cometh the taxman

On this blog and others, you can find a bit of healthy expression of some of the what-ifs of our society powering down to lower levels of energy consumption. In a previous post I mentioned how the easily-available “green energies” are nowhere near enough to meet our present profligate consumption rates. In fact, they are so minuscule in comparison that instead of using them to maintain an Apollo-era lifestyle for a few (complete with remote garage door openers, electric clothes washers & dryers, wall warts everywhere, broadband for each of the kiddies, flatscreens in every room, recessed quartz lighting in the cavernous lawyer-foyer, etc) we will necessarily use them to produce the goods necessary for our own local needs and for export to the markets, and it’s through that local export that we’ll make money.

There is a rather long list of goods that are necessary for our own local survival. Mrs M and I have already spent some time working on this and will probably spend a lot more. The really sharp immediate needs are food, water, shelter, warmth; without any of these, survival in this climate would be dicey indeed come wintertime. A close fifth category is clothing, and that’s where I’ve been focusing my obsessions lately, since I am big into sewing and especially into clothing manufacture at home. Like a bunch of other home sew-istas, I use a factory-type industrial machine for most of the work. It was designed to run 3 shifts per day making clothing. There is little chance I could wear the thing out in a dozen lifetimes. And I have come to realize that industrial production on any scale is a matter of organization and not of bringing everyone together in a big, highly visible, energy-sucking, centrally-located easily-found building with a company name painted on the outside.

Some of us are already asking the question of how our local needs will be met when the container ships stop bringing slave-made cheap stuff from halfway around the world, when the ATMs are no longer disposing cash on demand, when the resources we have within the area of our own communities are basically all the resources we’ve got to work with. Some of us are already making plans for meeting some of these needs. There will of course be business opportunities for enterprising individuals .. it feels redundant to point this out.

Kunstler and a few others like to predict that the power and reach of the government will necessarily contract as available fossil-fuel energies slowly disappear. I’m not so certain about that. While it is indeed true that automated data collection may be useless when people are grubbing around in the dirt for whatever potatoes they can take home and eat or store in a root cellar, it must be remembered that the US government was functioning long before telegraph and radio were around, or even before we had plumbing or electricity. One does not need these things to run a resourceful and pervasive sort of authoritarian regime. All that’s needed is a network of local agents who’ve got some means of communicating with the mother-ship. In historical times, that communication probably took place through the postal system. The matter of recruiting agents (ie, nosy people) locally is probably quite easy during hard times. Remember, this system was quite effective even in so primitive an era when sending a couple dozen armed guys on horseback was “projecting force”.

I believe we are already seeing the predicted two waves of a) steeply declining expenditures on government/public benefits & services and b) increases in taxes. This is the only route open to the government at this point. Right now we have a bizarre system by which taxes are all sent up to the mother-ship which then doles out payments to the individual states which then splits them amongst the towns or counties. That sort of beneficence-from-above is about to get much, much stingier.

Right now you can sort of get away with flying under the tax-seeking radar by bartering things or doing business only in cash, as long as you keep no records and make sure that all transactions are private. Hopefully they’re not already keeping vast databases on the serial numbers of all those $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills in circulation, though I wouldn’t put it past them to attempt such an Apollo-age thing. All ATMs are capable of recording the serial numbers on dispensed cash.

(I assume that anyone reading this blog knows the easy way to get rid of the trail of those serial numbers .. just go for a drive and buy a pack of gum here, a cup of coffee there (all the cheapest items in the store) and spend a fresh crisp ATM-provided $20 bill on each. If you’re feeling especially evil, spend them in a line pointing from your home area to someplace else you’re not actually going to [or some other meaningless path] then turn around when you’ve spent all the original bills. Common cash registers do not record serial numbers. Do it during the busy time so there will be lots of unrecorded smaller bills in circulation, dropped off by other customers.)

A very good question to ask is that of what we the common people might use as currency if we decide that US paper money is just a bit too tainted to use for common transactions.

There are the classic choices of gold and silver, of course, but merchants everywhere would need to become re-acquainted with the concept of weighing the shiny stuff on their own scales and being familiar with the metal content of various coins and then translating that into some agreed-upon “value”. Most such coins designed for circulation (ie, for being used as real money) are not pure gold or pure silver. It has been found best to alloy the metals somewhat. Gold is usually mixed with copper and a few other trace metals, just like the way the British Commonwealth money has been done for hundreds of years.

There are also trade goods, such as a 10-yard bolt of pretty fabric or sturdy denim or some such, or bread, or fresh/canned vegetables (returnable deposit on the jar & lid, of course), or fresh milk (ditto with bottle deposit), or cheese, or firewood, or hand tools, or having someone fix your roof .. you get the idea. But I think we should all get used to the idea of the government wanting to get more intrusive, as time passes and as things unwind further, just so it can keep up with its desired level of expenditures. It will not willingly let go of its current 30% income tax rate. In this regard, government acts somewhat like an aggressive tumor or cancer: the more “food” it gets (money) the bigger it grows and the more it wants. Right now it’s as humongous a tumor as it ever gets to be, in terms of how much money it collects and what percentage of the total spending is done by it. The only way to cure it is to starve it of resources. And I happen to think that my clever & inventive countrymen and -women are able to figure out how to handle this task. (just speaking theoretically, of course! heh)

Get used to the idea of thinking of all commerce as private transactions that the government has no business knowing anything about. Right now the tumor is eating its host alive. There is no indication anywhere that the government will drastically scale back its tax rates in response to the lesser needs of a lower-energy mode of existence. (for historical reference, please note that the “horrible” income tax over which we rebelled against Great Britain was one-half of one percent, and was unaccompanied by any representation) No doubt the government will want to maintain the seductive security of the high-tech age long after it has become necessary or even possible to do so. The spy satellites will continue to circle the earth long after their station-keeping propellant has been exhausted, long after everyone’s stopped listening, and eventually they will just be strange moving objects in the night sky.

72 Replies to “cometh the taxman”

  1. “… the easy way to get rid of the trail of those serial numbers .. just go for a drive and buy a pack of gum here, a cup of coffee there (all the cheapest items in the store) and spend a fresh crisp ATM-provided $20 bill on each. If you’re feeling especially evil, spend them in a line pointing from your home area to someplace else you’re not actually going to [or some other meaningless path] then turn around when you’ve spent all the original bills. Common cash registers do not record serial numbers.”

    LOL. That and the “cavernous lawyer foyer” comment. (Perfect for giant-sized statues of pagan gods and other typical attorney accoutrements.) JHK could never be this eccentric. No wonder you finally blew out of that joint.

  2. True Story… last night I dreamt that thal put up a 10,000-word post. I was totally blown away. Hadn’t been that excited in a dream since the time I was working a tommy gun — from the back of what looked like a PT-Cruiser with the top sawed off, and a bunch of young chicks with big knockers were on board — spraying bullets toward some zoot suit types who were pursuing us in another similar vehicle. Maybe they were pissed at us for buying a single lollipop at each 7-11 with a crisp new Jackson note. F’em if they can’t take a joke.

  3. “The hard left Greens are, at least for the moment, the most popular party in the small Arctic state…”

    Just a slight push further to the left and these monkeys become hard right green shirts. We need a Reykjavik tab.

    Is someone blaming socialism for what happened to Iceland? I must have missed that story.

  4. Yeah Nudge, looking forward to the obese viceroys and prelates serving up their own personal style requirements for quotas, tax collection and civil order. However, by the time they get all that in place I’ll be an 80 year old curmudgeon, and a royal pain in the ass. Ahh, they’ll probably cut me out of the deal long before that. Maybe if there’s a war lord in my district I will be allowed to serve as a sentry at one of the road blocks, only to be overrun by axe-swinging wildmen, or picked off by a sniper while munching on a potato. The possibilities are endless. Prognosis for retaining shred of personal dignity at the end, slim.

  5. “Reykjavik needs a tab too. Get it? hahaha” –BB

    Bunn-

    I’m starting to worry about you… hope you’re not experiencing performance anxiety.

    CAF has had a post up on Solari about the Godfather trilogy and one of the posters did a little takeoff on some of the “family” members:

    Stands to reason. In that area ‘rep’ is everything. ‘Rep’ scene is far more democratic than voting. This is why the headquarters of mob activity is often is a quasi-public place. Say fairly openly, “…Dis Joey the Horse is getting to me. Dis muckup. If he was whacked who would miss him?” The statement gets around. If there is any defense of Joey, or there was false information spread around, this would be the opportunity to speak up in either public or private. Is the ‘real world’ like this? I donno. Muck all dis philosophy stuff……!

    Lets talk business:

    Vinny…. Lets go over this Karachi Mariachi stuff. What we got? Okay everyone was reading new prez stuff so today Times let out we gotta deal with Russia. Maybe just one person read it, he he. Russia will let us use them as alternate supply route to Afghanistan. Underneath all of this… what? Whose pipeline will it be? Okay so the Ruskies got pushed out. Dis Nato mateo ain’t doing too good either. It is getting out that the Taliban were giving the protection for the lorries, yeah hehe dey call dem ‘lorries’, north to that Khyber Pass place. Got out dat they even get bout 1/3 the value of the goods going north. That’s a vig. Dis is simple. Just give them more. Let them give the protection to the pipeline. Only prob is dat dey done wanna plant the poppy. Want to do wheat??? Simple. A vig is still a vig. Just increase the Karachi protection. Give up more money, more money, more money. Say there can be even more but something missing. Den jus wait. Right, Vinny?
    ______________________

    Vig, for those of you unaware, is short for vigorish — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vigorish –the juice or the take.

    While the Brady Bunch was settling in at the WH, and our Sec’y of State was enjoying her lovefest, hubby Bill was resident rockstar at Davos and had a private, 90 minute convo with Putin last week. Hiding in plain sight, eh?

  6. During WWI, the German industrial output increased every month up until Feb-Mar of 45′. Despite having the crap bombed out of their cities, the German war factories decentralized over the whole countryside. Carburetors for Messerschmidts were made in scattered locations all over as were the other parts of the aircraft. The parts were united into ever larger sub assemblies with the use of horse carts, bicycles and kids walking between houses. There was nothing for the Allies to bomb or attack, the whole process was spread out so much the Allies couldn’t even identify the players.

    De-centralized clothing manufacturing is totally do-able, as is a myriad of other industrial processes that need doing but don’t need huge centralized facilities. It can be done but only I suspect if people are in a ‘war mode mentality’.

    The US got out of the Depression during WWII because everyone was working for almost nothing in wages for three and a half years while building up the industrial base in the name of ‘patriotism”. The wealthy Loved this. Near slave labor, millions of men under arms working for a pittance, bigger factories, the foreign industrial competition’s infrastructure bombed to shit. Life is Good.

    It will play out like this again. The central government starting a war to ‘unite the people’ in a common front against “Them”.

  7. That Jet Li is more cuddly than the hideous Clinton… rock star, my ass.

    Performance anxiety? Thanks, but no thanks. Save that mumbo jumbo for the squirrel PAC or the damn beavers. JR, I’m hearing you loud and clear now. They just can’t be satisfied.

  8. I was just talking to my brother-in-law. My sister was shopping at some outlet mall south of Boston today. She called him up and said she had found a pair of $180 wool pants at J. Crew marked down to $32 with an additional 40% off at the register. Ended up getting two pairs of pants. Also picked up a $160 cashmere sweater for $21. Probably not gonna be dusting off the old loom anytime soon. Thank god for Asian sweatshops. Now get back to work you ungrateful little twerps and NO bathroom breaks!

  9. bunn, it’s nice to know the ZK girls are so concerned about our satiation state and performance levels. Sounds like concerned help is not too far away, at least in pixel miles.

  10. So I’m guessing “douchenozzle” is unacceptable as well, or no?

    No, seriously, sure you don’t want to reconsider, Bong-sucker? P2 has a cool, kinda Arnold in Terminator 2 feel, where PP sounds like, well…

  11. It’s actually the nickname of my first graduate student, affectionately referred to as “PP Boy” or PP for short, because so many photographers have caught the boy relieving himself rather publicly, like a late-night drunken Japanese businessman on a Tokyo street. Bloody Aussies…

  12. So not only are you a Phelps Fan, but you are also a professor? Where and what department/field/focus? And don’t say swimming or I’ll lose it.

  13. Oui! Geological oceanography with an emphasis on mineral resources, seafloor ore formation, radiochemical dating, geochemistry, and in situ chemical sensor development.

    Many moons ago, I was invited to join the water polo team but declined, thinking myself not worthy enough. Swimming has however kept me alive in rather dangerous surf on occasion.

  14. Phelps,

    you sound suspiciously like our very own Dr. Doom (?)

    ~zk~

    I recently lost a dear reader, Tipping, because she was upset with my anonymity here and elsewhere. All-in-all I take my anonymity very seriously for a variety of reasons. Tipping was awesome, but she’s not worth it.

    And neither are you.

    Occasionally I let my guard down and let on about myself. When I do, nobody seems to pay attention.

    I’m not going to repeat myself because you missed the memo. There are people here who know about me and my real name and other stuff. Whatever.

    The house about 70 meters due left of the windmill which is about 5 or 10% off center middle to the right in the photo on this page is the house I grew up in.

    There was a Harvey’s Bristol Cream commercial filmed off our “deck” circa 1973 starring Gil Gerard. Why? Because it has what is considered the best sunset in the world. Blows anything Hawaii has off the map.

    I’m not worried I won’t die there. I’ve had a full life. I love island life. I love city life. I don’t give a fuck what I do for a living. As long as I don’t want to kill myself the whole time I’m doing it.

  15. JR .. the Tipping biz was my fault. I should have acknowledged the innate superiority of all breeders, and perhaps flown out to Arkansas to worship that unmarried welfare cow who just popped out her second litter of 8. They’re breeders, I’m pondscum. I hear that line a lot. What, how dare I not get married to some loser, pop out a few I can’t afford to raise, and thus contribute to the planet’s #1 ecological disaster: too many fricking humans.

    If you like more of that, here’s a nice rant:
    http://groups.google.com/group/alt.support.childfree/msg/a6c6b101bc0d0dca

    Hark the dawn .. now yer cooking. Thanks for your contribution. There are other reasons them-in-power in authoritarian systems (whether it be government or religious or commercial or academic) thrive in times of hardship: it makes it all that much easier to exercise influence.

    The boss has his pick of new people, some with advanced degrees, who are desperate and applying for jobs far below their abilities. If it’s totally impossible to find work out there (like it is now) the boss can get some leverage out of a veiled threat to toss someone if they don’t do or say whatever.

    The government should find is especially easy to hire snitch-type informers and local spies (aka nosy people) during rough times .. all it needs to do is print some money and drop it in the mail. Naturally, they will hire 4x the people they really need, and part of the job will be to spy on each other. This stuff is sooooooo predictable. Governments-under-stress take to it the same way ducks do to water or Russians to vodka.

    There are other mentalities besides ‘war mode production’ that could get this to work. When it’s become patently obvious to all that the central authorities (even on the small local scale) have completely failed at the task of comprehending the scale of the CF facing us, and that the measures they take are feeble and ill-considered (like this enormous other FAILout being rammed through the legislature), and that they’re reacting stupidly now to incorrectly-perceived conditions of 18 months ago, that’s when it won’t be too hard to start connecting the dots and thinking of ways to avoid the local retard squad.

    Someone said it nicely on the radio the other day: if spending money we didn’t have is the wild alcoholism that brought us to the present financial mess, then O’s plan is like curing the hangover by purchasing a distillery.

  16. NO.

    Tipping was MY fault.

    The snarkiness is always welcome, just not now.

    Tipping left because of me. The fact that she disliked you and you dislike her is a side issue. Use Gaza as an analogy.

    The reality is that I can be a real insensitive prick and completely ignore some of my most beloved readers. “Can be” is an understatement. Let’s face it, I’m a real shithead.

    Soooooo…. how bout them free breakfasts at Denny’s this fine Tuesday morning?

  17. “how dare I not get married to some loser, pop out a few I can’t afford to raise, and thus contribute to the planet’s #1 ecological disaster”

    Why can’t you just meet Mr. Right (some winner) and pop out a few you CAN AFFORD to raise? And thus contribute to the planet’s #1 ecological disaster?

    I don’t get it? What Am I missing?

    Do you know who Dave Mathews is. Dave Mathews of TOD (banned)/ POD (banned) / CFN (posted this week) fame?

    Check up on Dave Mathews. I will never ban DM from Zulu. I think he needs to be heard. He’s like asako or Bob Snowjob but 1000 times worse.

    I seek these people to comment here because at least they get a smart audience, albeit small.

  18. Good morning JR. Uggh, seriously, explain the importance of breeding again?

    Ever read Douglas Adams? What the world really needs is a good Total Perspective Vortex machine to remind people of their own near-total insignificance in the grand scheme of things.

    I come from a long line of prolific breeders. At my Grandpa’s funeral a couple years back, there were some 86 living descendants there. Egads. There is NOTHING in my genes that is not duplicated elsewhere and many times over. Heck, someone could vaporize the whole UPL eastern seaboard and still nothing unique in the human genes would be lost. There are, however, certain niche plants & animals that do not wander (via jet) as freely as we do. Those should be preserved.

    The other part of “why not” is of course the sheer photographic hilarity of it. OK, I am above 5’12” in height and my measurements are around 40-27-40. It would look as if I swallowed a basketball, hahaha.

    No thanks.

  19. “hey, is sharon at CFN sharon astyk?”

    Yup.

    I can’t believe you didn’t know that,Yarra (?)

    Lookee there. Yarra likes the smart ones.

    C’mon, brother. She grows vegetables..

    You grow vegetables.

    Why do you need her?

    There is nothing she can teach you.

    But I wish you happiness and luck.

  20. WTF are you talking about? This just goes to prove my theory some people never listen to me.

    How many fucking times do I have to say this shit. Look at Doom. Where you from? What’s your job?

    This is the last time.

  21. Maybe some preserving stuff?

    Anyway HFB totally missed the point of the quote from “Political Ponerology”. I was hoping to bait him into making another paralogistic statement – everyone learns best from their mistakes.

  22. in deference to Douglas Adams….

    I’ll tell you something more amazing than religion.
    We live on a small warm, wet rock in the unfashionable south-western arm of the Milky Way galaxy, of which there are trillions upon trillions of galaxies, we could be wiped out of existence and it wouldn’t make any diference to the universe and yet still, we find meaning in life.

  23. I’m starting to think you might be impaired. Like Breakfast or “brunch” isn’t going to “solve” things. Do you get that? Nudge I’m not trying to bust on you, but I exist in a slightly different world.

    Lil’ Wayne is a REAL person to me. He’s not a concept. NASCAR is real. NASCAR is not a ploy JHK uses. NASCAR is real. They race. they got cars.

    If I didn’t want to blow my IP, I could go on CFN this second and destroy evrything that exists. Think about it.

    I could literally take OEO under my wing and nuke-bomb everything else. (I would of course save Yarra)

    If you think I jest you should ask yourself why you still can’t deal with “dale”.

  24. I will leave the breeding job to that overweight cow across the street who could be carrying 3 or 4 of them and no one would notice. Using a minivan, she drives the equally chubby kids to a school that is less than 100 yards from here. Naturally, said vehicle is left idling for a whole 20-30 minutes beforehand just to warm it up.

    Ah, the joys of humans living in the wild. It’s such a National Geographic moment.

    UY wrote: “5′ 12″ – ??? 6′ ?? am I missing some ‘in’ joke?”

    Yes.

    JR, what’s the big deal about meeting for brunch? It’s not as if you’d ever go ahead with it anyway. Witness past attempts.

  25. No need to save me from nukes. I’ve got the reverse penthouse room at Crystal Peak*

    (T3 reference)

  26. Nudge & JR aren’t welcome, though. The dynamics of human pair-bonding are beyond my subroutines.

  27. JR sez: “ ‘everyone learns best from their mistakes’ ”

    Can’t leave y’all alone for 2 seconds. One of the proper ways to say it is, “Experience is a mean teacher, since she gives the test before presenting the lesson” but I much prefer “Experience keeps a mean school, but fools will learn in no other”.

  28. UY, not to worry .. JR and I can’t even meet for brunch anyway, let alone get into the same room. We tried talking on the phone a couple times and it did not work.

    But he’s still a hoopy frood in my book :)

  29. This ain’t a blog like that.

    Just everybody relax the fuck out.

    Where the fuck is Bunn Bunn when I need him?

    Everybody close your eyes. Relax,

    RELAX

    Imagine Bunn Bunn is handling baggage.

    OK , Good, I’m Outtie, Auddie… Bif! Bif! pssst! let’s get the fuck out of here. I pinned it on Bunn. He’s gonna kill me.

  30. Yarra? Yarra? c’mon, it was a joke you fucking twat. I’ll do anything with you as long as the Swedish cook doesn’t have a penis.

    I can’t win. Yarra! c’mon bother. I say a lot of shit. I’m not willing to alienate you.

  31. You can come & see me anytime. But you gotta bring Stuart Staniford so i can put hime to work breaking rocks and pushing wheelbarrows while we drink home brew. Got bullwhip?

  32. I’m gonna fucking kill you. You know exactly what you are doing and you are good.

    I don’t have to take this.

    I can fuck with you. Or I can play with you. You are obviously pretty superior counterstrike.

    I say we get together on a Greek Island and somebody else buys the drinks. I’m never gonna fuck with you on this battlefield. You win.

  33. Honestly? I don’t find Crocker entertaining at all. The thing you guys said you did about spamming his profile (I don’t even know why or how you found it) is fucking hilarious. He’s a douche he deserves it on principle.

    But if you dudes actually have these talents, C’mon. Stop fucking with Ryan and start putting yourself on Kilo Alert.

    Spend all year with your family for just a small commitment. 1 week on Kilo alert.

    And we’re cool. It’s NATO approved. garanteed 99% land-mine free.

    mmmmm. dat’s wat I’m saying.

  34. Nudge, that’s wrong. I click like once in a blue yonder. I was hoping for your website. I get Ryan Crocker. WTF? Pull your shit together. This is why I let the Bunn pretty much do what he wants. The Bunn is what the Greeks call “Schooly D.”

    I have no idea what that means. I just know it’s awesome.

    I’ve watched Schooly D and Eddie Van Halen on Greek TV. There is no comparison.

  35. let li has like a chinese lisp, or something. he must be gay. i think i’m in love, again. i’ll bet his asshole isn’t even that hairy. not like those big hairy all wrinkily funny looking holes that girls have, that shit out large bits of screaming protoplasm, sometime refered to as “children”, at any random moment.

  36. 5′-12″ that means he’s 5′ tal and has a 12″ cock, sounds yummy. especially if he’s bald, around the anus that is.

  37. Dave? arevyou fucking kidding me. Yo da olnly bitch I trust. We sould fuckm wit dese nigahs. Dude, I’ I’l keeep cool if you do./

  38. So, does this mean the whole “let’s meet for brunch” thing is off between our two (almost) love birds?

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