An ill wind threatens to rake and churn up the Atlantic coast this Labor Day as a live-action metaphor auguring a more general wreckage to come in the final four months of 2019. More than most years, this holiday weekend seems to mark a boundary between past and future, between ends and beginnings.
The tremors of August appear to mark the end of the ten-year bull market run, a.k.a. “the recovery,” a last-ditch central bank orchestrated campaign to pretend that economic growth is infinite on a finite planet. The magic of credit — “money” untethered to resources — drained economic mojo from the future so that we can watch Miley Cyrus videos while snacking on Lay’s “fried pickle with ranch [dressing] flavored” potato chips. Yes, that’s an actual product — also, another reason that America is bankrupting itself on medical costs. The chains of consequence are long and punishing these days.
Gold and silver seem to be signaling two things: coming inflation and political turmoil. Debt accumulation around the world has passed the point were even prayer to every known deity will avail to prevent a horrendously destructive work-out of loans that can never be paid back. Default makes money disappear. The response, of course, will be to print more money untethered to real stuff. An orgy of QE could easily drive stock markets higher, only those markets will be indexed to money losing its value. All this will seem like so much metaphysical bullshit to citizens who can’t pay twenty bucks for a pound of hamburger. And it would greatly aggravate the political situation at a time when many of those same aggrieved citizens will be looking for lamp-posts to hang some one-percenters from.
Cue the rise of the redistributionists, that is, the people who want the government to determine who gets what and where to get it. Or, shall we say, who to take it from. Elizabeth Warren is leading the pack for now — the once-Republican Oklahoma grandma turned Leon Trotsky wannabe. I’ll give her this: she’s a helluva cheerleader. And she’s energetic for an old broad, prancing around the stage in her spandex yoga pants, arms akimbo, head vibrating. I wonder, though, whether voters (those aforesaid citizens) will remember that she vowed to give free health care to border-jumpers. Or that she pretended to be a Cherokee for career advancement at snooty Harvard.
A rowdy-dowdy financial smash-up will tarnish the Trump MAGA brand for sure. But will the Golden Golem of Greatness simply stew in the oval office or try some desperate new stunts to salvage his quixotic political career? And will his shaky marriage with the Republican Party veer into divorce court, with the party turning to a steadier and more conventional figure in the coming election year? They’ll get beat anyway as economic depression mounts, but they’ll save face in defeat. That is, if Mr. Trump manages to not start World War Three in the meantime.
Odious as he is to many, history will record one salutary effect of his term in office: the RussiaGate ploy alerted Americans that there truly is a Deep State with its own self-winding agenda. A few perp-walks upcoming may have a chastening effect on future Swamp critters entertaining a higher calling, as the slippery James Comey put it — meaning, using the powerful machinery of government for your own purposes.
However, there is a possibility that the 2020 election will be such an unholy mess, with contested poll results in key states, lawsuits flying in every direction, and monkeyshines in the electoral college, that it will be ironically left to the Deep State to try to save the republic (after their recent attempt to wreck it). Such are the bad feelings in politics a year out, that both parties might stoop to anything. Don’t rule out a Pentagon intervention in the Homeland to straighten that mess out. Unlike classical Rome in 44 AD, the USA is not on the verge of empire, but leaving its high times behind. It took another four hundred years for Rome to Collapse. America could easily accomplish it in five or ten, considering how complex and artificial our economic arrangements are.
I sense another change in the air: the retreat of Wokesterism to the intellectual carnival tent it crawled out of. The New York Times staff might believe it can easily swap out its failed RussiaGate flimflam for a general mau-mauing of “racist” America, but they are already overplaying that hand. With the economy tanking, we’ll have enough problems in this land without a race war, thank you, Dean Baquet. I suspect we will have seen the end of this on campus, too, as the entire higher ed system finally begins to detect that it is whirling around the drain.
Enjoy your hot dogs and frosty brews today as you stay glued to the Weather Channel. We’ll know by Friday how Dorian worked out. And happy Fall!