Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Consequences....

Like inflated balloons held underwater by a kid in a crowded summer pool, they're beginning to pop up all over. Just one example:
After a decade of decline, violent crime is on the rise across the United States. Assault rose 2 percent between 2004 and 2005, according to the FBI's latest report of national crime trends. Murder and robbery are up nearly 5 percent -- the sharpest increase since 1991. Medium-sized cities of between 50,000 and 500,000 have been the bloodiest.

Kerlikowske, along with other police chiefs and law-enforcement organizations, have blasted recent cuts to programs that help pay for police officers, provide training and buy equipment. Last year, Congress cut a major community policing program by 21 percent, or $127.7 million, and a Justice Department grant program by 34 percent, $217.5 million. Funding for the programs has declined by more than $1.5 billion, nearly 65 percent, since 2002.
Another:
A California man who bought more than $1.5 million worth of Del Webb homes -- but says he has an income of $30,000 a year -- has sued the company alleging breach of contract after it lowered home prices throughout Las Vegas.

The suit also names Countrywide Home Loans, alleging fraudulent lending practices.

At the end of September, Pulte reduced prices at its four Las Vegas Del Webb communities between 5 percent and 25 percent, or $50,000 to almost $160,000. Pulte also reduced prices in 18 of its 23 Pulte Home communities, with reductions ranging from $25,000 to $170,000. Pulte Homes blamed the reductions on a slowdown in demand and an over-aggressive pricing strategy.
These two examples, among many others, are consistent with my belief that we've entered an overarching period of "consequences" -- political, economic, social, and geopolitical. In a global economy, one basic truism is that there's no permanent free lunch; the money to fight wars has to come from somewhere, and irresponsible, politically expedient monetary policy creates bubbles that eventually pop. Since politicians (particularly incompetent ones who shun the work actual governing entails) despise consequences, they need reliable trump cards to play when necessary. The nightmare of every elected official -- especially at the national level -- is a crisis or general malaise with no one to blame and nothing to distract the public; the Carter presidency was the template. Loosely-defined, ever-expanding wars do nicely in that regard, because they serve as covers for the inexorable effects of failed policy.

We know from Ron Suskind's The Price of Loyalty that senior members of the Bush administration, in particular Larry Lindsey, thought the economy was "on the brink of disaster" when they took office in early 2001. According to Suskind, even Alan Greenspan was soon shouting in meetings that "capitalism is not working!" 9/11 and two wars took the blame for the fallout from the tech bubble and the explosion of the deficit. Present happy talk aside, I suspect the administration privately harbors the same fears about the economy now as in early 2001. Think like a desperate politician, and you'll be able to predict what's probably inevitable at this point.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just tell me when to short SPX. tia ;)

9/05/2006 3:52 AM  
Anonymous tregen said...

Iran? Iran? Iran, anyone? Going once, going twice, bombs away.

9/05/2006 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Thomas Daulton said...

See also:

Mortgage Trap Has Finally Sprung

Too Late to Have Babies

Jocks and Geeks

9/05/2006 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Well said, CR.

9/05/2006 2:24 PM  
Blogger Azael said...

Not to fart too loudly in church, but I'm sure that a philosophy who's bedrock principle is to make the government small enough to drag into the tub and drown certainly has a big hand in all of this. You have a bus careening down a highway wrapped around a cliff with no brakes, with the passengers gleefully shouting "faster, faster!" in the vain hope that when the bus inevitably jumps the rail and crashes into the ocean their Nemesis will be finally vanquished.

9/05/2006 4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they'd tell you Laredo, Texas, is a mini-Iraq: Drug 'War Zone' Rattles U.S> - Mexico Border.

And there are some parts of the US, little kids are dying every night: Lisa Ling reports on the MS-13 gang

9/07/2006 3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

violent crime is on the rise across the United States.

Now tell me what the percentage of illegals in prisons is compared with say 5 or 10 years ago.

9/21/2006 12:58 AM  
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11/21/2006 6:46 PM  
Anonymous Viagra Online said...

I'm shocked about how the violent crime has increase in recent time. I can not understand why if there are more cops on the street the crime continues increasing day by day, it's not logic.

11/16/2010 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Metro Ethernet said...

wow is a little bit shocking because in the streets are more and more cops and the crime still there and increasing

4/17/2011 12:16 PM  

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