Monthly Archives: May 2007

Government’s Creative Accounting

By one number, they had a $248B deficit. If you start applying the accounting standards normal companies use, though… It’s a different story:

The federal government recorded a $1.3 trillion loss last year — far more than the official $248 billion deficit — when corporate-style accounting standards are used, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

The loss reflects a continued deterioration in the finances of Social Security and government retirement programs for civil servants and military personnel. The loss — equal to $11,434 per household — is more than Americans paid in income taxes in 2006.

Think about that for a moment… Just let that number sink in. As you’re struggling to make ends meet, pay your rent or mortgage, your bills, your car payment, the government is losing $1000 a month: and you and your family are going to have to pick up that tab.

When a corporation cooks their books, they do it for a reason; it makes their shareholders believe they’re on better footing than they actually are. If their shareholders knew the truth, the stock price would drop like a rock as people head for the exits. When government cooks their books, they do it for the same reason; it makes their citizens believer they’re on better footing than they actually are. If the citizens knew the truth, they’d vote those thieving scoundrels out of office in a second.

Where do we end up with decades of government lies? At a point where we simply cannot continue the charade. Like Enron, Worldcom, and the rest, eventually it’ll come crashing down.

Modern accounting requires that corporations, state governments and local governments count expenses immediately when a transaction occurs, even if the payment will be made later.

The federal government does not follow the rule, so promises for Social Security and Medicare don’t show up when the government reports its financial condition.

Bottom line: Taxpayers are now on the hook for a record $59.1 trillion in liabilities, a 2.3% increase from 2006. That amount is equal to $516,348 for every U.S. household. By comparison, U.S. households owe an average of $112,043 for mortgages, car loans, credit cards and all other debt combined.

You think government can tax their way out of this mess? Not a chance.

You think government has the will to cut spending? I think we’ve seen the answer to that one.

What other options are left? Rampant money printing, or collapse of the government. Or the former followed by the latter.

That’s it. The writing is on the wall. And you, as an ordinary citizen, will be getting screwed all the way down.

Dictatorship And Terror Come To Venezuala

Now that Hugo Chavez has closed yet another independent source of news in Venezuela, the true nature of his regime is being revealed:

CARACAS (AFP) – President Hugo Chavez’s clampdown on opposition television stations widened Monday as police used rubber bullets and tear gas on demonstrators protesting what they called an attack on free speech.

(…)

After 54 years on the air, RCTV went dark at midnight Sunday after the government refused to renew its license. It was promptly replaced by TVes, a state-backed station which began broadcasting cultural shows.

On Monday several people were injured as police in Caracas fired rubber bullets and tear gas to put down a demonstration against the RCTV shutdown, following the fifth straight day of protests.

A policeman’s leg was broken in the fracas, a police official said.

(…)

One of the country’s leading dailies, El Nacional, denounced it as “end of pluralism in Venezuela,” and slammed the government’s growing “information monopoly.”

The archbishop of the city of Merida, Baltasar Porras Cardoso, compared Chavez to Hitler, Mussolini and Cuban leader
Fidel Castro — who is a close friend of the left-wing Venezuelan president.

“This is the first time in eight years (of Chavez as president) that the university students hold a massive protest,” said Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition leader and neighborhood mayor.

Does this mean that the people of Venezuela are finally beginning to realize that there is a monster in charge of their country ? One can only hope the answer to that question is yes.

H/T: Outside The Beltway

Hillary Clinton Meets Karl Marx

Hillary Clinton is promoting a new idea called “shared responsibility”:

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined a broad economic vision Tuesday, saying it’s time to replace an “on your own” society with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity.

The Democratic senator said what the Bush administration touts as an “ownership society” really is an “on your own” society that has widened the gap between rich and poor.

“I prefer a ‘we’re all in it together’ society,” she said. “I believe our government can once again work for all Americans. It can promote the great American tradition of opportunity for all and special privileges for none.”

That means pairing growth with fairness, she said, to ensure that the middle-class succeeds in the global economy, not just corporate CEOs.

“There is no greater force for economic growth than free markets. But markets work best with rules that promote our values, protect our workers and give all people a chance to succeed,” she said. “Fairness doesn’t just happen. It requires the right government policies.”

Or, as a man once said, from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

Thanks but no thanks Hillary.

Chavez The Totalitarian

In Friday’s Miami Herald, U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos (D-California) had a column about Venezuelan Dictator Hugo Chavez’s closing of RTCV, the last private and opposition TV station in Venezuela. I bring up Congressman Lantos’s thoughts for several reasons. First, he’s the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and his column gives an insight into how Congress is viewing the situation in Venezuela. Secondly, Lantos is both a Holocaust survivor and a refugee from Communist Hungary and a lifelong supporter of human rights so his words do lend some kind of moral weight.

Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez is nearing the end of his campaign to stifle independent media — not due to a change of heart, but because through the years he has been singularly successful at cutting off dissenting voices in Venezuela. If he succeeds in his latest ploy, another will fall silent in the coming days.

Chávez intends to pull the plug on the country’s oldest and most popular station, Radio Caracas TV (RCTV), a source of radio programming for 76 years and television for 53. Chávez has refused to let the station renew its license, which expires on Sunday.

The roster of critics of this impending move grows daily. So far, we have heard from the Secretary General of the OAS, the Inter-American Press Association, the National Association of Newspapers of Brazil, Reporters without Borders, The Committee to Protect Journalists and no less than the Congress of Chile.

The Inter-American Human Rights Commission has objected as well, and it has been criticizing the gradual collapse of free expression in Venezuela since 1998.

None of this has deterred Chávez, who plans to whip up a crowd and lead a march to RCTV’s headquarters formally to shut it down.

The facts surrounding the looming closure point to a political vendetta by Chávez against a band of broadcasters who have consistently criticized him. So Chávez has decided to close what he calls a ”fascist channel,” adding ominously in a recent speech that, “We won’t tolerate here any media outlet that is coup-mongering, against the people, against the nation, against national independence, against national dignity.”

No doubt Chávez would want every program on the air to be like the hours-long broadcast Hello President, which he hosts. And for speaking out, I’ll probably earn a rant on the next show. But the stakes are too high to keep silent.

The next question is, will Congressman Lantos sponsor a resolution in the US House condemning Chavez’s closure of RCTV? If he does sponsor one, will Speaker Peliosi let it come to the floor? The obvious answer to both questions should be yes. If the United States is serious about freedom and human rights around the world, condemning these actions are necessary.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The Hayride.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.

Protecting Life, Liberty, and Property

In the United States, today is Memorial Day.

On this day, we remember all those who have fallen in defense of this country; its constitution, its principles, its people, and its sacred freedoms.

They have given their lives so that we may remain free; so that we may pursue life, liberty, property, and happiness.

Let us remember that this is not some bank holiday, or a day just for beer and barbecue; this is the day we reserve for the dead.

Remember them.

Honor them.

Celebrate what they have won; what they have protected. Enjoy your day, don’t dwell on death; but remember the cost, and thank them.

To absent companions, and fallen comrades.

Christopher J. Byrne IV (Capt. USAFR, RET.)

Recessional

God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

— Rudyard Kipling

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

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