We Must Break Up Big Tech Contrarian Energy Stocks AMERICAN CONSEQUENCES The Real Cause of Economic Collapse TAMNY BOVARD SJUGGERUD
I D E A S T H A T M A T T E R
E D I T E D B Y P. J . O ’ R O U R K E
WILL 2021 HIT THE MARK?
JANUARY 2 0 2 1
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
A new year, a new president, a new vaccine – all in the first month. 2021 is not messing around! We’re excited to turn the page too... And we’ve got another fantastic issue crammed with original content and phenomenal writers, covering politics and finance with our own American Consequences twist. Editor in chief P.J. O’Rourke kicks things off by sharing his thoughts on the momentous Capitol breach. And in a special artistic spread, P.J. interviewed famed pen and ink artist Hank Blaustein, whose work spans decades and has been published in financial journals Grant’s Interest Rate Observer and Barron’s . Publisher Trish Regan takes us on a journey to the majestic Bretton Woods historic hotel, and says modern-day economics could use a page from its
Biotech expert Dave Lashmet has a persuasive essay full of scientific data on why you should definitely get the COVID-19 vaccine. Frequent contributor Dr. Steve Sjuggerud explains why energy stocks are the best contrarian bet you can make in the stock market today. In a passionate essay, Dan Ferris writes that Big Business shouldn’t infringe on anyone’s rights. Author and radio host Sebastian Gorka details how the swamp wins again by examining the recent billion-dollar COVID-19 relief package. You don’t want to miss this month’s bonus material, our Predictions for the New Year special report. We asked some of the brightest and most successful analysts and writers at Stansberry Research what
financially-disciplined policies. Censorship is making all the headlines of late... Rachel Bovard , former staffer to Sen. Rand Paul, makes a compelling argument as to why we must break up Big Tech. Commentary magazine John
they predict 2021 will bring... From bitcoin to cannabis, Melt Ups to crashes, and COVID-19 to commodities, we cover it all. Finally, Executive Editor
Podhoretz dives into new president Biden’s cabinet picks and D.C. writer Shane Devine addresses the changing party dynamics of Republicans voting Blue, and vice versa. Author and RealClearMarkets Editor John Tamny tells us it’s socialism, not debt, that causes economic collapse. And Executive Editor Kim Iskyan writes about the reasons conservatives will actually love Biden.
Buck Sexton ponders if Biden is up for the job at hand these next four years... and concludes he really just needs to show up and not screw things up to be considered a success. Regards, Laura Greaver Managing Editor, American Consequences
CONTENTS JANUARY 2021 : ISSUE 44
Letter From the Editor BY P.J. O'ROURKE
We're All Forced to Choose BY DAN FERRIS
From Our Inbox
The Incoming Administration BY JOHN PODHORETZ
A Tea Party at Bretton Woods BY TRISH REGAN
Editor in Chief: P.J. O’Rourke Publisher: Trish Regan Managing Director: Jamison Miller Executive Editors: Kim Iskyan, Buck Sexton Managing Editor: Laura Greaver Creative Director: Erica Wood Contributing Editors: Rachel Bovard, Shane Devine, Dan Ferris, Sebastian Gorka, PhD, David Lashmet, John Podhoretz, Dr. Steve Sjuggerud, John Tamny Advertising: Paige Henson, Jill Peterson Editorial Feedback: email@example.com Published by:
Yes! to The Covid-19 Vaccine BY DAVID LASHMET
We Must Break Up Big Tech BY RACHEL BOVARD
The Swamp Wins Again BY SEBASTIAN GORKA, PhD
Hank Blaustein: When Art Means Business BY P.J. O'ROURKE
True Conservatives Will Love President Joe Biden BY KIM ISKYAN Predictions for the NewYear BY STANSBERRY RESEARCH EDITORS
Contrarian Energy Stocks BY DR. STEVE SJUGGERUD
Socialism, Not Debt, Causes Economic Collapse BY JOHN TAMNY
104 The Final Word
BY BUCK SEXTON
Party Realignment BY SHANE DEVINE
108 Featured Contributors
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From Editor in Chief P.J. O’Rourke
AMERICA’S TEET TOTTERING DEMO “A fool’s tongue is long enough to cut his throat.” 17th-century proverb
S torming the Capitol Building was an attack on libertarian conservatism. To be a libertarian is to believe in the sanctity of individual liberty and the duty of individual responsibility. To be a conservative is to believe in the primacy of moral values and the continuity of civilized institutions. To be a mob is to surrender individual liberty to the madness of crowds, to shed responsibility like a pair of dirty socks, to put moral values out with the trash, and to piss on the walls (or break the windows and litter the floors) of civilized institutions. Given that America has the institution of democracy (and nothing, to date, has proven more civilized), our political construct is always going to be imperfect. It is, after all, the work of a committee. Our committee is the electorate, with all the frustrations and failings to which committees are prone. What gets constructed is sometimes an ugly building (though the Capitol is not). The building may be poorly made with floors that aren’t level and plumbing that backs up. The building may need to be repaired... or even replaced. But things are going to be worse if
the building collapses while we’re inside it. And a mob can do that... A mob can be the earthquake, the tornado, the flood, or the fire. As mob violence goes, the attack on the Capitol didn’t go far. The disturbance was quelled in a few hours. We have seen much worse in dozens of American cities over the past eight months – broader mayhem, greater bloodshed, prolonged anarchic occupations, threats, intimidations, vandalism, and looting on a massive scale. Much of that was played down as “mostly peaceful protests” or given tacit approval or even explicit encouragement by people in a position to influence public opinion. What makes storming the Capitol so significant? (Other than that it seemed to trigger a sudden awakening of the entire news media and political establishment to the fact that mob violence is wrong – even if their message continued to be, “especially when it comes from people who oppose the news media and political establishment.”) And why should storming the Capitol be a particular affront to libertarian conservatives? Because I’m afraid there were people in that
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
individually, about where all the beer went, we got "identical" answers that it was somebody else's fault. Primacy of moral values does not fare well among those who "can't tell left from wrong" or who think that virtue consists in wearing a certain kind of hat. Continuity of civilized institutions is not maintained by people who belong in one, let alone by letting the inmates run the asylum... or the prison, as the case may be. These people – whether just back from showing off their tattoos and Viking hat at the speaker’s podium in the Senate chamber or still moping around the deserted Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle – are to be regarded more with pity than with anger. Okay... with anger, too. They’re dangerous jerks. But they can’t find anything worthwhile to believe in. They look and act like idiots. They’re leading ugly, pointless, unpleasant lives. We should feel sorry for them... from a distance... a long distance. I’m thinking from here to Leavenworth for six to 10 years, with time off for normal behavior.
mob who would say they are “libertarians” or “conservatives.” And that would be lying... I hope I’m wrong... I hope all the people who invaded the Capitol were the anti- Biden version of the anti-Trumpers who led, followed, engaged in, or aided and abetted the previous rioting. These people, though opposite in politics, are of the same ilk in folly. They do not believe in individual liberty. They don’t think they’re free. They think there is something “systemic” – racism, capitalism, the deep state, canceled Twitter accounts, whatever – that prevents them from being free. Yet they’ve been acting freely enough. Indeed, they’ve been acting too freely – breaking and stealing things. And the way they’ve treated fellow citizens further proves the rioters’ scorn for individual liberty. They can’t believe other individuals have the liberty to disagree with them. Individual responsibility is shirked with proud announcements of collective "identity politics." My wife and I have made the mistake of leaving our three teenagers at home alone. When we questioned them,
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apologize to people with physical disabilities. But I hope people with political disabilities will take my point. Those who have ears blocked with prejudice, eyes rendered sightless by ideological hallucinations, and mouths full of crap can cripple democracy. I love you, Man! (From an old beer commercial)... You probably have heard this many times but I discovered you when a college friend turned me on to the National Lampoon in the fall of 1970. I almost fell off my chair with laughter at discovering it. The no-holds-barred character of the humor and, of course, the complete lack of polite taste really rocked my world! At the time, I thought that you and the gang at the NL were probably far-Left radicals, sort of an SDS humor mag. Pleasant surprise when I ran across some of your books years later to find that you were more of a libertarian and your politics coincided with mine! You still got it! I love reading your articles in American Consequences as your sense of humor has not faded. Happy New Year to all from a soon to be 69-year-old fan! (Holy Mother!) Thanks P.J. – Eric P.J. O’Rourke response: Eric, thank you for the figurative Bud Light! National Lampoon’s staff was all over the place politically. Henry Beard was an old-fashioned liberal. Sean Kelly and Tony Hendra considered themselves left- wing. John Hughes and I were more or less conservatives – “Pants-Down Republicans” as we put it. I don’t remember Doug Kenny ever mentioning politics. And Michael
Re: Love us? Hate us? We Want to Hear From You! P.J. O’Rourke and the American Consequences team, as somebody of the Left, but with an interest and respect for others’ ideas, I’ve been a reader of P.J. for decades, and American Consequences for these past few turbulent months. I don’t always agree with Trish, or Buck, or even P.J. (though you can regularly make me think, and laugh), but it is heartening to see your solid stance on the nonsense of this past week. I’ve counted myself lucky to be a citizen of Very Great Britain Indeed all my life. I’m proud today, once more, to call myself a friend of the United States and to look to the NewWorld, with all its power and might, to join the old in rescue of our shared liberty. With love and affection, – Chris P.J. O’Rourke response: Thank you, Chris. In free and democratic countries such as yours and ours, the real contest is never between Left and Right. (“Left” and “Right” being over-simplifications of the wide range of political views we citizens hold.) The real contest is between those who are open to argument – whose minds can be changed if facts and logic warrant – and those who are lost to argument because their minds are closed by fanatical conviction and willful ignorance. The real contest is always between people who can hear, speak, and see and people who are deaf, dumb, and blind. I realize that that is a rude metaphor, and I
will not support ESPN for turning our beautiful America communist or Marxist. Why are we letting them ruin our American fun andwhat are we teaching the next generation? Can Trish Regan give her two cents on this subject because it is so sad and we don’t know how to protest about them ruining football? – Janet and Seth P. Trish Regan response: Hi Janet and Seth, It’s terrible that sports has become politicized. Frankly, there’s just a little too much politics in every facet of our lives right now and I think we’d all be better off with less! We all care about our country... However, there needs to be opportunities, especially in the world of entertainment, to get away from the politics of the moment. I hope we’re entering a different chapter... We will see. Thanks for reaching out! Hi Trish, I enjoy your work and was sorry to see you taken off of Fox. One of the issues that seems to have been unspoken in the time since the election is the part a considerable number of our conservative brethren have played in helping to create the situation we currently find ourselves in... OUT of cash at record levels, pumping billions of dollars into a specific corner of the financial markets. So what's really going on... and what does it mean for YOUR money? Click here for answers . Ad: Prepare for a 'Cash Panic' The Nasdaq just hit 13,000 for the first time in history... while professional money managers are stampeding
O’Donoghue had a beatnik distain for everything to do with the subject. There was only one test for a joke at NatLamp: whether it was funny. People used to ask us, “Is there any subject that’s so serious that you won’t make fun of it?” And we’d reply, “Is there any disease that’s so serious that a doctor won’t treat it?” Love it! Keep ‘em coming, PJ! Picked up a copy of your book Give War a Chance . You deserve a Pulitzer for your fine, artistic writing, sir! All the best and Happy New Year, to all of you! – Harold S. P.J. O’Rourke response: I appreciate the compliment, Harold. But usually when humorists start getting prizes it’s because they’ve quit hurting enough people’s feelings – a sure sign that they aren’t very funny anymore. However, I can think of one huge exception. In 1988, my friend Dave Barry – who was and is the funniest person since Homo erectus gave Homo habilis a flint wedgie – received a Pulitzer Prize for his column in the Miami Herald. Dave deserved the award. But it’s also possible that the Pulitzer Prize judges were drinking. My husband and I love Trish Regan and her point of view. We normallywould not reach out but we wondered if this issue could be addressed on your platform. What is happening to all our sports?We love football and stoppedwatching professional football when they started using their stage to put America down. Now college football this weekend put up Black Lives Matter Marxist agenda and it has us turning the TV off. We
FROM OUR INBOX
Re: Life After COVID A marvelous column by P.J. O’Rourke! P.J., I am forwarding your column to all my friends. In fact, I am going to include it with my XMAS newsletter! Tusen Tack, P.S. A thousand thanks in Swedish – Lois P.J. O’Rourke response: And Tusen Tack back at you, Lois! Meanwhile, I’m not allowed to write the Xmas newsletter at our house because I tend to... lie. As in: “Our eldest, Muffin, continues her passion for synchronized swimming. The Tokyo Olympics were canceled this year, but Muffin is so impressive that the Olympic Committee decided to give her a gold medal anyway. Middle daughter, Poppet, is still following her bliss at MIT where her recent work in theoretical physics untangled the last knots in string theory. Youngest, Buster, got his driver’s license and promptly won the Daytona 500. Then, in February...” Re: The Sunshine State of Mind Buck, I voted with my feet one year ago, I left tri state area for Palm Beach County, FL... I loved your take on Miami... btw... everything is cheaper in FL... tolls, utilities, literally everything. And public works projects get done in a fewweeks; not years. They did a major beach replenishment in 7 weeks! For $6 mil! Not 6 years and $600mil! DeSantis does not get enough credit. – Roy B. Buck Sexton response: Roy, I’m happy that
With few exceptions, the conservative radio hosts and politicians jumped onto the COVID bandwagon with enthusiastic abandon. Howmuch of the mail-in debacle was aided and abetted by the conservatives who maintained their steadfast allegiance to the sanctity of the establishment medical industry’s party line of widespread death and mayhem from a virus with a 99.6% survival rate? Howmuch of the Left’s ability to engage in disastrous, unscientific and unconstitutional lockdowns and mask mandates has been aided and abetted by those in the conservative precincts nodding along, like toy dogs on the back shelf of the 1982 Nissan Sentra, with the establishment mantra? You are a smart woman, possessing keen observational skills. What are your thoughts? Am I off the mark or is the COVID response of conservative spokespeople and politicians distinctly emblematic of what we have seen of the never-Trump, go-along-to-get-along, big war/big government, Bush/McCain/ McConnell wing of the GOP? Thanks for your time and attention. – Charles K. Trish Regan response: Charles, I don’t think anyone quite anticipated how deadly the coronavirus would be. However, our approach as a society was misguided. Instead of shutting our entire economy down, I would have preferred to see us protect the people considered the most vulnerable while still allowing the rest of the economy to function. There is a way to safely operate in the pandemic, but unfortunately, the issue became very political.
So give Buck, and others, credit for pointing out – without the ranting that gets you tuned out – that our political ‘leaders’ have needlessly inflicted a lot of damage during this pandemic. America has enough problems to solve without one hand tied behind our back. – Damon C. Buck Sexton response: Damon, thanks for writing in. Indeed, while I may reach for the political flamethrower sometimes, when it comes to COVID-19 lockdowns, there’s too much at stake for the usual partisan
you made the choice you did and have enjoyed the benefits of it. But I’ve gotta tell you, your secret is out. Every week now, another New Yorker tells me that he or she is looking for a place in Florida to move to. The value proposition for paying NYC’s sky-high real estate and taxes just isn’t there anymore. So make some room for me in Palm Beach! I have often criticized Buck Sexton for his flame-throwing, all-in-for-Trump rhetoric but today I must praise him for a well-spoken, surprisingly moderate article that pointed out the simple fact that
food fights. The simple and easily observable fact is that lockdowns have been (at best) minimally effective at slowing
Florida’s milder approach to lockdowns may have resulted in no greater number of deaths than states like New York and California. While many other factors may have been at play – poverty and health care access, population density, vacationers catching Covid in Florida and returning home to die elsewhere – the simple fact is that lockdowns have been very much driven by local politics and conditions, and the results have been irrational, intermittent and, so far, inconclusive. Crowded, mask-less “super-spreader” events (likeWhite House celebrations) may have been much more deadly than barber shops or airplanes but the overall lack of focused testing, tracking and consistent policymeans we may never know.
caseloads in the U.S. Given the enormous societal costs they impose, this is nowhere near enough to justify their continuation. But nobody in charge wants to admit they’ve been wrong all along. Hello Mr. Sexton. I read your piece on your vacation in Miami, and it seems hypocritical to me. You rail against the ‘lockdown liberals’ and the failure of Democratic- run states to keep businesses open, and then you complain
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about the politicizing of the pandemic. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a Democrat, I am a Libertarian. I call them like I see them, regardless of party affiliation. The real reason why we have the
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France, Spain, Italy – all have higher deaths per capita than the U.S., and are suffering through enormous COVID-19 waves of their own this winter. They also engaged in severe lockdowns, which you seem to think would bring the death toll down overall. The evidence for this is weak. Simply put, you’ve internalized an opportunistic narrative that Trump’s political opponents crafted to beat him in 2020. And it worked. Re: The Exploding Debt Crisis... Happy New Year, Brian Darling’s article, which I appreciate, bemoaning the ever- increasing national debt repeats what various commentators have said for at least 40 years. Sadly, it reminds me of the little boy crying wolf. Might it be true that increasing national debt is not bad? The sky hasn’t fallen, nor does it show any signs of cracking. I simply ask for details explaining why and how the sky, for the past 40 years, has not fallen. Yes, I understand that inflation destroys a currency, including the dollar, but what other specific adverse effects has the enlarged governmental spending “caused” or is really likely to cause? How can taxpayers ever take any meaningful action to counter this spending of our money, most or least much of which goes to the most wealthy of us? No matter whom we elect, the game remains the same. The wealth flows in incredibly amounts to the very top tier and leaves the rest of us behind. Indeed, the 2020 pandemic
situation we are in is because we did not take this virus seriously during the first wave, and your boy Trump provided no leadership and in fact provided negative leadership on the pandemic. He politicized the pandemic like he did with everything else. We are already approaching a death toll that will exceed the number of Americans that died inWorldWar II. What will it take to convince people that life is more important than business? Had we all locked down and taken this seriously from the start, we would not be in the situation we are in. You are an intelligent man and a good writer, but do we really need to fan the flames of political division, or do we need to get past this horror as quickly and safely as we can? – Keith J. Buck Sexton response: Keith, I appreciate you sharing your perspective. Unfortunately, I think you’re wrong on all counts. Blaming Trump for the nation’s virus response is almost entirely a creation of media hype. The overwhelming majority of decision-making in the fight against COVID-19 has been at the state level, and the large Blue states like New York and California have had the most disastrous results. You say Trump provided “no leadership,” but that discounts many things, including his invocation of the defense production act for PPE and ventilators, and “Operation Warp Speed” which created the financial and regulatory framework for the miracle of a vaccine in under a year. As for “taking it seriously,” look at the situation in Europe right now, which I don’t think anyone would ever blame on Trump. The U.K.,
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spending created 56 new billionaires; the 659 billionaires received at least $960 billion in 2020 (which is enough to have provided $15,000 to each of the struggling 64 million American families); they have about $4 trillion of wealth, which is about double that of the bottom half of all Americans. I suggest that this current and growing concentration of income and wealth, more than the national debt issue, poses a far larger problem for us. Darling seems to attribute the problem of a large national debt to “socialism” but not to capitalism. But the USA has had, for about two centuries, socialism, or at least some elements of it, in the USA. Given the huge amount of governmental regulation, we certainly are not a capitalist country. Much of It has been socialism for the rich for which we “small folks” get stuck paying. Think of the farm subsidies which largely benefit huge corporate agri-businesses and not much to your local farmer, tax breaks for the builders of football or other athletic arenas and to other developers where eminent domain is used to take property from the “little” people, depletion “allowances” to big businesses which mine our not-infinite resources, leasing public lands for a pittance, governmental owed or supported utilities and universities, tax-exempt businesses run by churches, universities, other similarly tax exempt organizations, governmental subsidized student loans, governmental subsidized insurance and encouragement for the idiots building in flood plains and coastal areas, the Wall Street bailout in 2008, the billions
of dollars of unsupervised giveaways to huge businesses in the pandemic laws, etc. How much of our annual addition to the national debt is related to these items? – David S. Brian Darling response: David, good questions and you raise some valid issues. The economy has not collapsed as a result of $28 trillion in accumulated debt and a record amount of spending last year, yet there are actual signs of danger today. The Congressional Budget Office has a good explanation that it put together in 2014 on the consequences of growing debt. It points to “lower national savings and income, higher interest payments, leading to tax hikes and spending cuts, decreased ability to respond to problems, and a greater risk of fiscal crisis.” It is likely that private borrowing will be pushed aside by government borrowing. We are already experiencing a weakening dollar versus other currencies. The weakening dollar is a real- world example of a consequence that we are seeing today. We have witnessed excessive national debt cause government chaos and domestic turmoil. The 2007-to-2008 Greek government debt crisis lead to a long Greek recession, national riots, and massive changes to tax and spending policy. Greece was lucky that it had a small enough economy to get bailed out, yet nobody is going to bail out the United States if we have a similar crisis. I disagree, though, when you point to the
FROM OUR INBOX
other natural rights. One of the reasons for unrestricted possession of guns is that it makes possible overthrow of oppressive authoritarian governments. That is the reason governments are hostile to armed citizenries. Examples supporting my view are Russia, Peoples’ Republic of China, Venezuela, and Cuba. – Craig L. Kim Iskyan response: Hi Craig, thanks for your message. I don’t think anyone is talking about extinguishing personal property rights – actually, no one is at all. And I’m pretty sure that owning assault weapons is not a natural right by anyone’s definition. And no one is talking about taking guns away from anyone. The vast majority of Americans – two-thirds, in fact, according to a 2018 Gallup poll – are in favor of gun control (again, no one is talking about taking guns away... the Second Amendment isn’t going anywhere). In 2019, 70% of Americans were in favor of a ban on assault weapons, and 90% of voters supported universal background checks for firearms transactions. Why? In 2020, there were over 600 mass shootings in the U.S. (where four or more people are shot, and injured or killed)... up almost 50% from 2019. The United States has a firearms- related death rate that’s by far the highest of any developed country... four times the rate of Switzerland, 12 times that of Australia, and 50 times more than the United Kingdom. Gun control has nothing to do with socialism. No one is talking about taking away guns (which are not some kind of inalienable human right... in fact, they’re guaranteed by the Constitution – which is good enough).
explosion of new billionaires as a problem. That’s a mixing of apples and oranges. Income inequality and rewarding individuals who create companies like Amazon, Apple, Walmart, and Facebook serves an important purpose in a free market economy. The money they make is rewarding them for the service they give us every day with these companies that have made our lives better with prompt delivery of goods, phones that we use to conduct business and commerce, big-box stores that have everything we want at an affordable price, and websites that help us to stay connected with family and friends. You’re correct to point out that crony capitalism, or the use of government power or subsidy to advantage one company over a competitor, is a big problem. Farm subsidies should be abolished. Specialized tax breaks for the companies with the best lobbyists should be stricken from the tax code. The Wall Street bailout of 2008 and the massive explosion of money spent responding to the coronavirus was largely wasted. The target of the aid – small businesses and families struggling to get by – were not helped by the massive outpouring of cash in the CARES Act and subsequent aid packages. Re: That’s Not Really Socialism ”Socialism doesn’t care about your guns.” But it does... Governments that extinguish personal property rights have no compunction about extinguishing
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Who would have thought we'd be smoking weed at a family gathering, but the illegal part was the family gathering. I'd like to cancel my subscription to 2021. I've experienced the two- week free trial, and I'm not interested.
2020 SHOWING 2021 AROUND THE WORKPLACE
"I'm Joe Message and I approve this biden"
So, you have been eating hot dogs and chicken nuggets all your life, but you won't take the vaccine because you don't know what's in it?!? Mexico has changed its mind and decided to pay for The Wall. And Canada wants one too. Trump got the full 2020 experience. He caught COVID, lost his job, and will be evicted from his house.
The Coup Lego set
December 2020 January 20 1
It's harder to get into a Trader Joe's during a pandemic than it is the U.S. Capitol
Dear 2021, You have literally been handed the easiest job in history. You don't need to be the best year ever.. You don't even need to be the top 20: You have one fucking job. Be better than 2020. Please don't fuck it up. Sincerely, Everybody.
IF THE GOVERNMENT MADE SCREWDRIVERS
By Trish Regan
As we were greeted at the main entrance and the bellmen took s we turned through the gates onto the long, winding mountain driveway, I stared up at a massive white hotel complete with Spanish Renaissance-style red roof titles... I’d never seen anything quite so majestic. A ATEA PARTY ATBRETTON WOODS
I was just a teenager when I accompanied my parents to Bretton Woods for the first time, deep in the heart of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. It was the mid-1990s, which meant the Mount Washington Hotel itself was somewhere in its 90th year of existence... But it had all the trappings of an even earlier time. This was old-world European style. Towers graced each end of the building, and gables punctuated the roofline. The site was breathtaking... The building really stood out in the middle of otherwise rural New Hampshire.
our bags, I gazed around “the Great Hall” as it’s known. Crystal chandeliers hung from the high, elegant ceilings finished with crown molding, and a huge fieldstone fireplace that was even taller than me housed a roaring fire. I remember taking in the view off the massive veranda... rolling green hills for miles, and nestled in the valley was a large swimming pool. Past the pool and the tennis courts – through the hills and the snowcapped mountains – was the highest point in the northeast: the great Mount Washington, for which the hotel was named.
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In 1971, the U.S. abandoned that Bretton Woods system of the gold standard... And the subsequent lack of discipline has come with its disadvantages. grand dame to become the site of the all- important, legendary monetary conference that quite literally reset the world economy... the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference. This masterpiece was built by an eccentric coal entrepreneur from Concord, New Hampshire and his wife. Between 1900 and 1902, Joseph and Carolyn Stickney spent $1.7 million (about $52 million in today’s dollars) creating their masterpiece. They brought in 250 Italian artists to help build the structure, employing them to assist with granite and the hotel’s legendary red roof and white stucco masonry. Though Joseph died shortly after the hotel’s opening, Carolyn spent every summer at the resort until her death. Prohibition, then the Depression, and then the war hurt the hospitality industry. By the 1930s, the Mount Washington Hotel had fallen on hard times. It closed its doors in 1942... and went up for sale. The Bretton Woods Conference In 1944, a Boston banking group scooped up the hotel for $450,000. They prepared this
Officially known as the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, the U.S. Treasury hosted this important meeting at the hotel with 730 delegates from all 44 allied nations in July 1944. They gathered in the New Hampshire mountains to restructure and rebuild the post-WWII international economic system... and provide a framework of monetary and financial stability to foster global economic growth. The International Monetary Fund (“IMF”) was created at this conference, and the Bretton Woods gold standard monetary system was adopted. As a result, the United States, which at the time controlled two thirds of the world’s gold, saw the dominance of gold and the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. That was 77 years ago. Time goes by fast... almost as fast as money gets spent. In 1971, the U.S. abandoned that Bretton Woods system of the gold standard... And the subsequent lack of discipline has come with its disadvantages. A main detractor, as any gold bug will tell you, is our inability to really peg our currency to something (other than the reputation of the U.S., which increasingly has come into question). As such... it’s becoming awfully easy to print money. And that’s exactly what our government is doing.
So, as the state of California grapples with an escalating COVID-19 infection rate, it – like several other Blue states – has effectively shut itself down. Outside of big chains and big-box retailers, few businesses are open... The small business owner, the lifeblood of our American economy, has been devastated. And for what? As we began the month, California reported a record number of COVID-19 deaths in a single day. There were 53,341 cases in a single day, and a record-breaking 386 deaths. More than 20,000 remain hospitalized, and 4,525 were in the ICU.
Money-Printing Extravaganza A trillion here... a trillion there. It adds up fast. After a while, we’re starting to talk real money! I mean, remember that $800 billion “stimulus to nowhere?” That was considered a lot of money during the Obama years, so why is no one batting an eye at today’s multiTRILLION-dollar deals? Outside of Senator Rand Paul, few in Congress are calling this out. In fact, there seems to be no effort to stop the spigot of endless money printing. And the real question is... Do we really need it? I’d say no. Can we pay for it? Certainly not. Yet, these realities are not stopping lawmakers from salivating at the chance to print more money and fund their pet projects backed by the same lobbyists that help them get elected. The long-term consequences of this charade will be significant... catastrophic even. There’s a push in Washington, D.C. to print money right now... whether it be the $2,000 checks popularized by President Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, or the doves at the Federal Reserve aiming to pump more liquidity and money into our system. Why this frantic creation of bills from thin air? Because our leaders believe more lockdowns are inevitable.
A trillion dollars here... a trillion dollars there. It adds up fast.
It’s tragic... It’s also perplexing given the strict measures the state, led by Governor Gavin Newsom, put in. Those in favor of opening our economy suggest this proves lockdowns ultimately do not work. The reality is that California, despite its draconian policies and forced closures, has the second-highest rate of coronavirus infection in the country. Critics of the lockdown policies argue this is because people are forced into riskier scenarios in their own homes. Instead of going out to eat in a socially distanced restaurant for 60 to 90 minutes, Californians are gathering in their homes with multiple parties and spending much more time together than they would in an outside establishment. This in turn exposes them in a
closer proximately to the virus and for greater lengths of time than they might otherwise receive in a restaurant establishment. It seems that states that are locking down are doing little to improve their overall health picture while simultaneously limiting their own economies in unprecedented ways. And the measures will come with significant side effects. “This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy ate roast beef...” and these little piggies gorged on federal taxpayers’ earnings to line the pockets of special interests and foreign pet projects! The Hangover The economic consequences of the 2020 pandemic will be severe – and I don’t believe they’re entirely priced into equity markets yet. Granted, I’m always happy to be surprised, and nothing would please me more than to see America get back to work in a meaningful way, complete with another surge in stock prices... But when California, the fifth-largest economy of the world in terms of economic output, ahead of India, the U.K., and France, shuts down as it has... the effects are bound to be felt.
So, forgive me for being just a little skeptical as our market powers higher. We began January in territory never seen before on the Dow, Nasdaq, and the S&P 500. And while I’m not here to ruin the party – in fact, I don’t quite believe it’s ready to end and suspect this rally has room to run thanks to all the expected money printing – I just don’t love what’s fueling it. You see, the old adage “Don’t Fight the Fed” is important. And, in the case we are about to see – in the new Washington of Joe Biden and Janet Yellen – there will be a merger of monetary and fiscal policy that could fuel another leg up in these markets. Politicians (and I blame the Right and Left for this) have never met a spending package they didn’t love. Sure, some Republicans will feign to care about fiscal responsibilities in an effort to court the old Tea Party which has seemingly disappeared, but for the most part, they just can’t resist a little here and a little there. As such, the spending feels increasingly like the nursery rhyme, “This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy ate roast beef...” and these little piggies gorged on federal taxpayers’ earnings to line the pockets of special interests and foreign pet projects! Really, how else can you explain a spending bill with such provisions as these: • $1.3 billion to Egypt for the country and Egyptian military, who President Trump complained, “will go out and buy almost exclusively Russian military equipment.”
• An additional $25 million for “democracy and gender programs” in Pakistan. • $85.5 million for assistance to Cambodia, plus $134 million to Burma. • $505 million to Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. • $40 million for the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., which is not even currently open for business (and already received $25 million in the first go around). • $1 billion to the Smithsonian Museum (for the creation of the National Women’s History Museum and the National Museum of the American Latino). And, an additional $154 million for the National Gallery of Art. This is neither the time nor the place to be spending so much money. I understand spending money on vaccines and the distribution of vaccines. We need that. And I understand the assistance to small businesses and an extension of unemployment benefits to out-of-work Americans... But this spending bill targeting so many foreign pet projects? A spending bill that hands out $2,000 checks to everyone making less than $75,000, regardless of whether they’ve lost work or not? (To be clear, that means a government worker and spouse with three kids could see a hand-out of $10,000.) While we want to be generous, shouldn’t this be targeted to people who actually need it as opposed to a big giveaway we can’t afford?!
It’s high time America realizes that we cannot spend so much on ourselves, and certainly not overseas. As such, this is as good a time as any, amidst a pandemic, to look inward at the moment and consider what’s needed immediately here. This is neither the time nor the place to be spending so much money . Reopen Our Economies I am a big believer in an individual’s right to go to work, go out to dinner, go shopping, etc... We are all capable of assessing our own risks and should be able to do so. After all, no one wants to get coronavirus, and no one would willingly expose themselves or their families and friends to the virus – but that’s what some lawmakers continually forget. The reality is individuals are fairly good arbitrators of risk and can determine for themselves whether or not it’s safe to be out in their community. It’s for that reason that we must reopen our economies.
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And yet Joe Biden is telling us to prepare for the worst. Newsom is launching a mandatory lockdown. New York, Michigan, Nevada are all engaging in similar behavior... and they think stimulus checks are the answer?! I’m all for the government helping people in times of need. I understand the president’s sentiment when he demands the $2,000 checks and questions wasteful spending on foreign projects... However, where is the money coming from? American families know the dangers of debt. They know it’s a recipe for disaster to spend more than you make. And American families understand that they’re supposed to budget for the future... so why can’t the U.S. government do so ? Because it doesn’t have to... You see, we’re the world’s reserve currency, which is a double-edged sword at times. On the one hand, it’s great because it means that no matter how bad things get, everything is priced in dollars, and as
The Gold Room After years of being closed, the Mount Washington Hotel got a huge investment and was outfitted once again for grand summers (this time complete with air conditioning) and even snowy winters (heat was installed!). It reopened in 2011... and I began a yearly pilgrimage back to the live-free-or-die state. This year was my first New Year’s holiday that I wasn’t at the Grand Dame of New Hampshire hotels. Every winter, I like to visit the hotel and go skiing with my family... And every year, I take my kids inside the Gold Room, which, yes, is appropriately adored all in gold. I explain to them what the gold standard was, and the part their mother’s home state played in helping to reorganize the world economy in those challenging days of 1944. “Could it happen again?” I wonder as I run through the story. “Maybe,” I think. In fact, sometimes as I watch the printing presses roar on... and the Fed injects more liquidity, and Congress offers more handouts... I wonder whether a little Bretton Woods financial discipline tied to something meaningful might really do America some good. Perhaps the Tea Party will one day see a resurgence... a Bretton Woods 2.0 kind of moment. In the meantime, let’s all hope the spending and an economic revival goes according to plan.
such... the rest of the world will keep buying dollars for the foreseeable future. The downside is that demand – that massive demand for dollars – gives us a very false sense of protection. It enables us to continue amassing more and more and more debt (nearly $28 trillion, at present).
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And what does it mean for YOUR money in the early days of 2021? To get the answers, I (Kelly Brown) recently sat down with a finance Ph.D. who first warned of this “cash panic” in 2015. He told me a dramatic financial event – over 20 years in the making – has finally begun. And the consequences for our financial system, the American people, and YOUR wealth, could last a decade. I made our interview available to you, right here, absolutely free . It includes the name of a stock that could directly benefit from what’s about to unfold. I urge you to watch while there’s still time to take action. Click here to see the viral video viewed by over 3,000,000 people .
But is there more to the story?
Even professional money managers are buying into a market that seems unflap- pable – even in the face of a global pan- demic, historic unemployment numbers, and civil unrest. In fact, a recent Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey highlighted fund manag- ers stampeding OUT of cash at record levels... And pumping billions of dollars into a specific corner of the financial markets.
What’s really going on?
WE MUST BREAK UP BIG TECH
IT'S THE GREATEST PRIVATE THREAT TO LIBERTY IN OUR MODERN AGE
I haven’t always seen Big Tech as a big problem... Libertarian-leaning conservatives like me, who came of age under the presidency of George W. Bush before riding the Tea Party wave of the 2008, were steeped in a political movement that gave wide latitude and deference to the free market, focusing instead on the perils and pitfalls of big government. The corrupt and distorting threat of big government remains a real and present danger. But in 2013, I noticed a peculiar nexus between big government and big business that fundamentally altered how I looked at the “private” industries of Big Tech.
By Rachel Bovard
CLICK HERE TO READ THE WEB VERSION
WE MUST BREAK UP BIG TECH
As the threat from Big Tech grows, continuing to advance such a case requires an ever-narrower definition of what liberty truly means... Not only that, but these companies had willingly thrown open the back door. Largely without understanding what they were doing, Americans had willingly given Big Tech the full details of their inner and outer lives. And Big Tech was willing to hand it over to the government with little prodding. What else were they up to? The more I paid attention, the more I began to recognize the troubling implications of private power that existed at this scale, without transparency or accountability. Since 2013, the power of the Big Tech companies has only continued to grow. These are hardly the garage-basement startups of the 1990s... Rather, Google and Facebook, in particular, are now mega-corporations capable of distorting speech, thought, and behavior – not to mention privacy and data property As part of the spy program PRISM, detailed in information leaked by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden, the U.S. National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been, for years, collecting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, and documents from the internal servers of a “who’s who” of Silicon Valley companies – Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Dropbox, and a host of others.
rights – on an international scale, exerting unprecedented levels of influence over billions of people. How the Right – and libertarians, in particular – should respond to this development has been a particular focus of mine. I have testified before Congress about the need to make sure competition in the tech marketplace is preserved, debated the issue in places like Newsweek and USA Today , participated in policy symposiums, and discussed the dynamics of corporate power, government policy, and liberty on countless panels. But where I expected to find some agreement with libertarians on the nature of the threat, there very clearly exists a divide on two key issues. The first is whether these companies are truly private, or if they benefit from special government protections – subsidies – that should be reformed or repealed. The second is whether or not private power can be a true threat to liberty. Washington, D.C.-based libertarians at the Cato Institute, Charles Koch Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Reason magazine, and others, frequently disagree with me on both of these points, arguing that any action by the government against the tech companies – even modifying the laws that govern them – would be antithetical to the principle of small government and to liberty itself. But as the threat from Big Tech grows, continuing to advance such a case requires an ever-narrower definition of what liberty truly means... to the point where our rich tapestry of American liberties is reduced and
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