Week 29 of the Quarantine
SAN MARTIN, ARGENTINA – In the 1950s, Tommy d’Alesandro put together the Democratic machine in Baltimore – then headquartered in Lil’ Italy (pronounced Lil It-lee).
His daughter Nancy (now Pelosi) was a pretty girl. Smart and tough, too. She went to Washington in 1963 to work as an intern in the office of Senator Daniel Brewster. She knows the place well.
Meanwhile, Fred Trump built a middle-brow real estate empire. He set up his son Donald in an apartment deal in the early 1970s – giving the kid a million dollars a year in income.
Mitch McConnell went to Washington more than half a century ago to work for Senator Marlow Cook. Except for a brief stint at a Kentucky law firm, he never left.
Joe Biden, ditto… In a flukey election in 1972, he became a U.S. Senator from the state of Delaware, just weeks before his 30th birthday.
Anthony Fauci got a job at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda in 1968. He’s been living off the federal government ever since.
These were the lucky ones… the elite. They gained fame, fortune, power, and status early on… and never gave it up.
And now, aging… listening to the Grateful Dead in their private moments… shored up by botox, hair coloring, and Viagra… as needed… they are desperate to hang on to the world that has been so good to them.
Signs of Weakness
But the world they built is a counterfeit one. And it’s getting harder and harder to hold it together.
Manhattan apartment rents plunged last month by the most in nearly nine years. That’s only one sign of weakness for the borough’s leasing market. […]
The median rent, with concessions such as free months factored in, plummeted 10% to $3,167. It was the biggest rate of decline in records dating to October 2011.
While renters flee New York, their jobs are on the run, too. From The Washington Post:
Layoffs still piling up as jobless claims remain stubbornly high
837,000 Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. […]
Another 650,000 people had new claims processed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance last week, the program for self-employed and gig workers, up slightly from 630,000 the week before.
The total number of people claiming unemployment insurance ticked up slightly, to 26.5 million for the week ending Sept. 12.
We are exploring the sellout of America by its geriatric elite. They launched wars against drugs, poverty, terrorism, a virus… and especially, against honest money.
The wars benefited the warriors, shifting power, status… and about $30 trillion… to the elite over the last 30 years.
But the more they scam, the more they have to scam to keep the jig up…
…and the more angry people they leave behind.
After Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker “rescued” the system in 1980, the resulting fake dollar and fake interest rates produced fake wealth on a scale the country had never seen before. The Dow rose 29 times.
But the wealth was heavily concentrated in the richest zip codes. The rest of the country got, relatively, poorer.
Factory jobs decamped to China and Mexico. The old machinists, welders, and hot roll handlers in Gary, Detroit, Mansfield, and St. Louis were left behind. Now, they live in shabby neighborhoods… on disability, if they can get it… reminiscing about the good ol’ days.
Wealth migrated from the towns where people made things to the towns where people just made money. Like Manhattan, where apartment prices rose four times since the beginning of this century. And there, people made plenty of money, thanks to the Fed’s war on honest money.
The Fed launched five major assaults. There were three waves of interest rate cuts – 1989-1992, 2000-2003, and 2007-2008 – along with a $3.6 trillion heavy artillery barrage after the crisis of 2008-2009 and $3 trillion more to fight the COVID Shutdown.
Almost every penny went to the richest, oldest 10% of the country… leaving 90% of the population behind.
This COVID Shutdown – another attempt to protect the old at the expense of the young – forced much of the economy onto the internet, leaving behind millions of face-to-face, hand-to-mouth workers.
Waiters, parking lot attendants, landlords in some areas, clowns in Disney World, strippers in Las Vegas… whole industries were decimated.
Many people will never get their jobs back. They have been left behind, perhaps permanently.
Meanwhile, the Boomer Elite… bless their hearts (including your editor and many of his Diary readers)… is living high on the hog. Maybe we weren’t as lucky as The Donald or The Nancy, but we can’t complain.
We went to college. We avoided the assembly lines and shop floors. We punched a keyboard, not a time clock… And come the coronavirus… we could work from home.
And we made investments… partaking of the great promise of degenerate American capitalism – that the government would make sure we didn’t lose money.
As often chronicled in this space, three times this century, the markets have tried to correct… and three times, the Federal Reserve has fought back, making sure the wealthy elite retained its ill-gotten gains.
And then, just to make it better for ourselves… we can move to a Zoom Town. That’s right, we can leave behind the whole complex of crime, poverty, job losses, politics, and social disruption… and live far enough away from the big city, where it is safe, beautiful, and pleasant… but still with enough bandwidth to let us “visit” with our children and grandchildren… and carry on with the rump ends of our careers.
And now… here we are. We save more than ever (what is there to spend money on?) We enjoy more time at home. Nobody asks us to get on a plane… to come into the office… or even attend a dinner party.
We boomers have left behind the factory workers. We’ve left behind the Old Economy and its hourly wage earners. We’ve left behind the towns where we were born.
We left behind the old folks when we set off to make our careers… And now, we leave behind our own children as we head for comfy retirement in Idaho or North Carolina (paid for by the next generation!)…
But wait… you say the biggest “Left Behind” is still ahead?
You say we’ve been promised $210 trillion (according to professor Lawrence Kotlikoff) in pension and medical benefits that can’t possibly be paid?
You say the feds already spend two dollars for every dollar they collect in taxes?
You say the millions of left-behind people are losing faith in the “social contract”?
You say that our geezer elite won’t be able to keep this up much longer… and that we may be left behind, too?
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