Skip to comments.Amy Winehouse Economics
Posted on 07/27/2011 6:52:27 PM PDT by stolinsky
Amy Winehouse Economics
David C. Stolinsky
July 28, 2011
Amy Winehouses mother Janis stated that she believed it was only a matter of time before her daughter died.
− News item
Let me apologize in advance for using the name of a recently deceased young woman as a descriptor of our economic problems. But I mean no disrespect for Amy Winehouse. On the contrary, my disrespect is aimed at those responsible for wrecking our economic system to the point that the only options remaining are rehab or premature death.
Beautiful, talented, wealthy Amy Winehouse was found dead at age 27, joining such music personalities as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and Jim Morrison − all members of the 27 Club. Autopsy is pending, though the cause of death is hardly obscure. For years, the multiple award-winning singer and songwriter had been in and out of rehab for alcohol and drug abuse. The night before her death, reportedly she bought cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, and ketamine. Prophetically, her last album was titled Back to Black.
Books, articles, and films have attempted to explain why talented, successful people in the music business so often descend into a death spiral of alcohol and drugs. One can speculate that their fans almost expect it. One can moralize that the music business and the drug business are intimately related. But that is not our subject here.
Our purpose is to discover how supposedly sober, dull bankers can become so involved with irresponsible, careerist politicians that a similar death spiral results − not of alcohol and drugs, but of runaway spending, oppressive taxation, and unsustainable debt.
Music people are surrounded by adoring fans, flashing strobes, and blaring sounds. Alcohol and drugs are everywhere. The wonder is not that so many succumb, but that so many do not, and go on to live relatively normal lives. Rather than an insult to music people, this is an insult to bankers and politicians. In boring boardrooms and yawn-inducing political meetings, they manage to act as recklessly as do musicians in the much more exciting surroundings of rock concerts and clubs.
These people were trained in political science, business, and economics, interesting but hardly thrilling courses of study. They had no outlet for their creativity in art, music, or other truly creative fields, so they channeled their creativity into areas where it was inappropriate, if not actually destructive.
This brings up an interesting question: Why do we have so few great novels, great paintings, or great musical compositions? Is it because too many creative people are going into business, banking, and politics? Do they misuse their creativity by producing fictional quarterly reports, imaginary banking manipulations, and illusory political moves? Will the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction go to a financial statement? Surely the Social Security Trust Fund deserves consideration. You would have to go to science fiction to find something that implausible and made-up. (Scotty, beam me up, there are no honest life-forms here.)
And these people pervert the English language and invent deceptive terminology to conceal their shenanigans. We now call wasteful government spending investment. We now call raising taxes spending cuts or reducing tax expenditures. We now call eliminating the deductions for charitable contributions or home mortgage payments broadening the base. George Orwell, move over. Our government officials put Big Brother and Newspeak to shame. Or rather, they put all of us to shame − for tolerating their misbehavior this long.
How can legitimate politicians reach agreements with people who use language as an octopus uses ink − to conceal and deceive? When they are with colleagues, do they speak frankly, and laugh at us ignorant fools? At least this way, they can communicate among themselves. Or have they become so addicted to phony terminology that it affects their thinking, and they actually believe what they say? In that case, there is little hope of a real compromise. If I say spending cuts and mean spending cuts, but they say spending cuts and mean tax hikes, how can we communicate, much less reach agreement?
In the film Patton, the general delivers a particularly bombastic address to his troops. His aide remarks, General, sometimes the men dont know when youre acting. Patton replies, Its not important for them to know − its only important for me to know. Patton was a superb commander who recognized the potentially fatal danger of deceiving himself. Do you believe that our current politicians, including our president, recognize this danger? Or are they so caught up in their fantasy world of tax, spend, borrow, elect that they no longer are able recognize reality? I fear that the latter is true.
But whats really odd is that supposedly intelligent pundits claim that our credit rating may be reduced not because we are borrowing too much, but because of the delay in raising the borrowing limit. This is like claiming that you can improve your credit rating not by paying down your debts, but by borrowing even more. If this absurd idea wouldnt work in personal life, why would it work in national life? A person, or a nation, addicted to ever-increasing borrowing will eventually discover that no one is willing to loan another dollar to such a deadbeat.
The pundits claim that the problem is not our addiction to spending borrowed money, but our current difficulty in borrowing even more. This is like claiming that a drug addicts problem is not the addiction, but the difficulty in finding a reliable supplier.
Amy Winehouse was unable, or unwilling, to break her addiction to alcohol and drugs. Eventually it killed her. She died far too soon. She could not escape from the drug dealers, who promised instant gratification but delivered slow death. If we are unable, or unwilling, to break our addiction to profligate spending and ballooning debt, our nation will die far too soon. We must escape from the political charlatans, who promise instant gratification but deliver slow bankruptcy − both economic and moral.
The death of any human being is tragic. The death of a vibrant, productive, previously healthy human being is doubly tragic. The death of a vibrant, productive, previously healthy nation would be indescribably tragic. It would also be unforgivable, because it is entirely preventable. But if we dont change our ways, its only a matter of time.
Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beautiful, talented, wealthy Amy Winehouse . . . "beautiful" and "talented" are a matter of opinion . . . (was) wealthy, yes but not no more . . . dead, of course . . . as are probably over 50% of the entrants in the R&R Hall of Shame.
Here she is at an awards ceremony
Love is a Losing Game (Live)
In many ways an apt and useful comparison. The “hair of the dog” seem to be the only “program” that Obama and the congressional Democrats will even consider as a solution to virtually any problem.
The problem is that Ms. WInehouse destroyed herself. The Democrats seem bent on destroying us all.
The “27 Club” were all losers, and I sure hope none of our youngsters feel obliged to emulate them. We are better off without them!