the established leadership.

    It should be stated that most everything we say here can be also applied to the Democratic Party, as the two major parties behave in fundamentally similar ways. But it has been in the Republican Party where populist uprisings have been most common in recent years and led to some of the most strident efforts on the part of party leaders to crush anti-establishment dissent.

    1. Political Parties exist to elect candidates.

    The major parties in the United States do not adhere to any specific ideological program. The written party platforms are all but completely irrelevant in the day-to-day actions of the party and its members. We can also note the lack of ideological inconsistency by looking at the parties over time. Prior to Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic Party was usually the party of small, constitutional government, and it did a much better job of filling that role than the Republican Party ever has. By the 1930’s, the party completely changed its orientation, however. The GOP, on the other hand, has always been the party of major corporate conglomerates like railroads and major banking interests. At its founding, it was the party of easy money and federal meddling in the economic system. It wasn’t until the New Deal that the Republican Party, by virtue of being the opposition party during the long reign of FDR, found itself solidified as the party associated with free markets, and its record on that issue has been spotty at best.

    If we look deeper into these ideological evolutions over time, we find that it is political expediency that drives the ideological claims of political parties, and certainly not loyalty to any sort of intellectual or ideological tradition.

    This is not shocking since fundamentally, political parties exist to run candidates. Any decent American Politics 101 class will define political parties as candidate-running machines. Ideology means little, and we have seen this repeatedly in practice. This fact was summed up nicely in Nevada by a GOP partisan complaining about Ron Paul supporters:

    “’Our method is we elect Republicans. That’s what the party’s for,’ said Dave Buell, chairman of the Washoe County GOP in the state’s northwest corner, the second largest county in the state. ‘Down south, the Ron Paul people down there are pushing ideology rather than electing Republicans.’”

    2. Political parties are really just coalitions of interest groups

    Far from being organizations devoted to any particular ideological vision, parties are far more correctly described as coalitions of interest groups that have come together to serve their specific interests. Sometimes, these interest groups are fundamentally opposed to each other, as in the case of the environmentalists and organized labor together in the Democratic Party. In the GOP, the presence of small-business and free-market groups together with military contractors and other pro-war groups has led to the incoherent yet enduring myth that small government and free markets are compatible with a huge national-security state. We see here yet again the special-interest tail wagging the ideological dog. The parties don’t want to cut off their own bread and butter, so they function as an organization that forces compromises on the least-wealthy interest groups in the name of party unity or defeating the other party. We see this again and again as the forces of small government in the GOP are repeatedly told to get in line behind the more well-heeled interests driving an aggressive foreign policy or protecting endless taxpayer largesse for old people. The result is that votes are delivered for candidates promising to shovel more cash to the most powerful interests. The factions within the parties who bring neither money nor power to the party, such as free-market and pro-peace groups, slavishly vote again and again for the party, naively convincing themselves that the party will do something for them if they can just win one more election.

    Those who benefit most from this management of factions and interest groups are the parties themselves, since electoral victories bring with them jobs, power, and many financial rewards. The rich, well-connected interests within the party are regularly rewarded while the other groups within the coalition are told they should just be happy that the other party didn’t win.

    The members of the party leadership justifies this all in their minds by convincing themselves that they’re pragmatists in the service of freedom and justice and all things good. To them, it’s just a happy coincidence that all this service to truth and justice happens to bring with it lucrative jobs and positions of power.

    3. The party leadership would rather have a safe, establishment candidate from the other party than a “dangerous” upstart from its own.

    Having become used to the jobs and the junkets and the privilege and the financial rewards gleaned from protecting the entrenched interests behind each political party, the leadership in each party has no interest whatsoever in overturning their well-stocked apple carts. Insurgent candidates who challenged the entrenched party leadership are repeatedly mocked, opposed and generally blocked from party leadership roles and from receiving nominations. This will be justified with all kinds of excuses ranging from ideological rifts to appeals to be good team players, but the fact is that it’s about catering to the interests who control and fund the party. Indeed, most candidates who promise to not upset the party’s core interests will encounter little in the way of truly stiff opposition. This is why Goldwater could get the nomination but not Paul. Goldwater promised not to stand in the way of endless taxpayer cash for war.

    At the pinnacle of the major parties the interests of those in charge vary little. Devotion to big business, to the warfare state, to easy monetary policy, and to buying off seniors with more and more cash and government favor spans the two parties, and ultimately, were a candidate who threatened these major interests to actually receive a presidential nomination, he would be abandoned by his own party.

    Indeed, the Colorado case serves to illustrate what would likely happen if Ron Paul were to somehow manage to actually obtain the party’s nomination at the convention. The party leadership would immediately begin searching for a third party candidate it could support. It would deny all RNC money and other traditionally GOP-controlled funds to Paul, and it would begin poisoning the GOP base against its own nominated candidate.

    The GOP leadership knows that such a path would guarantee the re-election of Obama, but the GOP establishment would clearly prefer a Democrat victory to a Ron Paul victory. The threat to the GOP’s core interests groups would be just too great were Paul actually elected, and it would better, in the eyes of the established party leaderships, to be seen as supporting their special interests rather than side with any victorious anti-establishment grassroots groups from within the party.

    This year, the GOP leadership supports just the latest Ivy-League-educated supporter of more debt, more spending and endless war. This new one even helped invent Obamacare.

    This is the choice the GOP has decided the party will provide, and anyone who disputes this vision is a radical or a kook who must be disenfranchised. The fruit of this is now being seen as the Romney camp desperately tries to rewrite its own rules and disenfranchise Paul supporters in Oklahoma, Nevada, Massachusetts and elsewhere.

    They’ll probably succeed, but the benefit of all of this will be that many Americans have now seen our political parties for what they really are.

  2. Reducing our welfare state drastically here in the U.S. is the first and most important step we must take in preparing for the decline of fossil fuels.

    And the first steps we must take in reducing our hairball of subsidies and entitlements is to end corporate subsidies of any type, whether farm subsidies, subsidies for the production of particular fuels or for particular industries, no matter how much you or I may approve of the activity involved. I consider ending the corporate subsidies to be most important because these subsidies and incentives skew markets and produce malinvestment in uneconomic and wasteful industries and activities. Thanks to the massive subsidies for certain industries and patterns of development over decades, we now have 90% of our country living in a manner and in locations where they are hugely dependent upon massive imputs of fossil fuel energy to perform the activities of daily life.

    Next, end all “middle class” entitlements, such as the deduction for each child, the mortgage interest deduction, and college loans. Tax deductions for some people means that other people, those unqualified for those deductions, must pay more taxes. I don’t like having to help my middle income neighbors who make 3X as much money as I do support their kids any more than I like helping ghetto welfare mommas support theirs. Still less do I like helping my neighbors pay their oversized mortgaged on their laughably overpriced house.

    At the same time, work to reduce the entitlements of the poor, first by taking reasonable steps to root out the rampant welfare fraud. Personally known to me are three people who pass for middle class (educated, white or asian, and with decent jobs) who are receiving welfare benefits, mostly indirectly by living with their “wives” to whom they are not legally married, but who have 2 or 3 children by them. The women are white and asian women who possess Bus Admin degrees from major universities and who could easily get decent jobs, but are enabled in sitting on their lazy bums and collecting welfare.

    Pursuant to the above, we need to get over the idea that because you are a woman, or the mother of young children, you are entitled to support. Bullshit. Children do NOT suffer because their mothers work and I’m tired of hearing how bad working mothers are for their kids. This is not true. The juvenile crime and delinquency is not generated by the children of mothers who work, but by the children of mothers who distinctly do NOT work- Welfare Mothers. My own Great Generation mother, divorced and with no child support or any assistance at all from my father, supported her own two daughters without ever receiving a dime of child support on what she earned with the crap jobs women were able to get in the 50s and early 60s. She did not consider welfare to be an option- we come from a reasonably elevated class of people for whom Welfare would have been considered a major disgrace. You wouldn’t admit you were taking it if you were. Women need to get it through their heads that if they are not married AND do not have the money to support their kids, they should not have them.

    Furthermore, we are entitled to insist that people receiving welfare payments refrain from procreating until they can support their own families without assistance. We need to prevent the creation of more entitlement recipients. Therefore, all welfare recipients should be REQUIRED to use contraception while they are receiving SSDI or AFDC. That means produce proof that you got your depo- provera shot or you’re not getting your check or your Link Card replenished. That also means that Medicaid HAS to cover contraception, but that is a helluva lot cheaper than paying for a singleton baby delivery ($12,000 minimum), yearly benefits for a child, or incarceration for the child when he grows up to be a criminal adult ($40,000 a year and up).

    As we take these first steps, we can start scaling back these programs and eliminating benefits one by one. We can put limits on the time, whether immediate or over the term of the recipient’s life, that s/he can collect, and by all means, we can institute “workfare”- doing low-wage community work (street sweeping, park grooming) in return for benefits, in keeping with the local wage scale.

    At the local level, local citizens must fight tooth and nail to derail all corporate subsidies, which usually take the form of TIF (tax increment financing) subsidies and tax abatements. Do NOT let your leaders fool you into believing that these incentives and subsidies are “tools” for “economic development”, which is how middle class citizens have been hoodwinked into fervently supporting massive handouts for corporations, most often local corporate owned sports teams, but also just about every Big Barn store that gets built almost anywhere. Dig, and you will find that almost every regional shopping mall or Power Center or Lowe’s or Target or whatever, got a tax-funded gift, often an outright grant, of $5 M or more to build a store in your area, mostly without the municipality demanding any guarantees that the subsidized facility would remain in place for a given length of time, or provide a given number of jobs to local workers. Better to just end the subsidies and incentives, and level the playing field so that local operations have a fighting chance.

  3. I agree with most Chicago…

    End all subsidies, slash entitlements, however cruel this sounds END WELFARE. Lower taxes and let individuals donate to charities to help the poor. Local churches, the Red Cross, etc are way more efficient than Uncle Sam.

  4. I remember writing about how Greece was rotten to the core with corruption, and being howled down that I was blaming the poor Greeks for problems not of their making. Guess what – I was right then, and I am right now. The fucking Greeks are getting what they have coming to them. They are orrupt to their very soul, on the whole. Taxes are optional at best. Retirement age is still, what, 55, and they refuse to increae it to a more reasonable, given the circumstances, 65 or 67. They maintain a bloated beaurocracy, even now refusing to cut it. They allow totally protected industry – pharmacies being case in point I have mentioned several times. They bribe, lie, and evade all social responsibility, and expect the Germans to bail them out.

    Fuck ’em. It is unfortunate that they probably will not pay the full penalty they deserve for their stupidity.

  5. It’s important to do it in steps, hef.

    We didn’t get into this mess overnight, and we won’t get out instantly, as even Ayn Rand said back in 1965, when the various welfare programs were beginning to proliferate and compound on themselves.

    To end it instantly would be too disruptive, but I agree with you that we should move quickly. We should start at the top, with Corporate Welfare in any form, because this is the costliest welfare not only as measured by the size of the handouts, but in the mis-allocation of money and mal-investment in intrinsically unworkable enterprises it causes, and the related cost to our competitiveness and to entrepreneurs in start up businesses who are capable of developing the innovative industries we need to deal with a very changed world, but are killed at birth by the weight of subsidies to established “legacy” industries.

    Rolling back these subsidies and incentives would trigger the formation and remove obstacles to the success of innovative upstarts, and would trigger a flood of investment into the industries and technologies we will need in the post-peak era if we are to have any level of tech amenity, or anything resembling an industrial economy.

    There would of course be many more jobs at many levels and offering many more job niches for a greater variety and degree of skill. This would free up many low-level jobs for current welfare recipients as well-educated aspirants are able to find employment in keeping with their skill level, instead of working at jobs far below their training and expectations.

    We can then scale back middle class entitlements, especially those that are really only inducements to getting into debt, such as the mortgage interest deduction and the college loan program. At the same time, we will be introducing the idea that you should PAY YOUR OWN BILLS and not expect others to help you with your kids, your house, your solar panels, your car loan, your school loans, whatever. There is NO way we will ever get lower-class people to buck up and bite the bullet until we disabuse the middle class of certain notions they all have regarding their special entitlements.

    THEN we can go to work on the welfare. Now, I support VERY limited assistance for people who truly and honestly cannot fend for themselves, like people who are truly disabled. But that is a very tiny subset of the population. The qualifications should be stringent.

    After a few years, the general population will begin to embrace the notion that that it is the duty of an adult to take care of himself or herself, and everyone has to earn his or her keep one way or the other.

    At the same time, we must free up the economy so that people can make their own personal adaptions to their own situations free of government interference. In such times as these, that might mean living or doing business in a manner that the neighbors disapprove of. For example, in many pretentious suburbs, local codes forbid vegetable gardening, keeping small livestock, running various types of businesses out of houses, or housing multiple generations of a family, or more than one family, in a single-family home. Local authorities often trot out very convincing reasons for these restrictions, such as concerns about fire safety or sanitation, but they usually biol down to concern about “property values”. Meanwhile, someone setting up a small business must run a gauntlet of obstruction and regulation that adds massively to the cost of starting even the simplest business. We should remove these obstructions, which means that we might have to bear with businesses we personally find “distasteful”, such small businesses that look tacky and run down, or like colorful street peddlers selling hats, gloves, sunglasses, incense, and other little stuff who used to inhabit Chicago’s subways and downtown streets before our previous mayor, Richie Daley, decided to “clean up” downtown. Did people consider what these peddlers might otherwise be selling, or what they might do for employment once their lucrative downtown spots were snatched from them? If we want freedom to live and make a living, we have to grant it to others even if they’re a little unsanitary and lacking in aesthetic appeal.

    1. Chicago999444

      Would you like me to give you contributor status so you can post and write articles? You have views that should get a wider audience.

  6. I guess I watch too much Star Trek. Wishing for a world that will never be possible, till Jesus returns. Government is a horrible caretaker of the public health. Too much graft, too much waste, too much evil.

    All empires end. All one needs to do is to open a book;

    Let’s go down the checklist of other empires such as Greece, Rome, Spain, Britain the list is long…

    1. Corrupt politicians that care little for the country, but more about their own prosperity


    2. A dumbed down population, through diversity and planning, more interested in sports, entertainment and general worthlessness, than the good of the future of the country.


    3. A plan to water down the currency, to no longer make money a store of value, but a way for the state to debase money to fund expenditures.


    4. Wars without end…


    5. Moral and ethical decay.


    It was said that America has the best to allies it could ever have. Two oceans. It would never be conquered. It will simply decay from within.

    Don’t see much to dispute that.

    Find a cabin, find a bunker. Evacuate the coasts. Pray to the Good Lord that this time, when freedom dies, it won’t end in despotism.

  7. Chicago – you say above: “THEN we can go to work on the welfare. Now, I support VERY limited assistance for people who truly and honestly cannot fend for themselves, like people who are truly disabled. But that is a very tiny subset of the population. The qualifications should be stringent. ”

    Noble sentiments but this was how the shit the world is in began. If you try to support the truly needy, the truly needy will multiply endlessly. Beaurocrats/government drones have no ability to discern the needy from those that want to be classified so but are not. Welfare should and must be a private matter – funded by private funds and organizations, who will have incentive to make sure only the truly needy get assistance. Governments are not capable of doing this, nor can they be trusted to do it. That is why welfare states are imploding world-wide – governments cannot manage a welfare state, and the numbers on welfare explode when people discover they can get something for nothing.

  8. Chicago, there’s also a flaw with your ‘workfare’ unless you have a comprehensive structural model to make it work.

    Here in Australia we have ‘work for the dole’, which probably sounded like a good idea at the time. But the reality is, the system within is just as corrupt — and two of the biggest beneficiaries are those ~employers~ who somehow cannot afford even minimum wage but welcome warm bodies shovelled their way by the unemployment system. One is ‘tree planting’ and the other is ‘fruit picking’.

    I can’t prove it (yet) but there does suspiciously look like a bit of _quid pro pro_ involved.

    Oh, another beneficiary: local governments getting ‘free’ labor. In this instance, my son told by an obese social worker, “You gots to give something back to the community for supporting you.” Which might sound fair enough until you ask yourself, exactly what is one’s community — I didn’t think his being sent to another council to repair their tennis courts exactly fit the bill.

    The other ludicrous offer involves eagerness to funnel people into some sort of ‘skills training’, in his case being asked “have you considered literacy or numeracy training?” This to a person with experience of 3 jobs in 20 years, who finally found another IT job in database development. There’s a bubble in the privatized training mills and they’re quite happy to get government subsidies to teach useless things to warm bodies provided for them.

  9. @llpoh: “Noble sentiments but this was how the shit the world is in began. If you try to support the truly needy, the truly needy will multiply endlessly.”

    Its important to remember we are ALL one bad turn away from complete destruction. Just one.

    I’ve seen way too many middle classed families destroyed because of a freak accident, losing a lawsuit, or cancer.

    Its easy to say “no social welfare ever,” but a lot harder to say to those who truly are unfortunate.

  10. TPC – charity is a private matter. I am happy to donate to charity, and make my own decisions as to who is worthy. If you allow government to make that decision, you get a runaway welfare state as they are totally INCAPABLE of policing/monitoring who is really needy and who is pretending to be needy.

    For me, drug addicts are not needy. Winos are not needy. Fat people are not needy. Stupid people are not needy. But governments will decide that these folks are indeed truly needy if you allow them to make the decision. Fuck that. Charity has to be a private function, or you will invariably end up in an overblown welfare state.

    Take the proportion of my taxes paid on welfare and give it to private charities, and the truly needy will be covered and the free shit army scum will either work or starve. And I am reasonably happy either way.

  11. “Take the proportion of my taxes paid on welfare and give it to private charities, and the truly needy will be covered and the free shit army scum will either work or starve. And I am reasonably happy either way.”

    I’m actually for this solution. I thought you were proposing a complete eradication of all forms of assistance lol

  12. TPC – hell no. People do get in situations where they need help. And I am all for helping. But I have no sympathy for those that do not want to work in order to survive. For those I do not have any sympathy whatsoever. The idea that people have a right to be maintained in perpetuity by someone else is ridiculous and unsustainable.

  13. Such a warm caring article. I would go on but our society falling apart soon well take care of the government giving out money.Most people are a paycheck or two away from joining the homeless.
    Soon you well see the scariest people,the ones that are hungry.
    Our problems well be different and hard,i recommend being able to show some empathy.

  14. “Soon you well see the scariest people,the ones that are hungry.”

    I guarantee you those selfish sons-o-bitches aren’t half as scary as those are willing to lay down their lives to defend whats theirs.

  15. “Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.”

    Thomas Jefferson

  16. We’re all nazi serfs now….might as well don the reptilian camouflage and sign up with the next FSA you’re most eligible to enter. The liberty battle was lost over a century ago.
    Our Totalitarian Regulatory Bureaucracy
    It may sound shocking to some, but modern-day America compares “favorably” to fascist Germany of the 1930s with regard to the degree to which the state interferes with and controls economic activity. First of all, government expenditures at all levels of government account for about 40 percent of national income. It differs by a few percentage points, year by year, but it has been in the 40 percent range in the past few years. This doesn’t count all of the off-budget government agencies that exist at the federal, state, and local levels of government as James Bennett and I documented in our book, Underground Government: The Off-Budget Public Sector. If this is included, government expenditures as a percentage of national income would be at least 45 percent, which is not so far from the 53 percent in Nazi Germany that Hayek alluded to.

    In addition, as George Reisman pointed out in “The Myth that Laissez Faire Is Responsible for Our Present Crisis,” there are nine executive-branch cabinet departments in the federal government that exist for the purpose of regulating, controlling, and regimenting housing, transportation, healthcare, education, energy, mining, agriculture, labor, and commerce. That pretty much covers the entire economy.

    n sum, it would be very difficult to argue against the proposition that the US economy today is even more heavily controlled, regulated, and regimented by the state than Germany was at the time Hayek wrote The Road to Serfdom. Americans have travelled many miles down the road to serfdom by deluding themselves that the god of democracy will somehow save them from statist slavery. But as Hayek warned 56 years ago, “There is no justification for the belief that, so long as power is conferred by democratic procedure, it cannot be arbitrary…”

    The exercise of arbitrary or dictatorial power is, of course, the whole purpose and function of all those agencies, commissions, and czars.

  17. for Jingoist Jismin’ John…. thank God for the millions who bravely defeated those damn dastardly Hawaiians and Filipinos ,else we’d all be speaking Hawaiian or Tagalog.

    And for what it’s worth, those damn Chileans don’t want none of US!

    June 5, 2012
    So THAT’S What ‘OUR Vital Interests’ Are
    Posted by Thomas DiLorenzo on June 5, 2012 08:54 AM

    Every time the neocons instigate another war, as they are now trying to do with Iran and Syria, they declare that “WE” must do so to protect “OUR” vital interests in “the region.” There is never, ever, any definition of WHAT those “interests” are. This of course is because “WE” the people have nothing to gain at all from any of these wars, and are simply forced to pay for them. The great William Graham Sumner described what these “interests” apparently are in War and Other Essays:

    “We were told that we needed Hawaii in order to secure California. What shall we now take in order to secure the Philippines? . . . We shall need to take China, Japan, and the East Indies . . . in order to ‘secure’ what we have. Of course this means that . . . we must take the whole earth in order to be safe on any part of it, and the fallacy stands exposed.”

    Update: Yesterday’s news reported that the U.S. military now has an expanded presence in Chile.

  18. Greece Warns of Going Broke as Tax Proceeds Dry Up


    ATHENS — As European leaders grapple with how to preserve their monetary union, Greece is rapidly running out of money.

    Government coffers could be empty as soon as July, shortly after this month’s pivotal elections. In the worst case, Athens might have to temporarily stop paying for salaries and pensions, along with imports of fuel, food and pharmaceuticals.

    Officials, scrambling for solutions, have considered dipping into funds that are supposed to be for Greece’s troubled banks. Some are even suggesting doling out i.o.u.’s.

    Greek leaders said that despite their latest bailout of 130 billion euros, or $161.7 billion, they face a shortfall of 1.7 billion euros because tax revenue and other sources of potential income are drying up. A wrenching recession and harsh budget cuts have left businesses and individuals with less and less to give for taxes — and growing incentive to avoid paying what they owe.

    The budget gap is widening as the so-called troika of lenders — the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission — withholds 1 billion euros in bailout money earmarked for government financing while it waits to see whether new leaders elected June 17 will honor Greece’s commitments.

    Even if the troika delivers that money, Greece will struggle to cover its obligations. It underscored a harsh reality that is playing out in other troubled euro zone economies. Prolonged austerity is making it harder, not easier, for governments like Greece to become self-reliant again.

    A top Spanish official acknowledged on Tuesday that Spain could not readily return to the markets to raise money because investors are demanding such high rates, highlighting how the debt crisis is spreading to larger economies in Europe.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said a day earlier that European leaders needed to find a way to create the political union that the world is looking for to complement their monetary union. European officials took a small step in that direction Tuesday by proposing a central authority for banking regulation, which would require countries to give up a bit of cherished sovereignty.

    An essential element of Greece’s recovery plan has been to collect more taxes from a population that has long engaged in tax avoidance. The government is owed 45 billion euros in back taxes, tax officials in Athens said, only a fraction of which will ever be recovered.

    To understand the difficulty, just talk to Nikos Maitos, a longtime official in Greece’s financial crimes investigation unit.

    When he and a team of inspectors recently prowled the recession-hit island of Naxos for tax evaders, a local radio station broadcast his license plate number to warn residents.

    “One repercussion of the crisis is that people are harder to find,” Mr. Maitos, an imposing, burly man, said last week in his sweltering office on the edge of Athens. “And when you do find them, they don’t have money.”

    Even tax collectors, who have had to take large pay cuts, find that budget reductions make it hard to pay for the gasoline needed to reach their targets.

    “After two and a half years of austerity, it’s really a difficult time to bring in revenue,” said Harry Theoharis, a senior official in the Greek Finance Ministry who helps oversee the country’s tax payment system. “You can’t keep flogging a dead horse.”

    Salaries and pensions in the private and the public sectors have been cut by up to 50 percent, leaving Greece 495 million euros short of its revenue targets in the four months ended in April, according to the Greek Finance Ministry. With less cash, consumers have curbed spending, leading thousands of taxpaying businesses to fail.

    Income expected from a higher, 23 percent value-added tax required by the bailout agreement has fallen short by around 800 million euros in the first four months of 2012. That is partly because cash-short businesses that were once law-abiding have started hiding money to stay afloat, tax officials said.

    Greece’s General Accounting Office said recently that the state collected 25 percent less revenue in May than it did a year earlier. And the state has had to slash its goal of raising 50 billion euros from privatizations to just 3 billion euros as foreign investors lose interest.

    That has left a caretaker government scrambling for a Plan B. One thought is to take billions of euros reserved for recapitalizing Greek banks, which have suffered from a flight of deposits amid political uncertainty and fears that Greece may abandon the euro for its own currency. But using that money would require the troika’s approval. Other notions, like i.o.u.’s and scrip, so far are only that — ideas.

    To some extent, government officials said the tax-avoiding mentality is starting to change amid an aggressive enforcement campaign aimed at 500 wealthy individuals and companies, including former ministers and heads of state agencies and enterprises. People took notice in April when a former defense minister was arrested on charges of corruption and making false declarations related to his income and taxes.

    “They are awed when they see inspectors now because of recent cases showing people will be prosecuted or made to pay,” Mr. Maitos said.

    Tax collectors got another potential lift recently when the government started enforcing a 1995 law that gives them access to bank accounts of suspected tax evaders.

    But Nikos Lekkas, a top official at the financial crimes agency where Mr. Maitos works, said Greek banks had obstructed nearly 5,000 requests for account data since 2010.

    “The banks delay sending the information for 8 to 12 months,” he said. “And when they do, they send huge stacks of documents to make it confusing. By the time we can follow up, much of the money has already fled.”

    In the past two years, the agency managed to assess back taxes worth 650 million euros on 210 of the cases, he said. But only 65 percent could be collected.

    One challenge lies in what Mr. Lekkas calls the big fish — 18,300 offshore businesses belonging to wealthy Greek individuals and companies. Authorities are trying to trace the owners through property records, and they recently seized several large properties linked to offshore companies whose owners owe tens of millions of euros to the state.

    That leaves collectors having to go after mostly smaller tax evaders, often with mixed results.

    During a surveillance trip on the resort island of Santorini, Mr. Maitos said he and two colleagues observed a gas station owner insisting on cash-only transactions to avoid declaring taxes. When confronted, the man lashed at them with a bullwhip while cursing the state for taking his money.

    Officials said things might improve drastically once Greece’s entire tax system is computerized, a move that is supposed to be completed by the end of this year.

    Charalambos Nikolakopoulos, the head of the Greek tax collectors’ union, said there was no need for outsiders to straighten things out.

    “Yes, we need change,” Mr. Nikolakopoulos said. “But things will only improve in Greece when we get a stable government that will impose its political will.”

    Niki Kitsantonis contributed reporting from Athens and Paul Geitner from Brussels.

  19. Chicago, I love your plan. We could incorporate llpoh’s suggestions also by making it the last step. So, we start at the top with big corporate and ag subsidies, then hit the middle class entitlements, then tackle fraud at the food stamp level, as well as enact stringent requirements, and then the last step would be to transfer the small number of people remaining on entitlements over to a private charity system.

    Yesterday, elsewhere on the web, I read a comment by a retired teacher who talked about the problems in the school system. She referred to the large number of parents who turn their kids over to whatever government system exists because they are so busy working multiple minimum wage jobs that they don’t have the resources to be involved themselves.

    I wanted to scream. People working multiple minimum wage jobs should not be having kids! Clearly they have neither time nor money. It is not my job to buy you all the kids you want to have, or to provide for their educational and other needs. This is the root cause of most of our problems. You have all these broke dummies having kids even though they have no business being parents for at least ten more years, if ever, and the rest of us keep bailing them out because we feel sorry for the kids. The best solution I can come up with so far is birth control in the water.

  20. Kill Bill said

    “Greece hopped in bed with investment banksters.


    Pension Funds jumped in bed with investment banksters!


    Fucking “Bubble Barons!”

  21. Administrator, I’m flattered by your offer and I’m glad you like my comments on this issue. I like your blog and would like to be a contributor at some point.

    But I might not be able to contribute as often as I would like, or you would like. I’ve been very irregular in posting on my own blog because of work-related duties and the urgent need to find better employment since my hours were reduced, so I’ve been funneling most of my energies into things that might bring in money.

  22. I love the clever solutions to the entitlement fraud problem. Good for a few laughs. Like in Rome, the right to relief is hereditary. It’s never going to end until it’s all wiped out. Until then, it’s a parasite’s delight. I can’t rationally pay taxes so people can sit home on their fat asses, smoke, drink, take drugs (legal and illegal), get paid to reproduce, get free cash, free food, free healthcare, free meds, free cell phones, free gas. Oh wait, I don’t have a choice. I pay or I go to jail. They still get their free shit, no matter what. Getting paid to reproduce and vote. Why should you have to work? That’s for some other sucker.



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