You will not find today’s Daily Reckoning much to your liking. Because it creeps upon an idea that will probably make you feel uncomfortable. At least, that is the effect it has on us.
But first, the latest news from the world of money.
Yesterday, the Dow fell 12 points. Gold shot up $30. And oil is headed back towards $100.
Gold refuses to go down. Stocks refuse to go up. But over the last ten years, gold has gone up big-time, while stocks have gone nowhere.
Why? Because America topped out in 1999.
We went to church on Sunday. The church was built in the 1860s by a group of Maryland Episcopalian planters who were breaking away from a pro-Union parish. Physically, it is a marvelous example of ‘carpenter gothic’ architecture from the mid-19th century.
Since we had been living in Europe for the last 15 years, we had few opportunities to attend our local church. But it once played an important role in our lives. Our family went every Sunday, and your editor was an altar boy for several years.
So, he put on his Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes – coat and tie – on Sunday morning, returning to the church he knew as a child, and took his place in a pew in the back of the church.
The first thing he noticed was that he was the only one wearing a tie…or a coat. The rest of the congregation looked as though it was ready to order foot-long hotdogs or spread out beach towels. A man who must have been 55 years old came in a pair of baggy shorts – the kind you would normally dip in soapy water and use to wash the car. Over his broad stomach he wore an olive-drab tee-shirt of the sort worn by Tennessee auto mechanics. This was a level of informality we had never before seen in an Episcopal church. Or any church, for that matter.
We were reassured when the choir appeared at the back of the church. It looked normal. Clad in bright red and blue, traditional vestments. With the cross going before them. But wait…there were two flags flanking the cross. One was a flag for the Episcopal Church. The other was the stars and stripes of the USA. Politics and religion – the state and the church – marched side by side up the aisle, as the choir pumped out a joyful hymn.
This church had become very pro-Union! Later, the choir sang two patriotic songs – “God Bless America” and the purely securely “America the Beautiful.” Never before had we heard praises to Caesar sung in a church.
But it didn’t seem to bother anyone. Christ and Caesar, Caesar and Christ… Most people like to see them together; they are as happy serving one master as the other. They like it even better when they have two of them.
It didn’t bother us either. After all, the morrow was the 4th of July. Maybe they did this only once a year….
Meanwhile, on the Internet, a site called “Economic Collapse” anticipated the high spirits of Independence Day with a list of 20 “not-so-great categories” in which the US really is Numero Uno. Its author first assures us of his loyalty:
I love the United States. I love the American people.
Then, he opens fire:
America is like an aging, bloated rock star that has become addicted to a dozen different drugs. America is a shadow of its former self and it desperately needs to wake up before it plunges into oblivion.
If you do not believe that America is in bad shape, just read the list below. The following are 20 not so good categories that the United States leads the world in….
#1 The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and the largest total prison population on the entire globe.
#2 According to NationMaster.com, the United States has the highest percentage of obese people in the world.
#3 The United States has the highest divorce rate on the globe by a wide margin.
#4 The United States is tied with the UK for the most hours of television watched per person each week.
#5 The United States has the highest rate of illegal drug use on the entire planet.
#6 There are more car thefts in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world by far.
#7 There are more reported rapes in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world.
#8 There are more reported murders in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world.
#9 There are more total crimes in the United States each year than anywhere else in the world.
#10 The United States also has more police officers than anywhere else in the world.
#11 The United States spends much more on health care as a percentage of GDP than any other nation on the face of the earth.
#12 The United States has more people on pharmaceutical drugs than any other country on the planet.
#13 The percentage of women taking antidepressants in America is higher than in any other country in the world.
#14 Americans have more student loan debt than anyone else in the world.
#15 More pornography is created in the United States than anywhere else on the entire globe. 89 percent is made in the USA and only 11 percent is made in the rest of the world.
#16 The United States has the largest trade deficit in the world every single year. Between December 2000 and December 2010, the United States ran a total trade deficit of 6.1 trillion dollars with the rest of the world, and the US has had a negative trade balance every single year since 1976.
#17 The United States spends 7 times more on the military than any other nation on the planet does. In fact, US military spending is greater than the military spending of China, Russia, Japan, India, and the rest of NATO combined.
#18 The United States has far more foreign military bases than any other country does.
#19 The United States has the most complicated tax system in the entire world.
#20 The US has accumulated the biggest national debt that the world has ever seen and it is rapidly getting worse. Right now, US government debt is expanding at a rate of $40,000 per second.
The truth is that America has changed. Most of us don’t even say hello to our neighbors anymore.
The United States was once the most blessed nation on the face of the earth, but now we are literally falling to pieces.
Does anyone have any ideas about why this could be happening?
Well, yes. We do have some ideas. But don’t think for a minute that we’re going to give you earnest advice on how to make the country a better place. There are approximately a million civil servants who are paid to do that! You can see for yourself what a good job they have done.
No, we’re just going to explain how America became a country of fat poor people who – when they’re not watching TV – are murdering and raping their fellow citizens.
In fact, we already have. It’s in a book. About 5 years ago, with Addison Wiggin, we wrote Empire of Debt. We predicted how America’s imperial mission would evolve. And we said it was unstoppable. Forget the debt ceiling. Forget the budget cuts. Forget the idle ranting and raving, posturing and pretending…this Bozo is going bust! Congress has raised the “ceiling” so often – 94 times in the last 94 years, the Capitol might as well be an open-air building. We wrote:
“The imperial spirit has gotten the best of her. She no longer plays a role that she can understand and control. Now, she is an imperial power: she must read from the script that has been thrust in her hands. She must provide security for the entire world… Someone has to do it. It is her turn to wear the purple, whether she wants to or not. Thus did she become the dictatress of the world; but no longer ruler of her own spirit – or her own finances.”
Like a clown shot out of a circus cannon, America’s trajectory is fixed. Just look at the “Number 1” items above. They are the marks of an imperial power in decline. Overseas, the imperial garrisons squander her military might. At home, the masses degenerate, squandering her wealth.
And here’s the worst part: America will continue in this direction until she falls on her head.
More to come…
Bill Bonnerfor The Daily Reckoning
Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America's most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind The Daily Reckoning. Dice Have No Memory: Big Bets & Bad Economics from Paris to the Pampas, the newest book from Bill Bonner, is the definitive compendium of Bill's daily reckonings from more than a decade: 1999-2010.
The republic is history (RIP). America is now a corporatist oligarchy… imho….
Americans are fat, lazy and ignorant by choice. It’s easier!
Any comments on Moody’s opinion concerning the China miracle?
although its small consulation and does not impact the other 19 indices of doom, maybe all the unemployed and underemployed americans are driving up the TV viewing numbers. its a relatively economical past time and, like a cheap antidepressent,does tend to deaden the mind. who knows, without it they might actually take to the streets and demand some adult responsible behavior by their representative politicans.
“The truth is that America has changed. Most of us don’t even say hello to our neighbors anymore.”
I don’t say ‘Hi!” to my neighbors on the left, mainly because they can barely speak English (only Spanish) plus I’m angry with them after I did a public records search on their house and discovered they haven’t paid their PROPERTY TAXES in almost 5 years. They currently owe more than $30K. Of course, that hasn’t stopped them from buying new imported cars, all of which they enjoy parking on their FRONT LAWN.
I don’t say “Hello!” to my neighbors on the right because they ALSO barely speak English (only Vietnamese). Plus I can hardly keep track of the 27 people who live in that “SINGLE FAMILY” house.
I also don’t say “Good day!” to my neighbor across the street, mainly because they only speak KOREAN.
I guess THIS is the “change you can believe in” promised by the Obankster.
I am now completely ready to EMIGRATE!!!
Thanks for the story, largely accurate, but for one small point: “America the Beautiful” has subsequent verses that are more fit for Church. One I recall is “america, america, God mend thine every fault”. It is more acceptable to me than the overtly jingoistic “God bless america”.
In the eloquent words of a fromer President from Texas….”this suckers goin’ down!” Enjoy the ride folks!
I agree with Bill here, the die is already cast and there is no force on earth that will change this nation’s rendevous with destiny. Americans have become fat, lazy and ignorant with an arrogant sense of entitlement. endless cable TV has turned their minds into mush. I can’t wait to see this Titanic go down, we’ve more than earned it.
Then why did you move to the US?
I would question reason/problem/proposition #1. Do you REALLY think WE have more people in prison than are in prison in CHina????
We have accepted as truth a myth which says we are not distinct biological entities, that race, culture and tradition don’t matter, and we are all interchangeable like so many automobile parts.
The real truth is that kinship and commonality are the foundation upon which
nations are built. Science knows that homogeneous societies are happier ones, and that multi-culturalism breeds distrust.
Land of missed opportunities. Land of the once free.
I thought the grand scheme was to keep the masses preoccupied and uneducation. This way the corporate elite can remain in control and enjoy their continued prosperity.
“I would question reason/problem/proposition #1. Do you REALLY think WE have more people in prison than are in prison in CHina????”
The answer, my friend, is sadly yes we do.
Sad to see so much resignation.
Unresisting acceptance of something as inescapable; submission.
Land of the ….
Stop using the dollar as much as possible and rather trade in silver coins/rounds on a day to day basis, more and more every day, until you no longer use dollars at all. Strip the bankers of their financial power, but first learn from the mistakes made in the Liberty dollar court case.
Great Article. I do hope as you surely do that your conclusion will not be verified.
People in The USA & around the world will have to wake up as citizen and encourage education, knowledge, honesty & solidarity.
Thanks for la chronique Agora too.
Given a choice, Bernanke will likely strangle the currency (your money)... in favor of “strengthening” the economy.
Eventually, economic reality and markets will collide -- unfortunately, the higher the market, the harder the fall.
How certain business practices wind up jacking up costs before sticking you with the bill.
The Japanese Nikkei fell flat on its face overnight.
While Bernanke Runs Wild, Let’s Talk Ponies