Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Land of Unintended Consequences (Reprinted)

This is a reprint of something I wrote back in May of 2008. It's dated, but things haven't changed much, except for administrations. Hopefully I'll have a new post by Thursday.

A Time magazine article April 4th pointed out that 1/5th of our corn crop was diverted (hijacked) to ethanol refineries. Corn prices have shot up and American farmers are planting less soy beans. Brazil in turn has increase soy bean production. Of course they are burning down a rain forest to do it. This ethanol lowers our dependence on foreign oil and at the same time increases the price of beef. We get to save a dime on gas and get to choke on the price of ground round.

20 years back in Africa, the UN showed starving people in one country how to plant crops and use fertilizer. The net result was increased food production and an increase in population. One thing little noticed was that families needed firewood to cook with. Once the country was denuded of trees, the farm land washed away with the rains. A great plan ran amok because of firewood. People died as a result.

The government and Congress are going to save Bear Stearns, Countrywide, give everyone who paid taxes $600 dollars and keep the economy out of a recession. You know they mean well, but maybe just doing nothing might be a better approach. My only question is this; whose money are they going to do it with? Don't they have to tax people to raise the cash? We are going to poorhouse in an air conditioned limo! Forget the hand basket to hell, that’s step two (when YOUR healthcare runs out).

The voters seem to think the political party in power is responsible for our present situation. From a more realistic view, what we are experiencing today, is the result of plans put in motion 5 to 75 years ago. Clinton in 1999 signed the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act (from the depression) which freed up the banking system (you can kind of see where that went). The final outcome could be the reverse of what was intended.

The real issue here is that the solution can result in a bigger problem. Note also, the people with solutions for everything, are usually part of the problem. Time is the only true test. The real estate market may seem to be just one issue, but it is intertwined with the banking system, the economy, Wall Street and government. Change one program and everything else moves in some unintended way. It's a little like taking Viagra, only to have your hemorrhoids swell up. You knew what you had in mind, and it certainly didn't involve a lot of pain! Our Government works, almost in the same manner.

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