That ol' military-industrial complex again...
In the LATER DAYS of the Roman Empire, losing power was often a death sentence, writes Bill Bonner in his Diary of a Rogue Economist.
The new emperor got rid of his rivals in a conclusive way; he had them killed.
Politics in the US have become meaner and more corrupt, too, as the empire ages. From The Washington Examiner:
"After President Trump tweeted, 'Perhaps never in the history of our Country has someone been more thoroughly disgraced and excoriated than James Comey in the just released Inspector General's Report,' [John] Brennan responded by saying Comey 'is far more decent, ethical, honest, competent, & patriotic than you could ever hope to be' and 'It is only because Attorney General William Barr and Senate Republicans that he [Mr.Trump] is not in a world of trouble & hurt. But their protective cocoon is only temporary.'..."
The former CIA director and Deep State poo-bah is warning the President. If he loses the next election: the feds will come after him.
The peak in US power, prestige, and economic vitality probably came at the end of the 20th century. But the corruption was already running deep.
Eisenhower had warned about it in 1961. The next President, who appeared ready to bring the Deep State's clandestine attack dog – the CIA – to heel, was assassinated.
By 1981 the spooks had their own man – George Herbert Walker Bush – in the Vice President's role.
Eight years later, he was in the Oval Office...followed by a pair of easily corruptible scoundrels (the Clintons), who were succeeded by Mr.Bush's son.
By then, the Deep State was in almost complete control.
Since the turn of the century, the corruption has become more flagrant. In this regard, Mr.Bush the Younger deserves special mention.
It was he who in 2003 began a war in Iraq – pretending that it had something to do with terrorism (which it did not) and that it had weapons of mass destruction (which didn't exist).
That war and its sordid aftermath – which continue today – greatly enriched and empowered the Deep State's military arm...while costing the nation some $5 trillion.
Spending money you don't have on wars you don't need to fight is not a formula for national greatness. It is a ticket to bankruptcy, claptrap and flimflam. And since the War on Terror began, the US has declined by almost every measure.
One of those measures is getting more attention than others: inequality.
The Wall Street Journal recently described the trend:
"Grim reading from the Fed's survey of current finances. A $9 trillion increase in household debt from 1989 to 2018. 74% of that went to households in the bottom 90% of net worth. Most of the growth in assets went to the top 10%.
"Put differently, the value of assets for all US households increased from 1989 through 2016 by an inflation-adjusted $58 trillion. A third of the gain – $19 trillion – went to the wealthiest 1% according to a Journal analysis of Fed data."
It is perfectly normal for some people to earn more than others. In an honest economy, you get more or less in proportion to what you give. Some give more; they get more.
But all humans only have 2 legs, 2 arms and 24 hours in a day. And when some are earning vastly more than others, it is often a sign that the fix is in somewhere.
As the 21st century moved ahead, it became more and more obvious that the system was rigged in favor of the rich and powerful.
In 2016, Donald J.Trump exploited the public's sour mood to win the White House.
He was probably not the insiders' first choice. And he was hounded by Comey, Mueller, Brennan...and a whole pack of Deep State insiders.
But it didn't take him long to figure out who was in charge. He quickly sold out his supporters, made his deal with the elite, and has turned out to be the most energetic promoter the Deep State ever had.
Under Trump, the wars continue. Federal power, especially that of the President himself, increases.
Federal spending has increased faster than any time in the last 50 years. He's added $2.7 trillion in debt (during a boom!), with much of that money going to Beltway cronies.
And he's pressuring the Fed to debase the Dollar and bust the bond market further, to make even more money available to the swamp critters.
And now, practically every candidate readily admits that Trump was right in 2016: America has slipped down a notch or two. Something has gone wrong...and something needs to be done about it.
But not a one of them – Democrat nor Republican...not even Donald J.Trump himself – dares to come within miles of the only real solution: Cut off the money. Drain the Swamp.