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September 3, 2021 | Elites Versus the Common Man

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.

Let’s drink to the hard-working people

Let’s think of the lowly of birth

Spare a thought for the rag taggy people

Let’s drink to the salt of the Earth

– Salt of the Earth, The Rolling Stones

YOUGHAL, IRELAND – Yes, today, we say an Ave Maria for the salt of the Earth. The poor folks are going to get whacked.

By whom? Jagger and Richards, of The Rolling Stones, had that figured out, too:

Spare a thought for the stay-at-home voter

His empty eyes gaze at strange beauty shows

And a parade of the gray-suited grafters

A choice of cancer or polio

Yes, the masses need leading… but they get gamblers… jokers… and gray-suited grafters instead. The deathly cancer of Trump… or the crippling polio of Biden. Take your pick.

And this just in… Breitbart on the War on Terror:

Brown University’s Costs of War project reveals the cost since September 11, 2001 exceeds $8 trillion and that wars have directly killed an estimated 897,000 to 929,000 people.

One of the questions surrounding America’s appalling retreat from Afghanistan is: Seeing how easily the Taliban took over the country last month, why didn’t they do it sooner?

That question was answered by Matthew Hoh, former U.S. Marine Corps captain. The U.S. was spending millions of dollars every day on the war in Afghanistan. Much of it was going to – well, the Taliban.

We’re talking about a fountain of money that the Taliban were happy to take. Whether they took it directly or it was the Taliban commander’s cousin that was the contractor, it doesn’t matter. The absurdity of all this – and everyone knew it was going on!

No Ticker Tape Parade

Our Diary is longer than usual today. We’re trying to understand more clearly how America’s “hard-working people” get ripped off.

Every society has its elite. The common people depend on it. After all, who has time to understand how a nuclear reactor really works? But we still live with atomic power.

And who knows which of the Afghan tribes are friends and which are enemies? We have experts to keep them straight, right?

And which King of Queens or Family Guy really understands what the Federal Reserve is up to? We expect those with PhDs in finance and economics to make sure it is doing the right thing.

But did the common foot soldier gain anything from the elite’s $27 trillion forever wars?

Do you remember the ticker tape parade when our troops marched through the center of Manhattan, celebrating their victory in the wars against poverty and drugs? How about the war against COVID-19?

Elites Versus the Common Man

A hunter-gatherer tribe might not need an elite. Everybody knows approximately the same thing.

But the more advanced a society becomes, the more it depends on the few people who know how things work – its politics, as well as its nuclear submarines.

Then, as an empire ages and expands, the elite becomes further and further removed from the people it is meant to serve.

The rich and powerful live in special zip codes – especially those around the Capital Beltway. They shop at Saks, not dollar stores. They drink pinot grigio, not Old Milwaukee. And they insist on remaking the whole world in their own grotesque image.

Worse, they cheat the common man in order to take more money for themselves. They stab him in the back with their Wall Street bailouts (three so far this century!).

And they despise him for his beliefs… and his naivete. Didn’t he invade the Capitol to hijack “our” democracy? Doesn’t he refuse to believe “the science?” Doesn’t he drive a carbon-spewing pickup?

But now, it is getting late in the cycle. The elite has become incompetent and degenerate. It loses its wars. Its “investments” all go bad. And it’s desperate to keep its privileges.

Who Pays?

But who will pay for its mistakes… its lies… and its larcenies?

“Hey… all this money-printing,” Fed chief Jay Powell might admit, “it was just to enrich Wall Street, Washington, and the elite. But now, we’re getting rising inflation… so we’re going to have to stop.”

Honesty would be easy, but expensive. The elite would have to give back much of its ill-gotten gains. Stocks would crash.

Government spending would be slashed. The goofy boondoggles – along with the contracts and jobs that go with them – would have to end.

So would the preposterous “wars” that benefit only the insiders. Forget the $1.2 trillion “infrastructure” bill. Forget the $3.5 trillion “human infrastructure” budget. Forget the “pivot” to Asia; it would be time to mind our own business.

In other words, the costs would fall primarily on those who deserved to pay – the elite.

Social Insecurity

But they are the deciders. And they will never decide to do that. Truth will have to wait, while the costs of three decades’ worth of foolish “investments” get passed on to… can you guess?

The rich have their portfolios. The professors have their tenure. The politicians and bureaucrats have their fat pensions.

What does the common man have?

Social Security. He trusts the elite to make sure it is solvent… so he will get what is coming to him. But the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget reports:

The Social Security and Medicare Trustees released their annual reports on the long-term financial state of those programs.

The Medicare Trustees’ report shows that the Part A Hospital Insurance trust fund will be insolvent in just five years, the trust fund faces a shortfall of 0.77 to 1.61 percent of payroll, and Medicare spending will grow significantly over the next few decades. […]

Along with the two Social Security trust funds and the Highway Trust Fund, all four major trust funds are headed for insolvency in the next 13 years.

Of course, even those gloomy projections are based on a remarkable premise: that nothing goes wrong.

How It Goes Wrong

But something will go wrong. And the results will be worse than expected. The feds will continue “printing” money. And inflation will run riot through the economy.

Social Security payments are pegged to inflation… but only as the feds compute it. Inevitably, the “adjustments” will lag.

Already, the official U.S. inflation rate is 5.4%. But as we saw yesterday, housing is going up at an 18% annual rate. Used auto prices have gone up by more than 40% the last year. And global producer prices for food, according to the IMF, are rising at a 25% rate.

There is no way the $28 trillion in national debt… not to mention the other $57 trillion in corporate, household, and other debt… will ever be repaid. Not in honest money.

Bad Solution

The only “solution” is inflation.

The elite must “print” more money to keep the jig going.

Social Security payments will be reduced – by inflation.

Medicare support will be another victim.

Prices for housing, transportation, food, and just about everything else, will keep going up.

And standards of living for most people – the uncounted masses… the wavering millions… the faceless crowd – will go down.

Trusting Soul

So, this Labor Day weekend… say a prayer for the laboring masses… the salt of the Earth.

The common man is a trusting soul… long suffering… and loyal. Most of the time, the chain around his neck rests lightly. No matter how he is mistreated, he still licks his master’s hand.

His sons and daughters still answer the call… and put on uniforms, ready to attack whatever poor, helpless third world nation the elite targets.

And he goes to the voting stations in the belief that his ballot will change things.

Even when he is kicked, he still wags his tail.

But watch out…

Kicked too many times, he may show his teeth.




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September 3rd, 2021

Posted In: Bill Bonner's Diary

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