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Saturday, 13 August 2016


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Professor Walter Russell Meade refers to states like Illinois as the "Blue Governing Model". Illinois is not alone as there are more Blue states and cities in the same fix for the same reasons. Meade often writes...what can't go on won't go on. It ends.

"Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the
state wants to live at the expense of everyone". Frederic Bastiat

Heck I can't for the life of me see why anybody'd be getting any o'their panties in a twist.

And I figger, Bob'll shortly come wingin' in mirroring my sentiments that, Really all that piddly Ill&annoy debt requires is a few good commodity trades by a master of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

And Bob assures us there's one out there who is capable!

Calm down Dears!

JK, no worries, Caterpillar Inc. will bail out Illinois...if it doesn't finally bail out of Illinois.

Uh oh Whitewall.

I wuz wonderin' about that Caterpillar loan application to the ExIm Bank in the amount of $2,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.00 co-signed by The Clinton Foundation and special contingency handling noted "to be processed Only after the 2nd Tuesday of November 2016."

You reckon Whitewall, there's anything at all suspicious going on do you?

And if there is who do I call, the SEC or the FEC?

Mr. Will, as America's stern schoolmaster, is giving us all a sharp rap on the knuckles for tomfoolery of a type he does not approve. He exaggerates some points and omits others, as is typical of a partisan columnist. A detailed study of the Illinois budget can be found here:

The governor wants tax and spending cuts and reforms in pension and other budgets. This is typical Republican stuff. At the federal level Republicans have shut down the government over similar proposals. Will agrees to blame public sector workers but gives Rauner's tax cuts and opposition to workers' rights a pass on the implied assumption they're inherently correct. As I commented yesterday, this is typical of Illinois politics and at some point it will be resolved.

"Out" parties always try to make the case the state or country is in terrible shape. At the Republican convention speakers made a case the US is a nightmare dystopia to the point it sounded like America bashing. Trump proposes the rich are taxed too much and claims the president is on the side of terrorists. He also says Clinton wants to abolish the second amendment, which is not legally possible, among other goofy fantasies. We'll see how many voters buy this line of argument in November.

I forgot to mention Trump has also stated American workers are paid too much.

JK, call the FBI. Whitewash is now their specialty;)

Looking at the individual US states' debts ...

... Illinois is at 20% but NY is at 24% - debt as a percentage of GDP.

The total US debt as a percentage of GDP, including the federal state, is 104% ...

This compares to Blighty at 90%, with the frogs and jerries plus or minus a bit ...

Any Microsoft jobs going in Chicago?


SoD, no. Frozen geeks are of little use.

Oh, and none of the above debt figures include the unfunded state pensions.

According to your figure above, the US has $1-4Tn unfunded pensions liabilities.

Blighty has £5Tr - even though we're a fraction of the size and GDP! ...

In the race to the bottom of the "who goes bust first" pit, post-Brexit Blighty leads the pack.


It's interesting that at SoD's link the solid red (Republican) Kentucky, home of Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, has a state and local debt of 20.64% compared to Illinois' 20.33%. It's also interesting that Illinois gets less federal help than the surrounding states and that the reddest, Old Dixie states get the most federal welfare (scroll down to map):

It's true about frozen geeks. Soon after I got my engineering degree I moved to San Diego where I met two Brits who had fled England during Thatcher's "brain drain". Austerity. That's the ticket.

"Mr. Will, is [a] typical ... partisan columnist."

Yep, common as 1765 three dollar bills.

Of course the South rakes in more federal monies, there was Kentucky and Maryland getting boxed then Reconstruction then LBJ, Byrd, Long, Strom Thurmond then William Jefferson C ... heck you can't spit in Lexington without hitting a billboard in the name of Mitch.

And we admit nobody has to write Rahm Boulevard down as their return address so; what exactly?


On the lighter side.

The thing is there is no constitional/legal provision for a state to declare bankruptcy. But with limits they can be held in default and assets seized. It will be real mess.


JK, so Will's analysis of Illinois as an example of bad governance and bad economics is a pile of manure. BTW, there are a lot of high-tech companies in Chicago for anyone who can take the weather.

David, do you think Lionel Shriver's book is serious or satirical?

Bob. I don't feel comfortable decreeing Will's post anywise specific, as I lack the professional expertise on capital E economics. "Life experience" informs me the South bloc of states should by History be the more likely to eat up Federal monies. Kentucky by virtue of Appalachia and patronage, Maryland and the proximity states .. federally connected/related jobs-force. NASA stuff.

I believe the state most dependent (in receipt of) Fed largesse is Mississippi for what ought probably be, obvious. "They" couldn't all move to Chicago now could they?

There seems to be a lot of Shinola in this thread.


It is not the *immediate* future of Illinois, and other Democrat controlled States that is the problem, it is their future. It is a failure common to all socialists that they fail to understand the nature of compound interest rates. They will learn the hard way!

The best way forward for the United States is dissolution!

Here's GDP per capita (ie the GDP that really matters) across the states of the US: -

The top few are a bit distorted for natural resource output and federal state reasons. (Note Illinois is 16th on $59k - whaddaya whinging about!).

But we're looking at a spread of $35-$70k after running a common currency across multiple states for 100's of years with fiscal redistribution.

Yet everyone's ok about it with freedom of movement, those living in the bottom end could always move to the top end if they wanted. Equilibrium, as the economists would say.

Now look at the Eurozone in this map of EU countries: -

The spread is wider, from 18k-50k.

So if double is the equilibrium as exhibited by the US, then the Eurozone has got a way to go of pain and suffering before immigration of the poor from the periphery to the core increases the GDP per capita at the periphery and lowers it in the core to reach the double equilibrium.

Dunno where that came from, just a Sunday morning meander.


The left manage to trash every place and institution that they get their sweaty little hands on. Crime, debt, racism and cronyism soars, maladministration becomes endemic. By the time Clinton has finished when she becomes president the USA will mirror Venezuela, Mexico and Zimbabwe all rolled into one. Unless the right get their act together. Start by being rid of Trump and his like and look for someone in the mould of Reagan. Reagan and Thatcher the best political double act there ever was. Now we only appear to vote in clowns. At least the UK has got shot of one hoping the new one will not emulate him. Even Canada has it's very own clown. What is the world coming to.

The worst thing that ever happened to the West was winning the Cold War. The losing side and its apologists didn't just collectively drop dead, unfortunately, they retrenched within our institutions and "trashed them". Trash institutions, trash culture = trash politics = trash policies = some form of socialism. This continues until it can't.

To reverse this, the Right has to retake the institutions and clean them out. Orderly respectable institutions will begin to clean up the culture and politics is down stream from culture. It will take decades to wean the public off subsidies but this must be undertaken.

If all this fails, then democracy as always, ends in chaos and then dictatorship. In the meantime, we can have chaos and decline, or, order and and decent future.

Anti - Spot on, yes please, but I fear only in our dreams.

Whiters - I'd never have met Fluffbun if the wall hadn't come down. Life's like a box of chocolate's, the bigger the selection, the more you "don't know what you're gonna get."


SoD, she must be quite a catch it seems? Lucky man.

SoD, given some thought to to your box of chocolates metaphor its a wonder you didn't wind up with a Somali or a Tuareg Libyan.

Well JK, there are lots of shades of chocolate you know.

David, the Democrats are not the Brit socialists of the 1950's and '60's, no matter how much you or George Will would like to believe they are.

In general, SoD's map of gross state product shows the Democratic west coast and northeast coast states, along with the two most Democratic Midwestern states, Illinois and Minnesota, are doing well. The Republican states doing best are oil producers. Not much imagination required there.

SoD, Europe's main division, the "iron curtain", didn't end until 130 years after our Civil War that created similar economic divides. Your meander is interesting.

Bob's (and frankly, mine) dividing "neatly" the states into Red & Blue shouldn't really, be taken "so neatly" though.

Arkansas for instance is Republican/Red now but that's only since 2010 (and for the first time since 1875, Arkansas' Congressional delegation is entirely Republican as Tom Cotton only replaced Democrat Senator Mark Pryor in 2014). Too, Arkansas' last two Republican Governors (Rockefeller '67-'71 & White '81- '83) before the current Asa Hutchinson and the current Arkansas State Legislature were, at the governor-level heavily weighted toward the Ds and the legislature even now pretty much split D/R.

I'm not gonna be spending anytime other than from memory but I'd almost be willing to wager where Bob is calling the other Southern states "Republican Red" ... that's probably true but, insofar more or less as is my own.

I might add, my county level government (as well as my state legislative Representative) are each every swinging dick and otherwise, Democrat.

Oh yeah there was that Huckabee feller. Forgot about him oddly. Interesting thing about that Republican gubner was, when the Governor's Mansion was getting gussied up for the first time since the Clintons went to Washington, Gubner Mike set up a mobile home (trailer) on the grounds of the capitol.

Plumb tawdry we all thought at the time but in hindsight, that'd been a pretty good spine stiffener for all Washington DC's denizens while we taxpayers were redoing the dome.

Bob, my instinct is that the Democrats are infinitely worse than ever Atlee's socialists were. Their economics(?) were equally infantile but at least their personal probity was way above the likes of Kennedy through to the Clintons, all of whom are knee-deep in corruption.

David, if I parse your meaning correctly you're a cultural conservative outraged by Kennedy's whore mongering and the Clinton's open marriage. I am thus shocked at your own attitude toward the ogling of naked women:

Either that or you actually believe Democrats are more corrupt than Republicans:

"In 1973, [Spiro] Agnew was investigated by the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland on charges of extortion, tax fraud, bribery, and conspiracy. He was charged with having accepted bribes totaling more than $100,000 while holding office as Baltimore County Executive, Governor of Maryland, and Vice President. On October 10 that same year, Agnew was allowed to plead no contest to a single charge that he had failed to report $29,500 of income received in 1967, with the condition that he resign the office of Vice President."

Of course Agnew worked for President Nixon, who was forced to resign in disgrace.

Reagan's Iran-Contra affair wasn't exactly a high point of American politics either:

I could go on for pages.

No, Bob, no, and no again! I do not think there is that much to choose in terms of morality between Republicans and Democrats. It seems to me from 'over here' that your politics are mired, not just in Big Money but huge, colossal, eye-watering piles of money. Until that is put (more or less) right then you will get nothing but the same sort of dirty rats and rascals you have 'enjoyed' for past few decades. I wish you luck - but I ain't holding my breath!


We agree there's too much money in American politics. However, as an amateur student I can tell you our politicians have always included rats and rascals. Besides, you in the UK haven't much room for lecturing us. Your rascals even include the sainted Winston Churchill:

You know Bob, if there's one thing good the Trump candidacy has done for our foreign friends (and us) it's that the old saw, "There's not a dimes worth of difference between an old school Republican and an old school Democrat" has turned out all glaring and shiny obviously so.

And we Bob, you and I and to some extent TheBigHenry and Whitewall; all our role "arguing nothing to effect" on this here UK blog is, we all understand for naught - you're in the tank for Hillary, I'm in the Trump tank, each irrevocably (we might say, 'irredeemably'?) TBH and Whitewall in the Never Hillary camp fully aware that nothing about US politics and thus, government is likely to change for the better.

But ... Trump might win still, so there's that - but even then ol' JK is basically resigned to seeing his generation is the last to "know" what possibilities freedom and liberty and the pursuit of happiness held.

Too bad its come to this. History should one day show it was a heckuva ride.


My hope for the Trump candidacy is it will bring Republicans to their senses. Their "sales pitch" style of politics has been far too successful for their own good and reached its logical conclusion of actually electing a pitch man as presidential nominee. I'm not happy about having to vote for Hillary, but the alternative is unthinkable.

The arguments on this UK blog are actually more interesting than most in the states because of the international commenters as well as David's, if he'll excuse me, naive take. I don't think Europeans have much idea what "conservative" means in the US. Supposedly Nigel Farage, who is considered far right in the UK, said after attending a Trump rally that it was the first time in his life he felt left wing.


Don't take me wrong, arguments here are far more enjoyable (dare I say "fun") here on the UK blogosphere than where we're more accustomed, acclimated. Don't know that it really matters whether its productive or not, to you and I anyway - helps with David's *education* ... maybe ... is all.

Well. Maybe SoDs too as he maybe sees his equivalent goofiness in matters of state Britain being directed straight and unadulterated right back at him but from a 'could have been' colonial's point of view.

You Bob I expect not to get too wound up over my second paragraph and me assuring you I'll not be after reading your inevitable retort.

And probably the bestest feature of all, we both Bob you and I (I think) is that we both appreciate not being in either an echo chamber or, a choir.

TBH gave me, unbeknownst probably how much I'd appreciate, a "helpful" literary passage that's cushioned my thoughts from time to time.


"[..] I take my two pipes in the afternoon, no more and no less, like the elders. And I feel that I am a man. And I feel that a man is a very important thing — maybe more important than a star. This is not theology. I have no bent toward gods. But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul."

— From John Steinbeck, East of Eden


You're right. I enjoy studying politics, including others' points of view, and try to avoid much emotional investment. There is no "black hat" or "white hat" team, except possibly in the relative short term. And thanks, the Steinbeck excerpt is profound and beautiful.

You might then Bob, appreciate TBH's gift in its entirety ...

And if TheBigHenry I've not conveyed as I might've, should've, earlier and appropriately adequate, there's this comment. Thank you Sir.


You make me blush. It is gratifying to me that you took that excerpt from "East of Eden" to heart. It is Steinbeck's magnum opus.

I have read it several times, and this particular passage is Steinbeck's kernel of wisdom for his exegesis on the gift of free will for humanity, as conveyed through Moses by the Hebrew word timshel -- "Thou mayest".

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