Who Is To Blame for Economic Malaise
rulers and ruling classes: 'twas ever thus
In election battleground Arizona, says Steve Cortes,
A staggering 78% of Arizonans now believe that the American Dream is “out of reach.”
So, who is to blame?
On that foremost issue of the economy, 60% of Arizonans disapprove of Joe Biden’s performance. The battleground state supermajority that blames Biden for this economic stagnation extends beyond partisanship, as a scant 13% of Independents give him “strong approval” marks vs. 48% reporting “strong disapproval” on the economy.
But if you look at the key metric of monetary inflation, you find that in 2020, on Trump’s watch, M2 money supply went up 26 percent. In 2021, on Biden’s watch M2 money supply went up 12 percent. But in 2022-23, on Biden’s watch, M2 money supply has gone down 5 percent.
So, I’d say that Donald Trump is to blame. Only, of course, it wasn’t really him that printed a ton of money, but the Administrative State, with Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, and Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the President.
(In American Foreign Policy Henry Kissinger writes about the problem of trying to run foreign policy from the top of a bureaucracy. I wonder what he meant.)
And really, how much does President Biden control the economic weather? The fact is that our ruling class, as an aggregate, has decided to bet the American people on its incandescent vision of a war on climate change. And so, just like a nation in any war, it is spending huge amounts of money on things that don’t make the American people more prosperous. Think of wind farms and solar power and EVs and rail transit and bans on gas stoves as the climate equivalent of spending all our money on Liberty ships and Sherman tanks. Liberty ships (2,700 built) and Sherman tanks (49,000 built) are really cool and they helped win World War II, but they don’t put bread on the table or nice houses in the suburbs. Same with wind farms, solar power and EVs.
But there is this: President Biden is the leader of the Democratic Party and the Democratic Party is the power project of the educated class that dominates politics and culture in the United States. Really, everything that happens in politics and culture and the economy is educated-class approved. So, if you were God and wanted to help the American people make a good political decision you would want to have the American people experience economic hardship while the Democrats were in power.
Would it really make a difference if Trump were elected president in 2024 and the Senate went 55-45 GOP and the House 245-190 GOP? But then Trump had a 52-47 Senate and a 241-194 House a the start of his first term, and look what good it did. And those Senate-House majorities were better than Bush II, better than Reagan, better then Ike at the start of their first terms.
No. The problem is the educated class’s belief, that goes back probably to the autumn of the Middle Ages, that the economy is like a wild animal. It will kill us all unless wise and knowledgeable people keep it in check.
I think that the opposite is true. I think that the economy is an emergent phenomenon, like Darwin’s evolution, constantly selecting for fitness. But rulers and ruling classes have other ideas. First of all, they cannot believe that the plebs an do anything unsupervised. Second, they have plans, glorious plans, to save the world. Only it will take money: your money.
So the question is: could any human society rise above this problem: rulers thinking it is all about them?