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Wednesday, 1 February 2012

"Lifestyles of the Not-So-Rich-and-Famous". And more political B.S. we will pay for - with out money or our lives

Did you ever watch Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous? It was a TV show quite beyond parody run by Robin Leach, an Englishman with the strangest accent.

An eerie parade of boundless vulgarity, mostly in Hollywood, it was one of those things you just couldn't stop watching. Anyhow this not so rich and famous person had his flat broken into yesterday by British Gas who installed a meter because they said he hadn't paid his bill.

This was not impossible, as neither I nor my beloved read our post that carefully. But it was pretty strange because I paid them in January. But I wish they'd told me where they put the damn meter. No doubt all will be revealed when I ring them today. I have a ghastly feeling it's something to do with the credit card I used to pay them.

Europe has about as much idea about prudent management as me, but on a rather larger scale. In December The European Central Bank pumped €489 billion into the eurozone.

It is part of the longer term refinancing operation (LTRO) which gives banks cash at a low interest rate of 1% for three years..

The idea is that the European Central Bank gives banks cheap money, allegedly so they can help small businesses, but really to buy all the sovereign bonds nobody wants.

This is pouring bad money after worse.

John Bennett, who manages the Henderson European Focus Trust simply calls it "a bit of a Ponzi scheme". Bennett says 'What it has not removed is the chronic lack of growth in many parts of Europe.

'Economic policy in the developed world has followed one overriding principle and that is the avoidance of recession at all costs. Politicians hate them because they're scared of losing votes and jobs.
'The ECB and Merkozy may say one thing but all along they've been doing another thing. Just look at LTRO. If that's not quantitative easing, I don't know what is.'

Meanwhile Greece – in worse trouble than anyone - is the world's fourth-largest arms importer. Who are they at war with?  Nobody.  Who sells them most?  Germany, the U.S. and France.

Who, one way or another will pay for this criminal activity? Taxpayers like you and me. But arms bring out the insanity everywhere, as noted in a splendid rant by Bill Bonner in The Daily Reckoning.

“We simply cannot continue to cut our defense budget if we are to remain the hope of the Earth,” says Mitt Romney.

Where do candidates get this sort of stuff? Who writes lines like that? Who takes them seriously?

According to Romney, the Earth itself longs for more US military spending.

His adversary, Newt Gingrich, says he thinks that Obama's Pentagon cuts will make the US as vulnerable to attack as it was before World War II.

But the Pentagon won't really have less money to spend. They're not really talking about cutting defense spending; they're talking about cutting projected military spending increases. Even after the 'cuts,' the US military will still be spending more than the next 10 biggest spenders put together.

All the candidates think the American people want war. Or...what?

Actually, Americans don't want war. The latest Pew Research polls show them more opposed to foreign military adventures than at any time in the last 15 years. They're more interested in getting a job...and protecting their retirements. Given the choice, they would probably want to see military spending cut back and the money put into their own pockets.

But they won't be given the choice. The system is rigged. Between them and the outcomes are 10,000 lobbyists and millions of zombies. This is why representative democracy doesn't work.

Decent people will generally have decent responses to decent questions. Put to a ballot, how would Americans vote?

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