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Debt addiction

Andrew Sullivan, commenting on a remark about the enormous bailouts being put into place by Western governments, has this to say:

“The debt was so reckless and so immense that it now threatens to destroy the entire financial system. That’s what electing George W Bush twice has done for us. But then we are told that this threat requires us to do even more of the borrowing and spending before we can begin to get ourselves back in balance again. The unchallenged doctrine of the day is that: doing nothing would provoke a worse collapse than necessary and so we have to make our fiscal situation much worse now in order to make it much better later. Why am I not convinced?”

Well, Sullivan is obviously right that the way to solve our debt addiction is not to go on the equivalent of yet another binge in the hope of relieving the hangover. Although his glib remark that re-electing Bush twice has added to the debt addiction does rather ignore, for example, the role of the Democrats, for example, in opposing Bush’s attempts to constrain the US federal home mortgage agencies, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. He is right though to chide the Republicans for letting spendng soar, but then I fear that Sullivan has become such a victim of Bush Derangement Syndrome that even a good point now becomes distorted through his worship of Mr Obama. And if it is debt addiction Sullivan is worried about, I somehow do not expect the Community Organiser to be the one to decisively take us back to the days of small government.

18 comments to Debt addiction

  • mike

    “The truth is: we had this coming. We deserve it. And we deserve leaders who are able to tell us that.”

    And why?! What an outrageous fucking cunt he is. If people like him deserve what is happening (and in fucking spades too), then what an obnoxious mixture of sheer cheek and disgraceful self-debasement to claim that he – along with everyone else, mind you – deserves a leader to tell him so. My respect for him soars like a jelly drop from Mont Plop.

    “Why am I not convinced?”

    What spitting Sullvester surely meant to say was: “please tell me why I should not be convinced?”

    Because he doesn’t understand, and never has.

    “But then we are told…”

    Notice his use of the passive voice and absence of grammatical subject – he wants to allude to the political forces he supported (hence the contrast to the outgoing administration), but isn’t going to do it too strongly, lest he look like a fool – which he is. So instead he sidesteps giving that impression only to give the impression merely of being a devious sidestepper. Which he is.

    More importantly, Sullivan fails to bridge the chasm – since Bush was wrong about the economy, and Obama’s people are also wrong – there is only a gaping hole left in his comprehension of what is happening. That is why he serves up this little Daily Dish with the sardonic dressing:

    Why am I not convinced?”

  • I will confess that politically partisan people who wish to blame it entirely on politicians from the other side are really quite tiresome. There are plenty of people to shout J’accuse at here, and they certainly include most politicians on both sides.

  • Quite simple ,Sully hates Bush because the Gay marriage issue. No economic rationality to it.

  • Sullivan is out of his mind.

    I can’t wait until Obama fucks him all the way up. That’s going to be a rich, rich day, kids, when Sullivan gets to the end of this road. It’ll be one of the best laughs of the decade.

  • M

    Steve Sailer, who can hardly be called an Obama worshipper, has written some good articles and blog pieces about how the Bush administration exacerbated the housing bubble.

  • Dave B

    Daniel Hannan had a good piece along the same lines the other week:

    The trouble is … that few politicians can resist the argument that Something Must Be Done. Well, the bail-out was Something alright. It’ll be a long time before we’ve worked off the debt incurred by our leaders in a moment of panic.

  • Bod

    I’m utterly with Billy on his comments. I loathe that prick Sullivan. He could spend the rest of his life outing politicians of all stripes for their complicity in this debacle. But he won’t.

    Why? Because W hates teh gays.

    The only touchstone here is that there are a few politicians with no power who have been crying ‘STOP’ all along. And then there are some, like W, Bill Clinton, and yes, McCain who at various times have made some effort to stem the flow of cash, but have had no success and have been inconsistent.

    Do they deserve less blame because they sometimes ‘tried’, or more blame because they didn’t hold to their principles consistently?

    All I get from this is the ability to beat members of my social circle over the head with the mantra that government has a tendency to spend at least 120% of the money they take from us.

  • Hating Bush is a perfectly rational response to the last 8 years.

    Hating Clinton was a perfectly rational response to the previous 8 years.

    Hating Bush was a perfectly rational response to the 4 years before that.

    If the guy’s right, he’s right, and Bush bears much of the responsibility for the *timing* of the collapse. You cannot engage in 6 years of pointless and extremely costly war, while your economy is a house of cards, without bringing that house of cards down around you. And of course Bush was perfectly happy to bring more and more and more Socialism to bear to appease his critics.

    Thus, he leveraged an immaginary “existential threat” — in the form of third world nations without military ability or resources — into a real one — an economic collapse of epic proportions.

    But I think the reason *I* detest Bush more than the rest of them is that *he* wrapped his lies in free market rhetoric, as he continued the destruction of the market. This makes him, in my book, worse than the admitted Socialists whose actual actions might have been little better than those of this “Big Government Conservative”.

  • Paul Marks

    I do not remember many people denoucing the Federal Reserve for increasing (the already wild) credit money flow after 9/11 2001 (those who did denouce credit bubble ism felt rather isolated).

    That had nothing to do with the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq – because they were not on at the time.

    Japan has not got into any wars (apart from sending a few peacekeepers and then pulling them out when they got fired on – there being no peace to keep).

    Japan has not had any Freddie and Fannie (i.e. ACORN plus Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank – and so on) either.

    But it still had a credit money bubble – and the results of one.

    Things were made worse by various people – but the creator of this mess is one man above all.

    Alan Greenspan.

    He reacted to every problem from 1987 onwards (yes more than 20 years ago) by making the credit money bubble even bigger.

    He put off the crash again and again and again.

    But he made the eventual crash BIGGER EACH TIME HE DID THAT.

    And he still has defenders (at Cato and so on).

    I find the situation irritating.

  • Paul Marks

    In case there are people out there that do not understand the difference between fiscal and monetary policy……

    A credit money bubble can be built up whilst the government actually has a balanced budget (or is even paying back debt).

    For example, the late 1920’s in the United States or the late 1980’s in Britain (the “Lawson boom and bust” had nothing to do with the “tax cuts” that the media talk about, and everything to do with the rise in the money supply which they ignore).

    Still back to “solutions”.

    Well Austrian School man, you have had your fun with the your “we told you so for years, you fools” but would you do to save the financial system.

    The “financial system” can not be saved – and the bailouts will just make everything worse over time (and the long run is not that long).

    “But even Rothbard would give the banks money in a crises”.

    On condition that fractional reservism was gone for ever (and even then the malinvestments, such as the absurd price of housing, would have to be liquidated).

    But this is the very condition that the rulers will never agree to.

    Indeed the whole basis of the rulers bailout orgy is to get banks to “resume normal lending” – i.e. not lending 100% from real savings, but the very credit bubble ism that caused the crises.

    So no Murry Rothbard would not hand money that was to be just tossed down a rathole.

  • Sullivan has lost all credibility due to lack of objectivity when it comes to Obama.

  • “Hating Bush is a perfectly rational response to the last 8 years.

    Hating Clinton was a perfectly rational response to the previous 8 years.

    Hating Bush was a perfectly rational response to the 4 years before that.”

    Not one word of dispute.

    Here’s what’s laughable and contemptible: loving Obama because one hates Bush.

    Get the picture?

  • Billy, it’s like the masthead at SDA(Link):

    “When the Communists show up to protest the Nazis, you’re supposed to pray for an asteroid, not pick a favourite.”*

  • RKV

    For the record, Lyndon Johnson broke into the Social Security “trustfund” in 1968. A majority of American politicians of both parties have continued spending the retirement savings of Americans, rather than protect their assets. Majorities of Americans have continued to elect said politicians and now we are $54 trillion (yep that is correct) in the hole. That’s much bigger than the so-called national debt, and it’s not even on the books folks. For comparison’s sake, the US economy generates approximately $13 trillion per year in GDP. The politicians bought votes with your money, and hey, it’s been spent so don’t ask for it back. The fiction that we could borrow from ourselves has been bought hook line and sinker by the electorate. If I was a 20 year old, I’d be very angry with my parent’s generation. Very.

  • Rob

    O’Sullivan has zero credibility these days, which is why he is fast on his way to becoming a leftist icon.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr O’Sullivan is not the only person around boasting of his closeness to the Obama transition scheme – and hopeing that his pet projects will be funded.

    Hopefully an increase in the Capital Gains Tax (or just continued “stimulus” nonsense) will shut them all up. Or, rather, the economic collapse will shut them up.

  • Paul Marks

    Sorry, that should have been “team” not “scheme”.

    Although the promises of clever schemes do seem to cover just about everything – the promises even go into outer space.

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