Post-pandemic Insanity

Economic Perspectives 101

The mad, the bad, the dangerous and the demented
Open Government Licence 3.0.

It is beyond dispute that Covid’s ravages are on the wane, yet resistance to freedom appears to be far more resilient than the virus. Over two short years a so-called Conservative government, egged on by persistently dismal statistical interpretations of data compiled by its medical henchmen, has cowed the population into a psychological mindset of abject submission. We are witnessing the capitulation of civil liberties on a scale that even the harshest dictator could only dream of.

Citizens’ rights and liberties, once irrevocable pillars of democratic life, are now conditional and, in flagrant disregard of government’s assured staging posts on the return to freedom, are likely to remain conditional. Reprieve from the enforced token rituals of compliant scrubbing, distancing and masking, scheduled for June 21st, becomes more remote by the hour. My bet is that every relaxation will be accompanied by the standard “advisory precautions” of – yes – scrubbing, masking and indoor-distancing.

The stalwart citizenry of this once-great democracy, like lambs bleating in the wilderness, will reassert – not their love of unshackled freedom, but new depths of risk aversion that utterly defy the reality of proven vaccine success. We have never expected the government to protect us from illness – but now it’s the government’s fault if someone catches the virus.

Hooray for the vaccine!

Truly astonishing. A year ago we were persuaded to put up with the misery of incarceration (quarantining) but only “until the arrival of a vaccine”. And now that tens of millions have been vaccinated in the most successful rollout we could ever have hoped for, the government’s medical lackeys tell us that vaccinated people may nevertheless be acting as unwitting carriers. As they say in the classics, “You can’t win!” 

There is in fact only one way to win, bearing in mind that this wholesale capture of our right to self-determination was achieved without recourse to any normal parliamentary process. It was instead accomplished by recourse to emergency powers to proceed full-force against an unknown disease rampaging its unrestrained way around the globe. Unprepared leaders rushed headlong into panic-mode and, as it has turned out, got everything laughably, but utterly, wrong – until the vaccine actually arrived.

Consequently, the only solution guaranteed to prevent a repetition of the farcical series of blunders that have left the citizenry of this nation stripped of both rights and dignity, is to legislate to reverse the powers undemocratically seized by Westminster – so that it truly cannot happen again, no matter how virulent the next strain may be. If the Commons has been rendered so inept that it can’t even re-establish the principle of parliamentary scrutiny of our laws, we might as well curl up and die without a murmur.

Nanny knows best

Since the prevailing insanity feeds upon itself there is little point in trying to distinguish cause from effect. For example, the adoption by government of nanny-status is itself a consequence of the unbridled welfarism that has insidiously morphed us from a caring state into one in which uncosted socialist expectations are the order of the day.

Have you not noticed the ease with which any measure adopted “for the public good” so easily slides into tyranny – always for your own good, naturally? A small – but all-to-typical example: outdoor smoking is now banned in Durham, Newcastle, Manchester and Oxford. Please see this for what it is: some little shit on the Council sits on his idle arse and is paid an inflation-proof salary and pension by taxpayers to dream up another intrusion designed solely to mess up other people’s lives.

Do you see where we are heading? China has just decided to grant couples the right to have 3 children – not out of kindness, or love of humanity – but only because their earlier one-child diktat came close to destroying their nation’s social fabric as well as its economy – the inevitable consequence, always.

Is this what “saving lives” means?

Reverting to Covid: measures enacted to “save lives” crippled the economy while losing other lives – not to the virus, but to the misery of NHS queues, untreated cancer and coronary cases, useless test-and-trace centres, rising incidence of dementia, and the frustration of thousands of hours of unanswered phone calls. This now reveals a landscape of ruined businesses and the loss of family fortunes that kept them going.

The Covid virus was, of course, the state’s justification for tossing newly-printed furlough-billions into the mix. Yet now that the surviving sectors are desperate to re-engage employees, businesses find that they can’t get staff out of bed in the mornings – why should they get up when they have been blessed with more dosh than they ever earned by working! This is called “Consequences” – to understand the game all you have to do is join the dots.

It’s not just furlough; the Chancellor is clearly vying for top slot in the popularity stakes, never missing an opportunity to identify something to throw money at – always managing a straight face while stressing the need for fiscal rectitude.

Voila! “Universal Basic Income” has arrived in effect, without even having to ask for it! Sunak is now promising (i) version 5 of his grant under the government’s “self-employment income support scheme” covering May to September 2021, having just doled out £4.75 billion on version 4; (ii) £3,000 for every apprentice taken on under business training schemes; (iii) a state-funded 30 per cent “Discount” under the new “First Homes” Scheme for “key workers” and local residents. [Thatcher did not stimulate home-ownership by printing fake money – she did it by removing obstacles.]

There’s no thought for the mountain of debt that makes up the other half of the monetary equation, or how it will be repaid. No glimmer of recognition that this process of compassionate do-goodery is nothing but a short-term “fix” that grossly distorts the functionality of every economic actor, while coming nowhere near the problem. Where is the recognition that no government has ever achieved what markets do all the time quite naturally – once unshackled? No wonder Starmer and the opposition ranks find they have nothing to do!

Is Biden any better?

Exactly the same syndrome is on display in the USA. The Democrats installed Joe Biden and they will reap the whirlwind. Everything he does belies earlier promises He arrived proclaiming his Irish roots, yet he has just signed up to the G7 tax cartel, agreeing to push for an international minimum corporate tax of 15 per cent (as a concession to his preferred rate of 21 per cent). Yet the top Irish rate is 12.5 percent, on which the country has thrived, attracting major players to base their operations in the Republic. Does Biden not know the cry which helped to found the United States: “No taxation without representation!”?  Would Biden allow his country’s taxes to be determined by an international directive rather than Congress?

The man must be a terrible fool anyway. In his first 100 days his discretional spending plan will take his total to more than $6 trillion, on top of the non-discretionary budget of $5 trillion. Against this modest spree of nearly $12 trillion (almost 60% of GDP) the total US tax-take is only $3.5 trillion. But stringing a logical sequence together is clearly not one of his strengths. He is so dazzled by zeroes that he doesn’t know the difference between billions and trillions anyway.

Like there’s no tomorrow!

Have you never heard of the latest Socialist wheeze, “Modern Monetary Theory” (MMT)? It posits that since this freshly printed money is ultimately “owed-by-us-to-us” it all cancels out and there is therefore nothing to worry about anyway. Can it be a mere coincidence that MMT also stands for the “Magic Money Tree” that stands in the rear garden of the US Federal Reserve?

Let’s conclude with a shred of Claudio Grass’s schoolboy sanity: “When you flood the system with “free” cash, all chasing the same goods, how could prices fail to rise?”

Hyperinflation is coming – soon.

© Emile Woolf June 2021 (website)

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