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09/05/2005 Archived Entry: "Government, gluttony, and a coming long, slow collapse"

GOVERNMENT AND THE SIN OF GLUTTONY. There are no parallels between Nero fiddling while Rome burns and George W. Bush telling the incompetent head of FEMA he's doing a darned fine job. None. Of course not. And Nero's assisted suicide by knife has no bearing on GWB's political suicide or his murder of the American republic.

In the wake of Katrina if we have learned nothing else we have learned that when America’s bureaucracies purport to be an omnipresent god but cannot deliver, as God, the blessing of well-being, then the knife of Proverbs is poised at the throat of the sluggardly glutton called government. The question is; where and when will be found the helper that brings the knife to bear in its final duty?

After this, I'm not going to blog any more about the politics of Hurricane Katrina unless something startlingly new reveals itself. (I expect Silver might fill that gap.) I've got good stuff in the queue about preparedness and practical lessons learned and I'll focus on that.

But I join Silver in predicting that, come October, we'll finally -- after years of waiting and wondering -- see the beginning of a long, slow, tragic collapse of the U.S. economic edifice. The big Credit Card Surprise might be the immediate impetus for the tip-over. But I think Katrina will be the worm that ate away the last remaining integrity in the economic, cultural, and political foundation.

I'm not guessing that there'll be peace on October 16 and riots in the streets on October 17. I'm thinking it'll take a long, long time even for most people in most places to notice how bad things have gotten. Because of course for a while we'll have the "prosperity" of a building boom in the Gulf Coast, funded by printing-press dollars and your taxes (assuming the feds still have enough strength to pull off that charade). We'll continue to have rising prices of new homes for a while because building material costs will have gone sky high as New Orleans, Biloxi, Gulfport, and environs demand a huge share of all the nation's lumber and concrete. We'll still have GWB cheerleading away, with no regard for reality. We'll still have the artificial prosperity every war engenders. For a while.

But fall has always been the most dangerous time -- both for economies and for hurricanes. And this country's economic foundations have been crumbling for a long, long time. I can't escape the belief that we're not going to recover quickly, if ever, from whatever happens this fall. Because it's happened already and we just don't feel the effects yet. America will still stagger along, with its politicians prating of "freedom" and "democracy" -- and making promises about the prosperity and return to greatness that are just around the corner.

But we'll face some damn bad times. And even or best times will never be what they once were. We'll be lucky if China or India deals kindly with their poor, impoverished neighbor. We'll be lucky if they don't hate us for wounding them as we fall.

Good luck to us all. Focus on getting out of debt and strengthing long-term preparedness. If there's no money to do both, then focus on preparedness skills and organization, not purchases. If there's no money to do either, then focus on skills and mindset -- and realize that a day might come when conditions are so bad that you simply have to shurg and walk away from usurious credit-card debt owed to giant government-collaborating institutions.

Posted by Claire @ 10:05 AM CST

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