James Howard Kunstler -- World News Trust
Dec. 18, 2017
The Tax “Reform” bill working its way painfully out the digestive system of congress like a sigmoid fistula, ought be re-named the U.S. Asset-stripping Assistance Act of 2017, because that’s what is about to splatter the faces of the waiting public, most of whom won’t have a personal lobbyist / tax lawyer by their sides holding a protective tarpulin during the climactic colonic burst of legislation.
Sssshhhh…. The media has not groked this, but the economy is actually collapsing, and the nova-like expansion of the stock markets is exactly the sort of action you might expect in a system getting ready to blow. Meanwhile, the more visible rise of the laughable scam known as crypto-currency, is like the plume of smoke coming out of Vesuvius around 79 AD — an amusing curiosity to the citizens of Pompeii below, going about their normal activities, eating pizza, buying slaves, making love — before hellfire rained down on them.
Whatever the corporate tax rate might be, it won’t be enough to rescue the Ponzi scheme that governing has become, with its implacable costs of empire. So the real aim here is to keep up appearances at all costs just a little while longer while the table scraps of a 400-year-long New World banquet get tossed to the hogs of Wall Street and their accomplices. The catch is that even hogs busy fattening up don’t have a clue about their imminent slaughter.
The centerpiece of the swindle, as usual, is control fraud on the grand scale. Control fraud is the mis-use of authority in applying Three-Card-Monte principles to financial accounting practice, so that a credulous, trustful public will be too bamboozled to see the money drain from their bank accounts and the ground shift under their feet until the moment of freefall. Control fraud is at work in the corporate C-suites, of course, because that is its natural habitat — remember that silver-haired CEO swine from Wells Fargo who got off scot-free with a life-time supply of acorns after scamming his account-holders — but their errand boys and girls in congress have been superbly groomed, pampered, fed, and trained to break trail and cover for them.
The country has gotten used to thinking that the game of pretend is exactly the same as what is actually going on in the world. The now-seminal phrase coined by Karl Rove, “we make our own reality,” is as comforting these days to Republicans from Idaho as it is to hairy, “intersectional” professors of post-structural gender studies in the bluest ivory towers of the Ivy League. Nobody in this Republic really wants to get his-hers-zhe’s-they’s reality on.
Ah, but reality wants to do its thing regardless of our wishes, hopes, and pretenses, and you can kind of see how these moves taken in the dark waning hours of 2017 will play out in the quickening weeks of 2018. Long about March or April, something’s got to give. Other players around the world are surely eager to assist shoving this mad bull of a polity towards the critical state it deserves to enter, though we are doing quite enough on our own to put ourselves at ground zero of financial and political implosion.
The addiction metaphor does apply to America. We are simply addicted to our own bullshit. But like all floundering addicts, we have to hit bottom before anything like clarity returns to our daily doings. When that does happen, it will be as far from intoxicating as you can imagine. The smoldering wreckage of The World’s Highest Standard of Living will be visible in a 360-degree panorama. A lot of familiar faces will be among the suddenly missing. But we’re already prepped for this by the sexual purges of the season. One day, the reassuring figure of ole Garrison Keillor is there to remind you of the exquisite taste of Midwestern sweet corn on an August night; and the next morning, you’re up to your eyeballs in the colonic explosion of unintended consequences engineered by the least reassuring cast of characters ever assembled under one capitol dome.
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