Shadows & Light

A B/W of a photo I took yesterday morning near Portage Lake.

The photo fits my mood as the writing on the financial wall becomes ever so much clearer.
Rather than a repudiation of failed policies and a return to sound fiscal management, our so-called leaders, those who think they know more than us, have decided to throw gasoline on the fire.
A couple of weeks ago, the media was shocked, shocked to learn that in Cyprus, part of the solution would be to seize a portion the savings held in its banks. Needless to say this didn't go down so well with some people, you know the type, those who work hard, save money, plan for a modest retirement, that kind of non-sense. Let's call them Kulaks.
After the 'unexpected' outrage, the government backed off a bit and decided to only take the savings of those who had accumulated 'more'. Damned Kulaks. That way it would be somehow made more palatable to the rest, or more morally justified because they had more than others, so they must have gotten it illegally, or through some dodgy scheme, right?

But this is just the beginning, Portugal came out with the brilliant idea of paying its workers in treasury bills. Not to be outdone Austrailia quietly doubled its tax on retirement savings. So instead of letting the market take care of the bad loans foolishly made, the government and the central banks will now step in with our tax dollars to protect the well connected few from the effects of their selfishness & greed.

I received "The Great Deformation" by David Stockman this past week. Though not finished with it yet, I recommend this book to everyone. In it Stockman spares no one. So he has already attracted the wrath of conservatives and liberals alike. I think he makes many uncomfortable by speaking truths they would rather not hear.

From the first chapter,
"In the second decade of the twenty-first century, America is faltering under the weight of a dual crisis. Its public sector teeters on the ragged edge of political dysfunction and fiscal collapse. At the same time, its private enterprise foundation has morphed into a speculative casino which swindles the masses and enriches the few. These lamentable conditions are the Janus-faces of crony capitalism - a mutant regime which now threatens to cripple the nation's bed-rock institutions of political democracy and the free market economy."
 I recommend this book to anyone.
Finally, some quotes. I can't vouch for the accuracy of the sources, but I have to agree with the sentiments expressed;

1.In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress.
-- John Adams

2. If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.
-- Mark Twain

3. Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself.
-- Mark Twain

4. I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
-- Winston Churchill

5. A government which robs Pete r to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.
-- George Bernard Shaw

6. A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.
-- G. Gordon Liddy

7. Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
-- James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

8. Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
-- Douglas Casey, Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University

9. Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.
-- P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian

10. Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
-- Fred eric Bastiat, French economist(1801-1850)

11. Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
-- Ronald Reagan (1986)

12. I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
-- Will Rogers

13. If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free!
-- P.J. O'Rourke

14. In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
-- Voltaire (1764)

15. Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you!
-- Pericles (430 B.C.)

16. No man's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.
-- Mark Twain (1866)

17. Talk is cheap...except when Congress does it.
-- Anonymous

18. The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.
-- Ronald Reagan

19. The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
-- Winston Churchill

20. The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.
-- Mark Twain

21. The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

22. There is no distinctly Native American criminal class...save Congress.
-- Mark Twain

23. What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
-- Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)

24. A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
-- Thomas Jefferson

25. We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
-- Aesop