I really enjoy reading about economics and investing and Barron’s is one of my favorite periodicals. If you read it for a few years, you are pretty astute on how economies and companies work. Every year in January they convene a panel of experts to talk about the economy, the markets and good or bad investments. And every year even these very smart people are usually quite wrong. Large, chaotic human systems are too hard to predict in the short term, but maybe easier in the long term. This year’s group was relatively sanguine about interest rates and the economy, which astounded me because they just ignored larger trends which spell true catastrophe for the living standards of most Americans other than the government workers who all have absurd pensions and health benefits for life and a few billionaires. We may delude ourselves that we are prospering, that inflation is temporary and debt doesn’t matter for another year or two but over the next decade we are going to suffer brutal and wrenching economic turmoil.
We have reached a level of debt and annual deficits in the country from which escape is impossible. Another thing I enjoy, mostly from an armchair now (although I did make it up Mt. Kilimanjaro at the age of 67) is mountaineering. The fiercest mountain in the world is K2 and to climb you generally have to go up a slope called the Bottleneck. Slip there and you are gone–falling several unstoppable miles to a grisly death. That is where we have placed our economy. Now if we were led by truly outstanding guides and our team was the cream of the crop climbers, we might have a prayer. Hmmm, is that who is leading us now?
Instead we have strapped on a 500 lb weight of a massively oversized, incompetent and slow government, and are using shoes with ideological vaseline soles to traverse this treacherous slope on which we have placed ourselves. We cannot both limit inflation and have real growth, not with our level of debt and deficits. And we have such a huge percentage of the population dependent on government handouts of all kinds, and such a burden from government workers and government retirees, that it is politically impossible to tackle the deficits, let alone the debt.
The most ominous trend, however, which threatens our quality of life is the rampant woke bullshit and DEI nonsense which pervades our companies and our government economists. It is just getting going, but the productivity, profit and innovation-destroying nature of these ideologies should already be apparent to anyone. A whole new level of bureaucracy to hinder speed and efficiency; hiring, retaining and advancing workers based not on ability but on the color of their skin, or sex, or sexual orientation or religion; sowing division among workers rather than bringing them together for a unified purpose. Yep, that is a recipe for economic growth and increasing standards of living.
And what is hilarious about this if you have a real gallows sense of humor is that it is fed and supported by an army of Russian and Chinese and other trolls, who inflame division and anger on all sides and who provide financing to help groups who are undermining the ability of our society to provide a better life for all of us. Anyone who looks can find the evidence of this, the CIA and FBI have continually warned about it. These groups have pushed the extreme ideological makeover of our universities which in turn has corrupted every institution and profession in the country. No economy could survive in these circumstances, just look at Communist Russia or China under Mao. But as much as we say these countries are our adversaries, we just ignore what they do with no pushback, much less a counterattack.
And much as I hate to say it, it is too late to reverse what has been set in motion. We have allowed the complete perversion of our institutions and I don’t even know how we would begin to change that. And there really is no recovery from our economic straits without immense pain that people can’t imagine enduring. Our younger generations truly are a majority of snowflakes, incapable of handling the slightest discomfort or dealing with any challenge. Russia and China know this and they are coming for us so that their leaders can expand their own egomaniacal visions of a totalitarian world shaped solely by them without interference from an economically and militarily powerful United States. So enjoy that thrilling slide down the ice slope before you hit empty air and the plunge to oblivion. You are living the decline of the American prosperity.