Welcome to the Winter of Our Discontent
Charles Hugh Smith
If you think this scale of stimulus is sustainable and consequence-free, you must be mainlining Delusionol.
Wall Street’s euphoria knows no bounds, so how can this be the Winter of Our Discontent? We all know the source of Wall Street’s euphoria: $1.9 trillion in stimulus, followed by another $3 trillion for corporate welfare, oops, I mean infrastructure, and a Federal Reserve whose solution to destabilizing wealth and income inequality is to make the rich even richer because, well, that’s what we do here at the Federal Reserve.
An old adage holds that what everybody else already knows has little value. So everybody knows about the Fed’s endless spew of monetary giveaways to Wall Street and the federal government’s endless trillions in borrow-and-blow stimulus, but does everyone already know that the stimulus-based economy and all the Fed-inflated asset bubbles are completely phony?
Yes, phony. Does everyone already know that none of the promises that have been made to you can possibly be kept?
“Free” (to you) healthcare: no.
Future Social Security payments with an equivalent purchasing power to the checks issued today: no.
A national currency that holds its value into the future: no.
High-functioning public infrastructure: no.
A working democracy in which citizens can affect change even if the power structure defends a dysfunctional, corrupt status quo: no.
An affordable higher education system that prepares its graduates for entrepreneurial jobs in the real-world economy: no.
Cheap, abundant fossil fuels and reliable surpluses of electricity: no.
High returns on low-risk savings: no.
A government that can borrow endless trillions of dollars with no impact on interest rates or the real economy: no.
Pay raises that keep up with real-world inflation: no.
Ever-rising corporate profits: no.
A status quo that actually ends privilege instead of cloaking it with PC PR: no. (Recall I wrote an entire book about institutionalized privilege and inequality: Inequality and the Collapse of Privilege.)
A system that encourages the launching of new real-world businesses: no, no, no, a thousand times no.
A status quo that has some realistic plan to impose Cold Turkey withdrawal on all of Wall Street’s junkies addicted to Fed smack: you must be joking. The junkies are running the entire financial system.
The faint glimmerings of reality leaking through the public-relations blitz is the first light of The Winter of Our Discontent. The Federal Reserve’s apologists and lackeys are speaking 21 times this week, all to reassure the Wall Street junkies and dealers that the Fed’s supply of smack is infinite. Why don’t we just rename the Fed The Ministry of Propaganda? Wouldn’t a dash of calling it what it really is be refreshing?
If you think this scale of stimulus is sustainable and consequence-free, you must be mainlining Delusionol. According to the Fed’s apologists and the political class, Spring is here and will last forever. This chart says The Winter of Our Discontent has yet to start, but the first signs are visible to those willing to look past the PR.
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At readers' request, I've prepared a biography. I am not confident this is the right length or has the desired information; the whole project veers uncomfortably close to PR. On the other hand, who wants to read a boring bio? I am reminded of the "Peanuts" comic character Lucy, who once issued this terse biographical summary: "A man was born, he lived, he died." All undoubtedly true, but somewhat lacking in narrative.
I was raised in southern California as a rootless cosmopolitan: born in Santa Monica, and then towed by an upwardly mobile family to Van Nuys, Tarzana, Los Feliz and San Marino, where the penultimate conclusion of upward mobility, divorce and a shattered family, sent us to Big Bear Lake in the San Bernadino mountains.