Weâ€™re back to the hypocrisy sweepstakes, where gestures of virtue are as formalized as kabuki. Humor has been assassinated. An off word at work or school will get you booted to the gallows. This is the graveyard of liberalism, whose once noble ideals have turned spectral and vampiric.
Christmas, Yule, or Chanukah – no matter your holiday – are not the problem in America but how most “celebrate” these holidays is certainly a major symptom of the pathology that is plaguing American society and, resultantly, politics.
Buy All The Things!
The disease or syndrome in question is, of course, rampant materialism and consumerism. It’s the root cause of almost every ill that torments America and it is a progressive illness.
Simply and sadly put, American society has not only forgotten what is important but has seemingly deprecated the importance and value of that which is immaterial. Worse, this disease’s symptoms become even more pronounced during the ever-expanding holiday season, which is now better- and more often described as the holiday shopping season, which accounts annually for 20% – 40% of the average American retailers’ total annual sales.
To put this is horrific perspective, The National Retail Federation (NRF) expects retail sales during the 2013 holiday shopping season to marginally increase 3.9% to $602.1 billion which is greater than the total GDP of 167 of the 188 nations tracked my the International Monetary Fund (IMF). So, in 33 days, Americans spend more on purchases than 166 countries make in a year. Only 20, other than the US, make more en toto per year than we spend during this time.
If this isn’t a symptom of a chronic and eventually lethal societal pathology I don’t know what is.
Obamacare comes at a cost to Americans of approximately $80 Billion per year just in new taxes. That’s more than the GDP of the 105 out of 182 nations tracked by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). So, just in new tax burdens Obamacare will cost the American people more than total output of approximately 57% of world. Yes, over half the world’s nations’ GDPs are less than the added tax-burden of Obamacare.
Obamacare’s premium seems egregiously high for its stated goals, most of which were either false or not to actually be met by this boondoggle.
Standard & Poor’s rating agency has downgraded the US credit rating to AA+ from its top rank of AAA, reflecting concerns over the US federal government’s inability or unwillingness to curb its deficit spending.
This was an expected course of action and S & P, along with Moody’s, Fitch, the IMF, and even Italy, had warned that this would likely happen.
Well, the Obama presidency was supposed to be historic and this is historic. Friday, August 5, 2011 marked S & P’s first ever downgrade rating for the US Government’s credit since S & P first granted it in 94 years ago in 1917.
We lowered our long-term rating on the U.S. because we believe that the prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling and the related fiscal policy debate indicate that further near-term progress containing the growth in public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues is less likely than we previously assumed and will remain a contentious and fitful process. We also believe that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration agreed to this week falls short of the amount that we believe is necessary to stabilize the general government debt burden by the middle of the decade.
As bad as that sounds, it actually gets worse. Standard & Poor – It’s also a safe bet that Moody’s and Fitch will concur – has, rightly I believe, not only downgraded America’s government’s credit score but predicts at negative outlook indicating the likelihood of an even further worsening credit rating in the near-term future.
The outlook on the long-term rating is negative. We could lower the long-term rating to ‘AA’ within the next two years if we see that less reduction in spending than agreed to, higher interest rates, or new fiscal pressures during the period result in a higher general government debt trajectory than we currently assume in our base case.
This means that it’s unlikely that any of us alive today will see America’s credit rating restored to AAA and that we’ll almost assuredly live to see it downgraded further to AA and likely see it downgraded even further unless we can force the federal government to live within our means.
And it will take force – ballots, bullets, bombs, or some combination thereof – for Americans to correct the federal government’s addiction to raping our nation’s economy. Obama and his coterie of Liberals, while the most profligate of the wastrels, are just the latest downward step in the degeneration of America’s federal government. Hoover, FDR, Carter, and yes Bush Jr., along with their respective Congresses built and expanded the entitlement society and the nation’s deficit.
With so much inertia built up within it and so much bloated weight behind it, there’s no gentle way enact true change upon this system or its proponents before our nation is completely beggared and bankrupt. We, the People are left with only “short lever” means at our disposal – maximum force applied at the point of change. Sadly I suppose, this is inefficient and will be extremely painful, both for Americans and for the Liberals and their minority tenants.
Then again, it’s been Americans’ long-running misapplied compassion, complacency, and stupidity that has allowed them to bring our nation to this point and, “Stupid should be painful.”
Keep your eyes open. Travel light but load heavy, and always put another round in the enemy after they’re down. When faced with extremity, extremism in the cause of America is no vice; it is a virtue and holy duty.