Nor a good week. And we’re headed over a cliff.

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View 751 Wednesday, November 28, 2012 though Friday, November 30, 2012

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Wednesday

Another day more or less devoured by locusts. I continue to think about the situation, in hopes of getting things in order.

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Continuing to examine basic facts for rational analysis. Among them: the United States still leads the world in manufacturing, and is either first or second in total exports among the nations of the Earth. We also rank very high in agricultural production. What we don’t do is employ as many people doing all this as others do. We can expand all this, but it end unemployment because productivity continues to rise. Why, then, do we not compete with cheap labor. But that depends on what we mean by compete, doesn’t it?

We also import vast quantities of crude oil; but we also export vast quantities of highly refined petroleum products.

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Federalist No. 62 – “It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow.”

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Friday, November 30, 2012

Thursday I had dinner with Niven and we worked on Anvil, our latest attempt to save the world. Today I am still recovering from something between flu and a cold. I haven’t got much done today.

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In part because things don’t make sense. It is difficult to understand what the President is doing. He had the Secretary of the Treasury approach the Speaker with a proposition that he well knew was impossible – $160 Trillion in new taxes. Rush Limbaugh is convinced that the President intends to let the new taxes and sequestrations happen. That will put the economy in even worse shape.

It is clear that whatever happens, it is time for intelligent people to take a number of precautions in case there is a new depression. A new Great Depression. That is difficult to prepare for, particularly since we have an enormous debt and a very great deal of paper money backed by not much. Inflation is possible – actually reoccurrence of stagflation, a shrinking economy, high unemployment, and inflation rates of 10% or more. That too is hard to prepare for.

Entertainment, including story tellers, generally do all right in such conditions: people want escape from their lives, and the prices of books adjust to rising costs of living. Some other occupations are safe enough. Many others are not. And the number of takers – people who have no choice but to rely on government for subsistence – rises. And of course those who have capital try to preserve it, not risk it on new enterprises that increase employment. This is all truism, but the truisms must be remembered. If the United States does in fact go over the fiscal cliff that looms larger every day, the results will be far reaching and last longer than you expect, even if it is corrected quickly thereafter. And of course Obamacare will happen whether we have a fiscal cliff or not.

It’s a lot to think about.

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I have done enough research on polonium to be confidant that the Swiss laboratories have a good chance of finding evidence if Arafat was in fact poisoned. If he did, it is not automatic that he was killed by foreign assassins: there were plenty of domestic rivals and others within his own entourage who had motive to kill him. But I don’t know, and this is pure speculation not any attempt to follow breaking news. I’m depressed enough about the way the President is treating the financial cliff ahead without worrying about the consequences of complications arising from Arafat’s death.

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