Wednesday, February 04, 2009


One of the things that regularly irks the psychiatrist in me is when members of the "reality-based" community write articles like this:
Behind all the back and forth over the Stimulus Bill is a simple fact: the debate in Washington is rapidly moving away from any recognition that the US economy -- and the global economy, for that matter -- is in free-fall....

So, who exactly is denying that the economy is a mess right now? I haven't noticed anyone contesting or even avoiding that reality. The question is WHY is the economy in a mess, and WHAT to do about it. Those are the two key issues in question here.

It is not denial to suggest that this putrid stimulus spending package--the greatest spending debacle in the history of this country--that Obama, Pelosi and the Democrats are trying to force down America's throat is not only not going to work, but is likely going to make matters worse. That is common sense.

It is not denial to point out that it is irresponsible spending and micromanagement on the part of government (here in the US as well as around the world) and the unwillingness to let the market function without constant interference that is the 'root cause' of our present difficulties; and, if it is "capitalism" that has failed, then explain why this is a world-wide economic catastrophe that is hitting all those "progressive" socialist economies of Europe even harder than the U.S. economy.

Somehow, to the inordinately clueless members of the "reality-based" community, this is an example of sober, logical analysis and careful political policy; and this is an example of "fear-mongering". Wow. Talk about in denial.

Rick Moran has this to say about the stimuus:
The man wants to talk about catastrophe? OK, I'll bite. How about these items in his "stimulus bill" as examples of "catastrophe:"
• $2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Department of Energy defunded last year because it said the project was inefficient.
• A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film.
• $650 million for the digital television converter box coupon program.
• $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship).
• $448 million for constructing the Department of Homeland Security headquarters.
• $248 million for furniture at the new Homeland Security headquarters.
• $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees.
• $400 million for the Centers for Disease Control to screen and prevent STD's.
• $1.4 billion for rural waste disposal programs.
• $125 million for the Washington sewer system.
• $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities.
• $1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion.
• $75 million for "smoking cessation activities."
• $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges.
• $75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI.
• $25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction.
• $500 million for flood reduction projects on the Mississippi River.
• $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas.
• $6 billion to turn federal buildings into "green" buildings.
• $500 million for state and local fire stations.
• $650 million for wildland fire management on forest service lands.
• $1.2 billion for "youth activities," including youth summer job programs.
• $88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service.
• $412 million for CDC buildings and property.
• $500 million for building and repairing National Institutes of Health facilities in Bethesda, Maryland.
• $160 million for "paid volunteers" at the Corporation for National and Community Service.
• $5.5 million for "energy efficiency initiatives" at the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.
• $850 million for Amtrak.
• $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint.
• $75 million to construct a "security training" facility for State Department Security officers when they can be trained at existing facilities of other agencies.
• $110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems.
• $200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.

Surely, it is not denial to suggest that significant tax cuts to already over-burdened businesses and taxpayers would clearly, obviously and incontroverably have a real and instantaneous "stimulus" on the economy--as opposed to the ongoing funding of pork, pork, and more pork? Again, this is self-evident, and Americans are recognizing this reality as they become more aware of exactly what this massive debt program is all about.

If there is psychological denial in play here, then it is applicable to those who somehow believe they can continue to ignore the reality that you cannot spend your way out of debt. That you cannot keep taxing those who are productive and redistributing their wealth to those who are not; without slowly but surely positively reinforcing non-productivity and negatively reinforcing productivity. You cannot keep penalizing those who create jobs and expect that job creation will increase magically.

In short, it is magical thinking to pretend that the way to get out of debt and facilitate productivity, competence and ethics in business is to (1) get deeper into debt by spending more; (2) penalize those who are productive; and (3) reward those who are incompetent and unethical. Propping up businesses that are incompetent (except at lobbying their co-dependent porkers in Congress) is a sure way of looting the economy and escalating the economic chaos. Don't think so? Just watch.

Articles like the one linked above from a high-flyer of the "reality-based" community--only ludicrously highlight the fact that this community is wholly unclear on the concept of reality...not to mention that of psychological denial.

They are going to discover imminently that reality is really an unforgiving bitch. And we all are going to suffer for it.

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