Friday, January 23, 2009

Americans: Self-victimizing Ponzi Schemers

A highly introspective look at our corrupted politico-economic culture, courtesy of another gentle-but-savvy WCF Regular

By Bill C.

Looking at the condition of the current economy, we're entering the first serious phase of a true test of us as people, worldwide -- Where we place value on what truly matters.

It's quite obvious that our system and belief regarding our right to more than we need has reached it's apex. We disregard the fact that our resources are finite -- and that our short term material desires are in fact very destructive. Our political system may be corrupted beyond repair. Our religious institutions seem to be as materialistic as the people they're supposed to shepherd. We promote more, more, more rather than less, less, less. We've totally forgotten how to take only what we need and leave the rest for our future needs.

We've been conned into the belief that we can grow our way out of it, without considering the foul air we breathe or the cleanliness and availability of our water supply. Vast subdivisions of empty houses have replaced the land that used to produce our food supply, or in the case of Ogden, homes sit empty because people fled to those subdivisions.

We're the victims of our own Ponzi scheme; and what's really sad is that this recent bailout saves those with the most while leaving the rest of us to our own devices.

It reminds me of the body of a miner found in Death Valley years ago with his sack heavily filled with precious gold, and his canteen bone dry.


Curmudgeon said...


There was an interesting story in today's NY Times not unrelated to what you just posted....

Bill C. said...

Curm, thanks for the link, imagine Idaho. Oh and thanks for pointing out that this blog is mainly local, afterall if we really think we can change anything it's got to happen on a local level first. Now get busy indoctrinating our dear neighbors so they'll quit sending corrupt immoral sob's like Bennet, Hatch* and Bishop back to my birthplace to represent us.
* Hatch was never really sent from here, in fact he never really lived here. He was only here long enough to get elected.

RudiZink said...

Great insight, Bill. Thanks!

Dr honeydew said...

Its Dr honeydew not Dr honeywell and yes that was gadi in town and I swear that was stuart reid with him, I could be wrong, but if, what the hell are they up to.

ozboy said...

I received the following email today from Ron Mortensen. Ron is one of the founders of Citzens for Tax Fairness. He lives in Bountiful but he spends a lot of time in poor countries doing important humanitarian work for the State Department. If you do not know Ron, I highly recommend you get on his mailing list. His email address is at the bottom.

This parable has a lot of meaning, especially here in the land of Oz where our city government seems to be completely out of touch with reality - i.e. the junktion, the velodrome proposal, horse paths in downtown, ice tower for the smallest minority of citizens, etc, etc.

Public Budgeting – The Parable of the Skunks

Ronald Mortensen, Ph.D.

Incremental budget: A budget prepared using a previous year's budget with incremental amounts added for the new budget period.


State and local governments face serious revenue shortfalls this year. Increasing taxes at a time when citizens have seen their net worth fall like a rock and cut their family budgets to the bare bone doesn't make a lot of sense. Bonding will only transfer current problems to future generations.

Therefore, this should be the perfect time for governments at all levels to get rid of out-dated, redundant and/or nice-to-have programs that have worked their ways into the budget over the years. This would minimize the impact on the core or legitimate functions of government such as public safety (law enforcement, jails, courts), public health (water, sanitation, air quality), and public infrastructure (roads, highways, water and sewer systems).

To understand why it is so important for government to clean out the dead wood every now and again, let's look at how the incremental budgeting process works. We'll use the example of five skunks.

The Parable of the Skunks

My skunks deserve public funding. They make children happy. Seniors love them because they remind them of their days growing up in the country. People come from all around to watch the skunks playing in my yard. While in the area, they go to restaurants and fill their cars with gas. Thus, it is clearly in the public interest for the taxpayers to open up their "family purses" to support my skunks. After all, they enhance everyone's quality of life and they are a source of economic development.

"Utahans for Skunks" (lift Ogden) is organized. They hire a lobbyist, put up yard signs supporting public funding for skunks and they contact their elected officials. The Chamber of Commerce, elected officials, civic groups and major newspapers all support a taxpayer investment in my skunks. After all, it will only cost the average family the equivalent of a couple of pizzas a year in higher taxes and the rewards in terms of quality of life and economic development are immeasurable.

After a great deal of work, $1,000,000 in ongoing funding is approved for each of my five skunks. The hard work is done. No one will ever again ask why these stinkers are in the budget.

A year goes by. Officials are preparing the next budget. They have hundreds of millions of dollars in surplus funds to allocate. The skunks automatically get a 10% increase simply because they are in the budget. The next five years are good and now each skunk is getting well over $1,500,000 dollars.

Finally, the economy turns down and tax receipts drop like a rock. Rather than going after the skunks and getting them out of the budget, officials propose a 7% across the board cut in spending. After all, they don't have the stomach to deal with the stink that the skunks would make if they tried to kick even one of them out of the budget. So, at the end of the day, just like legitimate, core functions of government, the skunks will each be 7% poorer but they will be in the budget for ever more.


Identify and list all of the skunks in government budgets that we are paying for out of our "family purses."

Keep an eye on the state and local governments this year. Will they identity the skunks and get the stinkers totally out of their budgets or will they keep them in while cutting back on law enforcement, highways, public health and other legitimate functions of government? What do you think?


The Family Purse is an ongoing series that encourages elected officials to limit government to its legitimate functions. Ronald Mortensen is a co-founder of If you would like to contribute to this series, send your contribution of between 200 and a maximum of 600 words to:

republicanism doesn't work said...

When you limit the role of government, you limit the role of law.

It allows the fox to take the hen house.

The fact is, we need a strong powerful government that lifts people out of depression. We need a strong powerful government to lock up those that harm others.

rosco pee ko train said...

Ronald Mortensen is a retard, when it comes to the role of government and taxes.

drewmeister said...

Yes, that's right. Now is the time to start dismantling the government, one nut and bolt at a time, and start outsourcing everything. It worked real well with Haliburton, Blackwater, and Thiokol (remember those two shuttle fireworks shows?). Then we can cheer the closure of non-core government programs and applaud the use of taxpayer money to fund private projects built and run by decent, ethical people like R&O Construction and Gadi Lesham.

Amazing.. we raped and dismantled the government, contracted everything out to our best friends, now it's a complete dysfunctional disaster! Why, this proves that government is bad and should be dismantled even more! You can't trust the government!

Trec Bronson said...

The first and most empowering step to self-sufficiency and undermining the corporate stranglehold on our economy is to change your diet. If you eat packaged/prepared food or fast food on any regular basis, that is a huge part of the problem. In order to recapture the security of local sustainable production people must make a commitment to quit consuming products made by companies far away and find local alternatives or simply do not buy the product. Let's start with soda. Soda is absolutely frivolous. Cold water is far more refreshing and drinking more water is always better for one's health. There goes one stupidly unnecessary international conglomerate that thrives on subverting native rights and lands in foreign countries. Follow the sugar trail. Soda is the main contributor to America's debilitated health. This single move would then reverse billions if not trillions of capital flow from degenerative utility such as health care for these obese soda-droids to contributive use such as more parks and recreation for their doomed offspring. It is not yet politically comfortable to consider such decorporatizing mass movements but the day will come for the realization. Asking the government to fix this mess is asking someone else to make the obvious and tough decisions that any citizen knows they must make themselves. We are human beings first and citizens second. Learning to make choices based on ones survival in a civil society will go a long way to bringing about a sea change of attitude about our destiny.

danny said...

My comment, regarding Bill C's article, is the usual:

"That's why I call him 'The Great' Bill C."

Arlene said...

Yes indeed danny, He is a legend in his own besotted mind.

Rosco, it is hard for me to see how you drew your negative conclusion about the Mortensson fellow based on what was written above. It seemed to make sense to me, especially as it pertains to the runaway Ogden government situation. Did you have sour grapes in your wheaties this morning?

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