We Can Only Absorb Stupid For So Long
“When governments find themselves in financial trouble because of the stupid decisions that they’ve made, their first response is to award themselves even more power to make even stupider decisions.” – Simon Black
“It was the most memorable time of my life. It was a touching moment because I never thought this day would ever happen. I won’t have to worry about putting gas in my car. I won’t have to worry about paying my mortgage. You know, if I help him, he’s gonna help me.” — Obama supporter Peggy Joseph
“Things always become obvious after the fact” – Nassim Nicholas Taleb
We can trace the stupid financial decisions of the United States back a long way. We can trace it back to our first Progressive President, Teddy Roosevelt, giving JP Morgan $25,000,000 with which to bail out a bank that a friend of TR was invested in (by the way JPM did not bail out the bank, he just kept the twenty five million. TR did not have the courage to ask for the taxpayers money to be returned). We can trace it to our next Progressive President, Woodrow Wilson, creating the IRS and the Federal Reserve and subsequently also creating the first Federal Reserve generated monetary bubble. We can trace it to Franklin Roosevelt believing that the proper course was to imitate Mussolini and Italian Fascism, even to the point of inviting Italian Fascist to come to Washington and to help draft legislation and regulations for the New Dealers. We can trace it to Lyndon Johnson and LBJ’s burning desire to ‘complete’ the New Deal and finish what FDR could not with all of the accompanying deceit and fraud of government finances that LBJ engineered. We can trace it to Nixon deciding that a never ending expansion of government agencies, government control and government financial engineering would solve all of the problems that he inherited from LBJ. We can trace it to Bill Clinton deregulating the entire banking system except the FDIC. I suppose we could then draw the well known correlation between the millions of dollars Clinton received from the Wall Street banks after leaving the White House and his deregulation of these same banks. We can trace it to the profligate spending of George W Bush and the complete absence of adult supervision of the Federal Reserve on his watch. We can certainly trace it to Obama taking all of the dysfunctional fiscal and monetary policies of the W era and then putting them on steroids while deciding to centrally plan and control nearly every aspect of American economic life.
In other words, there is plenty of stupid to go around, Democrat and Republican, for decades.
It is in the nature of human beings who have acquired some degree of power to attempt to expand that power, especially when they have failed. We have now had generations of Presidents and congresses who have repeatedly awarded themselves even more power to compensate for stupid decisions and consequently used that power to make even more stupid decisions.
We have a meaningful number of voters who believe they can and will get a free lunch. We have politicians always willing to rationalize their bad decisions by claiming they just provided that free lunch.
This is a disaster in the making and someday in retrospect in will be obvious. We can only absorb stupid for so long.