March 04, 2010

Hitting the wall

It happens sometimes, you just reach the end of your glycogen stores and crash. I can't think of much to say about the things I usually write about that really interests me at this point. The federal government has become functionally irrelevant to the American Commoner except as the one entity available which can leverage its dwindling credit to borrow money on the open market and ship it to the states. Think it through and you may agree with me. The states are mostly on the verge of, or actually in, bankruptcy, and (except for North Dakota) do not have a means of running budgets at long-term deficits. So it's up to Big Brother to operate its Big Payday Loan Company at the End of the Universe to scrape up money as fast as it can and send it out to the states. Otherwise, as bad as things are, they will get a great deal worse.

The Political Controversy Industry, meanwhile, must carry on with its usual function, which is to watch Washington, D.C. and comment on it. Those who say, with me, that D.C.'s function has dwindled to the governmental equivalent of Pledge Night on PBS must nevertheless say something every day about Congress, Obama, et cetera. This goes for the New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC, Fox, CNN, the Huffington Post, and all of the big-name bloggers (who write almost exclusively about national politics and finance). Everybody keeps their focus on the Big Picture only, the national scene, because that's the part that's "interesting" and newsworthy, although, to repeat, the federal government has absolutely nothing to do, at this point, other than to act as a line of credit. Thus, the Stimulus, Social Security and Medicare. The function of the feds in all three areas is exactly the same, collect money and ship it out.

The focus in Washington D.C. concerns mostly international conflict, Wall Street, health care "reform," and a few other fetishes, but these do not concern the American Commoner anymore. They are all conversations inside a bell jar of irrelevance. Millions and millions of Americans are out of work, many of them permanently, people are being turned out of their houses in droves, more and more people are unable to afford doctors, local public services are being eviscerated -- the list goes on and on in this Depression, which shows no signs of abating whatsoever (and indeed, cannot abate), and thus Washington's usual preoccupation with whether the elections in Iraq will be "fair," and whether some Afghan town called Marja or something has been "cleared, held and built" seems something of a cruel joke at this point, as if Washington is ignoring what is going on for the sake of being obtuse.

Whether the person being surveyed is a disgusted Democrat, a repelled Republican, a teed-off Tea Party member, or an indifferent Independent, the American people seem united (to the 79% level) with one thing and one thing only: they've had it with Washington, D.C. This seems like an entirely reasonable reaction. The federal government costs a lot of damn money and produces nothing whatsoever except the enrichment and aggrandizement of a group of insiders (Congress), and assorted fellow travelers in the defense and banking industries, who use the federal government's ability to tax (and to borrow) to ensure themselves of steady, opulent funding, whether or not the industries in question actually produce anything of value (which they do not). The American Commoner is not in any danger, at all, from any "foreign" power, and the terrorist threat pales in comparison to the domestic threat posed by increasing numbers of disenfranchised, destitute, desperate youth (or older, and well-armed as well). As everyone in the world knows, including all ordinary Americans, all foreign heads of state, Iran, everyone except a narrow band of war-game planners in the Situation Room at the White House, the United States can deal with any credible threat from any principality with one ICBM-carried hydrogen bomb. You know, like boom. This is so logical that everyone, everywhere acknowledges it except those currently requisitioning the Armed Services Committee for the newest generation of aircraft carriers.

Anyway, we're heading for sovereign default, along with many other fiat money-funded modern industrial countries, so the current insanity will have to transmute to some other, probably more decentralized form of insanity in the not-so-distant future, and then the swarm of opinion-peddlers, like a cloud of bluebottles smelling a fresher carcass up the dusty road, will fly away to that.

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