Tuesday, February 7, 2012

we owe it to ourselves

WE OWE IT TO OURSELVES
In response to Mohave Rat and his optimism, here is today’s tirade.  Note, I have nothing against Mohave Rat who is a rather pleasant fellow.  What I have a problem with is optimism.  Being down in the Mohave, I would think the Rat would agree with me that optimism is very dangerous.  Follow my logic here.  An explorer is setting out to see the dry forbidding desert.  He carries a half full canteen.  Why, look, my canteen is half full.  And I’m sure to find more!  Moral of the story, the optimist is soon dead.  A grumpy unpleasant pessimist on the other hand observes his canteen half empty.  He snarls at all the fools that think this is enough water.  He knows he won’t find anymore.  He won’t set out until he has more water.  Or, ideally, he won’t leave town that is near a spring.  The Rat doesn’t see why we panic over 15 trillion in debt.  Because we owe far less than our assets.  BUT.  The US does not have 110 trillion bucks in assets.  What it has is assets it alone values at 110 trillion.  But the value is far below that.  What the country owns are depreciating assets or assets that are actually liabilities.  You can’t take an acre in the middle of a desert and value it at the same price as a desert lot next to a lake.  To say that the US owns a zillion bucks in land is to say all the wasteland nowhere near water is worth something.  And to value a freeway at ten million a mile is equally silly.  It cost that much to construct.  And a private company MIGHT get X amount from tolls on it.  Until gas shoots up in cost and nobody drove anymore on it.  And any maintenance on it would have to be done by minimum wage workers, and only half what was currently working on those roads, just to meet minimum happy expectations even if gas never ran out.  All of our infrastructure is overvalued because the true repair or replacement costs are hidden.  Just like a company spends all the workers retirement costs then has to declare bankruptcy to discharge those debts ( kind of like GM and the airlines are doing ). 
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And who would actually buy 99% of our assets?  And what would they pay us with?  Their own brand of Monopoly money?  I don’t have exact figures because of cost increases over the last few years, but awhile ago it was estimated that ALL the oil in the middle east was valued at around ten trillion.  As was all the gold above ground.  At the time our deficit was around eight trillion or so.  Are you telling me the US owns something of equal worth?  What, a lien on all the wheat ever to be grown in the infertile Midwest grown over soon to be drained aquifers?  The entire history of US debt was whitewashed over by continual growth fueled by ever increasing resources.  We no longer have growing resources.  They are all declining.  You can’t pay interest without growth.  Our whole economic house of cards is not failing because we are in debt for X amount, it will fail because we no longer have any growth to pay interest.  So, not only are our assets an illusion, our being able to continue playing the game is even more deadly since we have no growth. 
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Sort of tying into the above, let’s talk about office romances.  Well, in this case, homeless romances.  I could be imagining things but it seems like more and more semi-normal gals are attaching themselves to some of the homeless around here.  Don’t get me wrong, they are by and large some very nice guys.  Happy go lucky, cheerful.  But they are homeless.  Economic classes pretty much tend to group together.  Especially for mating.  Before, if you saw a gal clamped on to a homeless guy, she was as crazy as a craphouse rat or an alcoholic to the point of incompetence, or both.  But now it seems to me ( and as I said, I could be imagining things ) that more “normal” types of females are romancing the guys.  Are things really so bad out there that the guys with a government check are wooed?  Even guys with a small check and no material prospects? 
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Okay, I finished reading the book “The Old Man And The Wasteland”.  Let me tell you, it sucked as a post-apocalypse novel.  It might be truly wonderful as a Hemmingway tribute, a modern version of The Old Man And The Sea, but as far as a good genre book, it blew rabid monkey chunks.  It might be regarded as well written.  I don’t know.  I never read Hemingway or any of the supposed Literature.  I did manage Joseph Conrad ( The Horror! ), but that was a short novelette.  Let me just run by a few things in this book for you.  Forty year old burning motor fuel.  Our intrepid character still has matches to light ( and they lit without fail ) after four decades.  After all that time, MRE’s were still edible ( although, to be fair, the peanut butter was described as dried up ) and flashlight batteries still provided power.  And somehow a desert community lived off salvage alone.  No mention of farming, trading, etc.  In short, someone without a clue trying to describe a post-apocalypse.  I wouldn’t recommend the book, sorry.
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5 comments:

  1. Ah, Jim glad I could provide you with a article. It is true the figures may be inflated depending on who is doing the appraisal but even under the desert the mineral rights are valuable. Overall, I am sure you would agree our country is some pretty valuable real estate.

    I don't follow the analogy. A optimist says I HOPE there is enough water, the pessimist says we are GOING TO RUN OUT AND DIE! Even if both fill up their canteens they are still going to feel the same way. No amount of preps will change their perspective. That is all it is really,perspective or view point. I think we agree way more than we disagree. You just have better hair and I am bald.

    the rat

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  2. I am optimistically thinking that I will live forever...
    The pessimist in me says that this is not the case and I will most certainly die !

    Real estate has pretty much no value without an economy...

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  3. If I am remembering correctly, the mohave rat has been one of your harshest critics the last few years. He doesn't believe in collapse, yet reads survival blogs?

    I love your writing and unique perspective, but I think I have just diagnosed one problem that has hindered you in life. You fail to discern who your real friends really are.

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  4. 8th beer- The Rat has always been sharply oppossed to a lot of what I have to say. But he explains why, he doesn't just call me an ass and moves on like the trolls did. I like his differance of opinion, he does it well. And, although I have had many problems hindering me in life, picking the wrong friends ain't one of them. I have no friends. Now, picking the wrong wives, that is a whole nuther thing.

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