Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tiger and The Bezzle

Op-Ed Columnist - Tiger Woods, Person of the Year - NYTimes.com

One of my favorite objects of study is "the liberal mind". We live in a sad world where the liberal feels no need to study the conservative, nor their thoughts, since they feel that would be beneath them -- conservatives are just plain wrong. Liberals on the other other hand, with their maddening (to conservatives) inconsistency, are certainly correct fairly often. The issue, like the difference between a stopped and a simply "off" clock, is that as the price for being somewhat frequently correct on some issues by never being consistent, they are extremely hard to pin down.

This column seems to provide a bit of a window into some liberal thinking.

As of Friday, the Tiger saga had appeared on 20 consecutive New York Post covers. For The Post, his calamity has become as big a story as 9/11. And the paper may well have it right. We’ve rarely questioned our assumption that 9/11, “the day that changed everything,” was the decade’s defining event. But in retrospect it may not have been. A con like Tiger’s may be more typical of our time than a one-off domestic terrorist attack, however devastating.

This is quite interesting. First of all, the NYT, Rich's own paper had Abu Ghraib on it's front cover 32 consecutive times in a short period in spring '04. He doesn't mention it in his list of laments of the decade, apparently because it didn't fit within his context as it was either "real", or it was "real in an NYT context", as opposed to the supposed "falseness" of this past decade as opposed to any other.

How does Rich come to the conclusion that 9-11 was "one off"? The WTC was bombed in '93 with direct connection to KSM and reasonable connection to Iraq, Khobar Towers in '96, embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in '98, and the USS Cole in '2000. There are of course other attacks -- Bali, Madrid, etc, just not directed against Americans. Clearly 9-11 "changed nothing" for Rich, nor for most liberals, and the idea that it was, is, and always will be, "one off" is an article of their current faith. Could not a liberal fall prey to "believing what they want to believe"?

People wanted to believe what they wanted to believe. Tiger’s off-the-links elusiveness was no more questioned than Enron’s impenetrable balance sheets, with their “special-purpose entities” named after “Star Wars” characters. Fortune magazine named Enron as America’s “most innovative company” six years in a row. In the January issue of Golf Digest, still on the stands, some of the best and most hardheaded writers in America offer “tips Obama can take from Tiger,” who is typically characterized as so without human frailties that he “never does anything that would make him look ridiculous.”

This gives us the sort of liberal insight that perplexes. "People wanted to believe what they wanted to believe". Is this not human nature in all times and places? Has there ever been a time when this was not true?

Enron was a "debacle" as were the S&Ls a decade before, the big crash of '87, the collapse of the "nifty 50" in the '70s, Lockheed, etc, etc. I really don't see any portion of human history that lacks the twin towers of hubris and wishful thinking. In fact, might one just give a moment's thought to the idea of BO running up trillions of debt while attempting to stop the "certainty" of human caused Global Warming and having the government take over health care as having some small percentage of that dynamic duo of self aggrandizement and wishful thought?

Rich meanders around through his view of "the Bush lies", Madoff, the housing bubble, interest rates, etc, but one thing he is completely silent on is "why". Why would the 2000's be somehow unique in these elements of people believing what they want to believe and people willing to let them believe it? He has nary a word to say.

I touched on something called "the Bezzle" in this blog. My view is that the US government makes all the Madoffs, Enrons and Tiger Woods out there completely honest by comparison. The US government has a couple $50 Trillion Ponzi schemes going called FICA and Medicare, and seeks to add and run others every day. National health care and the Fannie and Freddie sub-prime loan debacle as a couple other examples.

My view is that once the US Government signed up as the major player in the twin tower game of hubris and wishful thinking in the 20th century, with big increases in both hubris and wishful thinking in the '30s and the 60's, we were destined for collapse without SIGNIFICANT and ACTUAL change, which would have largely involved vast REDUCTION of the entitlements of FICA and Medicare that were ALWAYS unaffordable and dangerous to our entire national enterprise. What we see now is the acceleration into the abyss as BO and his 60 vote majority of the giants  of Bezzle drive a once great nation to a point from which recovery is in extreme doubt.