The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Sunday, April 05, 2009
UPDATED Post(s) of the Day -- a Steyn Double Play!
Read the whole thing.
Unfortunately, as part of the curious run of bad luck currently afflicting our new secretary of state, upon dialing the number the gentlemen of the press were greeted by a honey-voiced seductress, presumably not Secretary Clinton, offering them "phone sex" and seeking their credit-card number if they "feel like getting nasty."
No, it wasn't a White House April Fools' gag. This was April 2.
Alas, what with the collapse of the newspaper industry and major metro dailies filing for bankruptcy every 20 minutes, sticking phone sex on your expense tab isn't as easy as it once was. So many of these bigshot correspondents were forced to hang up, call the White House Press Office, get given the correct number and listen to Hillary droning on about the NATO summit for a half-hour. The Deputy Press Secretary, Bill Burton, insisted that the White House handing out sex-line numbers was no big deal and only Fox News would make a fuss about "a corrected phone number."
I'm not sure why the White House needed to correct it. It's the perfect radio ad for the administration. Call 1-900-OBAMA, and Timothy Geithner will demand your credit-card number and ask whether you feel like getting nasty, because he certainly does. He'll be wearing a steel-tipped basque, and the squeals in the background will be an AIG executive or the former CEO of General Motors hanging upside down in the Treasury Department basement while he feels the firm lash of government "regulation" from Barney Frank and Mistress Pelosi.
Well, we all hate "the rich," don't we? Last week, David Paterson, the governor of New York, said that if he'd known his latest tax increase would persuade Rush Limbaugh to sell his Manhattan apartment and leave the city, he'd have raised taxes earlier. Ha-ha. Very funny. In New York City, as Mayor Bloomberg has pointed out, the wealthiest 1 percent contribute 50 percent of municipal revenue. How tiny a number of people does Gov. Paterson have to drive out before it causes significant shortfalls in the public coffers?
On the other hand, the rich can only be driven out if they've got somewhere to be driven to. At the ludicrous G-20 summit in London last week, the official communiqué crowed over a "clampdown" on tax havens – those British colonies in the Caribbean and a few other offshore pinpricks in the map. "The era of banking secrecy is over," the G-20 proclaimed.
Does anyone seriously think a Swiss bank account or a post office box in the Turks and Caicos are responsible for the global meltdown?
No, but the world's governments have decided to focus on irrelevant scapegoats. In the current crisis, Japan, Germany and Italy (plus Russia) are in net population decline that's only going to accelerate in the years ahead. So, unlike the U.S., they can't run up the national debt and stick it to their kids and grandkids, because they don't have any kids and grandkids to stick it to. If New York is running out of rich people, Germany is running out of people, period. The Chinese and other buyers of Western debt know that. If you're an investor, and you're not tracking GDP versus median age in the world's major economies, you're going to lose a lot of money.
If government has a role in this crisis, it ought to be to reverse the combination of unaffordable social programs and deathbed demographics that make a restoration of real GDP growth all but impossible in many European nations. But that would involve telling the citizenry unpleasant truths, and Continental politicians who wish to remain electorally viable aren't willing to do that. President Sarkozy, The Times of London reported, "said that the summit provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give capitalism a conscience." What he means by "a conscience" is a global regulatory regime that ensures there's nowhere to move to. If you're France, which has a sluggish, uncompetitive, protectionist, high-unemployment business environment whose best and brightest abandon the country in ever-greater droves, it obviously makes sense to force the entire planet to submit to the same growth-killing measures that have done wonders for your own economy. But it's not good news for the rest of the world. The building blocks for a global regulatory regime and even a global central bank with an embryo global currency (the IMF and the enhanced role of "Special Drawing Rights") are an ominous development.
UPDATE: Steyn appears in The Corner for an encore performance, and hits it out of the park:
God help us all.
Norks over Japan
A reader chides:
The North Koreans launch a missile over Japan and nary a peep about it from anyone on The Corner??
I'm sure I'm not the only Corner-fan baffled by this............
Well, I seem to be the only one around this morn, and that's mainly because I'm stuck at an airport. But, since you ask re the Nork rocket, I said everything I had to say on this subject in my book, America Alone :
North Korea has millions of starving people; it has one of the lowest GDPs per capita on the planet, lower than Ghana, lower than Zimbabwe, lower than Mongolia.
But it’s a nuclear power.
The danger we face is not a Chinese superpower or an Islamist superpower: if it’s a new boss, you learn the new rules and adjust as best you can. But the greater likelihood is of a world with no superpower at all in which unipolar geopolitics gives way to non-polar geopolitics, a world without order in which pipsqueak thug states who can’t feed their own people globalize their psychoses.
The North Korean test, about which our new president has issued the feeblest of rote protests, is the flip side of the post below. The western world has no will. So we approach a state in which the planet's wealthiest jurisdictions, from Norway to New Zealand, lack any capacity to defend their borders, and the planet's basket-cases, from North Korea to Sudan, will be nuclear powers.
We'll see how that arrangement works out.