Government Spending: Food for Economic Zombies

Coming soon…a Zombie Apocalypse…

You must be getting tired of hearing us talk about zombies. And maybe we are getting a little obsessed by them. But we see them all around us. And they’re getting bold…brazen. They’re coming out in broad daylight.

Here’s an article that appeared last week in The Wall Street Journal:

The recipient of the Obama administration’s biggest loan guarantee for solar energy won federal money after an intense push in early 2011 that included hiring a former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden to lobby the administration, according to federal records and people involved in the approval process.

The lobbying blitz came as the $1.6 billion loan to BrightSource Energy Inc. — a centerpiece of the administration’s program to promote nascent green-energy projects — faced a do-or-die moment, and the company called on its Democratic connections to help push the deal forward, according to emails, records and those familiar with the loan.

The $16 billion federal loan-guarantee program became headline news in September when a recipient of a $535 million guarantee, solar-panel maker Solyndra LLC, declared bankruptcy. Solyndra’s chief backer was an Oklahoma industrialist who had bundled contributions for Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign. The White House said there was no connection between the donations and the loan.

President Barack Obama has said the loan program was run fairly and that some failures were inevitable in the business of backing new energy systems.

Mr. Obama lauded BrightSource in a weekly radio address in 2010. The company, which is building a 392-megawatt solar-power plant called Ivanpah in the Mojave Desert, had several other Democratic connections, including its then-chairman, John Bryson, a longtime green-energy proponent whom Mr. Obama later named commerce secretary.

BrightSource spent more than $500,000 on lobbying in the third quarter of 2010 through the second quarter of 2011, according to federal records, on behalf of the loan program and its own loan. The records show that $40,000 of the BrightSource lobbying money went to Bernie Toon, who was chief of staff to Mr. Biden, then a US senator, in the 1990s.

Yes, dear reader, the zombies are everywhere. Lobbying. Spending. Getting disability and bailouts. Every US government program is full of zombies.

Why so many zombies? What you pay for is what you get. And with the “new” dollar after 1971, the feds could buy a lot of zombies.

Remember, zombies are people who take money from the productive sector of the economy and transfer it to themselves. As they grow more numerous and more powerful — thanks to the resources that go their way — the productive part of the economy is less and less able to support them.

Fewer and fewer workers…more and more zombies.

Fewer and fewer people producing things…while more and more people just consume them.

Everything is okay as long as the resources keep flowing. But the productive sector of society can only support so many zombies. Yes, the producers can be bamboozled into supporting more “education” and more “defense” when they are flush. But when times get tough, the zombies and the producers head for a showdown.

Scott Walker won a battle in Wisconsin. But the zombies’ power still grows — funded by cheap credit and government spending. A larger war lies ahead.

*** Poor Mr. Obama. We warned George W. Bush and his henchmen that they would be held accountable for torturing people. It’s clearly against the law. It violates treaties and conventions that the US signed. And sooner or later some ambitious, gutsy or naïve judge is going to issue a warrant for their arrest.

“Stay in Texas,” we told the ex-president, or he is likely to fall into a judicial trap, like Chile’s former head of state, Pinochet.

Now, Mr. Obama better put his passport away too.

Is Obama committing crimes? He might someday be prosecuted for ordering drone attacks
By Dan Simpson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The coincidence in time of an international court sentencing former Liberian President Charles G. Taylor to 50 years in prison for war crimes and the detailed account in The New York Times of how President Barack Obama decides which foreign and US citizens to kill with drones, without trial, makes me nervous.

Mr. Taylor was not the first major political leader tried for crimes in an international court. Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was on trial when he died in 2006. Former Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadjic and Ratko Mladic are currently on trial. Former Chad President Hissene Habre and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir are candidates for such trials.

Any prosecutor involved in international law is fully aware of one of the major difficulties of bringing off successful war crimes prosecutions — tying the actions of the accused directly to the crimes committed.

Now, putting aside whether it is legal for Mr. Obama to order the death by drone of al-Qaida and other figures, numbering now around 2,000 in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, plus whoever happens to be nearby when a rocket hits — associates, friends, wives, children — he is clearly responsible for doing so. The president is described in the Times piece as personally choosing the targets.

Few have said yet that these killings are war crimes, but one day someone is likely to deem them so and Mr. Obama may even be charged in an international court, probably after he has left office. He clearly is taking direct responsibility because he sees the drone killings as something that only a president can order.


Bill Bonner
for The Daily Reckoning

The Daily Reckoning