Bill Bonner – Bill Bonner’s Diary (United States) –
POITOU, FRANCE – Autumn has finally imposed itself. The yellow and gold leaves drift down… morning fog rises… and the remains of the day grow cold. We now have a fire in the fireplace all day long.
A couple of oak trees had to come down. They were almost dead. And an old araucaria threatened to fall on our s.
Rotted trees are cut down on Bill’s countryside estate
“When they get old, the worms get into them,” explained the man with the chainsaw in his hands.
“Then they weaken fast. And the wood isn’t any good. It’s better to cut them down before the worms eat them up.”
$4 Trillion Budget
The weather may be cold, but the markets are hot.
The Dow is above 23,000 points – a new record. And according to yesterday’s press reports, the job market hasn’t been this “firm” since 1973.
Meanwhile, the Senate has just approved a $4 trillion budget. Reports The Washington Post:
[B]y agreeing to the massive tax cut, Senate Republicans have officially moved the party far away from its promised goal of ensuring the tax plan would not add to the deficit. The White House and House Republicans had vowed that the tax cuts would be offset with new revenue from the elimination of certain deductions, but that is no longer the GOP’s goal. Instead, they have abandoned long-standing party orthodoxy of deficit reduction and are seeking a political win after months of frustration on Capitol Hill.
Just as we predicted, the Swamp has won. Neither party now has any interest in draining it.
Worms Burrow In
We’re executing a wide flanking movement, trying to round up as many “dots” as possible to get a fuller, more accurate view of what is really going on.
In particular, we’re trying to understand why the U.S. government doesn’t work the way it’s “s’posed” to.
The American system, with its “balance of powers” and its bicameral legislature, was designed for small, limited government. It was meant to be a nation of “laws, not of men.”
But laws must be simple. And understandable. Moses only had 10 of them. Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount, reduced them to just two.
Today, in the United States of America, we have 10,000… or more. Who can write and remember so many? Not the legislature.
Members of Congress, representing their constituents’ interests, can only come to terms on simple things they can all understand – when to declare war, for example.
Or they could vote to give a war hero a pension or declare a national day of mourning if Kim Kardashian should suddenly die. Or they might agree to raise the tax rate from 10% to 11% to cover a national emergency.
Over time, though, the system becomes more complex. The worms burrow in. (Readers will recognize the phenomenon described by anthropologist and historian Joseph Tainter in his book, The Collapse of Complex Societies. As societies evolve, they add complexity. Complexity costs time, money, and resources. Eventually, the costs of complexity overwhelm the productive output of the society. It collapses.)
Gradually, insiders get more control and create special privileges and emoluments for themselves; it becomes impossible for the people’s representatives to keep up.
They can’t know what scams are buried in 10,000 pages of Obamacare regulations… or what juicy plums lie in the 70,000 pages of the U.S. tax code.
Typically, as the system degenerates, the legislature is reduced to a group of blathering, blustering, blithering idiots, while real power shifts to the technocrats… the insiders… the lobbyists… and the apparatchiks and nomenklatura of the administration.
The legislature passes sweeping, grandiose, open-ended laws – often without reading them. Deep State functionaries, who know where the juice is, fill in the details.
That is what just happened. The Senate passed a “budget.” No member of the Senate knows what the feds are going to do with $4 trillion… or even where they are going to get the money. Neither does the White House. The insiders will take care of it. And their number one goal will be to take care of themselves.
You can see how this operates at the “war powers” level, too.
Congress – and only Congress – is supposed to have the power to declare war. Instead, it passes general, feel-good legislation – such as the Patriot Act, the War Powers Act (originally intended to limit the president’s ability to act on his own), and various AUMFs (Authorization for Use of Military Force) – and leaves the military cronies free to meddle and blunder as is their wont.
Neither the public nor members of Congress knows what they are up to. Are we with Al-Qaeda against ISIS… or is it the other way around? Who knows?
When four U.S. Special Forces soldiers were ambushed in Niger, for example, the typical, and sensible, response is: “What were they doing in Niger?” Or: “Where is Niger… is that where Nigerians live?”
Thinking Americans tend to be disgusted. They see the contradictions, the delusions, and the double-dealing. They turn off the TV, cancel their newspaper subions, and throw away their voter registration cards… wisely turning their attentions to their gardens and their grandchildren.
The other 98% of the population is entranced. Hypnotized. Exploited. Like dead wood.
More to come…