Advertisement

Letters to the Editor

Russia parallel?

July 26, 2011

Advertisement

To the editor:

Some say it can’t happen here, but I’m beginning to wonder. I was in Russia in August 1998 when their central bank defaulted on its debt. It was not pretty, and I recall long lines of Russians trying to get into the banks to withdraw their savings. They wanted to exchange their quickly depreciating rubles before they became worthless.

Like today, politics were involved, but mostly it was plain thievery (there is a difference!). Those with privileged access were able to preserve their wealth, while the majority lost most of their savings. Don’t want to spark a run on the banks, but if your faith in our political leadership is wavering, you might want to shift your assets.

Comments

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 8 months ago

Making the rounds on the internet. Not sure where it's from but it's definitely going viral.

Dear House Republicans,

You have shown me the way. As August approaches, I have firm deadlines to pay my bills. But since I'll have to borrow some money to pay them all, I have decided, following your example, not to allow myself to pay any of them unless I can cut my spending drastically. For example, food and medical care are luxuries I just can't afford anymore. Rent is also too high; I'm going to start paying less for it. To do otherwise would be irresponsible, and, as I plan to point out to my landlord when he complains that the check is lower than what we agreed on, we all have to make sacrifices in these tough times. I'll still keep cable TV, of course, because that money goes to a corporation.

I won't, however, get a job; it's clear that I have a spending problem, not an income problem. I don't want to enable further out-of-control expenditures by actually having any money. Also, charging someone for my labor will only raise operating costs for one of America's job creators, which is really unthinkable in the current economic environment.

If I can't come to an agreement with myself, I might have to default on my debts. A more serious disaster would not be taking this opportunity to get my spending under control. Furthermore, defaulting on my debts won't actually be bad; for example, not paying the student loan won't matter, because there shouldn't be a Department of Education anyway. Really, all this talk of default is just scare-mongering by those who pretend to offer me an ugly choice between defaulting and paying my bills. Finally, if I defaulted, it would be a grave disaster, and so don't worry: no one is talking about defaulting on my debts. But if it happens, it will be the fault of my creditors, who are pressing for business as usual. Well, those blank-check days are over.

Thank you for providing me with an example of fiscal responsibility.

Yours sincerely,

0

cato_the_elder 2 years, 8 months ago

"To that end, I think Beohner (sic) is willing to play chicken with the United States economy, destroying anything that gets in his path, similar to the Teabaggers tactics. Unfortunately for him, he's swimming against the tide. Rasmussen reports 56% favor a candidate who has a balanced approach to the economy."

Is the LA Times a liberal enough source for you?

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2011/07/obama-poll-jobs-democratic-base-crumbling.html

0

2 years, 8 months ago

cato - I agree with Made_in_China. Your comment does make good press, but that's it, nothing else. Remember, Boehner and McConnell have one simple number 1 priority, that of making President Obama a 1-term president. Boehner said as much on national TV in 2010.

To that end, I think Beohner is willing to play chicken with the United States economy, destroying anything that gets in his path, similar to the Teabaggers tactics. Unfortunately for him, he's swimming against the tide. Rasmussen reports 56% favor a candidate who has a balanced approach to the economy. (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/july_2011/56_favor_a_congressional_candidate_who_endorses_balanced_approach_to_debt_debate)


Meanwhile, back in Kansas, we're starting another round of Congressional district gerrymandering.

0

panzermike007 2 years, 8 months ago

Even though both parties are equally at fault, I believe that those clowns in Washington will reach a deal at the last minute. Russia today is nothing like Russia of the 1990's. Moscow is a vibrant thriving, though expensive city, with anything that you could want. Although initially, most Russians seem to be very terse and standoffish, once they know you, they are really quite friendly. It just takes time for Russians to get close to strangers.

0

Paul R Getto 2 years, 8 months ago

"House Republicans want fiscal responsibility, which is precisely the reason many of them were elected last November." === I doubt that, but it makes a good story. If they don't settle, pay the bond holders, the military, then SS if there is still money. Cut off all congressional pay and benefits while we are 'shut down.' Turn the lights off too, just for good measure.

0

cato_the_elder 2 years, 8 months ago

The United States is not going to "default" on anything. There's plenty of federal tax revenue each month to pay debt obligations, and if social security recipients don't get their checks on time it will only be if Obama decides to withhold them for political reasons.

Obama and the Democrats want a deal putting them through the 2012 elections, and are doing their best to prevaricate and dissemble with their usual class warfare rhetoric in order to attempt to get what they want solely for political reasons.

House Republicans want fiscal responsibility, which is precisely the reason many of them were elected last November.

A deal will be struck. The United States does not yet have a financial stability crisis as do Greece, Italy, Portugal and Ireland. We have a political crisis only, with most Democrats being concerned solely with the 2012 presidential election and most House Republicans being concerned solely with fiscal responsibility. We will, however, encounter serious financial stability problems in five years if real spending cuts are not undertaken and implemented now.

0

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 8 months ago

One of my aunts knows Russian rather well, and has been an exchange teacher in English for a high school in Russia a few times. I don't remember the name of the city, which has a population of about 30,000, but it's about 400 miles south of Moscow. It's a three day train ride to get there from Moscow, while a similar trip here would be considered to be only a one day trip by car, although a rather long one.

About the only thing that is produced there is farm tractors. She was the only foreigner that the vast majority of the students had ever seen, and in fact, she was the only foreigner in that city at all. What she did, being a native English speaker, was instruct the more successful students in English during their senior year in high school.

She told me many things about her experiences there, and I can't possibly go into all of them here. But, one of the things she did do was show me a photograph of the money she left behind for her friends there just before she left on her most recent trip in the 1990s, since she would certainly not have any use for Russian money here in the USA.

It was a huge pile of many bundles of bills, and they were stacked really high on a chair. Her friends simply could not believe that she was simply giving them that huge pile of money for the simple reason of having no use for it.

And, when my aunt told me about it, she told me that huge pile of money was worth practically nothing at all, regardless of the impressively high denominations of the bills.

0

panzermike007 2 years, 8 months ago

Interesting analogy. Currently Mr Finch, I am where you were. Moscow today is quite different than what you witnessed. It is very much finanfially viable and vibrant. I too am worried about the US defaulting, but feel that those clown in Washington, DC will, at the last minute, reach a deal.

0

pizzapete 2 years, 8 months ago

No, it can't happen here, we're number one, USA, USA, USA!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKITpVovTAE

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.