C’est la vie in the land of the ungoverned

I like to check in on my former home of Belgium from time to time, and it turns out Tuesday was a historic day in the land of good beer and chocolate:

Belgium tied the world record with Iraq for time without a government on Tuesday, but months of political waffling that was once a joke is quickly wearing thin.

Tuesday marks the 289th day the country’s bickering Dutch-speaking and Francophone politicians have failed to form a government after a June 13 election — and there’s no agreement on the horizon.

Early irritation turned into almost giddy celebration as the country broke the European record in January. Then parties were thrown last month as Belgium matched the time it took for an initial agreement to form an Iraqi government two years ago. Iraq then took another month to actually present its government.

On Tuesday, as the real moment came and went, Belgium was subdued.

“Belgium was subdued” — now there’s a line that could be said nearly every day, government or no government.

Belgium’s lack of a government isn’t really akin to the potential government shutdown in this country: There, the bureaucracy continues to operate on autopilot under a “caretaker” political leadership, rather than closing up shop. But having political leaders unable to increase spending would have been preferable to the spend-spend-spend Congresses of the past decade.

Anyone up for a “caretaker Congress”? It couldn’t be worse than what we’ve had most of the last 10 years…

– By Kyle Wingfield

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38 comments Add your comment

arnold

March 29th, 2011
7:27 pm

You are correct. The U.S. spending started around 2000 and hasn’t stopped. We did lower taxes so to not be able to pay for much. :-(

Ric Flair: "WOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!"

March 29th, 2011
7:29 pm

Nothing about the tax “reform” bill working its way through the Gold Dome?

Belgium, really?

detritusUSA

March 29th, 2011
7:40 pm

Go back to Belgium and take your conservative lunacy with you.

F. Sinkwich

March 29th, 2011
7:42 pm

There’s a hold-up in the Bronx.
Brooklyn’s broken out in fights.
There’s a traffic jam in Harlem that’s backed up to Jackson Heights.
A Scout Troop’s short a child, Khrushchev’s due at Idlewide,

Car 54 where are you?

ragnar danneskjold

March 29th, 2011
8:08 pm

Good evening all. Perhaps the US will find itself in a similar place April 8, and the non-military portions of government may cease to exist until the 2012 elections.

@@

March 29th, 2011
8:15 pm

Subdued???

That’s an understatement. Weren’t people there getting nekkid in protest. Nekkid and drinking as I recall.

I’d link to pictures, but you don’t allow those Kyle. They were wearing UNDERWEAR!

(ISH)

A Frank Zappa

March 29th, 2011
8:18 pm

A land free of the regulations imposed by governance. Sounds more like a Libertarian’s Utopia. You must be making plans to move even as I type, Kyle.

@@

March 29th, 2011
8:18 pm

Oh lawd! Ric Flair tried to put the moves on me once. You are Uuuuugleeee!

And please…dump the purple spandex bike shorts.

Tom

March 29th, 2011
8:51 pm

No, no, A Frank Zappa, Kyle needs to head for Somalia, which genuinely has NO government. A true libertarian paradise.

Moderate Line

March 29th, 2011
8:51 pm

But having political leaders unable to increase spending would have been preferable to the spend-spend-spend Congresses of the past decade.
++++++
Outlays the last ten years averaged 20.57%GDP, outlays the previous ten years averaged 20.29%. Outlays the previous 20 years before the last 10 was 21.26%.

Moderate Line

March 29th, 2011
8:52 pm

All figures from OMB.

Peter

March 29th, 2011
8:54 pm

At this point I would be happy to see the US government shut down.

Let all public officials from the top down take a few weeks off without compensation, and without getting back pay.

Maybe they will get a hang of real life, as most American’s know it.

I would like to see Congress pay for their personal and family health care plan, then we can see what changes may really occur when it is their personal dollars on the line !

Moderate Line

March 29th, 2011
8:55 pm

Revenues for the last ten 17.07%GDP. Revenues the previous ten were 18.75% GDP. Outlays were basically the same.

Moderate Line

March 29th, 2011
9:02 pm

Peter

March 29th, 2011
8:54 pm
At this point I would be happy to see the US government shut down.

Let all public officials from the top down take a few weeks off without compensation, and without getting back pay.

Maybe they will get a hang of real life, as most American’s know it.
53% of the government budget is defense, medicare and medicaid. Even if the government shutdown the government would still be spending probably at least 50%-70% of the budget. I guess it will make you feel better that is all that matters.

Ric Flair: "WOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

March 29th, 2011
9:29 pm

ragnar danneskjold

March 29th, 2011
9:30 pm

Dear Moderate @ 9:02, total anticipated revenues for FY 2011 equal $2,567.181 billion. Total anticipated expenditures equal $3,833.861 billion. A reduction to around 70% of projected spending would be about perfect.

MrLiberty

March 29th, 2011
9:37 pm

detritusUSA – today’s conservatives have no real appreciation for limited government. They are too busy applauding the beauty that is the imperial killing machine of the military. They don’t get the connection between the oppressive force that destroys countries abroad and the oppressive force that is destroying the country from within. If they were ever to get that they would need to become libertarians. The same goes for the liberals who can only correctly identify the destructive power of the imperial army but cannot see the destructive welfare state at home. This is the essential thing that makes both parties seem so schizophrenic. That is why so many have abandoned the two failed parties and are looking elsewhere or trying their best to find what little common sense they can with individual candidates who try to break from the status quo that perpetuates these two. Truly these two parties NEED the existence of government in order to stay in business, for their business IS GOVERNMENT.

MrLiberty

March 29th, 2011
9:39 pm

I look forward to being able to frame yet another “Federal Government Shut Down” headline. The impending collapse of the dollar will achieve the same end anyway, so people better start thinking about how they are going to get it all back together again when the rest of the world refuses to take our worthless currency. The reality of community, self-reliance, cooperative association, and new foundations will come home one way or the other.

@@

March 29th, 2011
9:40 pm

Ric:

I’m embarrassed to say ’tis true. It was in a grocery store no less. Purple shorts and a tank top.

Ewwwwww.

You have a big nose and a lisp. You need a better colorist too. Some low-lights to counteract your brassy?

Smeat

March 29th, 2011
9:43 pm

“Can you afford four more years?”

@@

March 29th, 2011
9:46 pm

Ric:

Actually….no lights for what ails ‘ya.

Smeat

March 29th, 2011
9:47 pm

getalife must be outta weed…

@@

March 29th, 2011
9:48 pm

Put a sock in it and a bag over your head, Ric?

Smeat

March 29th, 2011
9:50 pm

SHUT ‘EM DOWN if we ain’t gettin’ one hundred billion in cuts this year….

Smeat

March 29th, 2011
9:51 pm

Start thinkun 500 billion….

Hillbilly Deluxe

March 29th, 2011
10:05 pm

It was in a grocery store no less. Purple shorts and a tank top.

Which one was wearing the shorts and the tank top? Inquiring minds want to know. (IW&SH)

SonnyFab

March 29th, 2011
10:13 pm

ModerateLine, there is a problem with the OMB numbers. The OMB only considers ‘public debt’ as outlays. This does not account for ‘intragovernment debt’ which currently accounts for 4.6 trillion dollars of the total national debt. The problem is the national debt, both the public part as reported in the OMB numbers and the intragovernment part, which the OMB conveniently ignores. Check treasury.gov, and don’t ignore the 4.6 trillion dollars the government owes other parts of the government.

Ric Flair: "WOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

March 29th, 2011
10:24 pm

@@, you left your spit jar on my night stand.

Buzz G

March 30th, 2011
8:10 am

With nearly 60 million Americans on food stamps, we could not go ten minutes without government spending before the riots would start. Our government must pick the pockets of the productive everyday to pay our unproductive moochers. In this country we simply have too many snoots in the trough. Here piggy, piggy, piggy.

@@

March 30th, 2011
8:12 am

Hillbilly:

I can’t recall what I was wearing but whatever it was, Nature Boy must’ve found it appealing.

Ewwwwwwwww

and no….I wasn’t nekkid.

(ISH)

Fix-It

March 30th, 2011
8:24 am

The less our government does the better off the people are.

Moderate Line

March 30th, 2011
8:48 am

The OMB only considers ‘public debt’ as outlays. This does not account for ‘intragovernment debt’ which currently accounts for 4.6 trillion dollars of the total national debt.
No it doesn’t. Debt is the amount of money we owe? It is neither and outlay or receipt. The interest on the debt is an outlay. I have no clue what you are talking about.

The problem is the national debt, both the public part as reported in the OMB numbers and the intragovernment part, which the OMB conveniently ignores.,
OMB has tables which indicate the intragovernment transfers so that satement is they ignore intragovernment transfers is false. For example Table 1.4 shows total intragovernmental transer.

Austrian Brotherhood

March 30th, 2011
9:07 am

But Mr. Liberty, Tom says it will be Somalia.

Tom must know something about libertarian philosophy and practices because it said the U.S. would be like Somalia. I wonder what Tom thinks of Murray Rothbard. It must despise Rothbard, and Rockwell, and Hoppe and their ilk.

Tom doesn’t like anarcho-capitalism at all. It thinks it’s Somalia. It must have been to Somalia and found out how libertarian that lawless country operates. Afterall, Libertarians hate the rule of law…don’t they? And natural rights for the individual? Ewwwww. Private property? No way Jose. Not in Libertarian utopia known as Somalia

Thanks Tom for your insightful and scholarly wisdom. You must be very studied and learned in the ways of classic liberalism. You are a credit to the USA lumpen.

Goooooo America!!!!!!! Were #1. Hip Hip Hooray for the USA. Defenders of freedom and self-interests everywhere.. Don’t like it. Do something about it. Well pound your azz with our military might and give Ragnar a big hard on.

joe

March 30th, 2011
9:46 am

I’d much rather have no government than the one led by Barry the magnificent now…

the red herring

March 30th, 2011
9:51 am

Indeed from 2000 on we would have been better off on autopilot. Especially 2009 forward. It’s hard to understand what the people in Washington, D.C. and the “gimmee more free stuff” voters are thinking when they say it doesn’t matter how deep in debt we are nor how much deeper we are headed now. On second thought maybe not—most of the “give me more free stuff voters” aren’t paying taxes anway… so now it’s clearer. The term parasite could be used to a lot of them (not all but many). We absolutely need a balanced budget amendment to force the nut cases in Washington D.C. to live within our means.

retiredds

March 30th, 2011
10:59 am

My only argument with your time frame would be since the Reagan era, not just the last 10.

Swede Atlanta

March 30th, 2011
11:54 am

Ref The Red Herring

You are right, the corporations that take and take and take in the form of tax deductions and subsidies rarely pay a dime in taxes in this country. But they not only take from the public trough but want to deny workers a decent living and benefits by outsourcing jobs to the 3rd world.

Darwin

March 30th, 2011
12:21 pm

But without government, who would control womens’ reproductive rights? Who would drug test government workers? Who would intrude on personal decisions regarding death with dignity? Who would dictate that Christianity is above all other religions and its symbols be displayed on public property? You know, what Republicans stand for – limited government.