Archive for July, 2016
In her strident reply to a May, 2013 Senate committee question whether a YouTube video was the cause of the deadly assault on the United States mission in Benghazi, Libya, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answered the question with a question: “What difference at this point does it make?”
I’m going to widen the context of Hillary Clinton’s question to the November presidential election, itself.
“What difference at this point does it make?” can well be applied to asking whether anyone elected President of the United States can do a thing about rescuing an economy in which the federal government’s accumulated national debt, continuing payments of legal entitlements such as Medicare, Social Security, and Veterans’ benefits, and treaty commitments are far beyond what the base of American taxpayers can service.
When there is no point on a Laffer Curve of Taxation where incoming taxes are equal to paying the interest on the national debt, much less future commitments of government spending, “what difference at this point does it make?” can be applied to the very question of who will sit in the Oval Office beginning January 20, 2017.
Government by its nature is parasitic on the private economic sector where goods and services are traded. Government makes nothing nor offers any benefit not paid for by taking wealth from people working and making things in the private economic sector. Government can spend nothing without removing it from the private economic sector, whether that taking is by taxes, fees, or the particularly pernicious method of expanding its fiat money or credit such that anyone calculating their holdings figured in that fiat money has their wealth transferred to the government by the stealthy theft of monetary devaluation.
Of course I’m being if not outright dishonest, then at least disingenuous — because, of course, there is indeed something the President of the United States could do to pay for things the American taxpayer can not afford.
The President, as Commander in Chief, can use the U.S. military, or at least use its muscular threats, to plunder foreign wealth and give it to Americans.
Even that, however, has its limits. Every Ponzi scheme has a tipping point where the availability of new suckers is less than the requirement of new suckers to maintain the cash flow needed to keep the scheme afloat.
We can observe that the continuing viability of the U.S. dollar as an international reserve currency demonstrates that inevitable point of collapse has not yet arrived. What we can not readily observe is how close we are to a tipping point when foreigners recognize their victimhood and — by switching to a reserve currency other than the U.S. dollar — decline to be further victimized.
It’s an open question in my mind whether there could possibly be an “economic miracle” to change this equation. That’s historical language for such a sudden creation of new wealth that it dwarfs the existing accumulated debt and demands for future government income to pay for future commitments. Economic history of post-World-War-II Germany suggests that economic freedom can produce gobs of new wealth quickly.
Before that, the relative economic freedom of the Industrial Revolution also suggests such a possibility.
A technological breakthrough such as anti-gravity or “warp drive” — enabling cheap and robust space industrialization — could theoretically create such an economic “miracle” as access to solar energy and minerals outside the earth’s atmosphere provides a new frontier to plunder — this time without natives needing to be displaced.
But that’s why it’s called a miracle. You can’t count on it. And if such a miracle happens, it’s highly unlikely anyone sitting in the Oval Office will have done anything to let it happen.
My fellow Americans, the hope for your future well-being is to be found in that part of the social order out of reach of the politicians.
So if you feel compelled to vote, vote for the presidential candidate most likely to be an incompetent blowhard.