Most people feel under-served by their governments; but maybe the problem is waiting on governments to solve problems they are often responsible for creating.
September 30, 2019
By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP
There’s a lot of discussion and hysteria going around about the interests of “The People”. Whether it’s the people of the US or the world, people are frustrated across the political spectrum.
And rightly so.
If you’re like me, you realized a long time ago that “We the People” was a gimmick, and it was never about everyone else. It was only ever about the political gentry and their friends that keep them there.
The Empathetic Two-Step
There was an interview with Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan on MSNBC , where he points out that the money the US has spent occupying Afghanistan would’ve been better served fixing the roads.
He said this on the heels of having just traveled on the roads of New York City to get to the MSNBC studio for the interview.
He’s not wrong. And perhaps most people across the US could agree on that one point. I do. If people are inevitably going to be taxed, at the very least spend that money on improving the conditions at home, rather than destroying conditions abroad.
He made an observation that is indisputable and largely agreeable; he has no way of actually exacting such changes, and he knows good and well there was never a choice between a score long occupation of Afghanistan and improvements on American infrastructure up for a vote.
This is how politicians work. They speak to a pain point empathetically, then say if not for X then Y, and then when in office they make sure X and Y are never pitted against each other on the same ballot.
You’ve seen the posts: If we stopped these endless wars we could feed every child in the US and pay for their university educations! Except there’s no bill that suggests any such thing coming out of the congress these hack jobs work in.
It’s just a fun thing to say. It’s Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown.
Sell Yourself Out for Your Own Good!
The saddest is when people are convinced to sell out their own interests for egos of the politicians. Without a doubt, that is the summation of Trump and his tariffs. Was it really so important to stick it to China that farmers had to undergo an industry level depression?
California saw something like this in November 2018. They were scared and bamboozled into voting for a higher fuel tax to tend to the desperate road conditions. (I say bamboozled because the way the ballot measure was written a Yes vote was really a No vote on taxes, and a No vote was really a Yes vote on taxes.)
Nonetheless, the fuel tax passes, and signs are cropping up everywhere that tax dollars are hard at work rebuilding roads. A collective sigh of relief could be heard that the world was made a little safer thanks to voting and taxes.
Six months after that vote, an article comes out that the governor is considering leveraging those fuel taxes against cities and counties that do not meet his deadline for affordable housing.
The people of California were promised improved infrastructure with allocations to local cities and counties, that the fuel tax would NOT become a slush fund, and that the funds would be put in a budgetary lockbox.
IF the desperate conditions of the roads is to be believed per the campaigning rhetoric, then did the governor just say he’d put Californians at risk on dangerous roads and bridges to prove a point to city and county officials about meeting deadlines for affordable housing?
The same thing happened with terrorism. People became so freaked out about it they lined up to forgo their civil liberties in the name of safety. The TSA is of course an abject failure, and has actually created more victims than it’s saved.
This also happened with mass shootings. People became worked up about them they call for lethal force to get guns out of the hands of people who never committed a crime. The also needlessly put children through mass shooting drills instilling fear. Why would they be fearful if gun regulations work so well though?
Immigration is another one. People got so angry about immigrants they stopped worrying about the untenable deficit and were practically willing to build a wall out of stacked bills if necessary to keep the immigrants out. The government is admittedly ill-prepared for any of these measures, and has only made the situation more expensive.
And most recently, the environment has circled back for its doomsday cameo. People are getting worked up about that, and see no issue with economically crippling the global economy and virtue flogging themselves (and others) to show they care about earthly stewardship. We’ll ignore the part where they put the governments in charge of cleaning up the planet when they are the ones most responsible for its destruction.
Trust Us, It’s Fine
Americans are being fed a lot of superficial nonsense about a healthy economy. Which has them spending, on lines of credit. If you don’t have a philosophy on money management that operates independent of MSM headlines and politics, then you’re probably one of the many people who are nearing default.
As one article from Zerohedge puts it:
Consumer confidence remains near two-decade highs, the unemployment level is at a 50-year low, and it’s time the consumer prepares for the next downturn.
Dropping interest rates, pumping more money into the economy, and the consumer spending being stymied by the reality of limited means and rising defaults is going to bring all that to a halt.
In another article, an analysis of headline-chasing bulls who don’t know when the ride is over, and disaster abating bears gives a more telling prediction of where the US economy is going:
Market strength continues to be sold and shows negative divergences, but dips keep being bought. Volatility structures continue to show higher lows and patterns suggestive of a coming volatility spike. I maintain that a market driven by pure multiple expansion on headlines and central bank actions alone can ill afford disappointments. Market indices trading near all time highs chasing every trade optimism headline appear to have not priced in any continued failure in trade talks. An interim deal or news of progress may well be a source of future rallies and even new highs, the question is one of sustainability.
People are getting jerked around. Having opted out of that circus myself, it’s safe to say that most of the people allow it. In the last piece I wrote, I pointed out how Americans will have to decide between $1.5 trillion in annual deficits or up to $4 trillion in annual deficits.
Politicians and their mouthpieces are selling fear, then offering solutions that often impose major concessions in civil liberties, money or both. Be it safety or environmental stewardship or a sense of equity and humanity… each individual can do their part without the government to address any or all of these issues.
Politics in general have me thinking that expatriation is as much a state of mind as it is a physical act. If you’re waiting for politicians to act in “the people’s” best interests you’re wasting time.
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