The US Is Gunning Up

Here’s a news story from Fox Business last week:

Skyrocketing gun sales trigger US ammo shortage

Wholesale and distributor inventories are “leanest we’ve ever seen”

Who are folks planning to shoot?

The answers come back: Democrats…Republicans…Trump…rioters…looters…greedy racists…rich white guys…poor black guys…

Take your pick.

But, like gravity, these things have always been with us. Still, sometimes planes crash. And sometimes, they don’t.

Today, we wonder why the nation seems to be in a tailspin right now.

Good times ahead

First, a look at where things stand…

31 million Americans are still unemployed…

…a third of renters say they’ll miss their August rent payment…

…manufacturing, in terms of the number of hours worked in the sector, is back to levels last seen in the year we were born — 1948…

…and worldwide, an estimated 60 million people have been pushed into poverty by the coronavirus lockdowns; many will die early as a result.

But the stock market seems to be saying that all is well…

The S&P 500 has just staged the fastest recovery on record. Surely, investors are looking ahead to good times.

What to make of it all? Wall Street and Main Street seem to be on different planes. One is flying high. The other is crashing.

How come?

More damage

As you’ll recall, we’ve seen that the feds are ‘transferring’ more money than previous generations even dreamed of.

On Saturday, the president — on his own say-so — added about $219 billion to the total. That news alone sent the S&P 500 to near its previous all-time high.

And this morning’s news tells us that the Donald is considering more damage to the nation’s finances — a capital gains tax cut. (Another nice boost for Wall Street!)

Meanwhile, negotiations between Democrats and Republicans go on…and should result in another huge dose of ‘transferred’ money this week or next, bringing the total closer to the $12 trillion we estimated a few days ago.

Of course, the feds don’t have $12 trillion. They will generate about $3.6 trillion via taxation. The rest is just pure counterfeiting — printing up money to pay for things you can’t afford honestly.

And since this counterfeit money is legal tender…it is indistinguishable from real money. So it can be used just like real money. That is how counterfeiting works.

The news media is focused on the ‘negotiations’ and the partisan ‘bickering’ behind them.

The public is still aghast at the coronavirus. It is a killer, of course, but not a very good one. Even among the oldest and most vulnerable part of the population, it is only responsible for one out of 20 deaths.

The bigger story goes unnoticed — Americans are gunning up…and the US is headed for inflation, depression and maybe even civil war.

Because the ‘transfers’ are a rip-off. And they not only hurt the Main Street economy, they light a fire under a pot of jealousies, frustrations and unfairness that has been filling up for half a century.

Sooner or later, it is almost sure to boil over into violence.

Sowing the seed

So, let’s quickly look back at the last 49 years to see if we can better understand how we got where we are…

The seed — a flexible currency, with no connection to the real world of limited resources, especially time, work, skills, knowledge, sweat, risk, and all the other things you need to create real wealth — was brought forth in August 1971.

Economist Milton Friedman dug the hole. Then, with the whole world watching, Richard Nixon stuck it in the ground. It took root almost immediately.

Gradually, like an Alabama forest attacked by kudzu, the whole ecosystem changed. The new weed took over…monopolising credit, crowding out savings, shifting the focus from making things on Main Street to making money (from cheap, underpriced credit) on Wall Street.

More and more real output (manufacturing) moved overseas. And debt piled up at home…it was easier to buy from the foreigners than to sell to them.

In the late 1980s, Alan Greenspan began giving Wall Street favourable treatment — providing a MiracleGro of easy cash and credit to the richest part of the economy.

Since then, the top 1% of the US population has gotten 16 times more wealth than the whole bottom 90%.

In 1999, largely financed by fake credit, the US was on top of the world…with giant bubbles in US assets, US prestige, and US power…including a balanced budget in Washington…

Falling apart

In 2000, it all began to fall apart…

Stocks crashed…

GDP growth rates fell to roughly half of those in the 20th century…

The Federal Reserve cut rates to support the stock market, creating another bubble — this time, in mortgage finance/real estate — in 2007…

In 2008/2009, the Obama administration presided over the biggest Wall Street bailout ever…

In 2016, Americans expressly recognised that the country was in decline; the new president vowed to make it great ‘again’.

Still to come…

But three years later, after 10 years of ‘recovery’, the US government was still running some of the biggest deficits ever…

And then, in the panic over the coronavirus, the Trump team made two of the most knuckleheaded mistakes in history.

First, it shut down the economy…

And second, it pretended to replace real goods and services — real wealth — with fake money from the Fed’s printing press.

We’ll take a guess about what happens next…tomorrow.

Stay tuned…

Dan Denning Signature

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