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Not so cherry post on the way cheap credit has become almost necessary to make ends meet for the “average” American family.  Not so clear how we’re headed to recovery at this rate.  As the author notes:

Because we outsourced our jobs, incomes fell. Because incomes fell and savers were punished (thanks to abysmal returns on savings rates) we pulled future demand forward by splurging on credit. Because we splurged on credit, prices in every asset under the sun rose in value. Because prices rose while incomes fell, we had to use more credit to cover our costs, which in turn meant taking on more debt (a net drag on incomes).

And on and on.

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Greek Default

What’s happening to Greece is a glimpse of America’s future: years of artificial plenty followed, quite dramatically, by unrest, massive cutbacks in services, and a loss of power and prestige.  This, all due to excessive government spending and a lack of economic productivity.  To a lesser extent, it’s also the story of how foreign institutions, international bankers, and foreign governments will control a people’s destiny if those people are too indebted to them.

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I am more than a little chagrined about the passage of Obamacare. 

It will cost a lot, it will reduce quality of care, and eventually it will create a debt crisis when combined with the impact of other entitlements. This debt crisis will end in American default on its debt (and insanely high interest rates and mass confusion) or  slow motion inflation (and insanely high interest rates), and, in either case, a general destruction of wealth for many years not so different from the recession we’re now enduring. 

This is all very bad, of course, but the worst impact of Obamacare will be spiritual:  Obama has made us all welfare cases.  And every election from now until the end of time will be one where the majority of voters (i.e., net recipients) clamor for more from the government, which will squeeze every harder on the shrinking  plurality of the prouctive class (i.e., net taxpayers).

In addition, I am greatly afraid this victory will embolden Obama, who is verye sensible of the backlash that will hit vulnerable Democrats this fall, and thus he will be filled with a great sense of urgency and ability to continue to change America and the relationship of Americans to their government as long as his party has the majority.  

Perhaps, Cap and Trade or Immigration Amnesty is next. 

The man is, if nothing else, driven by an agenda.  He is an ideologue.  His goal is to put wins on the scoreboard of history, and he sincerely believes in much of what he’s doing.  This makes him all the more dangerous, as evidenced by his maniacal energy and focus on healthcare even as the economy continued to stay in the tank  and even as his numbers fell.  He will push on the gas harder, even if it weakens his party and his own chance of reelection.  He knows, as we all should have known, once this passed it will be hard to repeal, and he knows, as we all should have known, that this type of entitlement will change the dynamics of American politics for generations if it becomes part of the landscape.

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To appear more human, Obama tried to be funny and folksy, but his wise cracks and “million dollar smile” came across more as creepy sarcasm.  This act also created a problem of tone.  People want to see that he cares about them and their problems , that he “feels their pain” the way Bill Clinton did so well. He failed in this regard.  He always does.  It’s not his strong suit.  It was more like a pep rally atmosphere.  And he was fully of excuses, on banks for instance, rather than careful explanations and defenses of his policies.  This made him look simultaneously cocky and weak.

The speech was screwy on many levels:  he failed to convey empathy effectively, the speech lacked a unifying theme, his “rah rah” engagement with the partisan Democrats will likely alienate independents, the facts hurt him on unemployment and the debt, and his response to the same was logically contradictory, i.e., freeze spending but spend new money on flying cars and solar and what-not.  I also think his doubling down on healthcare will scare seniors, even if Medicare reform long-term makes good policy sense.  Finally, his jobs bill sounds kind of unbelievable; if a $1T stimulus couldn’t sort things out, what will $30B do. It hurts these programs’ popularity that none of us really knows anyone helped by the stimulus.  He named a few random companies, but I literally have never seen a project or met anyone who was employed because of that boondoggle.

Like most state of the union speeches,  it won’t move the dial much, but since the dial is pointed so negative for him, that makes this speech a big failure.

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The American Conservative has been a bit unwieldly from the start, attracting dubious characters whose only “conservative” instinct was isolationism rooted in the very unconservative impulses of pacifism and alienation from the values of fellow Americans.  Pat Buchanan has had little involvement for a while.  Taki left and started his own magazine, which now appears to be headed towards self-destruction.   What remained has been adrift for quite a while. Now, confirming for the millionth time the truth of O’Sullivan’s First Law, the American Conservative under the leadership of Ron Unz has started to question the immigration reform views of traditional conservatives, suggesting that fears of Hispanic Crime–which tends to be 3X the rate of native-born whites–are overstated and exaggerated. Don’t we have the Weekly Standard and the Wall Street Journal to promote such mythology?

Of course, crime is not the only reason to oppose massive Latin American immigration.  There are other issues like the job security of native born Americans and the ways that Third World values corrupt our political culture and collective ways of life.  Ignoring these other concerns shows a real lack of conservatism, and the suggestion that these fears are irrational is not only stupid, but is easily refuted factually, as Heather MacDonald and Steve Sailer have done for years.   But the bigger question is:  why, even if crime were absolutely a non-factor in Latin American immigration, would a conservative, concerned with conserving a particular American way of life from change and degradation, support what has been one of the most significant drivers of our national dissolution, disunity, and decline.  I would not want millions of people from anywhere coming here, even if they all were quite pacific.  Conservatism is supposed to be about conserving something, but Unz has demonstrated (again) a marked indifference to the survival of America as a coherent and historical entity.

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This was unintentionally hillarious:

“Make no mistake. We will close Guantanamo prison.”  That’s what President Obama said during his recent remarks about national security in the aftermath of the attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day.

I feel better already.  It’s like George W.’s “dead or alive” remarks, but, you know, a little different.

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Jennifer Rubin has an extended essay in Commentary on why there is so much visceral dislike of Sarah Palin among Jews.  I think she overstates her case a bit.  There is no doubt she has a Jewish problem, but all Republicans do–Jews vote approximately 70% Democratic–and it seems to me hardcore liberals of all kinds hate her guts, as do Beltway and Wall Street Republican types, and they all do so for mostly the reasons that same reasons.  She is the arch-representative of the Other:  rural, physically fit, fertile, less educated, less sophisticated, religious, gun-toting, etc.  It’s the Apollonian-Mercurian distinction, of which Jews are simply one particularly prominent member of the latter group.  I basically wrote something very similar to Rubin’s piece last year, but with this (more useful in my opinion) analytical framework–as opposed to the Jew/Gentile framework.

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