‘It’s a wonder you’ve managed to keep your business going with such a fervent Republican bias. Apparently, you don’t want to have Democrats among your members. I’ve just started and already I’m beginning to question why I bothered. I couldn’t care less what your private feelings are regarding politics, everyone is welcome to their own thoughts in that regard, but I sure don’t want that nonsense jammed down my throat. I find this most disappointing.’
—A letter from a dear reader
‘I have always thought it but now I know it’s true…Bill Bonner is a closet liberal…’
—A letter from a dear reader
Last night’s State of the Union (SOTU) message was disappointing.
What we found refreshing about DJT was his willingness to say things that others won’t — often idiotic, but occasionally true.
He said the stock market, for example, was a ‘big fat ugly bubble.’
He said US foreign policy was a ‘disaster.’
He said we needed to ‘drain the Swamp.’
But last night was all blah blah.
Since entering the White House, Mr Trump has been partially, but not completely, tamed by the Deep State.
He no longer sees any evil in bubbly stock prices. He no longer hears any evil in the Pentagon’s overseas misadventures. And he no longer speaks up against evil coming from ‘the Swamp,’ of which he is now, supposedly, master…and which has gotten about half a trillion dollars deeper over the last two years.
And his SOTU speech was so mealy-mouthed mainstream even Barack Obama could have delivered it.
As to today’s economy, he missed the point. Noting that it has added jobs for 100 straight months, he says ‘the only thing that can stop it are politics, foolish wars, and ridiculous partisan investigations.’
He is surely wrong about that.
Expansions always add jobs. This one has added fewer than usual. Then, at some point, the jobs stop coming…and the expansion stops.
No help or hurt from the feds is necessary. The feds can delay and distort market forces; they can’t stop them.
In this case, the feds have merely added more bad debt and bubbly asset prices in need of correcting to correct. So, when it comes…the correction will be deeper and longer than usual.
He also announced that ‘America will never be a socialist country.’ That, too, is a bit of conceited claptrap. The country is already heavily socialised, with about half its output directly or indirectly controlled by the feds.
But you don’t expect honest insights in a SOTUS. The point is not to enlighten, but to obscure…and unify.
Like ancient exhortations, given around tribal campfires…or elegant discourses pronounced in the Roman Senate…it echoed the glories of past generations — there was moonwalker Buzz Aldrin in the gallery! — and called upon the assembly to put aside partisan squabbles, lock arms, and march into the future…together.
One of the most memorable — and most instructive — of these speeches was Pericles’ Funeral Oration during the Peloponnesian War. The great Greek leader recalled the sacrifices made by generations of Athenians…and urged those drawing breath to make more.
Most of these evening speeches are forgotten before the sun rises. But some lead to action.
In Pericles’ case, the war he supported ended with Athens’ complete defeat, with many of the young men killed and the rest of the population enslaved.
And today, the last thing America needs is what Mr Trump says we need most — for the two parties to forget their differences and make common cause.
Gridlock, shutdowns, and investigations — the balance of stupidity is the only thing that stands between us and further calamity.
We predict that this happy disunity won’t last long. Because…in the ‘us vs. them’ that really counts, both Republicans and Democrats are on the same side.
But we’ll come to that, tomorrow. In the meantime, let us work our way back to our theme this week.
We’ve seen that we have inherited software as well as hardware from our ancestors. The hardware is our brain. The software tells us what to do with it.
And one of the most ancient, most deeply etched parts of our software is the instinct to stand together. It’s ‘us vs them.’ Red or blue…black or white…Mexican or American…Protestant or Catholic…
…The ‘us’ changes with the fashions. And the rules that govern human interaction evolve. But the instinct never goes away.
It’s why we care whether the Rams or the Patriots win the Super Bowl…or whether American troops or ISIS win a firefight in Syria.
It means nothing to us materially…or in any practical, identifiable way. But we care nevertheless.
And so, we choose our side…our party…our flag…our team. We are good; the other side is evil.
One of the things most annoying about our Diary is that we are neither Red nor Blue. As you can see from the comments above, we irritate both sides.
But who has a monopoly on truth or beauty? Republicans? Democrats? How about grace, dignity, or intelligence? Does either party have even a chemical trace of those?
Our instincts tell us to take sides. But which side? Like Groucho Marx, we are deeply suspicious of any club that would have us as a member. And more suspicious of the others.
We will take up the subject tomorrow.