A Chart is Worth a Thousand Words

 

Source:  Political Calculations

Per PC, the current national debt burden per U.S. household is roughly $131,113. Over the last four years, that’s up by $49,129 per U.S. household from the $81,984 per U.S. household figure set in 2008. It should be obvious, but note that these numbers are pre-QE3.

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From my friend Joe Calhoun at Alhambra Investment Partners:

The tax filing deadline this year is April 17th. The normal deadline of April 15th falls on a Sunday this year and you would think that would move the deadline to April 16th but that day is, ironically, Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C. so the deadline was moved to April 17th. Even more ironic: according to the Tax Foundation, April 17th also happens to be Tax Freedom Day, the day when the average American will have worked enough to pay their tax liability for the year. Happy Emancipation Day, indeed.

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Headline from The Washington Post:  “Postal Service paying fewer workers to do nothing”

From the story:  “The U.S. Postal Service, expecting about $9 billion in losses this year amid slumping mail volume, is still paying thousands of its workers millions of dollars each year to do nothing.

“But it’s paying tens of millions of dollars less for ‘standby time’ than it did just two years ago, according to a new report.”

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The Duke of Wellington, later British Prime Minister and the commander who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, is said to have dispatched the following letter from Spain to the British Foreign Office during the Napoleonic wars in August of 1812. I don’t know if this letter was actually sent, but it ought to have been sent. 

Gentlemen,

Whilst marching from Portugal to a position which commands the approach to Madrid and the French forces, my officers have been diligently complying with your requests which have been sent by H.M. ship from London to Lisbon and thence by dispatch to our headquarters. We have enumerated our saddles, bridles, tents and tent poles, and all manner of sundry items for which His Majesty’s Government holds me accountable. I have dispatched reports on the character, wit, and spleen of every officer. Each item and every farthing has been accounted for, with two regrettable exceptions for which I beg your indulgence.

Unfortunately the sum of one shilling and ninepence remains unaccounted for in one infantry battalion’s petty cash and there has been a hideous confusion as to the the number of jars of raspberry jam issued to one cavalry regiment during a sandstorm in western Spain. This reprehensible carelessness may be related to the pressure of circumstance, since we are war with France, a fact which may come as a bit of a surprise to you gentlemen in Whitehall.

This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request elucidation of my instructions from His Majesty’s Government so that I may better understand why I am dragging an army over these barren plains. I construe that perforce it must be one of two alternative duties, as given below. I shall pursue either one with the best of my ability, but I cannot do both:

1. To train an army of uniformed British clerks in Spain for the benefit of the accountants and copy-boys in London or, perchance,

2. To see to it that the forces of Napoleon are driven out of Spain.

Your most obedient servant,

Wellington