Can't, don't, shouldn't, mustn't...
A NEW YEAR! A new decade! And it's going to be great, writes Bill Bonner in his Diary of a Rogue Economist.
Back in the 18th century, people went to insane asylums to laugh at the crazy people. Today, we only have to turn on the TV or read the news.
That's progress! And it just gets better and better.
But we need to put it in perspective...
As longtime Diary sufferers know already, we think the US empire peaked out in the late '90s. Then, two colossal, but predictable, knucklehead mistakes – one in 2001, the other in 2008 – sealed the deal and sped the slippage.
And in the elections of 2016, Americans faced a critical choice: stay the course...or try something new. For better or for worse, with the help of the Electoral College system, they took the riskier choice.
But while the new President made the fur fly, he did not change the direction of the country. Instead of turning around or even slowing down, he stepped on the gas.
And now, thanks to demographics, entitlements, fake money, the Federal Reserve, and Deep State politics, the decline and fall is unstoppable.
But we'll get to all of that in due course. Today, a souvenir of our holiday.
"Granddad, do you have a permit to do this?"
The 11-year-old seemed concerned. And not for the first time.
We were about to light a huge bonfire. After clearing a section of a field, we had piled up the brush; now we had a small mountain of it out in the pasture. And it was St. Sylvester's Day, New Year's Eve on the secular calendar, traditionally marked by bonfires.
We have done this for many years. And it never occurred to us to get a permit. But this was the biggest pile of debris we had ever torched. The flames were going to shoot up to the tops of the trees.
"We want it to be visible from space," we told the family.
"But what about the environment?" came the pre-teen's objection.
We explained that forest fires were naturally occurring phenomena and that the release of CO2 took place anyway as the wood decayed. We were just speeding it up by putting a match to it.
Besides, we were celebrating St.Sylvester's Day...and the coast was clear.
"But Grandad, you can't just do what you want."
From Christmas Eve until January 1, we barely turned on our electronic devices. No iPhone, no computer, no TV, or radio. And no newspaper.
Did we miss anything? We don't know. But we had decided to pay attention to the family. And by New Year's Eve, we were becoming familiar with the interdictions of the modern age.
For example, putting a used-up milk carton in the fireplace, we got this from a son:
"You're supposed to recycle that."
"I am recycling it...into heat. It's just paper."
"But it has dye on it. And wax. They want you to recycle it for a reason."
We spent much of the holiday transforming an old pigsty into a guest bedroom. We were installing a light switch when another son wondered:
"When are you getting the electrical inspector out to look at this?"
"Why would I do that?" we answered with a question.
"I don't know how it is here, but in Florida you can't do anything without getting a permit and an inspection. Don't you need one?" came the third question.
By this time we were getting the message. Except for matters of sexual kinkiness or eating disorders, where they are invited to experiment freely, the younger generation regards everything as either compulsory or prohibited.
"How's your wrestling team doing?" we asked a grandson.
"Oh...they stopped the wrestling program at school. I don't do it anymore."
"You're not supposed to touch anybody at school. We're not allowed to play tag anymore, either."
Meanwhile, out in the outside world, we find that an employee of the Nike corporation has sued the company for $1 million after its other employees apparently failed to use the approved pronouns when referring to a transgender hire.
"He? She? It? We didn't know what the hell we were supposed to say. He just seemed like a weirdo," fellow employees explained.
The subject came up at a family dinner.
"This is outrageous," said the pater familias. "The company is supposed to make shoes, not promote the latest claptrap..."
"You don't understand, Dad," came the fresh-out-of-law-school response. "Companies have an obligation to protect workers from each other. Otherwise, they are allowing a hostile work environment. LGBT people have rights, too. It's like BYOB...you just have to know what the rules are and follow them."
And so...we enter 2020...the third decade of a damned century...
...and the rules are changing...
The economy is approaching a catastrophic crisis...
The stock market is nearing a historic sell-off...
The US empire is sinking into the mud of fakery, debt and lies...
In other words, the situation is excellent. It's going to be fun.