Donald Trump, Champion: Large and in Charge

Great American comeback?

As you know, our hypothesis is that the US peaked out in the late 90s. It’s been sliding ever since, with demographic, political and financial trends making it almost impossible to stop.

More people are getting old; they want free pills and medical care.

The Deep State now controls the government; it has no intention of slowing spending, curbing debt, or reducing regulations.

And the fake-money regime — now entering its 50th year — is queering the whole economy while allowing the feds to continue shifting wealth to their clients and cronies.

And now that we’ve entered Phase Three of the Inflation Era, we can expect the decline to speed up…

Great American comeback

On Tuesday night, the president acknowledged America’s decline. But he says he’s turned it around. The New York Times:

President Trump claimed credit for a ‘great American comeback’ in a speech to Congress on Tuesday night, boasting of a robust economy, contrasting his successes with the records of his predecessors and projecting optimism in the face of a months-long Democratic effort to force him from office.

Mr Trump, who lamented what he called ‘American carnage’ when he was inaugurated in January 2017, described a different country today, declaring in his third State of the Union address that the nation’s future was once again ‘blazing bright.’

‘“In just three short years, we have shattered the mentality of American Decline and we have rejected the downsizing of America’s destiny,Mr Trump said in a speech that lasted 78 minutes. “We have totally rejected the downsizing. We are moving forward at a pace that was unimaginable just a short time ago, and we are never, ever going back!”

Well, what do you think, Dear Reader? Has the country turned around?

Let’s look and see.

But first, we have to remember what we’re looking at…

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Sacred entertainment

Money isn’t everything. And few people really bother to think about it very carefully. Fewer still care about GDP-per-capita…productivity…or deficits and debt. Most people think at all only if they have to.

So, instead of thinking…they feel. And for them, things are better simply when they feel better. And they feel better when they have a leader who ‘tells it like it is,’ waves the flag, and pretends that their values are his own.

It irks them to see football players ‘take the knee’, for example. It is a kind of blasphemy against America’s second-most sacred entertainment — football. (The first is the presidential election.)

They don’t like to see so many foreigners in ‘their’ country; yes, the Mexicans fix the roads and serve the burgers, thank you very much. But they really should go home.

They don’t like to think of the Chinese taking advantage of us in trade…or stealing ‘our’ technology…or our jobs.

And imagine how they might feel if presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg gets elected and brings his ‘first gentleman’ with him to the White House!

None of these things necessarily reduce Americans’ material well-being. But they make them feel bad. They eat away at their pride. And they erode their sense of place…as if ‘their’ country were being hijacked.

They get nauseous as the ground sways beneath them…and angry at the thought of people taking something from them.

World’s (second) best

The Chinese, for example, are now investing more money in research and development than Americans. They will invent things that we never even thought of…and take the lead in many new tech industries.

Their inventions will eventually improve our lives in the US, too, just as our automobiles, microwave ovens, and cell phones improved theirs. But who wants to see the Chinese getting ahead of us?

And what about our military? Our soldiers could kick any butt on the planet. But it doesn’t seem to make any difference…the wars go on…the troops never come home. There are no victory parades, and no booty.

As for the economy, it was supposed to be the world’s best.

But while stocks go up on Wall Street, the good jobs disappear in the heartland. Men have to take lower-paying jobs in the service sector. Often, they can’t earn as much as their wives…if they are lucky enough to have one.

Played for fools

These disappointments and frustrations intensified throughout the 21st century, leaving people with the feeling that someone was playing them for fools.

A large segment of the population didn’t like the way the country was going…but they didn’t understand any better than Donald Trump why it was going that way.

The genius of the president is being able to channel these gripes, suspicions, and dreams into the best gig in show biz — President of the USA.

And there he was on TV on Tuesday night…an old, white, plump, rich man…making them feel better. Their champion, large and in charge.

They were right to feel the way they felt, he told them. The country had been in danger of being taken over by immigrants, terrorists, and liberal claptrap. But he has them all on the run. And now, they are winners, marching forward into the blazing light of a 100-watt future.

The nightmare is over, he claims. The borders are safe. The economy is stronger than ever. No need to slow down or change direction.

Going for broke

In that sense, at least, he’s right. Many of those watching Mr Trump felt terrible about the direction we were headed four years ago; they feel much better about it today. Among those people, Mr Trump has succeeded in shattering the ‘decline mentality’.

But what about the decline itself? What about debt? What about the Swamp? And what about the endless war? Last we heard, it was still going on.

The typical empire lasts 250 years, according to political commentator Cal Thomas. And even when the end comes into focus, it refuses to downsize.

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The Romans might have saved themselves if they had retreated to the Italian peninsula and simply defended the mountain passes…

Napoleon might never have been sent to Elba if he had turned around at the Berezina and gone home…

And Hitler might have held on for decades if he hadn’t refused to let the 6th Army retreat from Stalingrad.

Empires do not back up. They do not cut expenses. They stick to their guns and their delusions of exceptionalism. They go for broke, in other words…and get there.

Mr Thomas calculates that the US empire — if it tracks the others — will be finished in 2026. But maybe Mr Trump really has turned it around. Maybe Mr Trump really is a stable genius, after all.

Maybe rejecting downsizing — though a classic mistake, made by every other empire over the last 3,000 years — will pay off this time.

Tune in tomorrow…


Bill Bonner,
For The Rum Rebellion

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries.

A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America’s most respected authorities.

Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally.

With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance.

Bill has been a weekly contributor to The Rum Rebellion.

The Rum Rebellion