Monday, November 19, 2012

Looking Forward

Having established that my crystal ball is not the most reliable on the blogsphere, It's time to see if there's any looking forward to be had.

Now history has a way of repeating itself and the Gods of the Copybook Headings have a way of pointing out humanities collective mistakes, so first let's look back. Benito Mussolini, when he was running for office, pointed out to the Italian people that the best form of government was a benevolent dictatorship. As proof, he claimed that a problem brought to a partisan elected Parliament only resulted in partisan bickering and no actual solution, whereas a problem brought to a benevolent dictator could be addressed immediately to the greatest benefit of the greatest number, and immediately move on to the next issue.

The Italian government provided the best possible proof of this assertion and still does. The argument was a powerful one and got Benito elected. He promptly styled himself Il Duce and studiously ignored parliament from there on in. History records thet the trains never did run on time, and the experiment ended badly.

One can make the same argument today with the U.S. congress deadlocked with the Republicans in the house being ignored by the Dems in the Senate and vice versa. This leaves governing up to the President who can take your problem and turn it over to an unelected appointee in charge of an agency, ask them to make some rules, which carry the weight of statute law, and move on to the next round of golf.

If the agency's rules prove unpopular, in theory the congress can over rule them but this takes the approval of both houses and the president's signature. What do you suppose are the odds of this happening? So here we are in approximately the same state as Italy in 1935, being led forward by our own Il Douche (did I spell that right?).

Also in 1928 when everything was roaring except for unfair competition from underpaid foreign labor (Germans) providing shoddy merchandise, congress passed the Smoot-Hawley Tarriff act. Trade wars are always a bad idea, and this one was a doozy. As the bill advanced through the house, the Senate, and on to the president's desk, at every step the stock market lost about 10% of its value. Coincidentally as we proceeded, so did practically every country in the world so that within 6 months of its passage, international trade, which accounted for about 25% of the global GDP, had come to a halt, and unemployment was at 25%.

Mish Shedlock has some ideas as to what might happen next that might require the attention of the president.
  1. Not Addressing the Fiscal Cliff
  2. Breakup of the Eurozone
  3. UK exiting the EU
  4. China Growth falls to Zero Because of Rebalancing
  5. Currency Crisis in Japan
  6. Failure to address pension problems in US
  7. Rise of the Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party in Greece Leads to War
I'm not sure who Greece would go to war with, but there is a movement in Italy to split off the productive North from Rome and the Mafia-rich south. Revisions to the political boundaries in Europe seldom happen without a lot of bloodshed.
CBS also has a compilation here.


The Troll said...

"Mussolini didn't make the trains run on time;
he just made it illegal to complain about them."

- Bruce Schneier
Liars and Outliers
Chapter 17, Note 3

Billll said...

That I can easily believe. Of course knowing anything at all about Italian politics, it's also easy to believe that the law was widely ignored.

"No, it's not difficult to govern the Italian people. It's pointless."
B. Mussolini