I was out with a friend and his brother a few years ago. My friend was eagerly anticipating his next paycheque, but their mother’s birthday was coming before that. His brother insisted on taking her out for dinner.
“Nah, I don’t have any money”.
His brother replied, “Come on, man, it’s for mom”.
He pressed on further and my friend eventually showed him his banking app revealing $2 in his account. Amazingly, his brother kept pressing him.
To which my friend had this response, “Shut the fuck up, there’s literally $2 in my bank account”.
There was no argument at this point that could be persuasive. It didn’t matter that taking his mother out for dinner would be a nice gesture, finances had settled the debate.
Federal treasuries are akin to bank accounts. Reckless spending reaches a point where debate is futile. I call this the “Shut The F*** Up” stage of capitalism. Greece is at this stage, as we speak.
At present, most Western countries are at liberty to continue having slight debates about new social programs. Others, like Greece, are in a situation where the federal treasury is empty and such debates are no more than white noise. A Greek socialist has no say in the direction of the economy. Even if they get elected their views have zero capacity for execution.
If a professor doesn’t get a slight increase in their pay, they begin a strike. Imagine if their paychecks bounced entirely. If government employees don’t get paid, it’s virtuous to fancy their commitment to their job extends to performing volunteer work, but inevitably the reality of feeding oneself and one’s family sets in.
Voters can opine, they can give opinions as to what would be useful for society, but if the government treasuries are empty, none of these opinions are of any value. This is the “Shut the F*** Up” stage of capitalism. If the money isn’t there, then the desired social program won’t, can’t, come into fruition.
This is what Bernie Sanders supporters aren’t getting. His voters might desire a particular solution, but 2 + 2 cannot equal 5 even if the majority of voters believe otherwise. Democracy isn’t that powerful. Voters can give opinions, but math is math.
The wiser course of action is to tackle finances before reaching Shut the F*** Up stage capitalism. It’s better to tackle finances prior such that a society can ease into economic realities rather than crash into them.
Something voters are finding out is that the evasions of taking additional funds from the wealthy don’t satisfy the demands of governmental treasuries. My home province of New Brunswick attempted to fund frivolous programs by raising taxes on the wealthy only to fall prey to the Laffer curve. The wealthy produced far fewer goods and services at more expensive tax rates, resulting in fewer tax revenues, not more.
Jurisdictions that neglect conversations about prudent finances are forced into having them eventually. My friend could have restrained his finances previously or eventually, but fiscal restraint will arrive and the laws of economics will be enforced with or without the consent of voters.
The laws of economics are akin to the law of gravity. Walking off of a cliff, ignoring the law of gravity, is a painful reminder that these laws are in place with or without our respecting them. Walking off of a fiscal cliff carries with it the painful reminder that neglecting the laws of economics has horrific consequences.
It’s commonplace for people to feel entitled to an opinion. What no one is entitled to is a valid opinion. When Shut the F*** Up stage capitalism is reached, invalid opinions are not put into practice. They can’t be.
When the criticisms of policies become mathematical in nature, we’re approaching the necessity my friend had in correcting his brother. Commonplace opinions in favour of mathematical incongruities are the antecedent to Shut the F*** Up stage capitalism.
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