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Rush in the Clowns
One of the many conceits of politicians is that they are somehow out of the ordinary, above the rest of us, with grandiose ideas of how to improve the world. After all, what good is power if not the ability to contribute to the greater good? And of course they always know what is best for us.
Meantime, the rest of us hustle around craving profits, mates, status, pride, love, and money while leaving big picture stuff like the economy to those who claim to understand it.
One great idea the pols came up with, thanks to early 20th century economist John Maynard Keynes, to take the edge off a business recessions, was to create credit when money got tight and shoveling this etheric currency into the economy to make up for the lack of spending on the part of consumers and businessmen. It didn’t seem to bother anyone that the new system was a fraud by creating unearned valueless wealth. Where would this new money ultimately come from? And what made an economists’ judgment of whether it made sense to spend or save any better than an individuals? But to a politician this pie in the sky was heavenly mana, and your childrens’ children be damned.
There are honest means, and dishonest ones, concepts indistinguishable to a politician who undertakes to get people to do what they want - either by offering them money that is not his own, or by defrauding them with artificially low interest rates, or by printing up money that is not backed by something of real value (like gold). The fact that this is a prescription for eventual ruin is justified by expediency, the future distant and amorphous.
If laws could make people wealthy, some august body somewhere would have found the magic elixir by now. But instead of making them richer, each law ironically makes them a little poorer until the whole legerdemain collapses under its own weight. Every time political means are used they benefit some interest group over everyone else, which subsequently interferes with the private, civilized economic arrangements of a fair and open marketplace.
Now, whenever politicians find a war that they can rally the faithful around for a Great National Purpose, they have a source of public funding that is flexible and expandable. They have a dollar that can be spun to look real, and through the good faith of believers, is spendable, but not linked to gold which is accountable and would deplete. Hence, this fiat dollar has sponsored the political grandstanding of the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the war on poverty, the Great Society, the War in Iraq, and now the war on terror. But remember that amorphous future, well it is nigh.
Keynesianism, like so many other ‘isms’, has turned out to be just another suit and tie fraud. Supply-side Reaganomics was a con. The dollar itself, now worth about 5% of what is way a century ago, is a scam which is now widely coming to light. All were developed by people with “good” intentions. But these primarily self-serving manipulations not only paved the road to Hell, they greased it, and now, because of prolonged short sightedness and overreaching greed, there is no retreating from the slippery slope.
Now, after a half-century of deceit in the US, a defining moment being when another war monger, tricky Dick Nixon unpegged the dollar from gold, a beguiled nation has spawned that is ready to believe anything. Citizens are well conditioned and willing to go along with any reprobating scheme provided it promises to make them rich. Many hedonistic citizens are going to be very displeased when they discover that all the reprehensible political means they unabashedly have supported and counted on - the phony money, the rush to judgements, the skewed tax and legal system, and the wars - have made them considerably poorer in both coin and stature.
The notable do gooders of history for the most part probably meant well as they arrogantly attempted to mold the world to their vainglorious vision. There is no point in hating Adolf, Josef, Osama, George or even John Maynard...or any of the other thousands of clowns who entertain, annoy and murder us. They were simply wrong by doing what they always do... resorting to political means, to get what they wanted. They allowed their amoral myopic conceit and arrogance to delude. The herded majority went along with it. The best we can hope for is that all Parties will get what they deserve.