Friday, February 24, 2012

The Deuce Is Too Aware

I'm exhausted, and my health is failing because of it.

I can't go a day without some do-gooder demanding my attention so they can raise my awareness about the cause they care so much about. I just have to care as much as they do, and if I don't well then I'm just scum and don't deserve to live.

I'm barraged by nagging women (why is it always women?) to help (give money) cure breast cancer; prevent eating disorders; rescue unwanted doggies and kittys; help feed those poor Filipino kids living in that giant garbage dump; shut down puppy mills; stop climate change (by having a lifestyle of a Medieval peasant who happens to drive a Chevy Volt); adopt a member of the GLBT community; support Planned Parenthood and finance some chick's birth control/abortion; help stop discrimination against Muslims, just convert or die.

My awareness has reached it's maximum possible elevation. Any higher and the air is so thin I can't breathe. I've reached into my pocket so many times I've got repetitive injury syndrome (please help me by sending some cash). I can't sleep because of the anxiety of knowing the world is getting shittier by the minute and tomorrow will be worse than today was and everyone but me is slowly dying in squalor and filth...and it's my fault because I'm not aware enough.

Well, no more.

As of today, right now, I officially don't care. Why? I don't owe you an explanation but I'll tell you anyway. It's because I can't do anything about your cause. All my time, my energy and my wealth goes to my cause...making sure myself and my loved ones don't become one of your causes. I'm taking care of me and mine, and if you do the same, whoever you are and wherever you are, then you won't need any one's help to live your life, and you won't need these incessant armies of beggars screeching at me 24/7 to raise my awareness enough to give a shit about you.

Now that I've confessed my sin and you are feeling all warm and fuzzy because you do care and now you know for sure that you're a better human being than I am, let me fill you in on something. First, I don't care.

Think what you want, say what you want, care about whatever makes you feel guilty, just stop bothering me with it.

Secondly, it's really easy to say you care and and cry your crocodile tears for every poor schmuck and schmuckette who has a hand out, but I know your dirty little don't really care anymore more than I do. Oh, you'll pretend to care whenever anyone is watching, and say all the right things that you think will make you sound like a caring and compassionate person, a citizen of the world and worthy of everyone's respect. If you can afford it you may even give money and attend charitable events, but you don't do it because you really care. You do it because you want to be loved, appreciated and thought of as noble...better than the other members of your country club, to be showered with honors, acclaim and mention on the society page. It's called competitive altruism. You care more and so obviously are more worthy of, well, everything.

Knock yourself out. I still don't care.

I feel better already...and worse. There's always a price to pay I guess.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Complete Failure

Mr. Quarter is reprinting the following excerpts from an article published in Investor's Business Daily today:

February 17 marks the three-year anniversary of the day President Obama signed the stimulus into law. The original estimate for the cost of the stimulus was $787 billion. Now the Congressional Budget Office says that, when all is said and done, it will have cost $825 billion (that is $825,000,000,000).

At the time, Obama claimed that it would "create or save" up to 3.5 million jobs, and that "a new wave of innovation, activity and construction will be unleashed across America." The stimulus, would, he promised""ignite spending by businesses and consumers" and bring "real and lasting change for generations to come."

Here's where various indicators stood in or around February 2009, and where they stand today.

Unemployment rate: The jobless rate is unchanged from February 2009 to January 2012, the latest month for which we have data. Both stood at 8.3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Obama's economists had initially predicted that with the stimulus, unemployment would stay below 8%.

Number of long-term unemployed: The number of workers who have been unable to find a job in 27 months or more has shot up 83%, with their ranks now at 5.5 million.

Civilian labor force: It has shrunk by 126,000. In past recoveries, the labor force climbed an average of more than 3 million over comparable time periods.

Labor force participation: The share of adults in the labor force — either looking or working — has dropped 3% — also highly unusual in a recovery. At 63.7%, labor force participation is at a low not seen since the middle of the very deep 1981-82 recession, when fewer women were in the work force. A lower participation rate makes the unemployment rate look better.

Household income: Median annual household income is about 7% below where it was in February 2009, according to the Sentier Research Household Income Index.

National debt: Up $4.5 trillion, or 41%, according to the Treasury Department's monthly reports. The latest Treasury figures put the national debt at $15.4 trillion, larger than the entire U.S. economy.

Deficits: The deficit for fiscal year 2009 totaled $1.4 trillion. The Obama administration's proposed deficit for 2012 is $1.3 trillion, which would mark the fourth year of deficits topping $1 trillion.

Gross Domestic Product: Real GDP has climbed just 6% between Q1 2009 and Q4 2011, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. For those that need help with the arithmetic, that is growth averaging just 2% per year

Spending by consumers and businesses: Personal consumption has managed to climb 10% in the past three years, according to the BEA, but companies continue to hoard cash, with cash on hand up 27% since Q1 2009, according to the Federal Reserve Bank.

Perhaps the best measure of the success or failure of the stimulus, however, is the fact that President Obama in his latest budget plan has called for still another round of stimulus spending, this time totaling $350 billion over the next four years, for what is labeled "short-term measures for jobs growth."

Post Script: The budget for Fiscal Year 2010 — the first budget developed by the Obama Administration after taking office in 2009 — projected the federal deficit in fiscal 2012 would be $581 billion, or 3.5% of GDP. Instead, the budget deficit now is expected to be $1,327 billion, or 8.5% of GDP.