Bill Bonner

We were snowed in Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. By Thursday, essential supplies were running short. All we had left was two cases of red wine. Would that be enough to last until Friday? We had our doubts…

Cabin fever had set in. In desperation, we read the paper. Big mistake. The papers in Washington take themselves seriously. They tell us about congressmen, senators, agency heads, lobbyists, crooks, perverts and other politicos. One man has held up a liquor store. Another has waylaid an entire nation. These are the people who could be called the “power elite.” They are at the head of our government…they are leading and directing our great empire. Which only makes us wonder about the whole thing. Maybe a country isn’t so great after all…but just an accident…one that happens in spite of the dumbbells running it? And maybe an empire comes about not because of the drive and vision of the imperialists, but of its internal momentum…and on its own schedule…no matter what the nincompoops think.

This may seem like a trivial thought to you but it has its roots in a respectable intellectual tradition. Is it men who make history…or history that makes men?

Probably a little of both. But if we’re counting on the men (and by that we also refer to the distaff half of the population) in Washington to guide this empire on to greater glory…we’re going to be deeply disappointed. They aren’t capable of it.

Take the wars in Iraq and Iran…please! Everyone who’s ever cracked a history book knows that you don’t fight expensive wars in distant places with your own troops and your own money when you have nothing to gain from it. Especially not when you have to borrow the money! You get someone else to fight the war…at his own expense.

But our beat here at The Daily Reckoning is money…not war. Still, our opinions are the same about them both. America is overstretched…overextended…and overdue for a serious correction. Her wages are too high. Her debts are too heavy. Her expenses are too great. And her leaders have no idea what is going on.

As to most of the foregoing list, our opinions are probably no better than anyone else’s. But as to the last item, we speak with authority. We are connoisseurs of imbecility. We have watched it for decades. It amuses us. It fascinates us. It intrigues and perplexes us. How come people can drive down the highway at 70mph…making thousands of precise calculations with mortal stakes, but then ask them a question about economic policy or foreign policy or no-shirt, no-service policy…and psssht…their good sense goes out the window? We’ve studied this question for many years….

In other words, we know an imbecile when we see one. And when we see Ben Bernanke or Tim Geithner our eyes light up. Our nostrils flare. And our chest expands. Before us is a specimen we know very well. Boobus Americanus Economistica. It is a variety of imbecile that has gotten far too little attention from the academic world. Too little research has been done on them, in our opinion. That’s why it is left to us amateur imbecile-spotters to keep track of them.

Mr. Bernanke is a standout example. The former head of the Princeton University economics department knows all there is to know about a depression – except the important part. He doesn’t understand what causes them. And he completely misunderstands what the role of government should be in dealing with them. But we have already explained all this to you, dear reader, so we won’t repeat ourselves here…except to say that any truck driver and hair stylist knows you can’t spend your way out of debt. Mr. Bernanke doesn’t believe it. That’s the very definition of Boobus Americanus Economistica; he has educated himself out of his common sense.

Mr. Geithner, meanwhile, tries to make up for what he lacks in scholarly gravity with one heckuva nice wardrobe and a spiffy haircut. It’s definitely a plus to have such a sartorial crackerjack at the head of the Treasury Department, but it would be nice if he had some dim notion of how the bond market works too.

Moody’s warned that the US would lose its triple-A rating if it continues borrowing money at the present rate. Our old friend Marc Faber was on TV this week explaining what the consequences would ultimately be: the US will default on its debt, he said.

Mr. Geithner did not even bother with the idea of default. It was beyond his imaginative powers. As to losing the three As, he said that would “never” happen. Which is what set us to thinking about the quality of US leadership. Of course, the US will lose its bond rating…and will default. There is no question about it. No nation has ever existed, except for present company…whose histories have yet to be completed…that didn’t default, renege, collapse, go bankrupt, disappear, disintegrate, capitulate, or otherwise fall over and die. The only questions are when and how.

Enjoy your weekend,

Bill Bonner,
for The Daily Reckoning

Bill Bonner

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success in numerous industries. His unique writing style, philanthropic undertakings and preservationist activities have been recognized by some of America's most respected authorities. With his friend and colleague Addison Wiggin, he co-founded The Daily Reckoning in 1999, and together they co-wrote the New York Times best-selling books Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. His other works include Mobs, Messiahs and Markets (with Lila Rajiva), Dice Have No Memory, and most recently, Hormegeddon: How Too Much of a Good Thing Leads to Disaster. His most recent project is The Bill Bonner Letter.

  • Harry

    As I sit at the beginning of this President’s Day weekend, I have a sense of pride that is shared throughout our country. We are a strong, willful and persevering group, united in growing our nation even in the worst of times.

    Now with our economy clearly on a strong tract of recovery, it’s time to look toward the future. And what I see is prosperity for generations to come.

    We have shown the world that we can face any crisis head on and come out victorious. As bad a wreck as the financial situation seemed, we pulled out fiercely and rapidly. As America always does.

    On Monday, take time to reflect on how fortunate we are to have the present leadership in place that has successfully guided us through rough waters on the road to sustainable growth.

    Thank you, Mr. President for your toughness, your intelligence and your ability to surround yourself with great leaders. Happy President’s Day!

  • Bastiat

    Harry, don’t you feel ashamed of being nothing but a retarded nationalist?

  • still2strokin

    Harry, do you also think that the United States is the center of the universe; the land of the righteous, chosen, and just?

  • Perpluxed

    @ Still2

    Doesn’t every red-blooded American think that way? You know, birthrights, Manifest Destiny, greatest country on Earth Stuff?

    Is it just coincidence that Jesus loves Amerika best since we aren’t a bunch of commie pinkos here? We have a unique breed of (christian) fundamentalism that is the envy of the world. That… and our freedom.

    My goodness, and soon you’ll be saying that Detroit’s wastefulness and our unabashed trashing of our forests and the indigenous people of this great land were bad things! The nerve….


  • Scorecard

    Oh, btw folks… as of 2-11


    DOW Trans…..-5.94%
    DOW Util…..-7.68%
    NYSE Comp…..-5.09%
    S&P 500…..-4.21%
    S&P 400…..-3.59%
    Wilshire 5000…..-4.02%
    Russell 2000…..-4.73%

  • daddysteve

    Harry is living proof that anti-depressants really DO work.

  • CanadaNorth

    Hey! Do you posters think that Harry is really Harry? I think Harry’s real name is Bill, Bill has that kind of sense of humour don’t you think? Or at least a friend of Bill’s, maybe son Will? Okay, maybe Harry really is Harry, Bill must love it anyway. Mr. Bonner you have outdone yourself on another great piece, always very entertaing and educational. Best Regards, CanadaNorth.

  • ms. doubtfire

    love your humor expressing the truth!

  • LAgirl

    USA will never lose its AAA rating for the same reason FNMA didn’t, the ratings agencies are under the control of those whom they rate. Duh.

  • Rick Halsen

    Bonner’s telling it like it is. I expect he’ll continue doing thus until there’s a genuine legit reason not to.


  • http://www.Commander& CD-Rom Emmanuel

    I’m all for waterboarding people like Harry!

  • JMR Alan Greenspan

    Let me pick myself up from the floor…all right…

    Oh, Harry, you`re precious, man! You just make my day…thanks man, you`ll have a great carrer in stand up comedy…!

  • JMR Alan Greenspan

    Harry lives in a trailler, he calls Obama “Mr. President”, and he thinks we should bomb the Eiffel Tower to teach those fagot french guys about “freedom”… He reminds me why I feel soooooooooo good to see the US eat some serious dirt…I’m having a blast here!

  • Harry

    “Bonner’s telling it like it is. I expect he’ll continue doing thus until there’s a genuine legit reason not to.”

    -He has no choice now lest he look like a complete moron. He’ll go down with the ship of doom as the rest of us in the real world, sail toward growth and prosperity. All of which is being made possible by the guidance of Mr. Bernanke et al.

  • Silver Bully

    ‘He’ll go down with the ship of doom as the rest of us in the real world, sail toward growth and prosperity. All of which is being made possible by the guidance of Mr. Bernanke et al.’

    Sail into prosperity? With over a trillion dollars of new government debt, every year, into infinity and beyond? With tens of trillions of private debt yet to be unloaded? Maybe I should move to Zimbabwe. I hear their ‘currency’ is a zillion times better than ours (I think that’s more than a trillion). I even hear they barter for things. It works for them. Just a little bit. Maybe a smidge.

  • Mark @ Israel

    I agree. Imbeciles in US leadership cause the economic instability of the country. This is a sad fact that we all have to face.

  • Linda

    It’s the embeciles and the conspiratorial banks combined. It’s all by design.

  • Bloomer

    We mock the politicians. By who is calling the shots here. Do you honestly believe this is a peoples’ government? Its a government by the corporations for the corporations. Hence, the big bank bailouts. The government is operated like a big business, self-serving, short-sighted and dysfunctional.

  • Jack

    Hey Harry, HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA AH. You got the 12,000,000,000,000.00 The world sees us for whar we are corupt, and bankrupt. They are trying to figure out what to do. After which we will be forced to pay the price of our irresponability, the rest of the world will make sure we do. I hope you don’t have kids to go fight the next enemy to keep us from thinking about our own misery.

  • Silver Bully

    “The government is operated like a big business, self-serving, short-sighted and dysfunctional.”

    Bingo. Let me quote Thomas Jefferson, from one of many statements he made against having a central bank (i.e. – the Fed):

    “It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.”

    In other words, END THE FED. Destroy it. Raze it to the ground. Stop it from being used for the bankstaz’ benefit instead of the Peoples’. It is the THIRD attempt at a central bank by the U.S. in our short history. I should say 3 strikes and yer out, but in this case I have to settle for 3 strikes and I’m broke.

  • Sundance

    Wow Harry that’s some serious sh!t you’re smoking. Mind if I borrow some ?

  • Nigheve

    He who has the riches controls the fate of those in need. The planning of the financial collapse was years in the making. The sheep of the world were set up and now are being slayed. The details as to whether it will be a long dragged out recession or a shorter more brutal depression was the only sticking point. There is no such a thing as a world wide financial accident due to ineptness or stupidity, trust in those who deceive and you shall be deceived.

  • Some Guy

    I suspect that Harry simply forgot to use the “sarcasm font” when he was writing his message.

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