LINK TO AUDIO
The subject of this lecture is Outlook 2021. The purpose of this lecture is to clarify our thinking and our planning for 2021 and beyond.
GETTING READY FOR THE REAL FUTURE COMING
We hear a lot of talk that 2021 has got to be better than 2020 and we hope so. But it's important we get ready for what's coming and not a fairytale view of what's coming. Wall Street has apparently already decided what's coming. Wall Street is at an all-time high. The ruling one percenters, the plutocrats, one of the leading banks predicted we were about to be in "Nirvana". This is completely insane and absurd, and the fact that such absurd ideas are being taken seriously by elites at the top of American society is extremely disquieting. The stock market is a kind of public opinion poll of the money lords. It's not some scientific analysis of economics or what's coming.
A LOOK AT THE CURRENT CRISIS
Now let's look at the first crisis. The virus crisis. The health crisis. Hopefully the vaccines work. Hopefully the replacement of a lunatic, Mr. Donald Trump, as president by a sane person, Joe Biden, will be a quantum step forward in organizing the country's response to this disaster.
One of the reasons we got into this disaster has been the attack on government power, the attack on the state that started under Reagan, which has involved the disrespect for government employees and mindless budget cuts in non-defense non war discretionary spending (translating that into English, that means organizations such as the CDC, the EPA, and other organizations in the government that we need.) So today we have a good part of the bridges in the country about to fall down. We are the only modern state that does not have a high-speed rail network. We have a collection of antique choo-choo trains that we call a passenger rail system. The national parks are falling apart. Social Security's management is falling apart from budget cuts and so on and so forth.
This is part of a legacy of totally insane policies and the focus of the country on war and tax cuts for the 1% and the international deals we really shouldn't: be called trade deals. We should call them plutocracy deals where the ruling 1% have been willing to sell out US workers to make higher profits by closing down US factories throwing those workers out of work and setting up shop in a communist police states such as China and other happy places around the world like that. So it's part of a pattern.
CDC DIRECTOR REDFIELD FUMBLES VIRUS RESPONSE
Under Trump you have the appointment of Mr. Redfield, a not very competent evangelical Christian who doesn't like gay people, in charge of a vitally important organization such as the CDC, and he fumbled the ball when the virus arrived.
REAGAN ERA POLICIES LEAVE GOVERNMENT WEAK TO RESPOND AGAINST THREATS
Ronald Reagan claimed he wanted to get government out of the way and in in so many ways he succeeded. When the virus arrived in America, Reagan's policies got government out of the way, and now over 300,000 people got killed by the virus after the government got out of the way and this is just the tip of the iceberg of people who've been injured and killed since environmental regulations have been gutted, safety regulations have been gutted and a lack of investment in healthcare, job-training so on.
BIPARTISAN ROOTS OF PRESENT PROBLEMS
So it's very important understand America was very sick before the virus appeared, and it is important to understand since the establishment is coming back into power that the sickness is very bipartisan. Clinton was elected in 93 to make major changes. Instead, he continued war spending and participated in further gutting key government programs. The most despicable action of which was the welfare destruction bill where he gutted aid and support to the most vulnerable members of society. This was hailed as a reform. The very fact that something like this could be held is reform shows how deranged the thinking is in the American government and the American media elites.
When Obama came in, he requested the largest war spending budget since World War II. Think about that. Obama demanded more money for war than even at the height of the Cold War and then he launched a surge of 35,000 troops into Afghanistan which turned out to be a total failure and he proceeded to intervene and bomb more foreign countries than any other president and his interventions over and over and over again turned out to be totally disastrous such as Libya Yemen Syria we could go on Sudan we could go on so this was not a very happy subject and Obama put through more budget cuts at the EPA and other organizations.
THE TWO CRISES OF 2020 - THE VIRUS AND THE ECONOMY
Now theoretically the response to the virus will get better. We don't know that for sure by the way so theoretically that will happen but it's very important to understand in 2020 there were two catastrophes. The first is the virus. The second is the economic collapse and in 2020 the US economy which was already in very sorry shape being sort of an upside down pyramid of junk debt mainly oriented towards the money lords at the top. We could discuss the problems in the US economy some of the time but the main point is the US economy basically took a torpedo in the engine.
Now a key question is how fast people are get back to work in 2021 because if that's not very fast, the economic consequences are going to be even more horrendous than they currently appear. People keep focusing on the virus. The virus is just 50% of the crisis. The other 50% is the economic crisis. Politically one might think that the virus would bring America together but the deranged behavior of the Republicans to the obvious victory of Biden is an ominous warning about how deeply ill the country is politically and again there's a bipartisan aspect of this.
THE INSANITY OF TRUMP
Mr. Trump is has not been mentally well for a long time and in our view should've been removed by the 25th amendment but he was not and the good part of the political left has been so obsessed with Mr. Trump and so rightfully outraged by his comments but they have gotten so emotionally out of control they have obsessed about Mr. Trump to the exclusion of coming up with of alternatives to Mr. Trump.
THE PROBLEM OF DEBT
The Democratic Party that will be coming to power on January 21 is a deeply divided Democratic Party and also faces really grim choices that need to have a national consensus to work. As we just mentioned the national consensus is not looking so good. It would be very foolish not to recognize that fact, because in the first place, the astronomical level of the debt that needs to be financed and then yes people the paying of the debt. Unfortunately both on Wall Street and in parts of the American progressive community, there's a total fairytale view of the debt. There's a theory called modern monetary theory which is similar to the theory of John Law under Louis XV. The theory of, "don't worry we can just print money and the Federal Reserve will hold down interest rates and it's all going to be fine. That ended in disaster in for Louis XV that help wreck France financially and so badly that it helps set the stage for the French Revolution which ended up bringing down the whole system and that's not going to work very well here. Unless they can get a grip on the budget deficit you are likely to have a severe liquidity crisis in world financial markets because a good part of the other countries are borrowing too.
THE ESCALATION TOWARD WAR WITH CHINA AND RUSSIA MUST BE STOPPED
So we shall see. We wish Mr. Biden the best and we are going to try to advocate programs that will steer things in the right direction in particular the escalation towards war with China and Russia must be stopped in particular we need to move towards a world where China America and other great powers will come together to deal with life-threatening crises such as climate change the crisis in the ocean and so on. The latter is particularly grim in terms of the danger of plastic in the oceans and so on. So that needs to happen so far it's all not clear.
THINKING ABOUT WHAT'S AHEAD
It's clear that Mr. Biden will be better than Mr. Trump but that's not good enough. Think of a patient is gravely ill. The patient needs 100% injection of the antibiotic. If the patient just gets a little antibiotic and the patient will die. So is Biden going to be able to dispense the full-strength medicine that will revive the patient? That's not at all clear at all and what we need to think about is that 2021 and the years beyond it are going to be a very tough time where America makes up for years and years of neglect in dealing with problems as is documented on our website. Now this is just an introductory overview and there's so much more that needs to be said but we wanted to get this out as 2021 begins.