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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.

Michael Jordan on handling a loss…  Begins at 10:20

Gratitude —–> Acceptance —–> Hunger

MJ would later go on to win six NBA Championships and six NBA Finals MVPs in the next eight years.

We should all be so hungry.

Bloomberg provides a telling example of what is wrong in DC.  Senate’s Health-Care Legislation Poised for Passage

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to win final passage by Dec. 24 now that he secured the vote of his party’s last holdout, Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson.

He finally struck a deal that satisfied his demand to keep U.S. subsidies from being used for abortion and won an agreement for more aid to help Nebraska provide coverage for the uninsured.

Nelson said the language satisfied him, though it drew criticism from antiabortion groups. The Nebraska lawmaker also won another prize, with additional Medicaid costs to his state being absorbed by the federal government.

The agreement came late on Dec. 18 over a handshake.

“It was a pretty powerful moment,” said Reid, a Nevada Democrat. “That’s what this place is built on, handshakes legalized bribery.” (emphasis Inthon)

Upon closer inspection of its “accomplishments”, we discover our government is a transparent kickback machine; something which is manipulated and used to advance one’s career and line one’s pocket.

Governments disintegrate when citizens and lawmakers reject individual, familial and community responsibility and instead believe in the goodness of “free money” (printed up or borrowed, of course) and citizens and lawmakers feel no sense of self-ownership.

What hope remains for the future when there is no incentive to encourage individual responsibility and self-ownership?

Governments stop functioning and cannibalize themselves when politicians shift from representing an informed group of constituents to becoming professional raiders for their financial backers (unions, other politicians or corporate interests).

Takeaway: Have no faith in national politics or national politicians.  Self-reliance and community reliance are more robust and sustainable.

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.