Welcome to the Zombie Republic

It’s a ‘zombie recovery,’ says Bloomberg.

Much of the economy remains in suspended animation — a zombie recovery — that masks how much the crisis has curtailed ambitions and how much depends on a new injection of government aid that has languished for months in a partisan Congress.

By the end of the year, US GDP is expected to be 3% below its 2019 level. Worldwide, GDP is down 4% for the year.

Shuffling from free food to free money…a vacant look in their eyes…a face mask to hide the trickle of blood dried up on their chins — zombies are everywhere.

Zombie companies. Zombie households. Zombie officials.

At the present rate of new job creation in the US, it will take at least three more years to get back to last year’s employment level.

And at the end of this week, some 12 million zombies are scheduled to lose their supplemental federal unemployment benefits. Naturally, the feds are running fast, trying to keep ahead of them.

Yes, Democrats and Republicans are finally working together to keep the blood flowing.

There are still some details to work out. Some want a $1,200 cheque for everyone. Others want to give grants to state and local governments. Most likely, the two groups will come to terms before the week is over.

Zombie town

Baltimore, always a bit like the Night of the Living Dead, is now more zombified than ever. Yesterday, we made our first visit to the office in 10 months. There was almost no one there.

Baltimore has shut down. Restaurants, bars — everything is closed, by order of the new mayor.

The coffee shops are off-limits to sit-down customers. But you can still get a cup of coffee to go. Or so we thought.

We tried one. ‘Closed on Mondays’ said the sign in the window. So we went to another.

You have to order online,’ said the barista.

Well, I’m standing right in front of you. Can’t you make me a cappuccino?

Our systems aren’t set up for that.

We turned around in low dudgeon. We could probably get out our smartphone and figure out how to do it. But it was such ghoulish customer service, we wanted nothing to do with it.

Customary corruption

Meanwhile, over in the zombie capital — Washington, DC — life goes on as usual…that is to say, with the customary corruption, venality, and imbecility.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was called on last week to explain why he lent the public’s money to a zombie trucking firm. The company scored a $700 million loan.

Its owners also lent more than $100 million to the presidential in-laws, the Kushner family. A lawyer for the COVID-19 Congressional Oversight Commission questioned Mnuchin:

We have a fast-tracked, extremely generous loan that just so happened to help the private equity giant, Apollo. So Mr. Secretary, were you aware before you made this loan that Apollo has close personal ties to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior advisor?

Mr Mnuchin said he was not.

Meanwhile, the president-elect’s son, Hunter, is under investigation. Here’s CNBC:

‘[He] revealed Wednesday that he is under investigation for his “tax affairs” by federal prosecutors in Delaware.

‘[Hunter Biden said in a statement, “I learned yesterday for the first time that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware advised my legal counsel, also yesterday, that they are investigating my tax affairs.”

Mr Biden’s desk is where the buck is supposed to stop. But in practice, the bucks fly all over town.

Revolving door

Biden says he is aiming for ‘diversity’ in his cabinet picks. For the Defense Department, for example, he was expected to nominate a woman. But his first choice, Michèle Flournoy, is such a horrible warmonger, even his own Congressional cronies threatened to block her.

Biden had to find another zombie. His new pick, Lloyd Austin, is black, so he checks the box for ‘diversity’. But he’s still a member of the same Deep State tribe.

POGO.org reports:

‘[Lloyd Austin] sits on the board of Raytheon, one of the top five contractors for the Department of Defense. In that role he has received $1.4 million in compensation since joining the board in 2016. He is also a partner at Pine Island Capital Partners, a private equity firm that boasts “a group of deeply-connected and accomplished former senior government and military officials.” In layman’s language, they leverage the revolving door between the government and private sector to try to get more contracts for their clients.

Lately, the revolving door between government and crony industry is spinning so fast, the slow-moving zombies almost lose their limbs. The story continues:

That’s what happened with William Lynn, the first deputy secretary of defense under President Barack Obama. Obama pledged he wouldn’t have any lobbyists in his administration, and then he nominated former Raytheon lobbyist Lynn, issuing him the first waiver. (Lynn wasn’t the only one; the Washington Post counted 65 former lobbyists in the Obama administration as of August 2014.) It’s little surprise that when Lynn left the government he went right back into the defense industry as the chief executive officer for DRS Technologies, which, while not a top contractor, still did $1.1 billion in business with the Pentagon the year Lynn joined the company. [EW5]

Zombies to the left of us! Zombies to the right of us! Zombies in front of us!

Welcome to the new Zombie Republic.


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