Saturday, October 8, 2022

"Unpopular Presidents Are Dangerous"

"Unpopular Presidents Are Dangerous"
by Jeffrey Tucker

"Here we go again. Gas prices bottomed out and are rising again. This will feed more public anger going into the November elections. The Biden administration is blaming… OPEC. It’s like he is trying to recreate the 1970s. The Putin excuse is wearing thin. But even in the midst of this, the crazy White House still emphasizes that it is trying to shepherd a “transition” away from fossil fuels toward clean energy. Electric cars are only a way station before they try to concoct a car with sails and solar panels. In other words, these people are nuts.

Sorry to put it that way but there is no need to sugarcoat things when industrial civilization is being deliberately and systematically dismantled.

How close are price controls? Closer than we like to admit. There is essentially nothing to stop them. The dictator of Belarus was one of the few national leaders in the world who did not lock down for a virus but he has locked down for energy prices. The government tweeted out that any increase in prices will be punishable by law. Ask yourself: What precisely stops other European governments from doing the same? We already see steps in this direction in the U.K. It could easily happen in the U.S.

An October Surprise? Maybe this is the October surprise everyone is expecting. Other candidates include a new disease panic, a climate change lockdown, more anti-Putin frenzy or possibly nuclear war. Did I just write the words “nuclear war”?

I almost cannot believe it myself and I hesitate even to raise the topic. Truth is that Biden did just the other day. Of course, he warned that Putin might start one. The trouble is that just talking about it makes the unthinkable more thinkable. Well, a nuclear exchange would certainly be one way to distract the public from a failing economy. The main point is that this crazy person said the grim word “Armageddon.” Yep, he actually said it. That means he is thinking it. Was it a gaffe? Maybe. Regardless, it is terrifying.

Back to the 1930s… Let’s move on from the 1970s and go back to the 1930s. The economy fell into a depression in 1930 but it didn’t need to be long and protracted. It could have been like 1922–23: short and uneventful. Incredibly, Congress passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act to begin the process of making matters much worse. As the Depression deepened, and the Hoover administration floundered around with goofy policies across the board, the crisis worsened.

Franklin Roosevelt campaigned on balancing the budget and legalizing beer and liquor. The public loved it and he won in 1932. Upon taking office, he first legalized drinking. Fine. Then he embarked on a wicked money and banking reform. He put banks on a holiday and issued an executive order demanding that everyone turn in their private holdings of gold in exchange for paper. This was for the good of the country, he said, and all patriots must comply or go to jail.

Inspired by Benito Mussolini in Italy, FDR decided to try out central planning. He gathered all the biggest businesses, labor unions and government bureaucrats together and cobbled together a great plan to dig the country out of the Great Depression. Years went by and matters only got worse. His trick to save the country didn’t work.

Resorting to the Unthinkable: By 1938, with Europe at war, FDR started thinking the unthinkable. Maybe entering this conflict could fix his economic and political problems at home. Many in the anti-war movement at the time - right and left - suspected this was his motivation all along. Poking and provoking Japan finally led to the attack on Pearl Harbor, which served as a great event to finally get the U.S. to do what many people said the country should never do again.

I’m not offering an opinion on the intervention either way, only to say that the war was good for FDR. The Great Depression persisted but by then there were bigger problems. And so it has been ever since. Every president in trouble thinks about how war could actually be a great help. This is a massive danger.

The Great Depression did not really end until 1948, when recovery was finally allowed to happen. Beaten and exhausted, the American people looked back over the previous 15 years and just did their best to forget the whole thing. FDR emerged as a hero and got his profile pic put on the dime that eventually came to be devalued just like freedom itself.

Unpopular Presidents Are Dangerous: We find ourselves in a very dangerous place. An entire political party could be wiped out come November. They know this to be true. No political party is going to retire with grace. Something will happen to save this vast network of graft and the administrative state with which it is connected and depends.

Maybe it will be a banking crisis. The mess in housing is already starting to hurt financial institutions holding the mortgage debt. Too much in the way of a housing crash could lead to a repeat of 2008, ultimately proving macroeconomist Peter Schiff correct that the last time was just a warm-up.

We have so far been spared a liquidity crisis in banking and finance but we cannot rule it out. Controls on cash withdrawals would be something that Biden would jump at in a heartbeat. It would provide an excuse to intensify surveillance and put all those new tax agents to work.

All of these pale in comparison to the prospect of nuclear war. There must be some reason that the U.S. keeps sending billions to shore up the Ukrainian government in its struggle over the eastern border with Russia. In normal times, this struggle would not be worth any attention from the U.S... In this sense, it reminds me of Bush Sr.’s intervention when Iraq tangled with Kuwait over oil rights. He turned that into a moral crusade for one reason only: to send a signal to the world that the Cold War imperial state would forever remain internationally engaged.

What’s worse than rising gas prices? Nuclear armageddon. Leave it to this bunch in D.C. to make us feel grateful for the current egregious pain given the legitimate fear we have of something unthinkably worse."

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