Monday, May 4, 2020 – Week 8 of the Quarantine

CALCHAQUI VALLEY, ARGENTINA – Yesterday, we rode up to inspect the damage. The originarios are on the warpath.

They attacked our corral, stole the sepo (the headlock used to hold cattle in place when they are vaccinated) and burned our cabins.

More on that tomorrow… today, we finish replying to readers’ objections.

And their main objection over the last three years is how we treat the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump…

“Poisoned” Well

The former reality TV star really seems to stir up emotions, pro and con.

Here’s Laurence D. on the con side:

I am appalled by your naïve apologies for Trump. He and his supporters such as you are an existential threat to our Democracy. How could I trust your advice about anything again?

But most of our critics are on the pro side.

Arthur B.:

Bill, why do you have to be so vocal on your hatred for our president? You offer some interesting points, but you have so “poisoned the well” with your negative thoughts of Trump that much of what you say is compromised by your nastiness.

William H:

Before you include your “opinions” and obvious dislike of President Trump, please take the time to read just one daily blog of the Conservative Tree House. It seems you feed on the alphabet networks and their outright hatred for President Trump.

William and many other Dear Readers see the fate of the nation as a contest between the forces of good and evil.

In politics, William believes there are only two sides. You’re either with us or against us. He thinks we’re on the wrong side:

Why would you join on this bandwagon? The Anti-American Democratic machine is well on its way to putting the puppet Joe Biden in office. The backing of the Wall Street Elite will make it happen. Watch who he is told to have as V.P., as that could well be the Democrats’ ultimate goal in the White House. If you are going to offer your political opinion, at least try to be honest about the alternative candidates.

We went to check out The Conservative Treehouse. As near as we can tell, it’s a typically partisan website where “liberals” are bad guys and “conservatives” are good guys. If only it were that simple.

Unfortunately, both Democrats and Republicans are both on the same team. Like mafiosos, they brawl for control of the gambling, drugs and whores… but neither wants to go straight.

“Conservatives,” traditionally, favored a smaller, more modest government with less power. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are “conservative” today.

And yet, The Conservative Treehouse seems to think, prominently, that the big-spending, p*ssy-grabbing, debt-financing, almost life-long Democrat Trump is a conservative!

And here’s Kenny C., riffing on the same theme…

Is everything you say, Bill, anti-Trump? All I read is a negative agenda, never anything positive. I, for one, am an Independent, and Trump has not always shown his best side. But from the moment he was announced president, the so-called “tolerant” (which is a joke) left has never given the man a chance.

And here’s a remarkable comment from James C., in which he imagines that:

1) we are Never Trumpers

2) Trump has leveled the playing field, so that…

3) under Trump, the “middle class” is making money “hand over fist,” and…

4) that we warn readers about “Recession!” only so we can take advantage of it and “make money off the misfortune of others.”

From James:

Nice try. I don’t even follow politics and your writing is so full of holes that I have to wonder if you’ve been living under a rock. Or, you just think you’re so sly that people would actually believe your utter nonsense. I believe you and your partners are the type of people that are upset with Trump because now the middle class is able to make money hand over fist because of what Trump has done to our economy.

You people are the type of selfish predators that keep screaming, “Recession! Recession! Recession!” Hoping that we will actually have one so scoundrels like you can buy everything low and wait for those big gains that the last do-nothing president helped you accomplish.

What do you care if people are losing their homes, jobs, or belongings? They should have prepared better, right? I mean, you have money to make off the misfortune of others. You can’t successfully do that when the country has this president that won’t give it a rest and keeps leveling the playing field for all Americans to be successful.


Well, let’s get to work…

“America First”

First, do we “hate” Trump? Of course not. We find him very entertaining, perhaps the most entertaining president ever. He says the most outrageous and idiotic things; it’s a laugh a day.

Occasionally, he says something that makes sense, too. Such as “America First” as a foreign policy.

Running for the White House, Trump even called his opponent “Trigger Happy Hillary,” for her support of foreign military boondoggles. (Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard labeled her “queen of the warmongers.”)

And then, Trump goes and appoints a knucklehead like John Bolton as his foreign policy advisor, proving that he doesn’t really understand what “America First” means… or doesn’t care.

Bolton is a Hillary Clinton/Teddy Roosevelt kinda guy. Which is to say, he is an Empire Builder… and a moron.

If your real goal is looking out for America – rather than its Deep State war profiteers – you wouldn’t want to get tangled up in messes all over the world.

Why spend $6 trillion – money that has to come from Americans – in the Middle East when 100 million Americans have essentially no savings? Instead, you’d bring the troops home and put a stop to the endless wars, as you promised.

Likewise, when he was running for office, Mr. Trump said the stock market was “one big, fat ugly bubble.” He was right about that. But then, in office… he made it HIS bubble… and pressured the Federal Reserve to make it even bigger and uglier.

And if you really wanted to Make America Great Again, you’d want a deficit that was more like Eisenhower’s deficit, not Obama’s deficit.

Eisenhower issued 181 “pocket” and regular vetoes to force the 1960 budget to a $301 million surplus. Mr. Trump is no Eisenhower; he took Obama’s deficit of $665 billion… and almost doubled it… even before the C-virus hit!

Great Disappointment

The Swamp, the Deep State, lobbyists, hangers-on, cronies – all feed from the same trough. So, if you are serious about making America great again, the first… and practically the only… thing you can do is to put these hogs on a diet.

Everything else – the wall, the trade wars, Russiagate, impeachment, and now the COVID-19 – is a dangerous, costly distraction.

As chief executive, you could demand a balanced budget, as Eisenhower did. If Congress failed to provide one, you’d veto its spending bills… forcing it to override you.

How The New York Times and The Washington Post would scream! How the lobbyists would howl! Paul Krugman, Larry Summers, Joseph Stiglitz – all the big-name economists would be apoplectic with rage. What a delight it would be to see it.

But it didn’t happen. Instead, Mr. Trump continued the policies of Dubya and Obama. He spurred the Fed to cut interest rates… and he increased the deficit.

And now, faced with the C-virus… and the prospect of losing the next election… he’s proposing to bail out, subsidize, and stimulate practically everything.

So no, we don’t hate Trump. He is profoundly ignorant and oafish. He has no apparent class or principles. But above all, he is a great disappointment. We were hoping for a real disrupter.

Instead, it was always all about Trump. He picks fights, postures and pouts… and leaves the Deep State careerists in charge. He could never Make America Great Again because he never understood what made it great in the first place.

We do not “hate” him at all. We simply despise him… as we do with all big-mouth, empty-headed, know-it-all world improvers.

But we are an equal-opportunity, bipartisan despiser. We despise Hillary, Joe, Bernie… and the whole company of claptrap mongers.

Losing Ground

What about James’ second point: that Trump has leveled the playing field? We see no evidence of it. Nor, given Trump’s policy moves, do we see how it would be possible.

The rich have gotten richer during the Trump years. The Christmas 2017 tax cut practically guaranteed it. And so did Trump’s bigger and fatter stock market bubble…

The rich owe their recent wealth not to increases in GDP – which have been modest, below 3% – but to increases in the stock market. Eighty-four percent of stocks owned by Americans belong to the top 10%. As stocks rise, grosso modo, so does their wealth.

The Dow rose more than 11,000 points from the day Trump won the election to its high in January. Even now, after the lockdown sell-off, the rich are still up more than 30%.

And the middle classes? Their wages rose only slightly before the virus… and now – with large parts of the economy shut down – they’ve collapsed.

We don’t see how any of that qualifies as leveling. And it certainly doesn’t add up to the “middle classes making money hand over fist.”

They were losing ground, relative to the rich, before the virus hit. Now, they’re losing ground in absolute terms, too.

Misfortunes of Others

But James’ most curious charge is the last one. Does he really think we should have kept quiet, rather than warning: “Recession! Recession! Recession!”? Does he think we should not sell stocks if we see them going down?

But wait. James also thinks we profit by buying up stocks and “making money off the misfortunes of others.” How does that work?

If a man is desperate to sell his house, should you NOT buy it? How would that help him?

Does James think the misfortunes of others will be alleviated if we DON’T see their misfortunes coming, DON’T warn them, and DON’T buy stocks at the bottom of a bear market?

Would they – the homeless, the destitute, the jobless – be better off if we joined them in their misery?

We can’t quite figure out James’ pensée. But maybe he’s right; maybe all our critics are right. You never know. Many people think Krugman, Stiglitz, and Bernanke are geniuses, too. And Trump.

We’ve been wrong about a great many things over the years. Maybe we’re wrong again.

And perhaps it’s just a matter of time before James wins a “noble” prize… or at least a seat on the Federal Reserve Board…

…while we pick through the trash barrels of Buenos Aires, searching for a stale crust of bread.

But for now, we remain in the valley. Stay tuned for more on the latest aborigine uprising in the Calchaqui…




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