Beyond the Cusp

February 11, 2016

Obama’s Massive Budget Proposes but Misses All Marks

 

The Congress will be debating a budget which manages to miss a number of vital areas while spending massive amounts on failed programs and is designed to expand dependence on government programs, expanding programs designed to replace the need for employment forming a self-enforced permanent reliance. Many of the new permanently unemployed who have completely resigned to their current fate and have adapted to a lifestyle more conducive to a retired person complete with a number of friends in the same lifestyle and probably virtual on-line friends in a game or chat room who meet every day for their entertainment used to fill the day while some take on a lifestyle of a self-imposed solitary confinement with hopefully a friend or relative who makes occasional contact allowing for at least a minimal level of human interaction. These are people who have fallen through the cracks finding government programs for their support and sustenance. They know where to get food and live either with their parents or other relative or with a group of man living in a rented apartment or in Section 8 Housing. These are people who have accepted that they have failed and have little if any motivation to improve their lot in life. There will be funds for these people and if they vote we can guess which party is their choice as their existence depends on government teat to nurture them. If only our military personnel were so well cared for, but one has to have their priorities after all.

 

This budget will needfully be augmented by whoever wins the Presidential contest next fall, and that cannot come fast enough. This makes this budget President Obama’s final shot at remaking the United States into nothing more than another demilitarized socialist European failing state. Other than the first budget he proposed and got passed by a Democrat Congress which had complete control over both houses, Congress also passed his next spending increase in a supplemental budget in some way with almost every piece of legislation adding to the demand for more revenue from a tax strapped and wounded economy which groaned and struggled under the ever increasing burden. It seemed the only places cash strapped under the Obama years was national defense and the space program. To be fair the space program appears to be the whipping boy of every politician whose aim it is to reel in a runaway budget. Have you ever noticed that the NASA budget, when it comes time to make cuts, is always given in billions of dollars and never like other parts which are mentioned in percentages of spending? There is a reason which becomes crystal clear once you understand the actual size of the NASA budget. The dirty little secret is that the NASA budget has seldom reached beyond 2 1/2 % and ever since the end of the moon race has never cleared 1 1/2 % and usually hovered around ¾ of 1% of the budget, that is 0.75% which is almost nonexistent but when said in billions of dollars it sound enormous, or ginormous as a very young child once exclaimed while watching television. So, on we go to other budget realities.

 

The defense budget, it’s a monstrous piece of the budget, right? Wrong. Actually the peace time military usually runs on under 9% of the budget. The one wasteful part of the budget is the now approaching 25% of the budget which is used to pay the interest on the national debt, the interest which means the actual debt never gets paid down. This is even worse than paying your monthly minimum on your charge cards as even those include payment beyond just “servicing” your debt. We all understand that should we not charge more on our cards that this minimum payment will eventually drop to zero as we will have paid off our debt in full. Not the Federal Government, they pay what we would call a default payment where they pay off the interest and allow the actual principle to remain untouched thus they could pay the interest rate forever and never have the debt grow any smaller. I hear you and you are correct, that is no way to run a budget. Still this paying off only the interest will force deficit spending as there would be no other manner of paying off the debt. So, that payment may have grown since the last time we came across the actual numbers on that debt demand. Another 30% goes to all the benefits and Social Security based payments and another 30% on corporate welfare and the remainder which is, let’s do the math, NASA and the Defense budgets equals 10% plus debt service is 25% and support payments combined is 60% and we are at 95% and not even begun to talk about simply running the government we would be wise to end our outlays and use that remaining 5% to cover any unexpended necessities which may come around, but no, that amount is eaten up largely by the operating payment which easily found uses for any remaining cash as long as it is not used to pay off principle of the debt as that would make sense.

 

With the budget covering all the massive increases, as it has since his first Obama budget gave unfathomable increases that set the tone for the remainder of budgets, government spending is, as logic would dictate, out of control. This was an intentional ploy as now the cost of living increases themselves was sufficiently large that many agencies have been strapped for ways to spend their new levels of funding; but still each was then sufficiently charged with new outlays that their percentage of the budget increased well beyond that 5% limitation. That paltry 5% was insignificant when compared to the demands that legislation would place on the government such as added programs and the expansion of programs such that they were tasked with making payments sometimes to larger and larger sectors of society. One easily provided example was the lengthening of the time one could collect unemployment before being dropped from the roles. The same was occurring at the welfare offices as more people found themselves eligible for added benefits and the increase in people found to be disabled, all of these categories add up and very soon one is talking about real outlays running smack against deficit spending and an increased debt. The worrisome item is how much additional outlays will be required for the military to continue to operate at a level well in advance of other nations who, such as China and Russia, are attempting to supplant the United States as the hegemon. Russia is doing exactly that in the Middle East and Eastern Europe while China is targeting the Western Pacific Ocean and Asia.

 

The two main problems facing the United States will require the next President to address two areas and decide exactly what they intend to do to mitigate the problems. The first and potentially lesser of the problems is simply supporting the military and restoring it with additional funding to cover the development and training of the soldiers on new and more advanced equipment. The F-22 Raptor should be put back into production and the full rostrum originally intended should be resumed. There are a number of other areas where upgrades or replacement is necessary or approaching at an unanticipated rate. One such item is space defense which would protect vital satellites from attack, especially ground based attacks. The other would be an overhaul of the weapons utilized by the military. Improved individual weapon systems and squad defense systems need upgrading or replacement. A new infantry weapon is desperately needed and the new weapon will need to be sufficient to fire a round which will penetrate the personal armor currently used by other militaries and many terrorist groups who have been able to acquire such defensive systems. Another replacement, actually supplemented, is the ability to project force overseas from within the United States to any point on the map within four hours. There has been a plan for a space plane which involves a low earth orbit to be attained and then a controlled reentry would place a squad of soldiers anywhere required. A coordinated launch of sufficient numbers of the crafts could relocate entire companies and even brigades and have them operational within three hours, comfortably within the requirements. New armor, specifically heavy and moderate tanks and the design of an armored personnel carrier (APC) which is mine resistant and adaptable enough to perform transport of any company or brigade troop safely and with relative comfort and a seating capacity for thirty-five men and their equipment. ROV and self-sufficient robotic systems should be urgently placed at the front of DARPA priorities thus leading to fast track readiness for these systems which are required for multiple tasks.

 

 

Super Soldier Outfitted with Helmets, Reactive Body Armor, Unit Identification, Full Battle Field Interface, Text to Unit and Individual, Drone Interface, Full Level Integration from Unit to Command, Exo-Skeleton Strength Assist, Enemy Positions Known and Suspected, Unit and Command View What Soldier Sees

Super Soldier Outfitted with Helmets, Reactive Body Armor, Unit Identification,
Full Battle Field Interface, Text to Unit and Individual, Drone Interface,
Full Level Integration from Unit to Command, Exo-Skeleton Strength Assist,
Enemy Positions Known and Suspected, Unit and Command View What Soldier Sees

 

 

Above the rebuilding of military hardware, power projection, logistics at all levels; the modern warfare future infantry soldier systems need full field testing and provability of aims which include integrating the soldier in the field with access to the same information as command and control is looking at plus gives them locations of all friendlies in the area of operation as well as known and suspected enemy locations and demarking landmarks as known cleared, unknown or known enemy occupied. The systems also permit the squad or platoon to spread over a larger area as each man knows the position of the unit to their right and left and allows for moving inline and giving orders, warnings or other pertinent or mission critical information through test allowing for quiet movement in possible enemy areas. These systems also link to drones, aerial and ground based, with both camera view and location scanned. This also gives command a better view of where assets on the ground actually are and they thus are not depending on “they should be here by now” and other inaccuracies. These systems being given testing by trial in mock training situation making them mission tested and ready to deploy should we require boots on the ground, and if the President does not desire boots on the ground, American troops are versatile if nothing else, they can wear sneakers and if that is too formal they could try wearing flip-flops but movement would be slowed.

 

The other area which is vital for the United States to address as it is also quite necessary for the world economy as well. The United States debt ceiling must be lowered and the debt decreased. This is not payment on the debt as it is now used, namely paying the interest payment and not touching the principle except to raise it half way through the year and then bumping it up every six weeks as you pass continuing resolution and refusing to pass a budget such that nobody can keep track of spending and the debt can be adjusted every couple of weeks as another extension of the budget with a ten percent increase over the last continuing resolution as we have to allow for a little manageable debt. This has been one of President Obama’s greatest deceits, the creeping debt ceiling where every continuing resolution grants the President the power to raise the debt ceiling an apparently insignificant amount always given as a percentage of GDP and never on actual billions or tens of billions of dollars, one billion dollars is one fourth of one percent, 0.25% or 1/4% (all if my math is remotely accurate), which appears insignificant until somebody breaks the news that that is half of the NASA budget which was considered wasteful. The other matter is these continuing resolutions pile up until you have as many as ten and always at the least five so we will give you the increase if there are merely seven continuing resolution each increasing the debt ceiling by 0.25%. Such an insignificant amount results in increasing the debt ceiling by a whopping 1.75% increase which if the debt is at $10,000,000 then at years end it would be over $10,725,000 which is a lot more than a simple one quarter of one percent raise they claimed they made because they made that increase multiple times. The actual increase from a ¼ % increase one needs to multiple 1.0025 times itself as many times as it was complimented thus making the formula for the actual increase to be (1.0025)n where n=the number of continuing resolutions. The debt ceiling being raised is probably the greatest threat to the future economy which means a threat to any military presence and influence over the world the United States would be financially capable of sustaining.

 

President Obama could be considered the John Lenin, not the Vladimir Lenin though that argument could be made, where he only added one verse to the song Imagine:

Imagine there is no America,
forcing her morals and opulence upon the world,
its catastrophic if it happens,
it’s easy if you try,
just look back to 1919,
when the system failed and left much in disarray.

For those confused, 1919 saw the greatest drop in the stock market value and almost all industry froze expecting a very long, long, long winter and governments were in a panic over what to do. They discussed nationalizing industry as they had misread the populace’s demands, and then there was the imposition of standards and regulations such that government and industry would cooperate. There was no upper limit to proposals and that was the magic. Every couple of days some economist played out the reasons for the crash and the required steps necessary to repair the problem such that it never occurs again. No two were alike as to what to do. Governments in Europe and the United States as well as elsewhere which were struck by the economic crunch debated and debated then debated further for quite a while. There was never a consensus and the government appeared as frozen as the economy and the crisis continued for almost a year and a half without government intervention to save the day. Finally the crisis calmed and reason prevailed and the government did that which was best, absolutely nothing beyond making great and historic speeches which nobody today remembers. The recovery came completely free of any government actions and quite probably because of no government action. The worst economic crisis which the history books refuse to cover was not in 1929 or anywhere through the 1930’s and that disaster only affected the United States where the government took immediate and necessary actions while in Europe the government, as in 1919, debated until the economy recovered on its own in about eighteen months while the United States went from one cure to another like a fish floundering out of the water. Will we ever learn, nope, that can be proven by asking random people simple question concerning something not taught any longer, civics. Simple questions like what are the three branches of government, how many members in the House of Representatives, how many electors in the Electoral College. My favorite is to take a copy of the Declaration of Independence modernized version and tell people you are collecting signature such that this document will need to be voted upon and potentially become adopted by the government but you need signatures to meet some set number. Watch the people freak out and call you so many varied and different names such as fascist, anarchist, communist and any number of other things all meant as pejoratives and insult.

 

Lastly, to make a few comments on this fall’s Presidential elections in the United States. The person elected to office will be initially critical to Israel. The growing crisis in Europe over the refugees will result inevitably in violence like never witnessed before. The reactions will propel the world onto yet another conflagration where the ending volley will come as a response to Iranian nuclear strikes on the United States. When communications break down in the usual levels and the conflict has proceeded to a point where a conflagration is sure to follow, the fleet commanders out to sea in submarines and surface vessels and all the bases around the world will do as their letters of command instruct, to the best of their ability determine who or plural who was/were responsible for the attack which broke off their communications links with all commands and take whatever measures are possible to mitigate the situation. If the nuclear submarines, boomers, determine or are informed that nuclear weapons were utilized in an assault on the United States, they will launch their missiles in order to eradicate the enemy which thusly destroyed the United States. Some nations believe that the United States is no different than them and only has a few number of vessels not in harbor safe and sound rather than roaming all points in the globe lurking in the depths awaiting commands and when not receiving such assuming that their bases were destroyed so they would contact the ranking officer outside the mainland and receive their new orders. These orders would take into consideration the launch point and nation behind the launch or assisting these attackers anywhere on the planet and launch nuclear Armageddon upon them such that there be nothing left for the twelfth Imam to come save. As the old commercials used to say, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!” This version would be along the lines of, “It’s not survivable to fool with America” as her assets around the globe will kill you very completely. In conclusion, if the United States can instead of policing micro-aggressions at home and inspecting their navels, would instead look at the real and serious threats around the globe and address them in some assertive manner, then they would allow the real threats to be known and scheduled for destruction immediately and completely with no reservations or considerations for their populations, and should target and eliminate by any means necessary any credible and identifiable threats from abroad as they likely targeted locations which would directly affect families and friends back home. The American military need only break things and then simply advise that remaining population that they correct their governance and attitudes about all things of immediate concern otherwise the American military will return, break everything and give the survivors the same challenge, and repeating this cycle as long as necessary until any new governance poses no discernable threat to the United States or her allies. But there is the definite possibility the next American presence in the world will more appear as weak-willed and incompetent governance based on the people making the call through their elected representatives which if weak-willed would lead to their electing their own representatives for all the wrong reasons and falling for flashy commercials and tired old promises made every election cycle. America is, as Ronald Reagan pointed out, the last best hope for freedom in the world and that was correct. What he got wrong was should America as the beacon of democracy die, there will continue to be a beacon for democracy as there is another which can carry the seed though would be pressed to spread it through more than a value preserved and ready for when men’s souls yearn for freedom and seek within them such fortitude to risk all to fulfill their dream. Israel can be that spark but the nations of the world will need to provide the fuel that will light the fires of hope, freedom, liberty, justice, equality, and a will to risk everything they have to give their children the freedom they must in turn preserve. Freedom is a small flickering flame which can be fueled to burn so brightly, but also will become merely glowing embers which soon turn charcoal black and give off little if any heat unable to rekindle the flames. Those embers of freedom are currently losing their heat throughout Europe and America is trailing not all that far behind. Time is limited but ripe for a new burst of freedom; the next elections may be the determining factor between freedom and hopelessness engulfing much of the world. Will men and women realize and answer the challenge.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

October 8, 2013

The Ugly Side of a Government Shutdown

The Federal Government shutdown has turned ugly and vindictive by design with the Administration going through each and every service, historic sites, museums, web portals and other various forms of public-government interaction with an eye to shutting down anything and everything which would cause the public harm and inconvenience. They then claim that the Republicans own the shutdown and that the President feels the pains and hardships the public are experiencing and President Obama claims that the Republicans will not negotiate with him over the budget. This is the biggest fabrication I have ever heard from any politician even including President Nixon’s claim that he is “not a crook.” Some examples pretty much make obvious where the closings originate. At Andrews Air Force Base the PX is closed but the golf course which the President loves is open. The right lane of highways and byways from which one can snap pictures of Mount Rushmore have been coned off so people are unable to stop. The last straw and most unbelievable act committed by the Administration was forcing people, mostly elderly, to leave their homes which border Lake Meade claiming that since the government has found it impossible to guarantee services preventing possible harm such as flooding from endangering their lives, they must leave immediately. Many of those people had no clue that the government did anything other than monitor the Hoover Dam as far as protecting them and even understanding the extent and scope that the Administration has gone to in order to maximize harm to the people and citizens of the United States; I seriously doubt they have suspended monitoring the Hoover Dam. The almost ridiculous lengths employed to maximize harm has been unprecedented and should be the main critical consequence of the budget battle covered by the mainstream media but instead they simply follow the President’s lead claiming that the Republicans are the sole source of all evils emanating from the shutdown.

 

The future has taken on an ominous tinge due to a small fact that once any politician opens the door to a new venue of consequences or behaviors it becomes just another tool which virtually any politician from either party will add to their tool kit for future use. Future budget battles will now target services designed for the people which will be the first services where personnel will be furloughed in order to deny these services to the public. The fact that there have been some midlevel and operational workers reporting that they have been instructed to make the shutdown as inconveniencing and causing maximum hardships as they are able is the most frightening aspect of this shutdown. These specifically targeted closings of open air monuments where it is costing the government funds in order to barricade these places which under normal operation might entail their being cleaned periodically but otherwise operate at no cost to government is opening a level of vindictiveness that cannot be stressed too strongly. The same goes for the numerous sites such as Mount Vernon where private groups who take absolutely no government funds are being ordered to be shutdown presumably because the Federal Government services and provides upkeep for access roads or parking lots or even because they claim they will no longer be able to provide security support in case of an incident. These actions are simply an abomination revealing a level of contempt for the public by those in government who are behind these closures who, just like those responsible for the stand-down order during the assault in Benghazi, remain unidentified though it can be assumed they are high up in the Administration and their orders very probably come from the highest levels if not the President himself.

 

There is going to be a phase two to the budget battle approaching rapidly and that is raising the debt ceiling. The claims that raising the debt ceiling will not increase the actual level of United States government debt because it is only being increased to cover spending which has already been approved is false. If that argument sounds highly suspicious and disingenuous, then you very likely have a good grasp on budgeting and money handling. The fallacy in that argument is that once the government has made a commitment to provide services or other governmental functions which require funding that there is no way to fund these expenditures in the future other than by raising the debt limit in order to cover the expenditures. This would be the same idea as if you decided to take a vacation this summer and as the time for the vacation approached you did not make any adjustments to your daily expenditures nor decide to postpone some purchases and instead simply applied for a new charge card on which you would pay for everything while on vacation claiming that the new charge card was not going to increase the family’s level of indebtedness as you had decided on the vacation already so the new charge card to cover the expenditures was unavoidable. We can expect that should any members of the Congress suggest that there be spending cuts made to defray some of the future spending rather than simply take on all of the coming spending by taking the easiest route and just increasing the level of indebtedness of the United States Federal Government will be ridiculed by the President and his minions in the press. Some of the driving reasons that the debt limit is once again being crashed has a lot to do with the fact that there has yet to be a single budget passed during the entire Presidency of Barack Obama. This even includes the first two years of his first term when the Democrat Party held a filibuster proof majority of over sixty in the Senate and a comfortable majority in the House of Representatives which in theory should have allowed President Obama to pass any legislation and establish any program his heart desired. Despite this unopposable majority in Congress, President Obama never passed a single budget as even the Democrats attempted to prevent some of his spending and he never passed his Cap and Trade energy legislation though he did manage to force Obama Care through the Congress using brute force along a party line vote which had not a single Republican supporting the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act.

 

President Obama’s Presidency could be defined as an Administration which never found an increase or new expenditure it didn’t love. Since President Obama, possibly to his credit, did close down two fronts in what was originally labeled the War on Terror by ending much of our deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, there should have been a savings which would have been reflected in budgetary savings, lower debt, and an economic peace dividend. The fact that we not only did not receive such a bonus and instead have found ourselves raising the debt ceiling repeatedly and facing budgetary shortfalls and an anemic economic recovery if any is just another result of an Administration whose spending is completely out of control. President Obama has craftily and cunningly used Continuing Resolutions in order to compound the spending increases thus causing vast additional spending across the boards on social programs. Even draconian spending cuts to the Military budget and cuts to the NASA budget (which never garner much savings as the NASA budget is less than 1% of the total budget) have failed to balance the excessive added spending on existing social programs and on the new social programs initiated by the Obama Administration. Yet, when the debate over raising the debt ceiling begins we can expect the usual blame game claiming the Republicans are trying to refuse to pay for spending which has already been approved and that these despicable Republicans would default on the United States payments on her debt. There is not an ounce of truth in either of those accusations. The Treasury Department receives inflow of cash every day from the Internal Revenue Service and from other taxes, tariffs, fines, and other revenue sources which are vastly greater on a daily basis than is the scheduled debt payment. Simply put, the debt payment can be made out of what we could call ready cash which the government takes in each and every day. Any claim that by not raising the debt ceiling we would default on our debt payment is simple demagoguery and absolutely false, but I guess we have all gotten used to lies from Washington no matter which party has the majority.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

October 1, 2013

October Could Result as a Teaching Month for America

This month of October may end up teaching both Americans and anybody who wishes to pay attention some lessons in what has gone wrong with the United States Federal Government. These lessons could potentially be far more fright inducing than even the scariest Halloween costume and may have consequences far worse than even the nastiest prank gone bad. The lesson plan looks something like this; first lesson is the not so smooth rollout of Obama Care today, second lesson will be the shut-down of all nonessential government functions and the final lesson later this month could be what happens when the government runs completely out of borrowed monies as that is basically what the United States runs the government on, borrowed money. So, what are we to take from each of these examples of how not to run a business, organization or even a government?

 

The rollout of Obama Care today was supposed to feature health exchanges where people could go and find affordable, government approved health insurance. Anybody attempting to get in early and avoid the potential long lines as the deadline for having insurance approaches at the beginning of the new year, the very beginning as in right after the ball drops in Times Square or whichever time zone one resides, are going to probably be unhappy as at least thirty-five states have claimed they will not be ready on October 1 to issue health insurance through the exchange system and the majority claim it will be mid to late November before they will be even close to prepared to be up and limping. The Federal Government also is saying they will not quite be ready either and will also require at least six weeks before their system can be put to the test. The more that everybody looks at the difficulties the many separate appendages of the layers of government are having in getting even the basics out and ready in order to facilitate the start of Obama Care, perhaps the idea floated by some Republicans in Congress of simply postponing everything to do with Obama Care for one year, you know, just like all those businesses, unions, and others who were given one year waivers, so that then everybody will be on the same page instead of pushing a half-baked program on the people while allowing the President and Congress to play favorites with waivers and exemptions. I do believe that somewhere in the Amendments to the Constitution there is this cute little idea of equal protection and application of the law; I believe it is in the Fourteenth Amendment. One thing for sure, we can also gain a lesson on how the connected, powerful, wealthy and privileged classes are all dancing their way around being constrained by Obama Care while the ordinary Joe like most of us are being subjected to the whims of an untried system and we are going to be the guinea pigs who get to suffer the bumps, bruises and every trail first run error that this system that has been patched together on the fly just to even get it out over a month late. Does anybody really believe that the government will have even the slightest idea what they are doing by Christmas? I did not think so.

 

The second lesson could follow right on the heels of the rolling fiasco releasing Obama Care before its fully ready and functioning which would be a government shutdown due to the lack of funding set aside to run the Federal Government. The whole idea that we have been running the Federal Government of the United States on continuing spending bills is absolutely ludicrous and embarrassing in that our Federal representatives along with the President have been unable to agree on a budget to fund the Federal Government.  Producing an annual budget is presumably the first item of business the Congress is supposed to accomplish before they tackle anything else. The problem is partisan bickering or at least that has been the excuse for no budget being passed since the 2010 elections. The reason the excuse is not used for the two previous budgets not being agreed to and forcing continuing resolution be the manner for funding the government before then is simply because during the first two years of no budget both houses of Congress were so overwhelmingly Democrat that President Obama had a filibuster proof echo chamber for a Congress made up of members of his own party to an extent most Presidents could only dream about. Even with such a majority in both houses, the President and the Congress still were unable to produce a single budget. Truth is there has not been a budget passed since President Obama was sworn into office. There have been numerous theories and excuses pushed to try and explain why no budget has been passed during the Obama Presidency with the overt partisanship having become the number one excuse despite the inconvenient fact that even with an overwhelmingly Democrat Congress supporting President Obama there was no agreement and thus no budget. I have my own pet reason for there not being a budget and it even works for those first two years when there really was no other excuse not to have submitted and passed a formal budget. As long as there is no annual budget there can be no evaluations as to what the level of spending is related to other years by comparing the budgets. Furthermore, by using continuing resolution the spending for separate items can be passed separately and there can be numerous schedules such that there is no easily discerned way to total government expenditures for each year. One can also hide larger than normal increases in those areas and departments while using the lack of straightforwardness to deny increases or even make actual cuts to those areas where the President and his allies are inclined to do so. An example would be if you wished to increase a particular program’s spending allowance in the budget more than the usual say ten percent, all one need do is schedule it for receiving its funding monthly by continuing resolution and each month increase the spending by what at first appears to be the same ten percent but just as compound interest boosts your savings account and compound interest adds significantly to your mortgage total payment, it also greatly increases the budget well past the ten percent that you are claiming to use. Simply put, continuing resolutions as the method for approving government spending allows for far greater amounts of spending than would otherwise be budgeted if an annual budget were debated and enacted.

 

Should the Federal Government actually shutdown we would be treated to a lesson many of us should have already learned long ago, namely how little such a shutdown affects our daily lives. The Republicans are worried that they will get the blame for any government shutdown and they are therefore very likely to not find their spines and fold to whatever the President and the Democrat leadership demand just to avoid a partial shutdown. Partial, that is the word that everybody needs to put the emphasis on, not shutdown. If the Republicans were at all savvy they could utilize such a shutdown as a public learning experience in much the same way as the sequester turned out. President Obama spent weeks upon weeks warning how the sequester cuts would bring life as we know it to a standstill. He predicted near collisions due to no air traffic controllers, potential disasters from lack of health and other inspectors and the one item he got almost correct, long waits at airports for the TSA inspections. The thing was the lines at the airports were not any longer than normal but by simply having news crews and their cameras at some of the busiest airports during the busiest part of the day and the supervisor being instructed to send a number of his people on break at that time, instant photo-op of the sequester making life impossible. A government shutdown which only places what are deemed unessential personnel on leave, with pay if things are as they have been in past shutdowns as we cannot have these poor unfortunates go without their paychecks just because they are not working as it is not their fault their job is considered unessential, thus all essential services continue unfettered and hopefully smoothly. The Social Security checks, Food Stamps vouchers cards, Welfare payments, Air Traffic Controllers, FBI, CIA, IRS, BATFE and other enforcement personnel and all military personnel will remain at their posts doing their jobs. There is an inconvenience one might face, that would be the Federal Parks being closed, but the State Parks would still be operating as usual for an alternative. While I am aware that some of the Federal Government workers who fall under the classification of nonessential actually provide valuable services or are performing research and other tasks which are quite necessary; still, it does get one to thinking as to whether or not all of the nonessential Federal Government employees are really needed or could we actually do without some percentage and not notice any real difference? When one reads those articles which appear every so often which list some of the inane, insane, and utterly absurd items the Federal Government has either purchased or is researching and you just know that whoever approved these items we would have been better served had that unessential employee been dismissed before that fateful decision on how to waste our tax dollars. In all honesty, could we possibly get by without hiring any more unessential Federal Government employees for say five years and then just cut those positions that went vacant through attrition and start from there?

 

The final lesson coming in October is actually the culmination of our budgetary woes. Once again we have hit the debt ceiling which means that there is simply no money, in theory, to continue government. This problem has grown to the point where it has become a dangerous threat to the future and well-being of the United States. Up until approximately four years ago when the Federal Government reached the debt ceiling the Congress, usually at the behest of the President, had raised the debt ceiling and then the United States borrowed cash by selling bonds to foreign governments, most often this meant China. China reached their tipping point where should they buy additional United States bonds they risked those purchases having a negative effect on their economy. As China was the buyer of last resort for any large issuance of United States bonds, this caused difficulty in marketing additional bond releases. This resulted in a new and riskier arrangement where the Federal Reserve purchased the bonds. This becomes a problem for a myriad of reasons, many are very complicated and difficult to explain. Thomas Sowell has written a number of articles which explain some of these difficulties and is able to explain them such that they are understandable, or at least more so than most textbooks’ explanations. The first problem is the makeup of the Federal Reserve. Despite the inference in their name, the Federal Reserve is not an arm of the government. The Federal Reserve is a board made up of leading international bankers or at least board members and significant people of holdings in the world’s major banks. When they buy the United States Treasury Bonds, they are using the money which they hold which was supplied by the United States Treasury. This results in basically the Treasury printing money that this cabal of the world’s leading bankers and money manipulators then utilize to buy the Treasury Bonds thus returning the money to the Treasury who now place that money into the supply for the banks and markets as well as financing the Federal Government. This is often simply referred to as monetizing one’s debt which has always led eventually to, at best, simple inflation, and at worst, hyper-inflation such as what destroyed the Weimar Republic and has ruined other national economies throughout history including Rome. The other side of the coin is that if the debt ceiling is not raised, then it is possible that the United States would default on our interest payment on the debt. Contrary to what many believe, the only payments that have been made on the United States national debt have been payments to cover only the interest, the principle continues to grow ever larger and has not been paid down since before World War II. Should the United States default on their interest payments on the national debt, the credit rating would instantly drop below anything imaginable and the United States would be facing demands of payment on the principle, the actual debt which we back with our natural resources. The ensuing chaos and destruction would inevitably lead to only one thing, a war where the United States stood alone against the rest of the world, or at least those nations to whom we owe gold, money, or whatever. There would be no full faith and credit of the United States and the dollar would become worthless on the international exchanges. The full ramifications of such an event are unthinkable which is why there is absolutely no possibility that the fight to raise the debt ceiling will go any further than just before the next debt payment comes due. October should be a good month for those journalists who have their degrees in economics. I know I for one will be following Thomas Sowell very closely.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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