Friday, October 23, 2020

Free Money For Acid

 ... and by acid, I mean H2SO4, not LSD.

Printed money is corrosive to the culture.

There are no real stakes to policy any more. I can't recall anyone suggesting that the lockdowns have costs and then listing those costs. For example, if Biden said, "I want to lock down the country to defeat the Chicom Flu and that means everyone receiving money from the government, from SS pensioners to GS-15 civil servants, will have to take a 20% hit," the conversation would be substantially different. That's not happening because we're convinced that the choice is between locking down the economy practically for free or everyone dying.

Free money corrodes our sight, making it possible to just glance at poverty and addiction rather than understanding it.

That wall of printed money lets us pose and preen in the name of Social Justice while real people's lives are destroyed. We don't understand them and we don't need to understand them. We can pretend to care by voting for more social spending. We won't have to pay for that spending ourselves, because it all comes in the form of government debt which is paid for by printing money. We feel good and don't have to pay a price for it.

Money without cost means we can indulge our social justice cosplay fantasies.

Why do we listen to the Elites yapping at us? Because we don't pay for things with our own money. When there are riots, when certain neighborhoods devolve into crime and chaos, when schools are vandalized, we pay no direct costs. If, at the end of the Minneapolis riots, proggy boy wonder Mayor Jacob Frey and the socialist crazies on the city council told their constituents that they all had to drop $1250 in an envelope and mail it to city hall, how much traction would Ta-Nehesi Coates get in that city when he came to yell at them about racism?

We don't just listen to Ta-Nehisi, we adore him while he berates us. And why not? Once having has been detached from earning, only a bigot full of hate wouldn't be in favor of Justice. When the pricing mechanisms of a culture have broken down, then you can have and support anything you want. There is no reason at all not to pursue fantasy goals. 

Because there is no limit to government spending and no cost to it, the general public can no longer understand why anyone with a heart wouldn't support free health care, open borders, reparations for slavery, free college, more money for teachers, more spending on affordable housing and on and on and on.

Hate is the only possible explanation as to why you want any restrictions on free things.

Admit it. You want to kill them all, don't you?


tim eisele said...

First off, I agree with you that the government creating money out of nowhere and spraying it around with grand abandon is A Bad Idea, for many reasons.

And this is the core of my gripe with the Republican Party and Donald Trump. The Democrats may never have shown much concern about this, but the Republicans DID. It was their Major Platform Item. It was how they roped in and consumed the Tea Party. And right through the 2016 election, they were still promising to balance the budget (although by that time their actions were so far at variance with their words that I no longer believed them. But still, that's what they said).

And then, immediately after getting into power, the Republicans STABBED US ALL COLLECTIVELY IN THE BACK![1] Yes, yes, I know, the Democrats didn't balance the budget either, but they didn't ever say they would, now did they?

I disagree with the Democrats on financial policy, but at least they are up-front about it. The Republicans actively betrayed everything they claimed to stand for that I could support. I cannot forgive them for that, or trust them even a little. We need someone to stand up to the Democrats on this point, but the Republicans have conclusively proven that they are completely unwilling or unable to do the job.

K T Cat said...

I agree with everything you said. I'm convinced that the Republicans, whose job it is to get elected, decided that fiscal prudence was a losing proposition. After all, every time they pitched it, they were told that they were racists and hated the poor.

I'm not advocating for a political party because I think politics is the symptom and not the disease. Instead, I'm kind of discovering Kipling's The Gods of the Copybook Headings in a very slow, annoying and painful way.

I guess my takeaway from the blog these days is a framework for conversations when the topic of politics arises. Specifically, financial prudence is compassionate. Financial profligacy is not.

K T Cat said...

The other thing I'm trying to explain is, "What happened to the news media? What happened to professional marketing departments?" Both behave in ways contrary to what you would think would be their professions. They're not just a little off, they're completely nuts, measured against normal, objective metrics of success. What gives with that?

That's my current research project, professor.

tim eisele said...

I think the issue with the news media is the old "perverse incentives" problem.

They are almost entirely supported by advertising, not by subscription fees.
They therefore get their money by keeping advertisers happy. Advertisers are happy when people buy their product or service based on their ads. The news media therefore has an incentive to appeal to the sort of people who will buy lots and lots of things just because they saw an ad for it. They therefore want impulsive viewers who have not too much money sense. Such people are into instant gratification and not too keen on thinking things through, and as a result the news you feed them is short snippets that don't require much thinking.

Meanwhile, the cautious, thoughtful sort of person who only buys things they actually need is of no interest to them[1], because they aren't too susceptible to advertising and so advertisers consider targeting them with ads to be a waste of time. So any ad-supported news media targeting them kind of withers up and dies.

The obvious way to get away from this is to have a news media that is supported by subscriptions, so they would instead focus on providing a service to their subscribers. But, it has become clear that there just aren't enough subscribers who are willing to pay enough to compete with the fire-hose of money that the media can get by kowtowing to the advertisers instead.

[1] I sometimes look at my normal buying habits, and realize that if everyone was like me, probably 85% of the economy would immediately collapse because nobody would be buying their products or services.

K T Cat said...

I think you are falling prey to the Marxist value system - everything is about money and political power. Instead, I think a great deal of life is all about what the Catechism calls out at its start - Man's inescapable calling to search for God, or, if you like, search for meaning.

Maybe that's why I find the marketing thing so baffling. You'd think that those people, if anyone, would be all about the Benjamins, but clearly, they're not. Hmm. Maybe I've fallen prey to Uncle Karl's way of thinking, too!


Anyway, I'm now positing that our search for meaning is heading in the wrong direction because our pricing structure has been wrecked by printed money.

tim eisele said...

I thought I was following along after Adam Smith more than Marx, but whatever floats your boat, I guess. You can call it Tralfamadorianism if you want, but that doesn't change the basic point - money talks. Other things may talk as well, but a sufficient amount of money can shout down most of them.

I think my point remains. You get more of the things that you pay for. None of us are directly paying the commercial news media. The advertisers are paying them. If you aren't paying for something, but someone else is, then that someone else is going to get what they are paying for. No one will care what you want.

And I think you are badly misjudging the marketers. Sure, maybe they are idiots who don't know their job. Then again, maybe they do know their job. Maybe they've done market research, and found that they get the most money from impulsive kids and conspiracy theorists, and so that's where they want to target the shows (and the ads). I understand that 18 to 34 years old has been identified as the demographic that spends the most money on things that they see advertised, and so that's what most of the marketers shoot for.

Ted said...

You might check out the rise of the new version of the subscription model in the past few years. It's uneven, but noteworthy, I think. The initially crowdsourced De Correspondent in Holland is one example that others have followed. The return to a different kind of subscription model is interesting. There's also the newsletter model for freelancers and entrepreneur lone wolf journalists.

I also respectfully propose that you might be misreading at least one facet of mainstream news orgs (I avoid blanket terms like "the media," since anyone who posts regularly on Twitter with a goodly amount of followers is "the media," too). I'm not saying the news industry is close to perfect, but in 30 years in the profession at various levels, in various departments, covering various things, I've never seen anyone say anything remotely like: "Let's appeal to people who will buy lots and lots of things." I would quite likely walk away.

K T Cat said...

Ted, thanks for the visit. I'm sure you're right, given your profession. The subscription model would seem to have to be the future, save for thinks like the WaPo which has a sugar daddy in the form of Bezos.