The National Post features today the story of Miram Rosenthal, survivor of Auschwitz and Dachau, who didn’t volunteer when the German guards offered extra rations to pregnant women. As a result, she survived while the 200 women who did volunteer that day went straight to the gas chamber. Her son, Leslie, is now 67 years old.
Jacques Wajsfelner, who fled the Nazis and thus escaped the death camps, plead guilty to civil FBAR violations which will result in penalties in excess of $2.84 million on an undeclared Swiss account of high $5.7 million and an undeclared tax liability of $419,940. Thus, the FBAR fine will exceed 6.76 times the tax liability. This was a plea agreement. Had he tried to fight it, undoubtedly he would have faced utter financial ruin and prison.
While Lance Armstrong is all over the news, Jon Corzine has apparently been able to escape prosecution for stealing around $1 billion in segregated client funds at MF Global. It is nice to have friends, like Mr. Obama, in government. Meanwhile, Lance Armstrong has claimed in his statement that USADA does not have the jurisdictional authority to strip him of his Tour de France titles, they have violated their own rules, and the statute of limitations has expired. While I don’t really know whether Armstrong doped or not, it seems that like the IRS the USADA is convinced that the world is its parish.
Conrad Black, who served time in the US for moving boxes out of his Ontario office, helped save a kitten stuck in a pipe. Meanwhile, cross-country runner and convicted mortgage fraudster, Charlie Engle, is finally a free man on probation, having quietly left a half-way house. He is probably the only person to go to jail for mortgage fraud after the 2008 sub-prime mortgage crisis, while the banksters remain untouched.
There is no political solution possible to the spending problem because any attempt to cut programs is equivalent to committing political suicide. The current spending path, nevertheless is unsustainable. So, how does it end? It ends as most failed countries end, in a dictatorship accompanied by martial law. The government will eventually run out of money. Markets will do the job politicians are unwilling to do. They will cut off government funding via a bond market rebellion and an economic collapse.
At this point chaos and civil unrest likely break out and a dictator arises to “rescue” the people from their difficult situation. The political class will be only too happy to accommodate, although there will be contention over which party and who ascends to the role of supreme leader.
Regarding the coming election, it does not matter much in the larger scheme of things. If Romney defeats Obama, there will not be much change. Perhaps the rate of decline slows temporarily, but not enough to avoid the ultimate outcome. Sadly, our political system has not offered the possibility of change for years. Just review the last five or so presidential elections. Does anyone believe that either party put up a truly qualified candidate?
Monty Pelerin also appeared on the Brian Wilson Show, and his comments on the US sovereign default are well worth a listen.