Plagues and pox, and lakes where boats have no longer have docks, and then it gets serious. There's less water for the crops, and you can't operate the river locks. What does it take to get your attention? The birds can't navigate, and the farms can't be irrigated. Hoover Dam's power generation ability will be impaired if the level of the Colorado River continues to fall. This failure would have a major impact on the power supply for the entire region. I detect the demented mind of FDR at work here. It now appears that the 1930's plan for the development of the West was based on a grave miscalculation about available water. The citizens are beginning to squeal about this old New Deal.
The latest in the financial follies by the FDRians appears to be in Florida. The Mogambu Guru has reported that the telephone and power companies are now recruiting families to enroll their children into the National School Lunch Program. These entitlement recipients will receive subsidized phone service for the entire family. The Florida telephone and power companies are now pimps for the welfare state! Let's hear it for the Gators.In Stimulus Or Bust, We Trust.
Medicos and nurses are busy suturing the tears in Leviathan these days. The one lesion that is spreading quickly is the pension fund problem. On July 23, 2004, United Airlines announced that it had ceased payments to its pension fund. The company had scheduled over 4 billion dollars to be paid into its pension fund over the next few years. On the same day, Turner & Newall announced the cessation of all further contributions to its pension fund. This affects some 40,000 workers. Turner & Newall, located in the UK, is a division of Federal Mogul Corporation (US). The recent bailout of the steel industry by Bush was only a thinly veiled attempt to avoid massive defaults on their pension liabilities.
A short history is order. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974 was the start of this monster. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation had been formed to insure private pensions. Theoretically, this Federal Agency receives no money from taxes. The PBGC is funded by premiums from employers. On September 5, 2003, the PBGC had news for us. I know this is going to shock you. The PBGC has a deficit. According to the auditors, 80 percent of the single private employers were under funded. The shortfall was estimated at 400 billion dollars.
On April 10, 2004, George Bush signed the Pension Funding Equity Act. This novel piece of legislation allows the government to set the implied rate of return for use in the computation of pension contributions. At some future date, the bureaucrats are going to determine a permanent implied rate of return for pension funds. The higher the implied rate of return, the lower the contribution needed to achieve a specific amount of future money. If one uses an implied rate of return of one percent, large contributions must be made. However, if one assumes a ten percent rate of return, minimal contributions would be needed. Visualize the chicanery that is going to occur with this program. FDRians have never been strong in logic. If they feel that the investments will return at least 20 percent per annum, we could see a scenario where the PBGC begins giving the pension funds money for over performing. In the world of economics, this is called fiscal stimulus. But Wait! There's More!" If you vote for this government in the next 24 hours, they will send everybody 30 more fiscally stimulating entitlements.
On July 28, 2004, the Internal Revenue Service announced that American income has dropped for two consecutive years. This is the first time that this has happened since the inception of the modern tax system during W.W.II. This information is coming directly from the IRS. Do we have a discontinuity here? People, this trend is burnt toast. "We need more spending programs", sayeth the Keynesians. We are already 81 trillion dollars in debt! Let's roll the dice one more time.
Troubled times create great leaders. The Canadians are already providing that leadership. The Canadians have managed to take a firearm registration program that was estimated at cost of 2 million dollars, and blew it up to a final real cost of over one billion dollars. They are horrified because the program doesn't work. Wink, wink! We are talking about some serious fiscal creativity here. Never underestimate a desperate democracy that has access to high quality drugs.
The US continues to ignore the problems of Fannie Mae, Ginnie Mae, Sallie Mae, and its other relatives. The FDRians consider this to be an opportunity for more fiscal stimulus. I humbly offer a solution. We will just reschedule all payments. Payments are to be deferred until January of 3000. Remember, you heard it here first! After all, we owe it to ourselves! John Maynard Keynes would be proud if he were here now.
IT'S 2400 HOURS. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR AMMUNITION IS?
Plagues and Pox:
The Mogambo Guru: