Tipping Point USA

Scott Adams suspects there may be one in the near future:

Yesterday I went to Walmart and demanded that they give me a cartload of merchandise for free. This demand was not well-received, so I didn’t get to the second part of my plan which would have involved criticizing the job performance of the people who were giving me free stuff.

Okay, I didn’t really go to Walmart and demand free stuff. You probably knew that because it sounded ridiculous on face value. We all understand that no entity can survive for long if it gives away its resources while asking nothing in return. And this leads me to my point: In the United States, 51% of adults pay zero federal income tax, and yet they have the right to vote. That’s the very definition of a system that can’t last.

I’m not sure where the tipping point is. So far, the power of the non-tax-paying majority has been blunted by the influence of political parties and the misdirection of the media. If the majority ever figures out that they can legally confiscate the wealth of the minority, tax rates will double overnight. My best guess is that the United States will go into a death spiral at about the point that 55% of adults pay no federal income taxes.

It’s not quite a legitimate analysis, in that many of those who don’t pay any income tax do pay payroll taxes. But the general point is correct. No quasi-democratic system, even a very limited representative one, can reasonably hope to survive as long as those who benefit from it are permitted to vote themselves benefits.

It’s too soon to tell, on the basis of a single Congressional election, if the mere threat of partially pruning the entitlement programs is enough for a sufficient number of swing voters to turn against the Republicans in general and the Ryan Plan in particular, not that either will actually solve the dire financial and economic situation in which the nation has mired itself. But if Americans simply will not support the eviscerating of Social Security, AFDC, Medicaid and Medicare despite the fact that they cannot afford to pay for them, it will prove the point that Adams is making.

But he is incorrect about one thing. The USA is already in a death spiral. It simply hasn’t struck the ground yet.

You don’t say

The headline on Drudge made me laugh.

“‘WE ARE ON THE VERGE OF A GREAT, GREAT DEPRESSION‘”

Really now? I am… so very surprised!

“Interest rates are amazingly low and that, thanks to Ben Bernanke, is driving everything,” Yastrow said. “We’re on the verge of a great, great depression. The [Federal Reserve] knows it. We have many, many homeowners that are totally underwater here and cannot get out from under. The technology frontier is limited right now. We definitely have an innovation slowdown and the economy’s gonna suffer.”

This was all entirely predictable. It was, in fact, predicted. My timing was a little off, as usual. I thought the media would start realizing the reality of the situation towards the end of 2010, not the middle of 2011. But the situation remains precisely the same one I described in the Introduction to The Return of the Great Depression and I see no reason to change a word of it.

“Due to the sizeable bear market rally that began in March 2009, many, if not most, economic observers are presently convinced that the global economic difficulties of last autumn are largely behind us now, courtesy of the aggressive, expansionary actions of the monetary and political authorities.

They are wrong. It is not over. It has only begun.

I believe that what we have witnessed to date is merely the first act in what will eventually be recognized as another Great Depression.”

Acceleration is not freefall

I tend to find it somewhat mystifying when an anklebiter yet again attempts to pronounce the irrelevance of Vox Popoli for the Nth time since the very first one did so sometime back in October 2003. I never thought to create a general interest blog, in fact, it took a six-month false start before I even managed to start doing daily posts. Now, posting here is just a part of my routine that requires about as much mental effort as going to the gym or making lunch, the difference being that I am considerably less likely to sprain something while posting here.

(Speaking of which, I was pleased that I was able to jack my dumbbell military press up to 5x30kg yesterday. I was rather less pleased to discover that my neck now objects to being turned to the right. Ah, the bittersweet joys of age.)

Anyhow, in response to one of the anklebiter’s claims that the blog was in decline, I mentioned that its readership, like that of WND’s, has continued to increase over time. But what surprised me when I went back to look at the actual numbers was that the rate of readership growth has also been increasing.

May 2008: 136,577 monthly visits
May 2009: 151,610 +11.0%
May 2010: 185,275 +22.2%
May 2011: 245,493 +32.5%

In fact, last month set new records for both visits and page views (365,271) despite the fact that there were no new books released, no incoming traffic from any of the big blogs, and nothing of exceptional interest happening around the world. At this rate, there will be 350k monthly readers by this time next year, which is about 320k more than I’d ever imagined there would be.

Anyhow, I appreciate the way so many of you take the time to stop by on a regular basis and see what’s going on, I’m glad you continue to find the posts here to be of interest, and I appreciate the way in which your questions and substantive criticism help to clarify my thinking.

Mailvox: a profound change of thinking

MK writes to tell how she has found the dreadful miasma of misogyny that engulfs this blog to not only have adjusted her thought processes but also aided her marriage:

It occurred to me yesterday what a profound change in thinking I have had as a result of reading your blog and one of the books you referenced (Married Man’s Sex Life). In my youth in the 70’s, I was happy to soak up the happy horse-sh#$ that popular culture sold about roles of men and women. My marriage of [two decades] has been a difficult struggle owing in part to my desire to see my husband as a badly designed female.

For his part, in my assessment, my husband still struggles with the reality that I am not a man – that is, that I lack career ambition, aren’t that good at finishing what I start (except household duties), and would prefer he initiate sex. It might be harder for him to give up the desire for me to share the providing than for him to give up on primary child-care duties (when that was needed) and housework. The upshot: it is a relief to accept I am not the woman Madison Ave. promoted who wants and can bring home the bacon, serve it up in a pan, and also provide hooker style sex services to my man. That never was me and I always felt inadequate.

I hate to say, I think my husband does view me as inadequate (he works with many woman/mothers who earn big bucks alongside him, not to mention his mother was a dynamo working wife/mother out of monetary necessity). The blog has helped me, however, to accept that I am who I am and more importantly, he is who he is as a he. I have a newfound respect for that. Little by little, I am changing my behavior and attitude and while my husband may always feel he got ripped off because I really wasn’t the career woman he thought I was (I had a job when we met, was good at it, liked it, and parlayed it into working from home so I could take full-time care of and homeschool our children, not because I needed to work for my identity or the money; rather, I did it because I knew my husband wanted me to make money).

I am a Christian of [more than a decade], and this has been an area that the church we were involved with was no good at leading (male/female roles). I have a friend who has been a Christian all her life, but struggled in her marriage. She did not marry a devoted Christian and longs for leadership, but from our conversations, it is clear, she’s at least 50% of the problem. I have shared insights with her from the blog and it is changing her too. Thank you and please keep doing what you’re doing.

I’m glad she’s found the blog to be helpful. I think it’s interesting to see how MK’s email shows the flipside of the female employment issue. Whereas many men don’t want their wives to work so that the women can focus on their careers as wives and mothers, those who do marry working women often expect them to continue working so the men do not have to shoulder the responsibility as the sole income provider. This is dangerous ground, because it is a potential deal-breaker should the woman decide she wants to unilaterally change the arrangement ex post facto.

While women tend to feel they always have the right to change their mind, consider it from the male perspective. What wife would appreciate it if her husband told her that he wasn’t happy with his job and had decided to stay home and master Guitar Hero instead? Would she be delighted that he was pursuing his dream or would she be upset that he had, in a single stroke, suddenly put pressure on her to figure out how to increase her salary by at least 50 percent or accept the necessary reduction in the lifestyle to which she was accustomed? Even though MK’s decision was beneficial for both her marriage and her children in the long term, it’s perfectly understandable that her husband would feel as if he had been played with a bait-and-switch, because it would appear that he was, at least to some extent. There are no shortage of men who have discovered that housework isn’t as unpleasant, stressful, or time-consuming as office serfdom and they are more than happy to divide the responsibilities as they have been told that women want them to do. Naturally, they will resist a sudden demand that they to return to a more traditional role for which they are completely unprepared, and indeed, might even consider to be evil and sexist.

It’s also noteworthy that she has found the church to be useless with regards to offering support for traditional male and female roles. Churchianity is relentlessly feminized and feminist, which is only one of the many reasons to reject it as a pale, bureaucratic, heretical imitation of Christianity.

But I am pleased to hear that MK and her friend have derived a modicum of personal utility from this blog, and I’m sure Athol could use the encouragement as well.