American Elephants

Old Cars and Small Town Streets by The Elephant's Child

The Elephant sent me a link to this story, which is definitely a guy thing, but completely charming just the same. It reminded me that a while back, I had posted something by the same photographer, actually three years ago, about small-town America, in a town called Elgin Park. Quite worth digging out of the archives.  Enjoy!

Respite From Debt, Deficit and Worries. by The Elephant's Child
October 18, 2013, 3:18 pm
Filed under: Entertainment, History, Humor, Politics | Tags: , ,

Spend It All. Spend It All. Tax the Rich and the Poor, Spend It All by The Elephant's Child

“The U.S. has become the single largest debtor nation on the planet, as welfare dependency rises, government spending continues to increase and economic growth slows. However, what is ironic about this situation, is that it is the continuing increases in debt which is directly responsible for the decreases in economic growth. ” This chart shows government debt as a percentage of GDP compared to the annualized rate of change in economic growth:  From Zero Hedge.           (click to enlarge)


“The most disturbing sentence uttered during the debt ceiling debate/government shutdown, that should raise some concerns by both political parties is:

“We must increase our debt limit so that we can pay our bills.”

“Since the beginning of 2009 very little of the increases in government debt, which was used to fill the gap created by excess expenditures, returned very little in terms of economic growth. In fact, as of the second quarter of 2013, it required $5.61 of debt to create just $1 of economic growth.”        (click to enlarge)


In other words the Keynesian idea of pumping money into the economy to breed and multiply is horsefeathers. Janet Yellen, newly nominated to head the Federal Reserve is, we are told, a devout Keynesian.

President Obama said in his remarks following the resolution of the shutdown, that one of the three things the government should focus on in the short term is budget reform. I think he means raise taxes so he can spend more. I just don’t think he can conceive of a presidency where he does not generously spend. I hope I’m wrong.

U.S. debt jumped a record $328 billion on Thursday, the first day the federal government was able to borrow money under the deal President Obama and Congress sealed this week. The debt now equals $17.075 trillion, according to figures the Treasury Department posted online on Friday. The $328 billion increase shattered the previous high of $238 billion set two years ago.

The giant jump comes because the government was replenishing its stock of “extraordinary measures”— the federal funds it borrowed from over the last five months as it tried to avoid bumping into the debt ceiling.

Under the law, that replenishing happens as soon as there is new debt space.

I’m not big on charts in general, but these two are pretty explanatory and reward a little study.  The real battle lies ahead.

The U.S. Has Become The Single Largest Debtor Nation On Earth by The Elephant's Child

President Obama made some formal remarks in the State Dining Room on the reopening of the government. It was an amazing speech, perhaps the most self-serving speech ever given, by anyone ever. He continued to blame Republicans for threatening default, although no Republican threatened default at any time. All the default talk came from President Obama himself. It was President Obama who claimed that if we defaulted — old folks on Social Security wouldn’t get their checks. It was President Obama who claimed that  — we would not be able to pay our bills. It was President Obama who tried — to talk the Dow Jones Industrial average down with talk of default. And now he’s trying to emphasize, once again, that it’s all the Republicans’ fault.

So the key now is a budget that cuts out the things that we don’t need, closes corporate tax loopholes that don’t help create jobs, and frees up resources for the things that do help us grow — like education and infrastructure and research.  And these things historically have not been partisan.  And this shouldn’t be as difficult as it’s been in past years because we already spend less than we did a few years ago.  Our deficits are half of what they were a few years ago.  The debt problems we have now are long term, and we can address them without shortchanging our kids, or shortchanging our grandkids, or weakening the security that current generations have earned from their hard work.

So that’s number one.  Number two, we should finish fixing the job of — let me say that again.  Number two, we should finish the job of fixing our broken immigration system.

There’s already a broad coalition across America that’s behind this effort of comprehensive immigration reform — from business leaders to faith leaders to law enforcement.  In fact, the Senate has already passed a bill with strong bipartisan support that would make the biggest commitment to border security in our history; would modernize our legal immigration system; make sure everyone plays by the same rules, makes sure that folks who came here illegally have to pay a fine, pay back taxes, meet their responsibilities.  That bill has already passed the Senate. And economists estimate that if that bill becomes law, our economy would be 5 percent larger two decades from now.  That’s $1.4 trillion in new economic growth.

So now the Republicans cut the deficit with their wretched sequester, and I’ll take credit for that. But now that’s enough deficit cutting, and I need more money to spend on — wait for it — education and infrastructure and research. How money spent here creates jobs has not yet been explained. Would any big infrastructure project be ready to go before Obama has left office?

There may be a broad coalition behind comprehensive immigration reform, but you will notice that it does not include the American people. Our immigration system is broken because the President of the United States refuses to enforce the immigration laws, and the people oppose any amnesty for the same reason. Corporate America in general, and Silicon Valley in particular, want greatly increased immigration so they can get cheaper IT workers. America has no shortage of qualified STEM graduates. Corporations do not want to hire those who have been laid off during the recession. They assume, I guess, that anyone unemployed was laid off for reason. Unfair? Absolutely.

Mr. Obama assumes that jobs are created by government by spending money on education, infrastructure and research. They are not. Anxious businessmen have tried and tried to explain to this president that high corporate taxes, excessive regulation and absolute uncertainty about what this government will do next are killing their ability to hire, to expand and to take risks. President Obama will not listen, and has not been listening for over four years.

Education? Recent college graduates cannot find the jobs they prepared for and are working part-time in fast food. Or is it the free kindergarten for four-year-olds that you expect to transform the job market? It takes years for most infrastructure projects to get off the ground, often because of excessive regulation. Your administration has sponsored all sorts of new products and new research to develop alternative energy that no one needs or wants, and most of the grants have come to nothing except bankruptcy.


%d bloggers like this: