We’re Number…………Oh Crap!!

Thinking about the anti American sentiment as shared by some around the world (still not convinced it is as prevalent as put forth) that we talked about in the Knee Jerk post, it is clear that we bring some (and still not convinced that the “some” equals “most”)of this on ourselves. When your sphere of influence is the largest, when a good portion of the world looks to you for guidance/protection/financial support, and when you foot the bill for the projection of law and order that even our allies come to expect, it is hard for the big dog to share his food bowl with others.

Along those lines, Americans revel in their financial strength, their alacrity in the practice of democracy and capitalism, and adherence to the primacy of the individual and his civil liberties. Yep, it’s pretty cool to be us, except, it’s all eroding before our very eyes:

Good news! On economic freedom, America is in the global Top 10.

Bad news: America is No. 10
—-
Because the United States keeps slipping in those areas, America has slid from No. 9 in 2011 to tenth place today. Indeed, this is the fourth consecutive year in which the U.S. fell a notch. Out of a perfect score of 100, America declined 1.5 points to 76.3

Looks like the big dog is losing his teeth. Wasn’t it just since the turn on the century, not this one-the last one, that the world danced to our tune? Those things that we used to pride ourselves on doing better then anyone else, {injecting the obligatory Darth Vadar quote , “When I left you, I was but the learner, now I am the master.”}

U.S. tax-and-spend scores are appalling: Among 179 countries surveyed, America is No. 127 in government spending and No. 133 in fiscal freedom, far below average on both counts. The U.S. suffers an “overall tax burden amounting to 24 percent of total domestic income,” the Index states. “Government expenditures have grown to 42.2 percent of GDP, and the budget deficit is close to 10 percent of GDP. Total public debt is now larger than the size of the economy.” Such boulders bow American shoulders.

Making us more like them, Obama did think our arrogance needed some toning down, good job on that.

Another problem: “Corruption is a growing concern as the cronyism and economic rent-seeking associated with the growth of government have undermined institutional integrity,” the Index declares. For Freedom from Corruption, the U.S. is ranked No. 22; approximating Transparency International’s finding that America is the earth’s 24th most honest country.

And the hits keep on coming. I’d like to put this squarely on Obama’s shoulders and how he is running his administration but this problem is part and parcel of big government in general. We have talked before how big government will always be bloated, corrupt, inefficient, working at cross purposes with itself, much of it unconstitutional (or at least runs contrary to the originalists and their views), and self perpetuating in that once created or grown it is a ravenous beast who will protect itself. I don’t see this changing to any real degree no matter who wins in November.

The old adage that a cruise ship can’t turn on a dime, even this assumes the proper will in turning. Anybody seen any of that lately?

Sadly, I see this precipitous slide only continuing, and next year will bring news of an even farther fall in the ratings. The good news in that ratings like this (and those documenting nations of economic stability and low taxation) provide us Americans possible bail out locations. Although Canada is too cold for me and those crazy Irish drink too much (good music though), I have heard good things about Chile. Aussie babes and beaches( and the climate, some areas) are a definite consideration. Who knows, me and CM might turn out to be neighbors.

Comments are closed.

  1. hohokiss

    I’ll attribute some of it to encroaching middle age and high mileage/km in general, but the govts day-to-day is looking as exciting and relevant to me as MTV, AOL dialup, or desktop computers anymore. Its always been more a form of infrequent entertainment than any kind of love affair; a distant cousin dropped out of high school to become a Walmart greeter whom we saw on satellite TV last week, heading some OWS group.
    Electronics and even cars are so hi tech microscopic you can’t fix them anymore. I wouldn’t know who half the Hollywood stars are these days. The real Apocalypse is coming, and the best place to be is far from the crowd and self-reliant. Theres no safety in numbers, quite the opposite.
    Should I drop in, Germany, unlike other countries, will (still) honor their word and give me all sorts of gummint services whether they like it, and are bankrupt, or not, but I’d rather not ask them for anything.
    Rich Americans routinely rough it on fellow winner Sir Richard Branson’s islands for some US$10,000 – US$54,000 per day, with a stash of Mexican dope imported at high cost cuz its chic, and because they can, but thats still too frilly for me. Some meat/fish, greens, a few local fruits and nuts (from plants), enough water to drink and bathe, even temperatures and a hobby is all thats needed. And whats needed right now is an unoccupied American street corner to sell $1 Contributor newspapers from, to finance that dream. Its a long road.

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  2. hohokiss

    Countries ranked 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 9th would be considered to have ‘big governments’ would they not?

    I wonder – how much more envy and hatred must you feel from others for being at number 4. Your slipping -.2 give the Maori any satisfaction?

    “Over 70 new major regulations have been imposed since early 2009, with annual costs of more than $38 billion,” the Index observes.

    Thats still less than the $39 billion Mexican drug racket. (chest swells with pride)

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  3. CM

    I just love how my comment about which countries have ‘big government’ already has two thumbs down. Booooooooo! Booooooooo to CM for asking such a question.
    Just to be clear, by asking that question I can confirm that I did not wish to infer that the soldiers stole the Lindbergh baby.

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  4. Section8

    I can confirm that I did not wish to infer that the soldiers stole the Lindbergh baby.

    Yet you did, and made it quite clear. Since the video only states they were Taliban, we should seriously consider the other possibilities right now, how’s that for using it as propaganda. No need to wait for a cleric to do it, it was enough to make you nearly vomit in your mouth.

    Here’s what we already know about CM, and apparently the same mode of operation brought over from Moorewatch.

    Left wing ideologue, who doesn’t have an ounce of integrity to at least admit it, will go on about Alex while going ahead and taking a story tacking on to it for his own personal agenda, will present himself as having a rational argument, but if the debate goes on long enough will go on to hash out every left leaning talking point imaginable, including implying possibilities that have no absolutely no fact behind them, to the point that he nearly vomits. You are a fucking lying bullshitter, smiley faces, and snide retractions notwithstanding.

    Rich, why not just leave then? The new American way, let’s all sit on our asses, say no way to people who might want to head back to the path of limited government and actually have a track record of doing so. We don’t want to do it because they might be nuts, but we’ll sit back and let it fall apart anyhow, and then bail. Absolutely brilliant strategy.

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  5. richtaylor365 *

    Countries ranked 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 9th would be considered to have ‘big governments’ would they not?

    Going to the list of countries ranked by gdp, no they would not be.

    The US has the largest GDP by far of any nation, $15 trillion GDP, going down the list:

    14) Canada 1.3 trillion
    18) Australia 883 billion
    44) Chile 258 billion
    55) Ireland 176 bllion
    61) NZ 118 billion

    Just to be clear, by asking that question I can confirm that I did not wish to infer that the soldiers stole the Lindbergh baby.

    Yeah, but they still got no alibi for Natalee Holloway.

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  6. richtaylor365 *

    Rich, why not just leave then? The new American way, let’s all sit on our asses, say no way to people who might want to head back to the path of limited government and actually have a track record of doing so. We don’t want to do it because they might be nuts, but we’ll sit back and let it fall apart anyhow, and then bail. Absolutely brilliant strategy.

    I was attempting to be tongue in cheek, but minimal kudos for the not so clever attempt to get your Paul genuflections in.

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  7. CM

    Going to the list of countries ranked by gdp, no they would not be.

    I was thinking ‘big government’ as in the size of government’s role in the country/economy. I thought that was generally what was meant.

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  8. Seattle Outcast

    Other places that have/had a “big government” by your definition would include China, USSR, North Korea, Venezuela….

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  9. hohokiss

    This from the Christian Science Monitor
    http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/new-economy/2011/1025/Iraq-war-will-cost-more-than-World-War-II

    Iraq war will cost more than World War II
    Iraq war, now winding down with US troop exit by December, has cost more than $800 billion so far. But ongoing medical treatment, replacement vehicles, etc., will push costs to $4 trillion or more.

    This is the cost of killing one Saddam Hussein, with far more to come. Al Qaeda spent some $500k to perp 9/11 and the Pentagon combined.

    As President Obama prepares to tie a bow on U.S. combat operations in Iraq, Congressional Budget Office numbers show that the total cost of the eight-year war was less than the stimulus bill passed by the Democratic-led Congress in 2009.
    “The problem is not the impact on the GDP. It basically was financed through debt, which is a completely different issue,” says Anthony Cordesman, the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

    It’s really the decision of how to pay for it that has had such a negative effect on the U.S. economy. Because unlike any previous war in U.S. history, this was paid for entirely by debt at the same time that we cut taxes. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has estimated that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, together with the Bush tax cuts, will account for almost half of the projected $20 trillion debt in 2019.

    $20 trillion debt , $52k per night in paradise ………….

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  10. Section8

    I was attempting to be tongue in cheek, but minimal kudos for the not so clever attempt to get your Paul genuflections in.

    If it was tongue in cheek, then fair enough. No need to run off though, this can be fixed one way or the other, but we are going to have to be more vocal about it Ron Paul or someone else that’s backed. I just don’t see the conservative side speaking up enough and demanding better which is the true force behind my increasing bitterness these days. We did have some hope with the Tea Party, but that seems to be absorbed back to the same old.

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  11. CM

    Other places that have/had a “big government” by your definition would include China, USSR, North Korea, Venezuela….

    Oh of course. My point (which I was moving towards) is that some of those countries deemed socialist by some people on the right are at the top of the rankings for ‘economic freedom’. Which doesn’t say much for the ability of some people to either
    (a) recognise socialism, or
    (b) argue that socialism is economic slavery.

    I think it’s much more a case of (a) than (b).

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  12. richtaylor365 *

    I don’t plan on leaving and am willing to do my part/fight for my country’s survival. But what you don’t understand (maybe you do) is how endemic the problem is. Assuming you could magically inject Ron Paul into the presidency, discounting the simple fact that all of our allies would declare us certifiable and insane, what actual differences do you think he could make wrt the debt, the size of government, or it’s ever growing intrusions into our private lives? Maybe this should be saved for it’s own post, and I get the notion that a great journey begins with the first step, but really, given the size of government we have now and the amount of people that depend on services, what could he actually do?

    Maybe with a complacent and willing congress that would back his play, but assuming congress does not change, the differences between what he could do and what you want him to do is like Grand Canyon size.

    Much like a new tax, presented to the people as only temporary to get us out of the hole, but then becomes permanent, or another analogy might be union members and the fight they would put up, willing to cut your eyes out in the defense of their gravy train they got going, any reductions of the size of government can only be incremental, and done with great effort.

    I will do what I can to make that happen (including writing posts that document the dilemma) and will support those like Paul Ryan, those in the belly of the beast willing to do battle for us, but to think that it will not be arduous , protracted, or painful is just hiding your head in the sand.

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  13. mrblume

    Countries ranked 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and 9th would be considered to have ‘big governments’ would they not?

    Going to the list of countries ranked by gdp, no they would not be.

    Are you saying that when I hear complaints about “big government”, I am to understand that the speaker wants to shrink Americas GDP?

    (Cue joke about Republican economic policy ideas suddenly making sense).

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  14. CM

    ;-)

    Funnily enough it was an interpretation problem. As we all know, they do happen, particularly in this medium. Rich interpreted what I meant incorrectly. I clarified. Now if he’s Section8, or someone else chomping at the bit to try and portray as me as some sort of crazed radical, he’ll say I’m lying and proceed to tangle his knickers in knots while quite obviously failing to point out how.

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  15. Poosh

    Canada, Australia and Ireland have all gone through, in the past ten/twenty years liberal economic overhauls, that is, free-market capitalism and deregulation. That has no baring on the welfare state or the size of governments, which is often funded by borrowed money. This is fucking obvious, I don’t see why I’m writing it.

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  16. CM

    NZ too (1980’s).
    I wouldn’t agree that deregulation has no bearing on the size of government. Isn’t that a fundamental part of deregulation – that taking govt out of the equation inherently reduces the size of the govt?

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  17. richtaylor365 *

    The post sourced a study on economic freedom, the size of the economy of each nation is based on it’s GDP, the point being (which I whiffed at trying to make earlier) that big governments regulating or controlling large GDP’s are harder to amend or limit.

    Poosh mentioned the transitions of Canada, Australia and Ireland wrt fiscal discipline/taxes/regulations/monetary policy , ditto that with Chile, who also went through similar growing pains, and came to an economic epiphany. These epiphany’s are easier to come you are the size of a speed boat or even a yacht, cruise ships are harder to turn around, as I mentioned earlier.

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  18. CM

    I would totally agree that bog governments regulating or controlling lthe point being that big governments regulating or controlling large GDP’s are harder to amend or limit.

    I would agree with that.

    Here is the full study for anyone interested (I’m always interested in this sort of stuff).

    I’ll bookmark the link for the next time someone tells me I’m living in a ‘socialist paradise’ ;-)

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  19. Seattle Outcast

    (a) recognise socialism, or
    (b) argue that socialism is economic slavery.

    I think it’s much more a case of (a) than (b).

    Doesn’t say much for your ability to reason worth a shit to make such a statement.

    Any government involved enough in your life to provide the common aspects of socialism is also involved enough to demand certain aspects of your behavior comply with its desires, or it will force them. This isn’t what qualifies as crime, it what it decides costs too fucking much to put up with. Of course, these types of behaviors are highly political as well, so facts and data don’t actually get considered when the government decides to ban things.

    Also, only a fucking idiot would believe in a benevolent government that doesn’t have a gun to its head. History has proven otherwise 100% of the time. All governments tend toward totalitarianism in the long term.

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  20. Poosh

    CM, there is a difference between “socialistic”, and socialist. Almost no European country is a socialist country. That’s a fact. However, in a short-hand way of speaking, people say “socialist” but they mean socialistic. The welfare state is supposed to be a “compromise”. That being said it is perfectly legitimate to make an assessment that politicians want to increase the level of socialistic policies, or actually create socialism.

    If you see the welfare state as a re-distributive means of so-called social justice, then that’s a socialist position. If you see the welfare state as a necessary condition to help those who do not have the immediate access to that which is needed to live an acceptable life in a capitalistic society, and whom without that help simply would never function – or those who would simply die without some form of aid, that’s different.

    Also countries with a great deal of economic freedom may choose to extend their welfare state along socialistic grounds, in certain areas – and they do this by borrowing huge amounts of money, whilst also depending on the tax revenue from the fruits of capitalism.

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  21. hohokiss

    Canada, Australia and Ireland have all gone through, in the past ten/twenty years liberal economic overhauls, that is, free-market capitalism and deregulation

    It managed to run 100-year-old Canadian telecom giant Nortel into the ground in a few years after the telecom boom. Of course, a few of the top execs were Yanks, with their high morals and their money savvy. Onetime CEO was former US Admiral Bill Owens, Commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet from 1990 to 1992, a God fearing bunch of ships kicking ass everywhere, including Operation Desert Storm. Fixed them Commie Islamists, he did. But Nortel somehow still filed Chapter 11.

    And in August 2009, former Nortel CEO, American Mike Zafirovski, sought $12 million payout from Nortel

    Canadian CEO Roth filed a U.S. creditor claim seeking a $1 billion U.S. indemnification from Nortel of his personal assets with respect to a series of class action lawsuits filed by former employees.

    Time Europe, on December 25, 2000, noted that “The change [in Canadian government policies] marked the triumph of ideas forcefully argued by the most successful businessman in modern Canadian history: Nortel Networks CEO John Roth, 58. Mr. Roth warned that ‘the country (Canada) risked becoming a second-rank economic power unless it changed its wealth-crimping tax policies and supported high-tech winners (like Nortel)”. Roth urged the government of Canada to provide “better tax treatment of stock options”, saying, “Policies and business strategies that worked well in the industrial era are a recipe for stagnation and decline in the new economy.”

    Under Roth’s control Nortel became the leading engine of Canada’s 1990s high-tech boom. Nortel became the most important stock traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange and became one of Canada’s leading employers. Roth used his success and high popularity to lobby the government for tax cuts, but he did not support Clive Allen statement to threaten to move Nortel to the United States if taxes were not lowered

    Americas the place for Nortel

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  22. balthazar

    I just love how my comment about which countries have ‘big government’ already has two thumbs down. Booooooooo! Booooooooo to CM for asking such a question.
    Just to be clear, by asking that question I can confirm that I did not wish to infer that the soldiers stole the Lindbergh baby.

    Oh look, I come back after a nice long weekend vacation to see CM whine like the little cunt he is.

    Good to know that things are still normal here.

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  23. balthazar

    I can only assume that’s an attempt at irony.

    Well you must really be a self hating American then, since only Americans dont know what Irony is. My statement is fact, you are a whiny little cunt.

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  24. hohokiss

    The US is by far the number one doing those “winning hearts and minds” projects but one is slipping a tad over at Camp Honor, no irony there
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/22/world/meast/iraq-human-rights/index.html?hpt=hp_bn2

    The human rights situation in Iraq is worse now than it was a year ago, the campaign group Human Rights Watch argues in a new report out Sunday, warning that people are being tortured with impunity in secret prisons.
    The group says it uncovered a secret prison where detainees were beaten, hung upside down and given electric shocks to sensitive parts of their bodies. Human Rights Watch based its claims on the testimony of detainees themselves.
    The Justice Ministry announced in March that it would close the facility, Camp Honor, but Human Rights Watch says it has “credible information that elite forces may still hold and interrogate detainees at Camp Honor.”

    Human Rights Watch is biased to the left, and Islam. At least oil is cheaper now. But, wait, maybe not for long. To distract from its financial woes, the EU is disrupting the ongoing peace process by demanding more peace from Iran, immediately

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/23/world/europe/iran-eu-oil/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

    European Union foreign ministers imposed fresh sanctions on Iran Monday, banning the import of Iranian crude oil and petroleum products in order to cut off sources of funding for Iran’s nuclear program, the bloc announced.
    It also froze the assets of Iran’s Central Bank in the EU, and blocked trade with Iran in gold, diamonds and precious metals, it said.
    And it is blocking the export to Iran of “key” petrochemical equipment and technology from the EU, it said.

    Good on them.

    Tehran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, the only outlet to and from the Persian Gulf between Iran and the United Arab Emirates and Oman, as it faces possible sanctions.
    The United States has made clear it will not let that happen.

    Good on the US

    Iran is expected to still be able to sell its oil to places like China, India or other Asian countries, but perhaps at a discount of 10% to 15%. About 35% of Iran’s oil exports currently go to China and India.

    Doing oil trade with China and India could win Iran several billion hearts and minds almost for “free”, all without a costly decades-long military parade. Looks like a “disagreement” with China is going to happen, its been fomenting since they waved their Red Books at some mushroom clouds long ago

    North Korea’s nuclear test ended two decades of debate over its intentions–whether the Stalinist/Kimist state aimed to manufacture weapons or stop short of actual production and be satisfied with possessing a so-called virtual deterrent.

    A similar debate is taking place with regard to Iran. China Confidential analysts believe that just as diplomacy failed to prevent or freeze North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, it will fail to stop Iran from developing its weapons of mass destruction. The Obama administration talks about “tough” direct diplomacy with the Islamist nation and “tough” sanctions. In reality, the United States has limited leverage over Iran as long as (a) it is supported by China and Russia, and (b) oil prices remain high.

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