The Never-Ending War
As a youngster, my grandmother used a whistle to signal it was time to come home from playing outside. Right after my 5th birthday, WWII ended. She gave me the whistle, and I walked down the sidewalk blowing it as loud as I could. I remember horns were honking, the fire stations had all their sirens blaring. An unforgettable experience for a little guy.
It was the “war to end all wars,” – until Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Ukraine and many others appeared. While these boondoggles have names, the un-named war that has gone on for centuries is white hot today; the never-ending war between the elite (nobility) and the people.
The Constitution gave the power to the people, the nobility has been undermining it at every turn.
Abe Lincoln weighs in:
“It is the eternal struggle between these two principles — right and wrong — throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, ‘You toil and work and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.'”
Abe led the country into a civil war; the states’ rights of self-governance was subordinated to the federal government. The beat goes on….
Woodrow Wilson changed the constitution. States appointed and recalled senators at will. The amendment called for them to be elected for six-year terms, further strengthening centralized power. Senators, no longer worried about being recalled by the people “back home,” have become “career politicians,” protecting the nobility.
Wilson established the Federal Reserve, centralized banking power under the guise of a government agency.
Today, Big Brother (federal government), the elite, and the Fed control almost every aspect of our lives. Their methods make Dallas tyrant J. R. Ewing’s behavior look normal. They do whatever it takes to protect their own.
Fed’s role is clear
The Federal Reserve represents the nobility; protector of the elite, pretending to be the friend of the “little people”.
Moneycrashers.com weighs in on the major nobility victory in 1999:
“The Glass-Steagall Act was designed to protect individuals from losing their savings due to banks’ risky investments, ultimately preventing another Depression.
The act required banks to steer away from volatile equity markets and let investment banks take on risky investments. Lawmakers believed that by separating the two entities, the financial services industry would be healthier in the long term. It also reduced conflicts of interest.”
The Fed, (with the industry’s $300 million lobbying effort), championed the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act. Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan reassured America they had nothing to fear.
Investment and commercial bank consolidation took place almost overnight. In less than a decade, the government bailed out bad investment decisions on the part of “too big to fail” banks with trillions of tax dollars.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke justified the bailout:
“Two years have passed since the worst financial crisis since the 1930s dealt a body blow to the world economy. Working with policymakers at home and abroad, the Federal Reserve responded with strong and creative measures to help stabilize the financial system and the economy.
…. These steps helped end the economic free fall and set the stage for a resumption of economic growth in mid-2009.
Notwithstanding the progress that has been made…. Unfortunately, the job market remains quite weak; the national unemployment rate is nearly 10 percent, a large number of people can find only part-time work, and a substantial fraction of the unemployed have been out of work six months or longer. The heavy costs of unemployment include intense strains on family finances, more foreclosures and the loss of job skills.
…. The FOMC decided this week that,…further support to the economy is needed.”
|You don’t need a little orphan Annie decoder ring to get his message; the nobility needs more help while our policies screw the “little people.”|
One graph tells it all.
20 years ago, the top 1% owned about 25% of the nation’s wealth. After the Fed’s “strong and creative measures,” the elite’s share jumped to almost 1/3 of the nation’s wealth.
Wolf Richter explains the wealth effect:
“The Fed’s ‘strong and creative measures’ would inflate stock prices, which would lead those holding stocks to feel wealthier and more confident, and then they’d spend a little more, and some droplets of this might trickle down to the people that are working in the real economy.
The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) did a study on the Wealth Effect. ….
‘The ‘wealth effect’ is the notion that when households become richer as a result of a rise in asset values, such as corporate stock prices or home values, they spend more and stimulate the broader economy.’
It makes 10% of the population a lot richer, producing immense concentration of wealth at the top 1%, and mind-boggling concentrations of wealth among the truly rich and at the billionaire level. After which there may be some muted trickle-down effects on the economy.
As a result, the already immense wealth disparity in the US between the top 1% and the bottom 50% blows out. Then there’s the billionaire class. They benefit more than anyone from the wealth effect.
The bottom 50% of Americans…. Many live from paycheck to paycheck. …. These folks cannot benefit from the wealth effect. For them, life just gets more expensive as a result of the wealth effect.
…. This immense concentration of wealth at the very top and this huge disparity in wealth to everyone else are in part a result of the Fed’s monetary policies that rely on the ‘wealth effect.'”
12 years after Bernanke’s “strong and creative measures”, CNBC runs the numbers:
- The wealth of the top 1% increased by $6.5 trillion last year, mainly driven by soaring stock prices and financial markets, according to the Federal Reserve.
- The stock portfolios of the top 1% are now worth $23 trillion, and they own a record 53.9% of individually held shares, according to the central bank.
Meanwhile, the mean wages for the “little people” have remained stagnant since the 1970’s. Nothing “trickled down”. Too bad, so sad….
Who Looks Out For “The People?”
Theoretically, Congress is responsible for overseeing the Fed.
In 2016 the Cato Institute reported:
“The Glass-Steagall Act is in the news again: both the Republican and the Democrat general election platforms proposed a reinstatement of Glass-Steagall as part of their programs for reforming the financial services sector.”
Typical electioneering BS, nothing happens, while tax dollars bail out the banks and the rich get richer.
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Why has nothing happened?
Wall Street On Parade provides one example:
“…. If you’re not watching Senate Banking or House Financial Services Committee hearings when the topic is about increasing bank capital or any new regulations to make the U.S. banking system less prone to blowing up, you are likely seriously underestimating how corruption has become the new normal in the United States of America.
The big banks’ trade associations and law firms pay millions of dollars each year to registered lobbyists to bend Congress to their will.
…. Take, for example, the hearing held on September 14 by the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee…. Chaired by Republican Andy Barr of Kentucky, whose largest donor base is the ‘Securities and Investment’ industry. That industry gave Barr $500,142 in the last election cycle.
…. Unfortunately, until corporate money is removed from funding the political campaigns of the members of Congress, Americans will not get genuine banking reform.
Until the Glass-Steagall Act is restored,…the U.S. banking system will lurch from one crisis to the next, until its reputation as a first-class financial system is relegated to the dustbin of history.”
WSOP adds, “Anat Admati, Professor of Finance and Economics at Stanford Graduate School of Business, summed up the U.S. financial system, ‘Corruption has become the system.'”
What About Inflation?
Why is the Fed making a big deal about trying to bring inflation under control, helping us “little people?” The goal is to keep the citizens mollified, if they storm the palace, the nobility is threatened. Losing the un-named economic war means total loss for the elite.
The Mises Institute chimes in, “A study of history,…makes it clear that the state is not in the business of securing our liberty.”
While many will disagree, I’m optimistic the reset can be reasonably peaceful. Both parties’ extreme zealots want complete victory, eliminating all opposition. These extremists wish to govern against the will of the majority.
Eventually, (with nobility screaming), a true “outsider” candidate will appeal to the majority of Americans. It will be in the best interest for many in Washington to cash in their chips and head for the hills.
Singer Jackson Browne (The Road to the Sky) sums it up well:
“Now can you see those dark clouds gathering up ahead?
They’re gonna wash this planet clean like the Bible said
Now you can hold on steady, try to be ready
But everybody’s gonna get wet
Don’t think it won’t happen just because it hasn’t happened yet.”
The road will be bumpy, we’ll all get wet. The people will get more than a “trickle-down.” Those who are well diversified, owning hard assets, will fare better than most.
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On The Lighter Side
Thanks to all for the kind feedback about our recent article discussing Kindness. I was trying to be cute, playing on the word kind, it never goes out of style.
Friend Rich Checkan sent me an interesting comment:
“Regarding this part…
‘Having traveled much of the world, I too believe most people are loving, concerned about their families and want to be kind. Many driving trips across America have convinced me that the real American values and spirit are very much alive, despite what we see in the media.’
… I could not agree more.
I was in a Copenhagen taxi heading to a business meeting several years ago. The taxi driver and I were getting along very well. I asked him where he was originally from, and he said, ‘Iran.’ I replied, ‘Oh… we’re supposed to be enemies.’
He replied… ‘No… people make friends. Governments make enemies.'”
For the most part, if you treat people with respect, you receive respect in return. People, by a large majority, are good.”
At one point in my career, I taught in several Middle Eastern countries for a major international corporation. The first day in class was somewhat stressful. Many of my students were from countries that were “supposed to be enemies.” Over the course of the week, the barriers came down.
The night before the last day, we had a banquet and wives were invited. I was flattered when many of the “so-called enemies” made a point of bringing their wives over to meet me. We discussed families, and in some cases shared smiles and photos of our children.
While the media is spewing a lot of hatred these days, my experience is similar to Rich, when you remove the political crap, “people, by a large majority, are good.”
Quote of the Week…
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country…corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.” — Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864 (letter to Col. William F. Elkins)
Friend Scott L. shares some great truths about aging:
- Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.
- Forget the health food, I need all the preservatives I can get.
- When you fall down, you wonder what else you can do while you are down there.
- You know you are old when you get the same sensation from a rocking chair that you once got from a roller coaster.
- If’s frustrating when you know all the answers but nobody bothers to ask you the right questions.
- Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician.
- Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
And my favorite:
- Anyone who keeps learning stays young.
Until next time…
“Economic independence is the foundation of the only sort of freedom worth a damn.” – H. L. Mencken
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