‘Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.’
‘We need to remember,’ says Joe Biden, ‘that the government isn’t some foreign force in a distant capital. No, it’s all of us. All of us.’
We don’t recall ever making any decision for the government…nor ever having the slightest influence over any decision the government ever made. Nobody ever asked our opinion, and our vote was inconsequential. Apparently, ‘all of us’ does not include us.
Instead, decisions are made by others — lobbyists, legislative aides, bureaucrats, hacks, and cronies. They are the ones, for example, who wrote the latest 600-page American Rescue Plan.
How could you expect them to neglect rescuing the people most important to them — themselves?
Every penny of that $1.9 trillion will go into somebody’s pocket. Ordinary taxpayers will get some. But so will the scientists at the National Science Foundation, the artistes at the National Endowment for the Arts…the people (whoever they are) who take care of environmental problems in poor areas…the folks who run Amtrak…
…the people at the Bureau for Indian Affairs…firefighters…minority farmers…the Corporation for Public Broadcasting…and so on.
A billion here. A billion there. And pretty soon, you’ve taken care of most everyone who matters to the government. For all the coins tossed to the hapless mob, the real money still goes to the insiders.
In the American Rescue Plan, for example, $520 billion goes to the 90% of the eligible public. The rest — $1.4 trillion — is shared about among those with good lobbyists.
All of us? Not by a long shot.
And here, Dear Reader, is the lowdown.
Wealth and privileges
Government has one major purpose and one only — to help the elite keep its wealth and privileges. Everyone else is a pawn…a statistic…or a useful idiot. Fortunately for the feds, there are millions of them.
And in this Bubble Epoch, Americans are ready to believe that they can all live at someone else’s expense.
Some 70% of the American public is said to approve of the latest something-for-everyone giveaway, perhaps not realising that the something must also come from someone — most often, themselves.
There is no other source. Even printing-press money must be reckoned with some day. What the government giveth, in other words, it must taketh, too…and in larger amounts (in order to have a fat margin for those who control it).
This is not to say that a government cannot perform useful functions. But all that it does, all the time, is subservient to its major role: to keep the rich and powerful becoming richer and more powerful.
That is the secret to understanding the last 20 years. The feds did foolish things…but they were not foolish for ‘all of us’. Only most of us.
Herewith an alternative history…
Imagine that the US enjoyed three especially wise and courageous leaders…who looked the American people in the eye at critical moments and levelled with them. Three simple, short presidential speeches might have changed the course of history.
George W Bush:
‘Some bad guys blew up a couple buildings in New York…and struck the Pentagon, too. We have joined with the police from countries all over the world to bring the people behind this to justice. Don’t worry. We’ll get them.’
And by the way, we’re withdrawing all our troops from the Mideast. That was a mistake from the get-go.
No War on Terror. No invasion of Iraq. No chaos in the Levant. No $7 trillion bill. No 800,000 dead. No 37 million displaced. No ‘warrior culture’. No ‘see something, say something’. Just old-fashioned gumshoe work…at trivial cost.
‘Yes, we are seeing a shakeout on Wall Street. But no way am I going to ask Americans making an average of $40,000 per year to bail out guys who have been taking in million-dollar bonuses. Wall Street can take care of itself.’
No need for former Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke’s ersatz ‘courage to act’. No TARP. No TAF. No TALF. No TSLF. No GM rescue.
No AIG, Bank of America, JPMorgan, Citi, Wells Fargo, Chase, Goldman Sachs bailouts. No quantitative easing. No $3.6 trillion in additional money printing and $4.6 trillion in extra expenditures.
No suppression of interest rates. No big bounce in the stock market. No new bubble.
‘We face a potential health crisis. At risk are old people and those with compromised immune systems. We’re going to make every effort to protect them, using every resource available to our medical care industries.
‘Approximately 5% of the population is in danger of dying from the disease — the old and weak, who are vulnerable to COVID-19, just as they would be to any new flu strain.
‘The risk to the rest is not enough to make a federal case of it. Of those who get the virus, outside of the most vulnerable groups, apparently, 99.7% survive. So, let’s keep our wits about us…and do our best to protect those who need it. But let’s not panic and make this thing worse.’
No lockdowns. No mass unemployment. No supplemental employment benefits. No $733 billion Payroll Protection Program. No $2.2 CARES Act. No Response and Relief Act for almost $1 trillion more. And no American Rescue Plan for nearly $2 trillion on top of that.
No bankrupt restaurants, hotels, gyms, or movie theatres. No millions of people, unemployed, waiting for their stimmy cheques.
No hordes of young traders bidding up prices for companies that have never made a dime and are probably worthless. No zero interest rates.
No borrowing spree by families, businesses, and the government — bringing total US debt to $80 trillion…where it can’t possibly survive normal, market-set rates.
Imagine that. No big words. No bold new programs. No promises. No fantasies. No claims. No lies.
And $15 trillion spared.
But how then would the rich have gotten so rich? What would have driven up stock prices? Who would have paid all the Pentagon suppliers?
And what about the big banks…what would have happened to the million-dollar paydays? And poor Dr Fauci would be a nobody!
Oh, Dear Reader…it’s just too horrible to imagine.
Thank God we found the leaders who could rise to the occasion. These were the men James Madison foresaw. Weaklings, cowards, and nincompoops…they destroyed the country, but they kept the money flowing!
Get with the program
George W Bush was ready and willing to go along with the Deep State’s forever war program.
Barack Obama kept the wars going, bailed out Wall Street, and twisted the entire economy into a grotesque new shape (but made the rich richer than ever).
Donald Trump…unable to stop the wars…unable to stop the financial damage…unable to understand the real threat of the COVID-19 crisis…but willing and able to take the economic buffoonery up to a whole new level.
And now…what more could the mischievous gods ask?
Fool? Knave? Hack? Ready to bring more big paydays to all of those insiders…the elite who really are ‘the government’…
…while pretending to help ‘all of us’.
For The Rum Rebellion
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