The Happy Days Ahead
By Robert A. Heinlein
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The Happy Days Ahead
Time SpanThe Cancerous Explosion of Government
Will Rogers told us that we were lucky in that we
didn't get as much government as we pay for. He was (and is) emphatically right ...
but he died 15 August 1935. The Federal government spent $6,400,000,000 in the last
12 months of his tragically short life. The year he was born (1879) the Federal
government spent $274,000,000an expensive year, as we resumed paying specie for the
Greenback Inflation, $346,700,000 of fiat money.
What would Will Rogers think of a budget of $300 billion and up?
(Figures quoted from THE STATISTICAL
HISTORY OF THE
Prepared by the U.S. Bureau of the Census)
Fed. Employees Fed. Receipts
+ State & Local - Fed. Expenditure
Year Population Total Pub.
Emp. Surplus/(Deficit) Fed. Public Debt
(1980 figures are extrapolations = wild guesses)
(Too timid?) Much too timid!as you knew when you read them, as I knew when
I prepared them. I plotted all of the above figures on graph paper, faired the
curves, suppressed what I knew by memory (even refrained from consulting World
Almanacs to bridge the 9 years since the close of compilation of THE STATISTICAL HISTORY)
and extrapolated to 1980 by the curvesnot tangent, but on the indicated
By the best figures I can get from Washington today (20 Nov 1979) the
budget is $547,600,000,000; the expected deficit is $29,800,000,000; and our current
Federal Public Debt is estimated at $886,480,000,000.(!!!)
The end of the Federal fiscal year, September 30, is still over ten
months away. In ten months a lot of things can happen. Unexpected events
always cause unexpected expense ... but with great good luck the deficit will not increase
much and the National Public Debt will stay under $900,000,000,000.
In case of war, all bets are off.
What is happening is what always happens in fiat-currency inflation:
After a certain point, unpredictable as to date because of uncountable human variables, it
becomes uncontrollable and the currency becomes worthless. Dictatorship usually
follows. From there on anything can happenall bad.
The Greenback Inflation did not result in collapse of the dollar
and of constitutional government because gold backing was not disavowed, simply postponed
for a relatively short time. The Greenback Party wanted to go on printing paper
money, never resume specie paymentbut eventually we toughed it out and paid hard
money for the Greenbacks that had financed the Union side of the war. From 1862 to
1879 gold and silver were not used internally. Our unfavorable balance of trade for
1861-65, which had to be met in gold, was $296,000,000. Hard times and high
taxesbut we made it.
For the rest of the story you'll have to get yourself a copy of the book. And yes,
there is a proposal for a good ending to it all (''Over the Rainbow" page 558),
although it will most likely never happen that way.
Robert Heinlein, being the practical man that he is, applied common sense
in imagining a solution. Unfortunately, common sense was buried a long time ago in
the purges that came with the implementation of the feminist curriculum that is the source
of so much pride for the AAUW who are in control of virtually everything now and who
perpetuate their control through the new generation of university graduates that
ostensibly possess much self-esteem [*] but in fact have little common sense. Instead of
applying common sense in the remaking of our society, ideologist have put a strangle-hold
on our society and its economy. [* Update 2008 05 11: It is strongly
recommended to take a look at "SHOULD
SCHOOLS TRY TO BOOST SELF ESTEEM? Beware the dark side", by Roy F.
Most certainly we'll eventually find a way out of the educational,
social and financial mess we got ourselves into. We'll start taking it when we
determine that we can no longer afford to put our emphasis on "bread and
circuses," when we'll be forced to strip our style of life of everything but what is
absolutely necessary and concentrate on what is required to permit us to survive.
Let's hope that we don't slide into a social chaos like that which followed the collapse
of the centrally planned society and economy in the USSR.
As many people often say: "Things've got to get a lot worse before
they get better." We came a long way since Robert Heinlein wrote down his
thoughts on all of this, and things did become a lot worse. How much worse they can
become remains to be seen. However, there is little hope now that the ultimate
collapse of the social security safety-nets that some people forecast for the 2010-15
time-frame will be staved off.
In the mean-time, as long as we have courageous people like Jean
Chretien who annually declare proudly that Canada is once more the best country in the
world to live inbecause the UN told us soand as long as there is a sufficient
number of people to believe him, we have nothing to fear, right?* Happiness is a
state of the mind. It can't be measured and as long as we believe what we are told
we will be happy, because quite literally ignorance is bliss when it comes to the matter
of refusing to accept reality.
* The Fraser Institute
proposes a more realistic alternative to the United
Nations' Human Development Index. According to that, Canada's rank was 16th in the world
as of 1999, and the US was 1st.
The following graph and associated table show a continuation of the
information that Robert A. Heinlein presented on page 553. I'll try to update them
as I find more information over time. However, follow the advice given by Robert A.
Heinlein in his foreword to "The Happy Days." Hang on to your hat.
Some of the population figures in the graph are projections made by the
US Census Bureau (1995 - 2000). The population figures shown for 1991 - 1994 are
extrapolations I made. The level of accuracy of the extrapolations is sufficient for
the resolution of the graph, but they don't represent exact population figures. I
showed three different scales on the graph so that the bars show the relationships a bit
I could not find a source that gives me a comprehensive set of these
data for all of the years.
The scary thing about the situation is that the liabilities of social
insurances aren't shown in the overall debt figures. In Canada, those figures make
up roughly 4/5th to 9/10th of the federal debt. In the US not all of those
liabilities apply, and I don't think that their proportion of the true debt in the US is
as high, but they must still be substantial. On the other hand, social
insurance contributions shouldn't show up in general revenues, but they do. That
makes them a tax and not an insurance premium or an investment.
US politicians, just like the Canadian ones, don't talk about those
liabilities (Canada Pension, Employment Insurance, Old Age Security, Health Care
Insurance). Nobody should find fault with that. After all, these liabilities
are more than the portion of the national debt they dare talk about and are simply too
embarassing. The last time a prominent Canadian government employee spoke about
them, he was fired.
In Canada, those differences are substantial if you look at them on a per
capita basis ($12,000/cap. vs. $108,000/cap.).
See also Does Moral Decline equal Economic Decline?
Have a look at how things evolved over time in the US.
The information in the graph is based on the
|Fed. Public Debt/Cap.
Male College Students — A Short Guide to the Truth, by Angry Harry
2001 02 02 (format changes)
2001 10 29 (added footnote about UN's Human development Index)
2006 03 04 (added link to Feminism for Male College