"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Depression, Via Ace of Spades

Ace, writing about the pork-laden Sandy-relief bill:

The reality is vox populi, vox dei -- the voice of the people is the voice of God. And the voice of this particular shabby god has decreed that we shall be financially reckless and we should go through a national bankruptcy, and there's no sense trying to avoid it, so we'll just run up a huge tab buying multiple 65 inch 3D tvs before we crash.

Given that the people wish to spend money they do not have, and soon will not have (for all the same reasons that people with bad credit can't rent a car -- your ability to borrow is precisely related to your projected future ability to make good on your loans), and will not be diverted from this disastrous course, what can anyone do?

People used to call people who expected other people to pay for them "freeloaders."   And people used to call people who ran up huge debts that they had no intention of paying "bums" or "frauds."  

And "bankrupt" used to be a term of opprobrium, signifying both financial and moral ruin, with the latter having been the proximate cause of the former.  

If you base a political economy on moral hazard, don't be surprised when both your politicians and your people act immorally.

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