Of the nation’s 600,000 bridges, 12 percent were found to be structurally deficient. This is an almost perfect metaphor for Third World conditions: a money class fleeces the banking system while the very trunk of the national tree is permitted to rot and crash.—Christopher Hitchens, Vanity Fair, Oct 2008.
It was still 2008, The Smirking Chimp was in office, and the politically correct believed it safe to say everything negative they could think of about conditions in The United States. Yea verily, in those perilous days before The Glorious Advent of Obama, a torpor and fear gripped the land. Amidst the flotsam of propaganda and the jetsam of vile, untrue, political compurgation, Hitchens made true and valid complaints about how things were progressing during 2008.
A common gripe ran that George W. Bush was turning America into a banana republic that had to borrow to afford its bananas. Today we examine whether Hope and Change have in any way altered this pernicious trajectory. Clearly our current leadership has hastened the extent to which the encroaching jungle of corrupt and debased misrule eats away at our very national fabric. Clearly the Democrats have pulled every lever of the leviathan in a direction that would make all of these problems more hideous, more pressing, and more ineluctable.
This partially organic, and partially manufactured Pre-Obaman fear on the Left that the sucker really could go down, led Hitchens to make four observations about what he felt constituted a Banana Republic. We will examine each and discuss whether our President and Congress have made each one a more or less relevant feature of Modern America since 2008.
1) A collusion between the overweening state and certain favored monopolistic concerns, whereby the profits can be privatized and the debts socialized.
As I blogged last Spring about “The Gerrymandered Bankruptcy at Chrysler”, the manner in which Barack Obama completely ignored USC Bankruptcy Law, Chapter 11, embodies that very principal. His use of the TARP laws to bully secured creditors into surrendering valid claims to remuneration typifies the difficulties encountered by entrepreneurs forced to negotiate the financial system extant in some backwater Kleptocracy.
As the rules matter less, and being a friend of Barack matters way more, the level of capital investment by small business goes to virtually zero. Small Businessmen, who get up every day, and try to make it in a hard, unforgiving world just want that world to suck in accordance with consistent and predictable rules. When the rules lack predictability, we get Small Business pessimism and employment contraction.
2) Devalued paper currency in the international community.
The ever-sagacious and pseudonymous Tyler Durden of Zerohedge.com, pointed out the following during the CNBC ejaculation-fest over the DJIA crossing 10,000!!!!
On a real basis (not nominal) the Dow at 10,000 ten years ago is equivalent to 7,537 today! (HT: Zerohedge.com)
In a piece entitled “The Constant Dollar Dow and The Illusionary Bull Market,” with tongue-in-cheek, and Tyler Durden’s factor in mind, I blogged the following.
This means that if you pick a year, present the DJIA in constant dollars and compare across the years, the DJIA has fallen from 12,000 in 2000 to 7,537 today. So, if you start out in 2000, stick $10,000 in a fund that tracks the DJIA and check back in this AM… Pffffttth!!!! (Sound effect of horrified investor spitting coffee on computer screen). That leaves $6,280 of your American Dream.
3) Kleptocracy -- those in positions of influence use their time in office to maximize their own gains, always ensuring that any shortfall is made up by those unfortunates whose daily life involves earning money rather than making it.
Veronique de Rugy, of George Mason University, has seemingly devoted far greater care and diligence to tracking the outflow of stimulus dollars than any of the jet-fuel geniuses hired by Recovery.org. She tracks the disbursement of Stimulus funds by party affiliation.
On average, Democratic districts received 1.53 times the amount of awards that Republicans were granted. The average number of awards per Republican district is 112, while the average number of awards per Democratic district is 171. Democratic districts also received 2.65 times the amount of stimulus dollars that Republican districts received $122 billion vs. $46 billion).
Republican districts also received smaller awards on average. The average dollars awarded per Republican district is $26 million, while the average dollars awarded per Democratic district is about $472 million. In total, Democratic districts received 73 percent of the total stimulus funds awarded and Republican districts received 27 percent of the total amount awarded.( Stimulus F acts - Period 2 )
Ms. De Rugy, entirely unlike Dr. Michael Mann, makes her data publically downloadable via the internet. I took her data, deliberately ignored the partisan politics angle, and examined what differences existed between localities getting more stimulus dollars and those getting less. In a post entitled “A Tale of Two Stimuli,” I reached conclusions regarding the differences experienced by stimulus “Haves” versus stimulus “Have-Nots.”
Communities on the winning side get 13.44 times as much money per capita as losing SMAs. They also net 17.27 times as much per U3 worker as cities that don’t know Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama. The stimulus has clearly degenerated into an exercise of rewarding allies at the expense of the populous. It is theft, not economic recovery. If you want your share of the bananas, give to the DNC today.
4) There must be no principle of accountability within the government so that the political corruption by which the banana republic operates is left unchecked. The members of the national legislature will be (a) largely for sale and (b) consulted only for ceremonial and rubber-stamp purposes some time after all the truly important decisions have already been made elsewhere.
As I wrote in my anti-gerrymandering blog “We Get The Morans We Deserve. America Needs To Solve Gerrymandering.” many of the Congressional leaders complicit in ramming “Health Care Reform” and Cap and Trade through the House of Representatives have spent their entire careers representing districts that will never hold a competitive election. Even anti-Semitic wife-beaters who also threaten to break the noses of other members of Congress and beat up second-graders can predictably coast to reelection in meticulously gerrymandered house districts like 8th VA.
Those legislators not gerrymandered into perpetual employment just get bought off with earmark candy. The ludicrous spectacle of Blue Dog Democrats lining up for their pathetically corrupt Obama Care bribes led me to write “The Careerists Vs The Idealists On Obamacare”
If the process on Capital Hill can’t tangibly produce, than the Congressional leadership has to produce some big, fat tangible bribes. Pay Dawg Democrats will gladly vote for stupidity – when remunerated. The stupider the stupid, the higher the price tag. It works that way in the market economy that the Democratic Party’s leadership seems so hell-bent on legislating out of existence.
So there you have it. By all four principle’s of definition stated by Christopher Hitchens in 2008, we are going bananas. Hope and Change (election 2008 version) has rendered America increasingly reminiscent of a banana republic by any dimension in which banandom is measured. Welcome to the jungle, America. We have fun and games.
X-Posted At:THE MINORITY REPORT