A significant share of the population – though for different reasons – do not view our government and institutions as legitimate, the release of tons of prisoners because of Covid plus new weak on crime municipal governments means criminal activity of all kinds will increase along with homicides as people have more freedom of movement, and a lot of the jobs wiped out by the lockdowns will be very slow to return to the extent that do at all.
The right needs to be smart about this – there are a lot of working/middle class people that were clearly receptive to the populist politics of Trump, and many of them who voted for Biden are going to find themselves very disenchanted in the years to come, so there is a huge political opportunity. Target cutting ‘woke’ programming, support spending that helps families, promise to reverse Biden policies that kill blue collar jobs, and don’t get in the way of the donkeys attempts to raise tax rates on corporations, capital gains, and high income households.
The wheels are coming off of the international credit system. The crash is going to be spectacular. Assuming some semblance of elective government remains in place, it’s better not to be behind the wheel when it happens.
Trump ran a successful real estate enterprise and a successful media enterprise. Surely there were a handful of reliable, competent, non-criminal people he could have borrowed from these? He only needed fifty votes in the Senate to confirm them. When Trump came into office, the Senate was majority Republican. They may not all have liked Trump, but they all knew better than to vote against him if they wanted to retain their seats. The other thing about those we call “swamp monsters” is that they do not necessarily perceive themselves that way, so they don’t conceive it as hazardous to themselves to confirm any given nominee. When we say “drain the swamp”, most Senators don’t think they are the ones we mean. In other words, I don’t think confirmation was such a great hurdle. And even if it had been, the Obama administration had already normalized the practice of using un-Senate-approved “czars” to run large swathes of the Federal government. Or Trump could just have used acting cabinet members until the Senate gave in. On appointments, as on so many other things, Trump naively thought he would ingratiate himself inside the beltway by giving them chunks of his administration. Instead he got worse worst of both worlds: they still despised him, but he had given away the power to do anything about it.
But this is really beside the point. Trump didn’t need any particular cabinet appointment to reverse any of Obama’s executive orders, to ban foreign lobbyist fundraising, to prosecute Hillary Clinton, to deport illegals, to end birthright citizenship, to “end DACA on day one”, to bring troops home, to ditch Common Core, or to build the border wall, as he promised. There are a slew of other objectives that required legislative cooperation though not cabinet appointments. Those too are undone. You can say that’s Congress’s fault, but the President has a lot of power to sway Congress if he chooses to use it. Trump didn’t. All those targets that were threatened but unremoved are now permanently part of the landscape.
Personnel is policy, as the aphorism goes. Trump didn’t know all the players, most especially the unelected ones, but he didn’t owe anyone anything either. He was in desperate need of someone who both knew the ropes and would’ve been a steadfast supporter of the America First agenda to guide him in his crucial personnel decisions. Pat Buchanan would’ve fit the role perfectly. Instead, the GOPe did most of the picking and among the few with a distinctive Trumpian bent, only Stephen Miller avoided a purge.
As Almost Missouri points out, for whatever reason Trump wasn’t interested. Maybe he just isn’t a systematic thinker. At all. The pardons that were and the pardons that weren’t at the end of the term when he had nothing left to gain or lose are the most difficult of all to excuse.
Taxation is going to be largely irrelevant. We spent more than twice what we collected at the Federal level last year. Access to the money from writing debt and monetizing the value of the global reserve currency is what you want to control.
The Feds have that. They can steal the value of every dollar in existence without making much effort. Taxes pale in comparison.
One important point the MMTers make is that taxation and government spending are not causally correlated in the modern monetary system. The state doesn’t tax for money to spend, it conjures money up to spend. In 2020, less than half of federal government expenditures were accounted for through taxation. That is taxation in the conventional sense. Rising prices are a stealth form of taxation that results from money creation. Or at least that’s what unimaginative types like this blogger think.
MMTers argue otherwise. We can have the cake and eat it, too. As long as there is slack in the system, the Fed can create money without causing price inflation. It can do so even more efficiently by cutting out open market operations and digitally distributing dollars to directly to receiving institutions.
Birthrates are declining all over the world and are already below replacement in most places. Immigrants are disproportionately comprised of the young and excess people in the sending countries, but the younger generations in every country keep getting smaller and smaller. That means that the total “immigration-able stock” is declining, and the younger generations are much more needed at home. We are close to a point where traditional sending countries like Mexico are going to have to take measures to control their own emigration or court population inversion and economic collapse.
Why should affluent Western countries continue to strip mine human resources from poorer countries that no longer have an excess population to spare? Seems greedy. It should stop.
If a single-word answer can be given, it is “growth”. As dfordoom points out:
Global demographic collapse is probably unstoppable. Somehow we will have to learn to deal with it.
In the long term we might be able to do that. In the medium term it seems inevitable that there will be economic chaos. We have embraced an economic model based on constant economic growth, or constantly increasing markets and constantly increasing profits.
Are any mega-corporations going to be able to adapt to a world in which markets are steadily shrinking? Are they going to be able to adapt to a world in which profits are steadily declining? Are shareholders going to able to adapt to the idea that their shares will steadily decrease in value? Mega-corporations are likely to respond by becoming more predatory, seeking to destroy or absorb competitors in order to grow their share of a declining overall market. We’ll see more monopolies. Our economic system will become more unbalanced and a great deal more unpleasant.
Mega-corporations will increasingly come to incorporate the state, or the state will incorporate them. It’ll be increasingly difficult to tell where one begins and the other ends. It already is.