YOUGHAL, IRELAND – Our subject this week is freedom.
“What is it worth?” is the question on the table.
“Not much,” is the answer from most of America’s intelligentsia. The elite, that is. It maintains that freedom should not be allowed to get in the way of What It Wants Now.
It wanted the War in Afghanistan… and for 20 years, it hijacked the nation’s wealth to pay for it – $2.3 trillion worth, according to the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University.
It wanted the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, the Wall Street Bailout… then the COVID-19 Bailout. All of these were sold as “investments” that would give us a better future.
What American citizen – however civic minded – would have willingly paid for these things? Very few.
And had they been good investments, they would have paid dividends. Instead, year after year, the money goes out the door and into the pockets of the elite… adding $27 trillion to the nation’s debt since 1980.
About the Elite…
And now, the elite is advertising even bigger “investments” – to change the planet’s climate… and bring equity (whatever that is) to all.
But the elite is running into trouble. Inflation is on the upswing. It will have to bring that under control by raising rates and curtailing its big-borrowing, big-spending, big-printing plans.
Can it turn around? Can it back off?
We need to do more thinking about “the elite.”
Republican or Democrat… European or American… members of the elite go to the same schools. They live in the same areas. They owe their allegiance, first and foremost, to their caste.
Members of the elite are, almost by definition, rich and powerful. And while the public is distracted by party politics – an empty, gaudy, and tawdry spectacle – it is this elite caste that rules. It controls the government, the media, the universities, the military, et al.
Like cream, members of the elite have risen to the top. And now, corrupted by power and money… curdled, degenerate, and incompetent… they want to hold onto their privileges at all costs.
Our friend Merryn Somerset Webb wrote in the Financial Times recently that central bankers had better get their act together. Inflation is rising. They need to get it under control quickly, she warned, or it will soon be too late.
But there’s a growing awareness of the fix they’ve gotten themselves into. “Inflate or Die,” is how the late, great financial writer, Richard Russell, described it in his Dow Theory Letters.
Last week, British industrialist Sir Andrew Cook wrote a letter to the FT editor, spelling out for readers why central banks can no longer control inflation:
If they raise interest rates to around 5 percent – which is needed to stamp out inflation – the economies collapse. If they stop printing money, there will be riots from those millions who are now dependent on state handouts.
At the top, the gamblers and grifters need more money-printing to keep their stocks and bonds from crashing… and to keep the feds flush with cash.
At the bottom, people face eviction… unemployment… and destitution.
In short, central bankers – working on behalf of the corrupt elite – have broken the economy.
Now, they own it. And whichever way they go – more money-printing or less – will bring on disaster.
Freedom to Choose
Free people don’t “invest” their own, real money in unwinnable wars and jackass projects. They don’t bail out Wall Street. They don’t shut down a whole economy to fight a disease that poses a threat to relatively few. They don’t lend money to those who can’t afford to pay it back.
In theory, the freer the economy, the richer the people in it. They devote their entire energies to doing what they want… rather than to doing what others want them to do.
After all, that is what freedom is all about. Choices always need to be made. The question is: Who makes them?
In a free economy, people make the choices for themselves. They eschew the bad bakeries and go to the good ones. They drop losing investments, and put their savings into ones that pay a real return.
They bid and ask, in free markets, to determine real prices… which then guide producers and consumers to increased efficiency and great wealth.
Freedom made America rich and powerful. But then, its elite caste became the deciders. Instead of allowing the rough and tumble of real capitalism… it rigged the system to protect its own wealth, power, and privileges.
Rather than let savers and borrowers decide on interest rates, for example, the Fed used its fake money to queer the market – with its key lending rate below the inflation rate for most of the last 12 years.
The artificially low rates, along with the fake money itself, skewed the whole economy from producing goods and services (real wealth!) to jigging up stock and bond markets, supporting zombie businesses, and funding the elite’s goofy “investments.”
The result is so much debt – $86 trillion for the entire economy… not including the feds’ many unfunded obligations – that honest interest rates would quickly cause a painful and immediate reckoning. In a matter of hours, the elite would lose much of its wealth and power.
Freedom to Live
But if freedom is so important to an economy… what about the rest of life?
Can free people beat the coronavirus? Or do they need to be forced to take the shot, whether they like it or not?