Week 18 of the Quarantine
SAN MARTIN, ARGENTINA – Reviewing Joe Biden’s new economic plan – released last week – The Washington Post excitedly reported that Biden “ate Trump’s populist lunch.”
Too bad. In preview of what’s coming, we’re all likely to get sick.
Today, let’s begin by checking our mail. Responses from dear readers are always entertaining, often illuminating… and sometimes puzzling. Robert B., for example, is deeply disturbed because he thinks we support Trump. We annotate:
You, Sir, are beneath contempt.
Whoa… That’s pretty strong language. What did we do? Robert begins…
I remember, many years ago, when you were sooooo concerned that the country was going to collapse from its huge debt and made dire predictions, none of which came true.
We’re getting there. Keep your shirt on.
Next, Robert outlines the main charge against us…
Trump comes along and doles out a huge tax cut, almost all of it benefiting big corporations and wealthy individuals, causing the already enormous national debt to increase by 25% – with little benefit for the economy, because it’s the needy people who spend any tax cut they get.
And what is your response to this dangerous financial situation? Nothing, nada.
Isn’t that what we’ve been ranting about for the past two years?
Now, Robert gets to the point…
…you are a traitorous skunk… You are, in a word, despicable. But it doesn’t really matter, because, more important, you are irrelevant.
…Pathetic proponents of this tragic figure [Trump] in history will be cast aside into the trash heap of ignominy. Blather on, fool. None except the most irredeemable in our midst are paying the slightest heed.
Whew! There’s a reader who must have gotten out on the wrong side of the bed. In his world, there are good guys and bad guys. The bad guys (among whom he counts your editor) are Trump fans.
But it isn’t that simple. Both President Trump and presidential candidate Joe Biden say they aim to make America great again. But neither seems to have any idea what ails it.
A thoughtful person would spot the damage done by the war on drugs… the war on poverty… the war on terrorism… the war on COVID-19… the deficits, fake money, false interest rates, debt… the Swamp… and the Deep State.
An honest candidate for president would want to put an end to them.
Instead, both Democrat and Republican aim to double down.
Donald Trump came out at the end of last week claiming that Joe Biden had knocked off his great – it’s beautiful, really – economic plan. Biden “plagiarized” him, he said.
This is not surprising. When you have a winning election hustle, both parties are likely to want to use it. Here in Argentina, for example, the election strategy that works is pretty simple:
Destroy the economy with taxes and regulations… make people dependent on the government… and print money to provide giveaways to the urban masses.
Former Argentine president Juan Perón proved that it worked in the 1950s. Since then, hardly anyone has won the Pink House (the Argentines’ version of the White House) without following the program.
The appeal of free money was so strong that competing parties quickly collapsed. Instead, Perón’s ruling party split into two factions – right-wing Peronists and left-wing Peronists.
One pitched its program to culturally conservative elements. The other aimed for the more liberal market. But both stuck to the essential playbook – promise, print, go broke.
Illusion and Fraud
And now, in both Trump’s plan and Biden’s proposal, we see the ghost of Juan Perón.
We also see that former governor of Alabama George C. Wallace was ahead of his time with his comment that between Republicans and Democrats, there wasn’t “a dime’s worth of difference.”
Both aim to seduce the common marginal voter with an illusion and a fraud: that the federales can make people better off by rigging the economy as they please… and passing out printing-press money.
The Washington Post describes Mr. Biden’s program:
Calling it the “Build Back Better” plan, Biden proposed investing in manufacturing, something Trump promised but failed to deliver. The Biden plan includes “$400 billion to purchase products and materials our country needs to modernize our infrastructure, to replenish our critical stockpiles, and to enhance our national security.”
The plan also promises to fight unfair trading practices; fund green energy jobs; invest $300 billion in research in new technologies (thereby “creating millions of good-paying union jobs”); support a caregiving and education workforce (e.g., paid sick leave, child care); add more money for education; and secure the Affordable Care Act (e.g., lowering the cost of prescription drugs, stopping surprise medical bills and providing a public option to cover the millions of Americans without care).
Finally, he vowed to present a complete agenda for rectifying racial inequality.
We can practically hear the tango beat and smell the crisp, fresh bills coming off the printing presses.
No cliché left behind! No pot without a chicken. No opportunity to waste the public’s money left unexploited. And no pocket left unpicked!
There is no way the feds are going to “invest” in manufacturing successfully (how would a bureaucrat know which company would succeed?). Instead, they are going to give money to cronies and campaign contributors, while claiming to support “working class jobs.”
Nor are they ever going to “enhance our national security” by buying more useless stuff from larded-up defense industries.
Nor are they going to fix “unfair” trade practices (more sanctions? More tariffs?)… or create “millions of good-paying union jobs” by investing in new technologies (tech companies are overflowing with investment capital already… they don’t need more dumb money from the feds).
And since when were tech shops unionized? Tech is famously fast-moving and entrepreneurial – unionization would be a killer.
As for the rest, it is the typical blah-blah we expect from both parties.
And so you see, Dear Readers, President Trump is right. The Biden program is just as foolish as his own.
Neither candidate even mentions the one, single-biggest danger the country faces..
This year, the Trump government will collect only about $3 trillion in taxes. But it will spend $7 trillion.
And there are some 33 million people now collecting unemployment compensation at an average annual rate of $57,000 each. This is $10,000 more than the typical wage-earner got while he was working.
The Federal Reserve enables this spendfest by printing money – “whatever it takes” to keep the jig up.
And while any fool can see that this is a recipe for disaster, both candidates propose the same claptrap – more spending, more regulation, more debt and deficits… and more money-printing to pay for it.
More Peronism, in other words – make people dependent on the government, print money to pay for “populist” programs…
…and keep doing it until we all go broke.
Like what you’re reading? Send your thoughts to [email protected].