Thursday, December 01, 2011

Cultures of Corruption

How Broke States Export Failure to Washington

The fifty states of the United States have just been ranked according to how "well-run" they are. 

Guess what?  California now comes in dead last.  The state has an A- credit rating, the lowest in history for any state.  It has the second-highest unemployment rate in the country. 

The "Golden State" is blessed with abundant natural and human resouces: the world's biggest trees, glorious mountains and coast (thus home to the world's leading film industry), oil (lying undeveloped off her coast), Mickey Mouse, Hollywood, vast acreage in some of the planet's prime farmland, the geniuses of Silicon Valley who create and run the planet's information systems.  How did the state blow so many advantages so badly?

And is it coincidence that the woman more responsible for more debt than perhaps any other human being in history, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House during the Years of Debt, and who epitomizes the Democratic Party that controls the state, comes from San Francisco?

Number two on the list is Illinois.

Yes, the home of Rod Blagojevich, and a long line of other ex-governor convicts.

Also, of course, the home of a Chicago politician who voted for, and now rather passively and petulantly presides over, the massive growth in national debt under Nancy Pelosi's watch: Barack H. Obama.

Another coincidence?

The third worst-run state is Michigan, home of the unions to which the Democratic Party is so deeply indebted.

Arizona is next worst, then Nevada, home of Harry Reid, majority leader of the US Senate.  Again the theme of Vegas-style spending -- it shames Vegas, actually -- housing bubble, then collapse, links local fortunes to what the most powerful politician from Vegas has been doing at the Great Roulette Table in Washington.

Two other Democratic strongholds do better in the standings, but also lustrate this trend by their faults.  Connecticut, home to Chris Dodd, is ranked as 22nd best run state -- but has the 4th highest per capita debt.  Massachusetts, home to Barney Frank, is ranked 20th WORST-run state (all those universities and their economic spin-offs no doubt keep it from sinking lower), but is highest of all in per capita debt. 

Dodd and Frank, of course, just "reformed" the bank regulatory system, after (many say) being largely responsible for the debacle they were supposedly fixing.  (And some say their "fix" is causing far more problems than it will solve.)

This is not mainly a political blog.  I recognize that many people who share my views on religion or philosophy may differ from me on politics. I don't want to offend Democrats who read it for insight on other issues. 

But the world economy is going over Niagara Falls in a barrel right now.  Record floods of government spending are the force dragging us over those falls.  The rocks and shoals below those falls must also be part of any good map of the world. 

Each American is now indebted $45,000 to people they don't know, for services already rendered by a bloated national government.  That's $180, 000 for a family of 4.  You will now pay tens of thousands of dollars in the next ten years, merely for INTEREST on this debt -- for nothing, in other words.  After that, it is only due to get worse.   

The bubble will burst, in Greece, Spain, Italy, and in the US.  Lives will be ruined on a massive scale, because of our unrestrained indulgence.  The next generation, and the generation after that, will have to pay for all of this, and try (even as we compete with a renewed China and India) to pick up the pieces. 

The less money we have to spend, the less good we can do in the world, when we really have the chance to do good. 

Republicans have played a major role in this over-spending, no doubt.   A year ago, the party cleaned house a bit by electing a number of representatives who seem serious about dealing with Entitlements and pork-barrel spending.  They have not been able to accomplish much yet, however, because the opposing party has chosen to obstruct almost every serious reform proposal, even villifying those trying to cut spending as trying to "push Grandma over a cliff." 

So Democrats: please recognize the even larger role your leaders have played in this "generational theft," as John McCain aptly called  it.  This may be the great moral issue of our day.  Please recognize the pattern, the danger, and the spiritual nature of the crisis.  Please call your representatives to account, demand real, even painful cuts in spending, and let's get on the same page and clean up the "culture of corruption" that is destroying the Western world.


Anonymous said...

ManhattanMC sez:

What a surprise to find you have drunk deep of the repug kool aid.
Believing ridiculous things without proof all one's life leaves one vulnerable to such idiocy t would seem.

Alzheimer Reagan raised the national debt by 189%
Bush the less stupid by 55%
Clinton by 37%
Bush the more disasterous and stupider by 115%
Obama by 16%.

And Obama got stuck with G W's bills.

shame on you.

David B Marshall said...

Anonymous: I can see why you put the bag over your head.

First of all, spending isn't determined by the president. We have three branches of government, one call the "legislative." This is the branch that passes spending bills. The president has some input, but in many ways he is the junior partner.

Reagan, for example, was always fighting Congress over spending levels. Do you imagine Tip O'Neil was pushing for lower spending? Hah.

It was the other way around between Clinton and Gingrich. WHo do you imagine restrained who in that relationship?

Nancy Pelosi was the Speaker of the House beginning in January 2007. "Coincidentally," just then the deficit took a sharp turn upwards. (Supported by Senators Reid and Obama in the Senate.)

Second, I said quite clearly that Republicans have in the past also spent way too much money.

Third, you've got your figures wrong, and your logic tangled. One does not judge deficits by percentage increase, but in absolute terms. In eight years of Bush, the total increase in debt was only about a third more than Obama in three years:

David B Marshall said...

Fourth, in 2010 Republicans finally elected a Congress, led by Paul Ryan, that is serious about dealing with entitlements. Democrats have responded not by seriously engaging them, but by demogoguing and demonizing them, even as the country slides towards the precipice.

The point of the OP is that it is time for ordinary Democrats to get rid of the crooks and demogogues on their side of the aisle, and elect serious men and women who are ready to pull their heads out of the sand and deal with the problem, finally. But obviously you aren't about to help out.