Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Why Some Pigs Are More Equal Than Others

The right joke is often better at bringing a point home than reams of analysis. Jonah Goldberg demonstrates that well in his recent column:
There’s an old joke about a fantastic three-legged pig and a farmer. It comes in many versions. In some tellings, the pig saves the farmer’s life. In another, it can talk. The punch line always comes after a visitor asks, “So how come he only has three legs?”

“Because,” the farmer explains, “you don’t want to eat a pig like that all at once.”
Then, for anyone who still doesn't get how this relates to the machinations of Bush, Obama, and Congress this past year (not to say the past 100 years), he explains:
“The fact is, our economy did not fall into decline overnight,” Obama told Congress in February. And only by “investing” in policies formulated years before “toxic asset” became household words could America get out of the crisis.

As a result, we’re now stuck with some of the most absurdly counterproductive legislation imaginable. The national debt is growing faster than the GDP. According to the Congressional Budget Office, within ten years Uncle Sam’s publicly held debt will double to 82 percent of GDP. The CBO predicts that by 2038, our debt will be 200 percent of GDP. Debt siphons off growth for the simple reason that dollars go to paying it off rather than investing in something productive.

Meanwhile, thanks to ongoing trade deficits and relentless borrowing, America’s financial status is deteriorating rapidly. The Commerce Department reported Friday that the value of foreign assets owned by Americans is $19.89 trillion, while the value of American assets owned by foreigners is $23.36 trillion. In other words, we are a “net debtor” to the tune of $3.47 trillion. That represents a 62 percent increase over 2007. Foreigners, most significantly China, own nearly 50 percent of our government’s public debt.

So while the Obama administration frets over the largely phony idea that we are dangerously dependent on foreign oil (Canada sends us about as much oil as the entire Persian Gulf region, and Mexico not much less), we are increasingly threatened by dependence on foreign bondholders who could wreak havoc on the dollar and our interest rates far more easily than OPEC could cut off our oil.
The question for all statist parasites is perpetually whether and how much of the host they can consume without killing it. The question for us is when we're going to take the strong medicine necessary to to cure the disease.


Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure Canada and Mexico are foreign countries - therefore, the oil they send is foreign, as well. Maybe, this guy could do a little research.

Jeff Perren said...

I'm pretty sure a guy like Jonah Goldberg doesn't need to do research to know that Canada and Mexico are foreign countries (from the perspective of a U.S. citizen).

But their governments are not overtly hostile to the U.S., nor a security risk, which is the reason some are concerned about where we get oil.

But thanks for the snark. Always good to have a sarcastic geographer around when you need one.

Ted "Galt-in-Da-Box" Amadeus said...

Well Jeff, don't forget that most of the Washington Kakostocracy believes Canada, America and Mexico should be one country economically, so we'll have more parasites to support.
"Reason" the spiritualistic altruists as does their Pope: "After all, we're such a wealthy nation."

We were, before socialism and imperialism!