The Sensible Assupmption

There is still far too much on my plate these daze.  A repeat from 2007, when Barataria started, is a good lead-in to the upcoming tenth anniversary.  This basic philosophy still stands – the world is either magical or terrifying, depending on how you let your imagination run.  Whichever you pick is up to you.  But the systems which run the world are based on a very different assumption all around.

This time of the year, the holidays bring back memories that allow us to see the world, once again, through the eyes of a child. This is not some sentimental side effect of the rituals we go through, but is in many ways the reason they are important. A few moments spent contemplating this over a swirling mug of cocoa can show that seeing the world through the eyes of a child is actually a vital lesson.

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Bloated Pentagon Revealed

How much waste is included in the $580 billion dollar per year Defense budget?

Critics of President Obama’s reductions in the military will tell you that we have cut beyond the bone. The reduction from nearly $700B in 2008, achieved largely by reducing personnel in combat zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, has been impressive. But does this leave the military starved and incapable of doing its primary job of defending the United States around the world?

It’s been hard to tell because the Pentagon has proved unauditable for decades. But a new report shows that at least $25 billion every year cannot be justified no matter how you look at it. And the details of the report suggest that even a modest restructuring can save tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars without in any way hindering the men and women on the front lines.

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How About That Economy?

With all the noise after the election, it’s been a while since we checked in on the state of the economy. There’s a reason for that. Will the election results change what has been a slow but steady march to a strong economy? Will 2017 still be the year when we look around and realize that everything has changed?

It seems that, so far, it’s all still marching along. There is a good chance that jobs and general growth will indeed strengthen, making Trump look like a genius. Last Friday’s employment situation survey showed that it is still moving forward – and combined with a strong holiday season there is at least some reason to cheer as a dreary 2016 starts to fade into what promises to be a crazy 2017.

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Tao

There are four books that I have handy when I am on the internet, because the right quotation from them can kill any argument. They are “The Prince” by Niccolo Machiavelli, “Rules for Radicals” by Saul Alinsky, “Democracy in America” by Alexis de Toqueville, and “Tao Te Ching” by Lao Tzu.

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No Credit / Bad Credit

A lot is going on in my life.  I’ll explain later.  Meanwhile, this post from a year ago is becoming more important all the time.

If you’re like most people, you probably think that you can never have too much access to credit. After all, you never know what might go horribly wrong or when an opportunity to really follow your dream might come up. A little scratch ready in the background might be the difference between the good life and something much less.

Then again, a lot of credit has a corrosive effect. In a world saturated with borrowing everything is judged against the expected return if the money was simply loaned out at market rates. It seems reasonable that where a little credit is a good thing a lot of credit, defining everything in the world, is the biggest enemy of both long-term thinking and a society looking to maximize happiness and human potential.

Logic says that where a little credit is good a lot could be bad, meaning there is an optimal point. Where is that? Where are we with respect to a good level of credit? It turns out that train left the station a very long time ago – and this may explain a lot of the problems in this economy.

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A Thanksgiving Appeal

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect, a time to unwind, a time to count our blessings. Thanksgiving 2016 is much more than this, however. It is also a time to plan, a time to evaluate, a time to be ready for nearly anything.

Barataria believes that an astute lectovore, one who devours all information, can and should make predictions about the future. Not necessarily precise predictions but at least an assignment of boundaries. If we learned anything in 2016 it’s that there are sometimes no boundaries at all.

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