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May 20, 2021 | How COVID-19 Stimulus Made America’s Wealthiest Even Richer

Is an American author of books and articles on economic and financial subjects. He is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, and author of the daily financial column, Diary of a Rogue Economist.

YOUGHAL, IRELAND – The super-rich must be the loneliest, most miserable people on the planet. They are in a class by themselves… separated from the masses by nearly $32 trillion.

That’s the difference between what the top 1% of Americans own and the wealth of the bottom 50%.

And the 1% knows something the rest of humanity doesn’t: Even a billion dollars won’t make you happy.

Easy Come, Easy Go

But getting big money fast is still a thrill.

Think of all the young people who were suddenly enriched after Satoshi Nakamoto invented bitcoin in 2009. Crypto hustlers and speculators saw their “wealth” increase from nothing to $2.5 trillion.

Of course, it can be breathtaking on the other side, too.

At one point this week, crypto investors were on their way to losing $1 trillion.

Easy come. Easy go.

Stimmy Scam

Here at the Diary, what interests us is not how much or how little money a person has, but how it comes and goes.

Whether a man earns $5 or $5 million hardly matters. If he earned it from an honest, win-win deal, he should be proud of it. A bricklayer… or auto salesman… or even a lawyer… can hold his head up. He earns his money.

But what about the man who just got a stimmy check that he neither earned, deserved, nor needed?

Somewhere deep down, he must know the whole thing is a scam.

That is the problem with most rich people, too. They’ve gained trillions in filthy lucre. And now, they pretend that they earned it.

But a few know the truth – it was stimmy money!

Stimmy Wealth

Over the last 12 months, almost all the world’s economies were partly shut down… GDP growth turned negative… Sales were off (in leisure and hospitality industries, they practically disappeared)… Profits fell… And millions of people were prevented from working.

Yet, as we reported yesterday, in this same Plague Year, billionaires gained some $8 trillion in a 12-month period (up until April of this year).

How was that possible?

Did they add $8 trillion worth of products and services? Did they invent whole new industries? Did they find ways to increase the happiness of their fellow humans by $8 trillion?

No, of course not.

What really happened?

It was stimmy in the morning, stimmy in the evening, and stimmy at suppertime…

Central banks increased the money supply, worldwide, by $9 trillion.

And the super-rich copped 88 cents of each dollar.

Public Scam

Let’s just look at the last 20 years.

When the 21st century began, the top 1% of Americans owned about $12.5 trillion in assets. The bottom 50% owned about $3.5 trillion.

Today, the top 1% has assets worth nearly $39.5 trillion – more than three times as much as in 2000. And the bottom half has about $7.5 trillion – just over double what it had 20 years ago.

Meanwhile, U.S. GDP – a very rough approximation of the goods and services being traded – doubled in those two decades. It went from about $10 trillion in 2000 to $22 trillion today.

So, the top 1% saw its wealth increase by more than twice as much as GDP… and by nearly seven times as much as the lower 50% of the population.

That new wealth can be seen in the market averages.

The Dow, for example, ended 1999 at a bubble high of 11,497. Now, it is about three times higher… while the aforementioned output of real wealth – GDP – only doubled.

And we can see where this new “wealth” – both in the Dow and in the pockets of the top 1% – came from.

The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet (the monetary foundation of the dollar system) stood at only $600 billion at the end of the 1990s. Now, it is over $7.8 trillion.

In an honest economy, wealth is earned before it is spent.

In a dishonest economy, wealth is never earned at all. It comes from scamming the public.

Elegant Flimflam

And here, we back up to look at the basics so we can understand it all better.

The real goal of government is to protect the people who control it – their property, their status, and their power. An elite always controls the government… and naturally tries to use it to gain more power and money for itself.

In this regard, the stimmy program is the most elegant flimflam ever devised.

No new taxes to annoy the voters. No heavy borrowing to drive up interest rates.

Instead, the feds “print” the money and transfer it to the most privileged parts of the society – Wall Street, Washington, the rich, big business, the well-educated, the education/health/military complex, the cronies, and the well-connected get trillions…

…all while claiming to be helping the little guy by “saving jobs,” “stimulating” the economy, and “making sure it has the liquidity it needs.”

And surprise, surprise! Most of the money ends up with… are you ready for this?… the elite themselves!

Another Problem

And now, wouldn’t you know it, they have another problem to solve – inequality.

Thanks to all the stimmy, the top 1% now owns 31% of the nation’s wealth. The top 10% have 70%. Something must be done, say the elite, to level it out.

And wouldn’t you know it again… they’ll address the problem as they do all the problems they create – by bringing in their big bulldozer… and pushing more money and power… over to themselves!

More to come…




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May 20th, 2021

Posted In: Bill Bonner's Diary

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