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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Doom and gloom

What they don't know -- and neither does this country -- is that the United States is broke.

- Ayn Rand, 1974
It being Halloween, it's fitting to note that our economy is undead, a zombie moving on inertia from a life-force that is long gone. Despite a sucker's rally on Wall Street, I'm expecting stocks will go much lower within a year (as this thing gets properly priced in), and we'll see 10% or more unemployment in 2010. In the next few years, boomers who are retired or about to retire will tragically see that half of their life-savings has been wiped out, not to return in their lifetime; many homeowners who lose their jobs will quickly find themselves insolvent; and a growing wave of government entities of every kind and level will follow the dismal lead of Vallejo, California and go broke. There is not going to be another bubble to end the recession this time: deflation will be here for years, as the grim race plays out between the desperate quest for savings and the slaughterhouse of unemployment. The numbers of people and businesses and governments filing for bankruptcy in the next five years is going to be awesome and depressing. The cause of all of this, decades of federal economic policies and ad hoc measures of money and credit inflation, have zero chance of changing for the better; instead, we are already seeing these statist tendencies surging in both scope and depth. Meanwhile, the popular hatred of capitalism seems to be total now (if the chatter out of Republican candidates is any measure) -- but it, too, will grow as the financial pain reverberates, with capitalism taking the blame as it always has. At the same time, things have never looked so bright for the political aspirations of the Dark Ages-worshiping environmentalists; and when the economic meltdown evolves into a spiritual crisis, their unwitting friends, the Dark Ages-worshiping religionists, will be ready to lead. The only thing that seems to be missing from this perfect storm is a world war.

Given this setup, it will be miraculous if political crises do not erupt and alter our political reality quickly and catastrophically. How far off can Directive 10-289 be?

I am forced to the conclusion that we are witnessing the bitter end of the remnants of the American Enlightenment; and fascism -- in which every major enterprise is fundamentally controlled by the government -- will be here within a few years, perhaps a decade.

For America, I see only one hope: fully fund the Free Books to Teachers Campaign. Freedom will not survive the loss of Ayn Rand's influence. It never could have.



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