Gold News

America's Hidden Depression

1% of the US enjoys 1/3rd of its GDP...
 
The DAYS trickle down to a precious few, writes Bill Bonner in his Diary of a Rogue Economist.
 
But the dots explode into a whole galaxy of known unknowns...along with a universe of unknown unknowns...one of which is sure to blow up.
 
Corruption is warping America's institutions.
 
Going after Donald Trump, the FBI turned itself into a partisan, lying, Soviet-style Cheka. The military has become fat and incompetent, pushing trillion-Dollar wars only to reward its crony suppliers. The press has made itself into a craven shill for the Deep State, never even questioning its self-serving antics.
 
The Republican Party has meantime totally surrendered its old, conservative standards to crackpot theories, get-rich promises, and jackass leaders...
 
...and the trade war has opened up a whole new section of low-lying Swamp...with lobbyists now making thousands of petitions to the feds to get their companies exempted from tariffs.
 
When the money goes, everything goes. The feds sent the Dollar on its way in 1971. It was then that they took off the golden handcuffs. Since then, the Dollar has been picking everyone's pockets. Compared to the pre-1971 Dollar, it's lost 98% of its value.
 
And the Federal Reserve soon degenerated, too. From the stern and sober guardian of America's money – which it was in former chair Paul Volcker's day – it has become a reckless enabler of Deep State debt, funding extravagant deficits and dangerous delusions. 
 
CNBC:
"Former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan issued his latest warning Tuesday about the fiscal situation in the US, saying that larger budget deficits ultimately will cause inflation.
 
"The spending shortfall has surged under President Donald Trump, rising to just shy of $1 trillion in fiscal 2019."
Greenspan told CNBC that "inflation is inevitably going to rise" and pose larger threats to the economy.
 
The gods must laugh. Mortal investors, take cover.
 
Meanwhile, the real economy withers. Here's Bloomberg:
"While America's economy has grown for over a decade, that growth is increasingly concentrated in 1% of the nation's counties.
 
"Just 31 counties, or the top 1% by share, made up 32.3% of US gross domestic product in 2018, according to data released last week by the Bureau of Economic Analysis that included nearly 20 years of county-level GDP data.
 
"That's despite these counties only having 26.1% of employed Americans and 21.9% of the population last year. Their combined GDP share is also up from a recession low of 30.1% in 2009."
The distribution of wealth is heavily skewed towards a few places – 1% of the nation's counties, according to the Bloomberg reckoning. Need we mention that these places tend to be Deep State enclaves?
 
The Bloomberg telling is in line with our own research. As you may have seen, our team found 2,278 counties with "depressed" conditions. That's 73% of US counties. And it confirms a casual observation...
 
If you drive to visit Washington, DC or Manhattan, you will no-doubt pass through areas with Trump signs in the windows...few fine houses...few nice restaurants...and little in the way of new industrial/commercial activity.
 
Often, depending on the route you take, you will pass through towns that appear to have peaked out 50 years ago...and rural areas that are little changed – except for wear and tear – in the last 30 years.
 
Then, arriving at your destination, you will be surprised by the prices...the luxury...and the money.
 
Washington is one of the most favored areas. It's home to The Swamp and has benefited from the growth of government, bureaucrats, the military, lobbyists, hangers-on, chiselers, zombies, and bloodsuckers.
 
Manhattan's silky zip codes are also among the 1%. No area of the country has gotten more of the Fed's funny money...nor made more money by front-running its foolish policies.
 
In other words, neither Washington nor Manhattan has earned its wealth honestly. Instead, the game was rigged in their favor.
 
And therein lies a critical point. While the folks in rural counties may now have more movie selection than ever...and 100 times more computing power at the tips of their fingers...
 
...and perhaps they can buy – with their time – more bushels of wheat than any other time in history...
 
...so what?
 
What matters is not absolute wealth, but relative wealth. No one really minds being poor...so long as everyone else is poor, too. No one can really appreciate being rich...unless he has some poorer in-laws to whom he can feel superior.
 
And nobody likes it when someone cuts in line ahead of him.

Bill Bonner has co-authored a number of New York Times Bestsellers including Financial Reckoning Day, Empire of Debt and Mobs, Markets and Messiahs. In his own opinion, Bill's most recent title, A Modest Theory of Civilization: Win-Win or Lose, is his best work yet. Bill also founded The Agora, a worldwide community for private researchers and publishers, in 1979. Financial analysts within the group have exposed and predicted some of the world's biggest shifts since that time, starting with the fall of the Soviet Union back in the late 1980s, to the collapse of the Dot Com (2000) and then mortgage finance (2008) bubbles, and more recently the election of President Trump.

See full archive of Bill Bonner articles

Please Note: All articles published here are to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere – should you choose to act on it. Please review our Terms & Conditions for accessing Gold News.

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