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Old-Age Zoom-Town Fist-Fight

Trump, Biden, and the terrified boomers...
 
WHAT is amazing, at least to us, is that two grown men – with decades of public speaking experience, months to prepare, and millions of people watching – could not do a better job, writes Bill Bonner in his Diary of a Rogue Economist.
 
Not that we expected Marcus Tullius Cicero or even Sam Irvin. But Donald Trump and Joe Biden took the Presidential debate down to a new level.
 
Many commentators said it was an "embarrassment" to the nation, that America's prestige fell in foreign eyes.
 
But, always the optimists, we doubt there was much room left on the downside.
 
After 20 years of Bush the Younger, Obama, and Trump, the foreigners knew what to expect. Last night, like the third sequel to a bad movie, they got it.
 
Colleague Dan Denning called to record an interview on the eve of the debate.
 
"Would the Presidential debate...or the upcoming election...make any real difference?" he asked.
 
The pitch was wide. But we reached for it.
 
The answer was: No. Because none of the bugaboos and hobgoblins that the candidates promise to protect us from are much of a real threat.
 
"Unfair" trade – whatever that is – is no danger to the republic. Viruses come and go. Neither Antifa nor the Proud Boys are likely to lead a revolution.
 
China will not invade California. Russia will not change the election results. And nothing the President does is likely to have any effect on the planet.
 
On the other hand, the thing that will almost certainly cause misery to millions of Americans...and over which the President has more control than any other human being...was not even mentioned last night. Nor will either candidate ever bring it up.
 
Why? Because the two old, white men running for President are both champions of the same worn-out, degenerate scam. Neither will admit that it doesn't work. Neither will propose to change it.
 
But let us back up a moment and introduce three intertwined themes.
 
First, the Baby Boomer elites, who control American business and government, are getting old and fearful.
 
Second, they have set up a political/economic system which is fundamentally unsustainable...corrupt...and counterproductive.
 
And third, they are now desperate to keep the jig up.
 
The real danger is not abroad. It's at home. It speaks English. It is college educated. It lives in a nice house...wears a suit and tie...and may even go to church on Sunday.
 
It is over 60 and looking forward to a rich, comfortable retirement...perhaps in one of the new Zoom Towns, where it can protect itself from the disintegration of the American economy.
 
This elite is neither good nor bad. It just is what it is. It is, well, us.
 
Look around you. Have you ever seen so many fearful people? People who have lost courage...lost faith...and lost their minds.
 
They are willing to be frisked every time they get on an airplane...as protection against the almost negligible chance that someone will want to blow it up.
 
Even young, healthy people are willing to submit to house arrest...rather than face the risk of getting sick.
 
They are afraid that the "planet is angry" and that it will be consumed by the fires of Hell unless we stop using fossil fuels.
 
Do civilized adults need the government to tell them how to protect themselves from a virus? The New York Times reluctantly admits that they don't:
"Vilified Early Over Lax Virus Strategy, Sweden Seems to Have Scourge Controlled"
Sweden let people decide for themselves. Those who were afraid of the virus could stay at home. Those who were not could go about their business.
 
The US, meanwhile, panicked, shutting down large parts of the economy (US second-quarter GDP fell 31%!).
 
But the death rate for both countries was about the same. And now, Sweden appears to be way ahead of the game, with very few new cases.
 
Aging Americans see a future full of bogeymen. And they want the government to protect them.
 
But the protection comes at a cost. The cost of their "war against terror," according to Brown University, totes to more than $6 trillion...800,000 dead...and 37 million displaced.
 
Their heavy-handed attempts to hold off the virus crippled the economy...and resulted in collateral damage – depression, suicide, stunted careers, etc. – which will be tallied later.
 
But what concerns us here at the Diary is the cost of protecting against the financial future. That is where the real risk lies.
 
Having bent and distorted the economy for its own benefit, the Baby Boomer elite now faces a reckoning.
 
In an effort to protect itself from the risks of old age, it has promised itself health and pension benefits, unfunded, worth over $200 trillion. It would be impossible to keep up with those obligations, even with a healthy economy.
 
Trump and Biden may trade moronic calumnies, but they represent the same group, with the same desperate goal – to keep the show on the road.
 
What will they do? Will they sell their souls? Or sell out their children?

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

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