Let’s drink to the hard-working people
Let’s drink to the lowly of birth
Raise your glass to the good and the evil
Let’s drink to the salt of the earth
– Salt of the Earth, The Rolling Stones
YOUGHAL, IRELAND – Yes… we are hooting for the salt of the Earth. Saluting the faceless crowd, the lowly of birth… the masses… the hoi polloi… the proles.
In a few words: They are getting treated like Afghans.
Misled by the U.S. empire, corrupted by its fake money, and then left behind as the elite slip away.
Cost of Empire
Empires are always costly. And the costs are borne, mostly, by the working classes.
The Roman Republic was built by the blood and energy of its small farmers. Then, imperial conquests brought booty and slaves back to Rome. These were divvied up among the elite, who established large latifundia – farms run by slave labor.
The small farmers were driven out of business, forced to sell their farms to the big producers, and later, often forced to sell themselves and their children into slavery.
America never figured out how to make its empire pay.
From the very beginning, it was its own “little guys” who paid. They paid the taxes. They put on the uniforms. They may not have understood what “we” were fighting for, but they were ready to follow the sound of the cannon from San Juan Hill to Mỹ Lai.
The Vietnam War was one of the U.S. empire’s most spectacular fiascos. Your editor spent part of that war onboard a U.S. Navy cruiser… comfortably off the coast of California or at our base in San Diego.
Offered the glory of commanding a river boat on the Mekong Delta, he demurred. Even then, it was clear that the war was an expensive and dangerous boondoggle.
Feds Pull a Fast One
So expensive was the war – and another contemporaneous boondoggle, the War on Poverty – that the U.S. couldn’t afford them both.
But rather than back up and admit its mistakes, the empire pulled a fast one; it began paying its debts in fake money, a new U.S. dollar that it could reproduce at will.
With that move, in 1971, the working class was now in danger both at home and abroad, in uniform as well as in civvies. For now, U.S. corporations could source their goods from low-cost providers overseas including, some years later, Vietnam.
U.S. manufacturing – the backbone of working-class wages – went into a slump. China entered global export competition in 1979, with labor costs less than one-tenth of those in the U.S.
American wages, in real terms, have been flat ever since. Measured properly, in terms of the time needed to buy food, transportation, and housing, the working stiff is much worse off than he was in the 1970s.
Then, the U.S. government began using the fake money to make “investments” on his behalf.
The War on Poverty, announced in 1964 as an “unconditional” war… escalated. Total cost to date: $25 trillion, est.
The War on Drugs began in 1971…
The Gulf War – 1990…
The War on Afghanistan – 2001…
The War on Iraq – 2003…
The War on “Terror”…
The bailout of Wall Street…
The War on COVID-19…
Stimulus to save the economy.
Altogether, these “investments,” grosso modo, have added about $27 trillion to the U.S. national debt since 1980.
Had they been good investments, they wouldn’t have added to the nation’s debt; they would have paid dividends and added to its prosperity…
Less poverty would have meant more people paying taxes. Instead, fewer are paying taxes, with only 39% of eligible taxpayers paying any federal income tax in 2020.
A successful drug war, too, would have meant more people with good jobs, less crime, and less police enforcement. Instead, nearly half a million (mostly young… mostly men) are in prison.
Rather than helping support the nation with gainful employment, it costs $50,000 to $100,000 per year to keep them locked up… while drug use continues as before.
And where was the payoff from the $7 trillion “War on Terror”? There was none…
And the stimulus? How much stimulating did it do? How much in extra tax receipts did the feds collect as a result?
Between March 2020 and August 2021, the Federal Reserve stimulated the economy with $4 trillion in new money. It was the greatest “stimulus” program of all time – by far.
What did it get for all that money? What was the return on investment?
GDP grew by $1.2 trillion – not even a third of the money invested.
Tax receipts – the feds’ return on investment – went up, too… but only by an estimated $150 billion.
In other words, the feds spent $4 trillion to get back $150 billion… a 96% loss.
None of these bumbling “investments” paid off. They won no war. They bought no useful assets. They built no factories nor rent-paying infrastructure.
As far as we know, no investment was made in any productive industry or any fruitful enterprise.
It was all wasted.
And there’s more…
As we saw yesterday, the feds are aiming for even bigger deficits… backed by even more extravagant delusions.
After earning so many gold medals in the Middle East, the warmongers are “pivoting” to confront China.
And after so much success with Amtrak, there’s $1.2 trillion of “infrastructure” investment coming down the tracks, with a $3.5 trillion “human infrastructure” budget trailing behind it.
Also coming is global weather control… not to mention turning us all into better people, with better race relations and a more “equitable” allocation of wealth!
But wait… How do the tillers of the soil, the factory girls, and the baristas pay for all this? What will these marvelous investments mean to the salt of the Earth?
Oh, Dear Reader… you already know, don’t you?
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