Trump has declared a national emergency in a last ditch effort to get his wall built on “public” and private land.
The reality of poor Central American campesinos crossing the southern border in search of free stuff in return for voting Democrats into office is overshadowed by another national emergency, one few want to talk about—the national debt.
After that puppy implodes, there will be millions of born-and-bred Americans screaming for free stuff at the expense of the “one percent,” that is to say your garden variety millionaires, not the 0.01 percent.
Ask Jeff Bezos how this works. His company hauled in record profits and paid zero income tax. Ask Bill Gates, the second richest man in the world after Bezos. Like the Rockefeller clan before him, Gates set-up a foundation to protect his immense fortune. Now he’s doing God’s work pushing vaccines to lower world population, a goal he shares with the globalist aristocracy and its predatory financial class. There’s too many of us and this is a problem for the one-worlders. It looks like the solution is to eventually starve us out.
Trump’s billion-something dollar wall will naturally add to the real crisis—out of control government spending and a titan-sized debt. A few days ago, the Treasury Department said the national debt has reached further into the stratosphere, now surpassing $22 trillion. Of course, this figure doesn’t include “unfunded liabilities.” That figure is said to be around $211 trillion and it is entirely possible the number is a low ball.
Right now the cost of interest on the national debt is $343 billion and this will soon rise to $555 billion. This bankster-created trap will keep us—and our children, grand children, and their grand children—locked in unpayable debt long after Donald Trump and members of Congress have shifted off the mortal coil.
This is unsustainable and sooner or later the bottom will fall out of the economy, ushering in society-wide poverty and misery, a Greater Depression. If you think this is all happenstance, think again.
“It was no accident. It was a carefully contrived occurrence,” House Banking Committee Chairman Louis McFadden said during the first Great Depression. “The international bankers sought to bring about a condition of despair here so they might emerge as rulers of us all.”
The national emergency has little to do with immigrants flooding over the border. If that were the case, the problem could be eliminated in short order by refusing “public services” to non-citizens. If the carrot were to be removed from the stick, most of these desperate and long-impoverished folks would stay home.
The brutal reality is that most Americans are not prepared for the next economic downturn or recession. The government shutdown is highlighting just how much Americans rely on others as opposed to themselves, and how little they have saved for an emergency.
Almost 60% of Americans have less than $1000 in savings for a rainy day fund or an immediate emergency. It’s been ten years since the Great Recession left many Americans jobless with no money, and it appears most have learned nothing. The government shutdown serves as a painful warning and preview for what will happen once unemployment rises from 50-year lows. Americans are far too dependent on others, including the government, for their survival.
Within just a few weeks into the government shutdown, people are struggling to cope. We hear stories about people turning to food banks to feed their families. We hear stories about people who are in dire straits because they can’t get loans. We hear stories about people who can’t pay their mortgages. That’s not even one month into the shutdown. –Market Watch
Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck, including those who work for the government. Many won’t live below their means in order to save and it certainly seems that most citizens have picked up the government’s spending habits. They have also stopped saving for themselves. According to a recent GoBankingRates survey, only 21% of Americans have more than $10,000 in savings, with nearly 60% having less than $1,000 in savings. Almost 32% of Americans have nothing saved up at all.
And something most don’t want to hear is that every economic cycle will end and hit a low again despite the rosy attestations of those who wish to keep confidence high. There is nothing in history that suggests that extremely low unemployment can be maintained for an extended period of time. Indeed, it is precisely at the end of an economic cycle that low unemployment rates tend to reverse rather suddenly.
There is one way to prepare for a recession and it’s to end dependence on debt and save some money for an emergency. Without the shackles of credit card debt,student loan debt, and car payments, Americans could not only save more, but their money would go much further as no one has already claimed it in the form of debt repayment.
When it hits the fan, don’t say we didn’t warn you. Mac Slavo is the editor of SHTFplan.com, a resource hub for alternative news, contrarian commentary and strategies that you can take to protect yourself from the coming global paradigm shift.
More than 80% of the people of France—ordinary working people, not the professional bureaucrate class—support the “gilets jaunes,” the yellow vests in the street protesting against the globalist policies of Emmanuel Macron, defender of the mega-wealthy and upholder of EU progressivism.
The establishment media in the US and Europe are focusing on the violence of the protests—including vandalism of the Arc de Triomphe (which is a monument to war and French colonialism)—and underplaying the political and economic complaints central to the demonstrations.
It is a decentralized movement sans leaders (who can be picked off or compromised) in direct opposition to the agenda of the global elite: carbon taxes in response to “climate change” (as if additional parasitical fleecing of the public can modify weather), preferential treatment of financial class interests, unchecked and irrational immigration practices threatening the long-standing cultural customs of western civilization, an eroding economy, growing poverty and unemployment.
No doubt much of the violence is the work of agent provocateurs in addition to dim-witted “anarchists,” who are nothing of the sort. Lobbing billiard balls and cobblestones at police, torching an art museum, vandalizing national monuments, and destroying private property provide a suitable pretext to impose yet another “state of emergency”—France is renowned for its pouvoirs exceptionnels, that is to say its “exceptional powers,” in other words the state using its monopoly of violence to address serious political and social issues.
Article 16 of the French Constitution is a hangover from France’s colonialist past, specifically its disastrous war in Algeria. It allows the government to declare a state of emergency during an état de siège, never mind the siege is the result of policies imposed by the state and the ruling class.
After attending the globalist G20 soirée in Buenos Aires, Macron paraded along the Champs-Élysée to witness first-hand the vandalism. Following this public display of pomp and photo-op, Macron declared yet another state of emergency will be declared in response to public support for the yellow vests, the vast majority nonviolent.
Spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said the president is willing to talk to the yellow vests. He stressed, however, there will be no backing down from his “green agenda,” that is to say further taxing the French people (soon to rival Belgium and Germany in the art of confiscation) and ensuring more unemployment, poverty, and social stress—exacerbated by unchecked third world immigration—that will ultimately tear France apart.
As soon as Trump is out of the way, Democrats and globalist friendly Republicans will impose similar green taxation and regulation on the American people. However, there is a distinct difference between grumpy French and indolent Americans. The former will go into the street and make their demands known, while the latter are too busy binge watching Netflix to be bothered.
In America, protest and outrage are now stage managed by the state and promoted by a corporate media. The economy and endless war do not figure into these protests orchestrated by faux leftists. Instead, these foundation lubricated activists are moved to outrage and occasional violence by the color of skin, the preference of gender (real, manufactured, and imagined), and a litany of exaggerated and invented victimization.
I say faux leftists because today’s SJW dimwits have little in common with old school Marxists and socialists. They were primarily focused on “historical materialism,” the means of production, the plight of the proletariat, and class consciousness.
Now? Marxism has become “cultural,” that is to say based on what’s between your legs, the color of your skin (this used to be rightfully called racism), and the “human right” to force one group of people to pay for the care and lifestyle of others (including sexual mutilation and abortion). This has led to calls for authoritarianism and violence against the “privileged”—not the banksters and the ruling elite, mind you, but white men in general. This absurdity is megaphoned 24/7 by the corporate media.
No, there will not be a French Revolution in America. The people here are well-indoctrinated, dumbed-down by “public education,” fed lies and fantasies (the Russians are coming, Trump is the New Hitler), and other distractions, including a decadent in-your-face “entertainment” industry feeding on perversity, violence (while calling for disarmament), promotion of homosexuality, and the normalization of vulgarity.
Certainly, when the Everything Bubble bursts and misery is rampant, Americans may go into the street, but it will be too late. Meanwhile, many shake their heads at those crazy French, outraged over the economic strip-mining of their country and the globalist mandates of the European Union.
This will be wiped away, however, by the next episode of Game of Thrones or the Walking Dead.
More evidence the “war on terror,” now shifted over to a New Cold War against Russia and China, is nothing if not a money-maker for the merchants of death and the usury banksters.
According to a study produced by Brown University, since the attacks of 9/11 the US has spent $5.9 trillion on wars designed to last indefinitely, or at least until the empire implodes.
The Pentagon has lied to us for years, grossly underestimating the cost of its military operations against enemies largely manufactured by intelligence agencies.
“That sort of vast expenditure is only the costs and obligations of the wars so far, and with little sign of them ending, they are only going to grow. In particular, a generation of wars is going to further add to the medical costs for veterans’ being consistently deployed abroad,” writes Jason Ditz.
The report summarizes what many of us have known for quite some time—the wars are designed to last forever and represent an open-ended feeding trough for the “defense” industry. The authors note
there is no strategy for ending the wars. The fact that the US keeps spending huge sums for wars that, at least in Afghanistan, are in a stalemate, and in Iraq and Syria, are unresolved, is a long-term budgetary problem which will affect future generations. The government’s pattern of reporting only DOD war spending obscures the magnitude of spending since 9/11. The comprehensive analysis of post-9/11 federal war and war related spending conducted by the Costs of War Project is only one part of a greater assessment of the impact of these wars. The US economy will, in the long run, find it difficult to sustain this level of military and war-related spending and the deficits it produces.
Endless war and a financial scam worthy of a RICO investigation and perpetuated on the American people by the Federal Reserve and its cartel banks will not stop until the system collapses, an event that is far closer than many believe, that is to say the relatively small number of people aware of and warning about this eventuality.
Trump has kept the Pentagon charade alive, acting as an international death merchant salesman of the month. His MAGA crowd apparently believes spending billions on redundant and often broken military hardware will make America something again, certainly not great.
Did you know Senator Susan Collins enables rape? She voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, so what other conclusion can be reached? Not that Kavanaugh was accused of rape and it turned out to be almost impossible to prove he forced himself on a girl three long decades ago.
Republican Congress critters were stalked, harangued, and bullied as they left the temple. This harassment, described as a protest, was sponsored by the Center for Popular Democracy, a nonprofit funded by Soros’ Open Society Foundations and the Ford Foundation, the latter a longtime CIA front.
If we are to believe these folks, Senator Collins might as well have held down a fifteen year old girl while drunken Republicans defiled her. Collins’ vote for Kavanaugh is a vote for the “patriarchy” and “rape culture.”
During her tenure as the Senator from Maine, Collins has taken campaign money from finance, real estate, insurance, and “defense” corporations, same as the majority of her colleagues.
Ms. Collins and practically every other member of Congress serve the real rape culture, the one hardly ever mentioned—the rape of the American people by the financial class and its interlocked and crossbred transnational corporations.
This topic is assiduously avoided by the careerists in Congress. They’re more comfortable with the Kavanaugh political theater, the Grand Distraction, even if a few of them are chased down the street by people suffering from a brevity of logic and higher brain functioning.
Ever since the Federal Reserve was created in the dead of night during Christmas of 1913, the bankers have raped America.
Former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke admitted the privately held cartel masquerading as a government institution engineered the Great Depression. It enabled Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan’s manipulation of hedge funds and selling short the toxic subprime mortgages they created.
All the while, Congress stood beside these criminal racketeers, facilitating wholesale theft and looting. It passed the Garn-St. Germaine Depository Institution Act in 1982, thus deregulating the Savings and Loan industry and allowing wild speculation that resulted in a crisis that ultimately cost the American taxpayer over $200 billion. Three years before, Congress had loosened up regulations on pensions and this brought in the financial class vultures.
In 1999 Republican Phil Gramm led the charge to trash the Glass-Stiegel Act, a law passed during the Great Depression to erect a firewall between investment and commercial banking. This resulted in a long-term sacking by the Goths and Huns of the financial class.
But these entitled vandals were far from finished. The following year Gramm stuck the Commodity Futures Modernization Act in a must-pass bill. This sneaky law gave a green light for unchecked derivatives transactions between “sophisticated parties,” that is to say the financial elite. These unrestrained derivatives led to the infamous credit default swap and are directly responsible for the 2008 financial crisis and the hobbled economy eating away at the middle class.
“It was all a lie—one of the biggest and most elaborate falsehoods ever sold to the American people,” writes Matt Taibbi. “We were told that the taxpayer was stepping in—only temporarily, mind you—to prop up the economy and save the world from financial catastrophe. What we actually ended up doing was the exact opposite: committing American taxpayers to permanent, blind support of an ungovernable, unregulatable, hyper concentrated new financial system that exacerbates the greed and inequality that caused the crash, and forces Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to increase risk rather than reduce it.”
Trillions of dollars in amassed debt now hangs by a thread over our heads like the mythical Sword of Damocles.
According to the Treasury Department, as of October 2 the “debt held by the public” is $15,757,097,388,254.30. It has increased by $1,271,158,167,126.72 since Trump took office. It is projected the national debt will hit $99 trillion dollars by 2048.
None of this appears on the radar of the American people, soon to be witless victims of another artificially created “Great Recession” as shiny new asset bubbles prepare to burst and rain immiseration down on the American people.
Meanwhile, there is a nonstop Kavanaugh-Mueller-Manafort-etc. circus performance to distract us from the mudslide of economic reality that inches closer every day.
America is increasingly becoming a divided nation. Those with money are flocking to the major cities on both coasts, while many of those that don’t are fleeing to rural areas. As a result, economic conditions can look vastly different depending on where you live. In large cities on the east and west coasts that have been heavily “gentrified”, it can seem like times have never been better. Alternatively, there are certain areas in rural America where it feels like we are in the midst of a horrifying economic depression that never seems to end. Some elitists derisively refer to the rural areas between the east and west coasts as “flyover country”, and they have little sympathy for the struggles of rural Americans. But those struggles are very real, and in this article you will see that poverty and suicide rates are soaring in non-urban parts of the country.
A new study that was just released contains some hard data about the “income sorting” that is going on nationwide. According to CBS News, the study found that those that are moving into expensive cities make much more money than those that are leaving, and conversely those that are moving into poorer cities make much less than those that are leaving for greener pastures…
America’s wealthy households are increasingly moving to coastal cities on both sides of the country, but those with more modest incomes are either relocating to or being pushed into the nation’s Rust Belt, according to a new study.
That’s creating “income sorting” across the country, with expensive cities like Los Angeles, New York and Seattle drawing wealthier residents. For instance, Americans who move to San Francisco earn nearly $13,000 more than those who move away, the study found. Conversely, those who are moving into less expensive inland cities such as Detroit or Pittsburgh earn up to $5,000 less than those who are leaving.
One of the consequences of this phenomenon is that real estate prices are wildly different depending on where you live. As wealthy people have steadily migrated into expensive cities such as New York and San Francisco, this has pushed housing prices into the stratosphere…
The trend may not only hurt poorer residents who are forced out, but also the rich Americans who move to coastal cities. Well-off residents who move to already expensive cities like San Francisco are bidding up real estate prices until property becomes unaffordable for all but the very richest families. Many end up renting — until that, too, becomes unaffordable.
The California real estate bubble has reached dizzying heights in recent years. Earlier today, I came across an article about a rancher in Marin County that has reluctantly decided to sell his ranch, and he seemed quite sad about it.
Mark Pasternak is a Marin County-based rancher who produces specialty meat products for local shoppers and some of the toniest restaurants in the Bay Area. He bought his 75-acre Devil’s Gulch Ranch in western Marin County back in 1971 for $550 an acre and has been raising pigs, sheep, rabbits and poultry ever since. The farm is a fixture in the local community, so it shocked many when Pasternak announced the ranch is for sale.
He said he’s selling because of the jump in value. The land around his has already been snapped up by wealthy people for private ranches with large homes. The property Pasternak paid less than $40,000 for is now worth about $5 million.
Meanwhile, things continue to go from bad to worse in many rural parts of the country.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly one out of every four children in rural America is living in poverty…
According to estimates by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly a quarter of children growing up in rural America were poor in 2016, compared to slightly more than 20 percent in urban areas.
It was a southwestern state, Arizona, according to the report, that had the highest rural child rate of any state, with 36 percent.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the report found the highest concentrations of child poverty, overall, in the Mississippi Delta, Appalachia and on Native American reservations.
These days, most of the good jobs are concentrated in the major cities. Small businesses and family farms have traditionally been the lifeblood of rural communities, but our “modern economy” has not been kind to small businesses and family farms.
In rural America, times are tough, and that is one of the reasons why the suicide rate is much, much higher in rural areas than it is in the large cities. The following comes from CNN…
That occupational study was based on 2012 data, when farming was strong and approaching its peak in 2013, says Jennifer Fahy, communications director for the nonprofit Farm Aid. Farmers’ net income has fallen 50% since 2013 and is expected to drop to a 12-year low this year, the US Department of Agriculture reports.
We live at a time when the gap between the wealthy and the poor is exploding, and this is putting a tremendous amount of strain on our society. At one time the wealthy lived in the “good parts” of our major cities and the poor lived in the “bad parts”, but now the poor are being completely forced out of our expensive cities on a massive scale.
It is most definitely a tale of two Americas, and I don’t think that it is going to have a happy ending.
Libertarians understand that Social Security is a socialist program. It uses the force of the state to take money from one person to whom it belongs and transfer it to a person to whom it does not belong. That’s classic socialism. It’s a perfect embodiment of the Marxian principle, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
Mr. Hornberger wants to put an end to this Ponzi scheme. He would dump it tomorrow if he could.
But here’s the problem.
Social Security will not be shut down because the state knows after more than eight decades the American people are dependent on this program for survival. Dismantling this system represents a threat to their monopoly of power.
Mutual aid, also known as fraternalism, refers to social organizations that gathered dues and paid benefits to members facing hardship. According to David Beito in From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State, there was a “great stigma” attached to accepting government aid or private charity during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.1 Mutual aid, on the other hand, did not carry the same stigma. It was based on reciprocity: today’s mutual-aid recipient could be tomorrow’s donor, and vice versa.
Before Social Security mutual aid and fraternal organizations helped the poor and indigent. These organizations were systematically destroyed by the state and its business cartels, namely medical monopolies and insurance corporations. A number of laws were passed at the behest of the American Medical Association and others to limit and eventually outlaw the work of fraternal societies.
In its place, dependence on the state, its faceless bureaucrats, and diminishing handouts. Johnson’s Great Society took this scheme to the next level. It created an underclass addicted to welfare and state management. It also created immense social problems, including violence, drug abuse, and children with absent fathers.
If we are to follow Mr. Hornberger’s advice and end Social Security and welfare, there will be social chaos of the sort never before experienced in America.
Moreover, we have to take into consideration what the bankers and their government partners have done to the economy. Inflation and an increasingly devalued dollar have made it impossible for the unskilled poor to find employment at a living wage. Other workers had decent jobs shipped to Asia and are unable to find a comparable job—if any job at all.
In large part, the managed destruction of the economy by the financial class is responsible for “deplorables” and “garbage people” electing Donald Trump. However, this crony capitalist narcissist will not bring back middle-class sustaining jobs to America. It’s too late for that.
The swamp has not been drained—and who actually thought it would?—and the corporate monopolists, the lobbyists, the foreign interests (most notably Israel and Saudi Arabia) and a Congress on the take will work hard to keep the system of handouts and “foreign aid” churning along.
Meanwhile, mile high stacks of funny money are pumped into a grossly distorted monetary system and a hyperventilating stock market that will soon implode with devastating result.
If you’re looking for riots, arson, murder, and a police state—depending on the severity of the response to economic calamity—dismantling Social Security and welfare is a sure ticket.
I know. This is unprincipled pragmatism, and certainly not libertarian.
Or is it?
One of the only libertarians allowed to take a seat in Congress—Ron Paul—proposed phasing out SS for younger workers, while keeping it in place for older Americans.
During the 2012 election, Paul said “my program’s the only one that is going to be able to take care of the elderly. I’d like to get the young people out of it, just the younger generation, because there’s no money there, and they’re going to have to pay 50 years and they’re not going to get anything. I’d take care of all the elderly, all those who are dependent, but I would save the money from this wild spending overseas [on endless war and foreign aid].”
Mr. Hornberger is right, of course—the very idea of SS is socialism and theft. However, the alternative—elderly folks dumpster diving and dying with their cardboard signs at the side of the road—is not going to be pretty.
I would prefer bringing back fraternalism—mutual aid to those who sincerely need it—without government theft and mismanagement.
Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, speaking at a Ron Paul Institute conference this past weekend, predicted US troops would remain in Afghanistan another 50 years — just as they have in Germany and Korea. He also termed the ongoing US-backed campaign in Yemen the “most brutal war on earth,” a war western media overwhelming ignore.
Colonel Douglas Macgregor at the same conference called Washington DC “the place where good ideas go to die.” His years at the Pentagon, coupled with his experience leading US forces into Iraq during the first Gulf War, caused him to question the DC War Party in the most profound ways. Visiting the parents of an America soldier incinerated in a tank during that foray into Iraq, a foray with few US casualties otherwise, caused him to question not only his own missions but also the larger mission of US armed forces.
Both of these men now pose the same question: what is the goal? Why do seemingly endless military conflicts persist, despite lacking any constituency for their prosecution beyond the DC beltway? And why does US military strategy appear incoherent and counterproductive, when viewed through the lens of peace? Why can’t we do anything about this, no matter whom we elect and no matter how much war fatigue resides in the American public?
The answer is not found in a facile denunciation of the military industrial complex or war profiteers, though both are very serious problems. The answer lies in understanding how the DC War Party operates. Its goals are not ours. It is not democratic; the government is not “us.” It is not political; its architects are permanent fixtures who do not come and go with presidential administrations. It is not accountable; budgeting is nonexistent and gross failures only beget greater funding. It is above all not “economic” — it operates in an artificial “market,” one created and perpetuated by wars and interventions ordinary people don’t want. War socialism, or what former Congressman Barney Frank brilliantly termed “military Keynesianism,” has taken on a life of its own.
Ludwig von Mises saw peace as the key to any liberal economic program, and argued strenuously against the fallacy of war prosperity. Even early in his career, before his horrific experiences as an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I, he recognized the critical distinction between economy and war: the former characterized by exchange and cooperation, the latter marked by the worst form of state intervention:
Only one thing can conquer war — that liberal attitude which can see nothing in war but destruction and annihilation, and which can never wish to bring about a war, because it regards war as injurious even to the victors.
For Mises, war was worse than zero-sum. Even the prevailing party suffers, just as the shopkeeper suffers in Bastiat’s “Parable of the Broken Window.” The glazier’s profit does not benefit society, just as the War Party’s success in breaking other countries does not. But the loss is not only economic, it is also cultural and moral. War, the ultimate rejection of reason as a means of navigating human society, reduces our capacity for compassion and makes us complacent about atrocities. Worst of all, it emboldens and strengthens the domestic state — encouraging us to accept absurdities like TSA theater and heavily militarized SWAT teams operating in peaceful small towns.
While US troops remain mired throughout the Middle East, a subsurface political war heats up in the US. This cold civil war creates the kind of hyper-politicized society progressives once only dreamed of. Social media outlets encourage even the most ill-informed and ill-intentioned voices to spread hatred against those with differing views. Goodwill doesn’t translate, so fake bravado hidden behind anonymity or distance are the order of the day. Epithets like “racist,” fascist,” “Nazi” and worse become cheap currency in the new vocabulary of meaningless words. Dissenting voices lose jobs, reputations, and access to popular platforms. Mobs form to attack political opponents in restaurants and shops, shout down campus events, and threaten online disclosure of their perceived enemies’ personal information.
Meanwhile overt socialists like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Keith Ellison, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lead the Democratic Party to demand government health schemes, guaranteed incomes, and “people’s” ownership of corporations. The statist house organ known as the Washington Post calls for the word “socialism” to be “reclaimed” and viewed in positive terms. Ostensible conservatives like William Kristol, Max Boot, and Lindsey Graham follow suit and utterly divorce themselves from any notion of judicious government. They call for the destruction of Iran, escalation of tensions with nuclear-armed Russia, and belligerence toward China and North Korea. Donald Trump, despite some initial antiwar instincts, hunkers down with twitter while surrounding himself with rabidly interventionist advisers like John Bolton.
What can this environment yield other than a rapidly coarsening society and the increasing potential for outright war between nuclear nations?
Just as civilization cannot be divorced from civility in our personal comportment, economics cannot be divorced from war. The most important and immediate action we can take is to expose the gross economic fallacies of our day. The hawkishness of neoconservatives and the “democratic socialism” of progressives both lead in the same direction, toward economic destruction and war. If you think American society is polarized and prone to lashing out abroad now, what happens with a shrinking economy and 40% unemployment?
We encourage you to share and republish our reports, analyses, breaking news and videos (Click for details).
When the Soviet regime exiled Sakharov in 1980, everybody assumed the USSR was permanent and impregnable to collapse.
There are many ironies in the RussiaGate drama, but none greater than this: The U.S. becomes more like the former U.S.S.R. every day. Longtime correspondent Bart D. sketches out the irony:
I look at the US economy and what I see in actual everyday life is that corrupted capitalism has resulted in the same problems for average citizens as what crony communism did for the citizens of the USSR.
Poor consumer choice. Poor resource allocation. Poor quality consumer products. Poor environmental management/outcomes. Hyper-vigilance and hyper-control of Government over its people. Dodgy Utilities. The difference is that the Soviet Union had a better healthcare system than USA currently has and better housing availability for common people.
How’s the irony! Capitalism and Communism ultimately end up with similar outcomes and for the same reason: Cartel behaviours and cronyism.
Exactly. When the system is rigged to benefit insiders, cartels, cronies and elites at the expense of the many “outsiders,” the status quo must mask this reality with propaganda and Big Lies: that is, keep repeating the lie until people believe it due to its embrace by “experts” and authorities.
Case in point: inflation. The masses consuming the mainstream media apparently accept the Big Lie that inflation (i.e. loss of purchasing power of our money) is 2%, i.e. near zero.
But the reality is quite different: stagnant wages + soaring real-world inflation = lower standards of living, which is precisely what the bottom 80% of American households have been experiencing for the past decade of “growth” and “recovery.”
The citizens of the old Soviet regime had a wry saying: they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work. I propose a variation for the hapless US citizenry:
They pretend inflation is low and we pretend to be prosperous.
The current clampdown on social media and alternative media in America is ripped right from the playbook of the Soviet regime. We must “protect” you from “fake news,” lest you start questioning the official narratives of strong growth, prosperity, low inflation, etc.
Then there’s the case of Julian Assange, in exile for releasing what everyone concedes is factual evidence on par with The Pentagon Papers in the 1970s which blew up the false (but convenient to the elites) narratives of the Vietnam War.
They can’t paint Assange with the “fake news” brush, so they exile him just as the old Soviet regime exiled Andrei Sakharov in 1980, a hero of the Soviet Union and laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975.
Please note that the Soviet Union collapsed a decade after exiling Sakharov. Ramping up repression and official propaganda, strangling dissent and marginalizing independent skeptics are the desperate, last-ditch tactics of a doomed regime that only serves the interests of insiders and elites.
There are many pathways to collapse, with financial collapse being a favorite of regimes that print/borrow immense sums to buy off their populace and enrich the insiders/elites– for example, Venezuela:
A recently released study by the Mercatus Center has placed renewed focus on the fiscal costs of Medicare for All. The study finds that the proposal — increasingly popular with the Democratic Party — would “add approximately $32.6 trillion to federal budget commitments during the first 10 years of its implementation (2022–2031).” The authors of the study also specify that this is a conservative estimate, assuming that “the legislation achieves its sponsors’ goals of dramatically reducing payments to health providers, in addition to substantially reducing drug prices and administrative costs.”
Though this study suggests that Federal tax dollars would have to more than double in order to afford this new entitlement, advocates like Bernie Sanders are claiming this study vindicates their position. Why?
As Matt Bruenig at Jacobin explains, if you compare the projected price tag of Medicare for All against projected total healthcare spending in the United States, you see a net decrease of around $2 trillion over the decade.
Of course, in promoting this conclusion, Sanders and his allies out the true aims of their proposal: the outright nationalization of the US healthcare system.
While Sanders and others usually try to avoid being honest with this aim, others on the left are more transparent. This is why the description of “Medicare for All” is fundamentally dishonest. With Medicare, not only do you have an increasing number of Americans opting for the privately managed Medicare Advantage programs, but you always have the option of seeking treatment outside of the Medicare program. This would not be true in the future envisioned by Bernie Sanders and his supporters.
After all, this is precisely what we have seen in the American healthcare system that comes the closest to resembling socialized care: the VA. Once promoted by economists like Paul Krugman as a great model for the rest of the healthcare, the VA has been bogged by inefficiency and scandal. Veterans neglected by this government-managed system have resorted to lighting themselves on fire outside of clinics in a desperate attempt to highlight the absolute failures of the system.
Further still, the complete bureaucratization of healthcare has perverse effects on practice beyond the obvious examples such as wait times and supply restrictions. As Dr. Michel Accad has explained, the reliance of medical coding — required for doctors to receive government payments — necessarily moves the focus of healthcare away from the patients and toward paperwork.
In 1992, with the passage of the Medicare Fee Schedule, use of this coding system became mandatory. From then on, clinical care would be spoken in the lingua franca of CPT, ICD, and E/M codes, and the term “documentation” would take on a bitter significance for doctors.
But translating the what, how, and why of local medicine into cryptic ciphers for remote bureaucrats does not make the business of health care any more intelligible to the central planner, regardless of whether the codes are transmitted by an archaic fax machine or digitized and made immediately accessible by means of mandatory electronic health records systems.
Codes and data, of course, are not knowledge. Hayek’s shipper engaging in tramp trade can make a judgment about the significance of empty spots on a boat because the context associated with that information elicits meaning based on which he acts.
In contrast, a CPT code 99204-21 (new patient visit, E/M coding level 4, prolonged service) associated with ICD-9 code 786.50 (chest pain, unspecified) hardly conveys any real knowledge and cannot possibly be a basis on which relevant decisions can be made or value established. These codes cannot help determine the needed supply of doctors, nor that of drugs and other material necessities. The only tangible effect of the coding scheme, then, is simply to require a massive influx of administrators charged with “interpreting” and acting upon its obscure data signals.
So at the end of the day, while there is value in discussing some of the potential fiscal costs of socialized medicine in America, it is important to not overlook that we are not even talking about the same services. For all the many issues that exist today with American healthcare — all the direct result of government — at least there is freedom to explore options outside of the Federal bureaucracy.
By their own admission, this is precisely what the advocates of Medicare for All want to eliminate.
Tho Bishop is an assistant editor for the Mises Wire, and can assist with questions from the press.