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What’s wrong with this picture?

Free Lunch Progam - Detroit

Free Lunch Program - Detroit

This government funded meal of pizza, cherry pie, fruit bar, lettuce and chocolate milk is supposed to help children whose parents cannot afford to pay for their meals.

Let’s take a closer look at what goes into this government funded meal.

  • The iceberg lettuce was most likely grown on a megafarm, assisted with herbicides and pesticides.  Large scale factory farms lobby heavily to push small farms and “unregulated” farmers out of business via burdensome regulations or unnecessary licensing.
  • The meat, milk and cheese in the lunch are all likely from dairy cows that are housed in a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation and fed an unnatural diet of grains to make the animal gain weight as fast as possible.  The cow might potentially be fed with growth hormones.  The hormones, in one fashion or another, pass through the child’s body.
  • The packaging, dessert wrapping, and utensils are all likely produced by a factory in China. There is a good chance the factory waste will not be disposed of properly. The revenues from the sale of these goods, in some fashion, support the Communist party, which routinely suppresses free speech, civil liberties and opinions critical of the government. The shipping voyage from China burned through finite resources such as oil and gas before reaching their final destination.
  • The corn that produced the high fructose corn syrup in the flavored milk, “fruit bar” and cherry pie most likely came from federally subsidized agribusiness enterprises.  The cycle of farm subsidies, campaign contributions and re-electing those who approve farm subsidies allows the cycle of market distortion to continue.  Government chooses to support certain, favored industries which hurts other producers and industries that do not receive those same subsidies.
  • The government worker handing out this meal will potentially collect overtime for summer work and, eventually, a pension, which the city receiving this assistance has probably not fully funded. The employee, most likely a union member, will vote for whichever candidate their union has financially supported with tax dollars from the community. The government employee handing out this meal cannot provide the care, attention, and atmosphere of a loving household.
  • The child, eating this meal, begins the slow march towards diabetes, cancer and other ailments from eating a lifetime of nutrient-devoid, heavily processed food. Having a diet so high in sugar at such a young age will likely make them less likely to choose healthier food in the long run.
  • The wasted food and packaging will finally head to a landfill where it will rot.  The annual cost to simply dispose of wasted food is around $1bn per year.
  • To fund this program, the federal government had to borrow the money, tax its citizens or print the money. All monetary costs will most likely be paid by persons other than the beneficiaries of this program.

The producers of this meal will continue to fund the production of unhealthy, environmentally damaging food. They will continue to reinvest their revenues, in some fashion, to expand their enterprise and keep this cycle going.

The consumers of this meal, poor schoolchildren, will learn that free food is a right, provided for by others and not worth enjoying, savoring or preparing.

The parent, absolved of their most basic responsibilities as an adult human, is shielded from the feedback loop of sacrifice, self-reliance, and caring for their young.  They will not have to approach friends, family, a church, or a charitable organization to deal with their realities of being unwilling or unable to feed their own children.

Every decision has consequences, both explicit and implicit. All that matters in life are our decisions.

The consequences of supporting these priorities are profound. Constructive outcomes are totally avoided and destructive choices are encouraged.

The cycle continues.

Attempting to help “feed poor schoolchildren” is making our world poorer, in every possible sense of the word.

A gem from Nassim Taleb, a trader who predicted the crash and sees more difficulties ahead:

What I am seeing and hearing on the news — the reappointment of Bernanke — is too hard for me to bear. I cannot believe that we, in the 21st century, can accept living in such a society. I am not blaming Bernanke (he doesn’t even know he doesn’t understand how things work or that the tools he uses are not empirical); it is the Senators appointing him who are totally irresponsible — as if we promoted every doctor who caused malpractice. The world has never, never been as fragile. Economics make homeopath and alternative healers look empirical and scientific.  (emphasis by Inthon)

No news, no press, no Davos, no suit-and-tie fraudsters, no fools. I need to withdraw as immediately as possible into the Platonic quiet of my library, work on my next book, find solace in science and philosophy, and mull the next step. I will also structure trades with my Universa friends to bet on the next mistake by Bernanke, Summers, and Geithner. I will only (briefly) emerge from my hiatus when the publishers force me to do so upon the publication of the paperback edition of The Black Swan.

Bye,
Nassim

Bingo.

I would go one step further; rather than blaming the Senators, blame the voters who elected these Senators (all of whom are ignorant of the dangers of fiat currencies, central planning and central banking).

The U.S. has never been this fragile.  An economy reliant on consumption, cheap energy/commodities, easy credit, entitlements, corporate welfare and social welfare is not durable or sustainable.

The years ahead will require deleveraging on a large scale and small scale.  Those grounded with an awareness of our current unsustainability will be more apt to mentally weather the future slowdown/economic pain.

Takeaway: Borrowing money to spend on entitlements, wars and handouts cannot go on forever.  Prepare yourself for the consequences of our current financial immaturity.

Tim “Strong Dollar” Geithner and Hillary Clinton teamed-up to pen an op-ed column for the Wall Street Journal

The best line:

“Raising personal incomes and strengthening the social safety net to address the reasons why Chinese feel compelled to save so much would provide a powerful boost to Chinese domestic demand and global growth.”

Of course, why should the Chinese citizens feel compelled to save their own money and be self-sufficient?  Why bother saving money when you can consume it and trust your government to take care of you?

It’s not as though their government ever lies to them, screws them over or nearly runs over its dissenters with tanks?

Takeaway: Governments of all stripes love their citizens to believe in collectivism and be at their mercy.  Don’t fall for it.  People came to this country for opportunity, not safety nets.

Must read article by ZeroHedge which succinctly states why they have enjoyed such success and why the “financial media” are now playing catch-up.

When discussing financial matters, the “financial media” represented by “Establishment” type reporters and bloggers, just like the financial “regulators”, is woefully behind the curve.

Watching pretty faces like Brian Williams, Anderson Cooper and Charlie Gibson fade into oblivion is a delight; the fewer adults watching these powerpoint presentations of repetitive Democrat vs. Republican nonsense, sound-bite reporting and oversimplifications, the better.

Jaywalking is a good representation of the effects of 12+ years of schooling and “news” on our culture.

Takeaway:  Your mind is the most powerful “muscle” in your body.  Keep it in shape by reading and conversing with those you disagree with and those that challenge your existing views.  Watching 22.5 minutes of political gossip and sponsor-approved stories will rot your brain.

when discussing financial matters, the “financial media” represented by “Establishment” type reporters and bloggers, just like the financial “regulators”, is woefully behind the curve.

It should boggle everyone’s mind how easily bloggers are able to catch obvious fraud in the financial markets while the SEC and other regulatory bodies are looking the other way.

Here are some gems just from the last week alone:

  1. Perot Systems FrontRunning – ZeroHedge.
  2. Blatant reinflation of housing bubble – Denninger.
  3. Corruption at HUD – Karl Denninger.

The SEC was not able to catch a ponzi scheme even after Harry Markopolos delivered it to them on a silver platter. 

Paulson and Bernanke have been incredibly incorrect on their assessment of the health of the US economy.

Choose your sources of information/facts/news very carefully.  Stick with those that are honest enough to state their opinions openly and publish their predictions.

Read what you disagree with before drawing your conclusions.

There is a difference between loyalty and blind loyalty.  Blind loyalty to anything (religion, government, ideology, spouse) is deadly.

Takeaway:  Perpetual reliance on someone else’s seal of approval will rot your brain.  Complacency kills.