The government myth

The Dow dropped 101 points yesterday. Gold managed to climb back over $1,300.

But the important news was barely noticed. Of those who bothered to read it, few realised its significance. For the first time, oligarchs from North America and the steppes of Eurasia have teamed up to lie, cheat and steal together. The Wall Street Journal reports:

“Vice President Joe Biden’s son and a close friend of Secretary of State John Kerry’s stepson have joined the board of a Ukrainian gas producer controlled by a former top security and energy official for deposed President Viktor Yanukovych.”

Most people have no idea what government is all about. They think it is a benign institution, designed to make life better for everyone.

“The government is all of us”, Hillary Clinton puts it.

This myth helps keep the voters and the taxpayers in line. Some governments, in order to get more ‘buy in’ from the public, even insist that eligible voters go to the polls – or face penalties.

In Argentina, for example, you can collect welfare benefits – but only if you can prove you voted. In other words, you have to stand on your hind legs before they throw you a bone.

Other countries, such as the US, merely excite the voters with dreams of avarice and threats of sanctions. One group votes because it hopes to score more of other peoples’ money. Another votes to protect itself.

Among ‘get out the vote’ campaigns, Denmark’s recent cartoon effort must set a new milestone in the history of democratic fraud and absurdity. The Financial Times reports:

“The 90-second video features ‘Voteman’, a muscleman first seen in bed with five naked women who then proceeds to beat up young people to force them to vote. He then decapitates one man, interrupts a couple having sex to throw them out of a window, and uses a dolphin to help chuck people into voting booths.”

The Danish parliament withdrew the video on Tuesday.

Bill Bonner on markets, economics & the madness of crowds

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Politicians want you to vote so they can claim to represent you. Then, they do what they want. Like any other organisation, government promotes the goals of those who control it. In that sense, it is no different from the Kiwanis Club or the electric power company. Every business, club or charitable institution is meant to do something, and always and everywhere it does what the people running it want done.

This is not a bad thing. In a civilised society, as Adam Smith explained, it is self-interest that fills the marketplace with products and services.

A baker counts on the hunger of his clients to fill his own stomach. A cobbler depends on others’ sore feet to enable him to shoe his own family. But an oligarch? This bird sings a different song altogether. He provides no real service, produces no real product, and exchanges no tit for no tat. Instead, he feathers his own nest with forlorn hopes plucked from an ignorant and impotent public.

The voters believe they are in charge. They believe the government – as imperfect as it is – nevertheless reflects the desires of the public, as filtered through elections, lobbyists, and back-room deals. It is not a perfect system, the voter bravely tells himself, trying to recall Churchill’s words, but it is better than the alternatives.

But by voting, the poor democrat sets himself up for disappointment and despoliation. Ouch, he loses a feather to the financial industry. Ouch, another to the health care oligarchs. Ow! There go a few to the farm lobby. Before you know it, he is as naked as a Christmas goose, cooked in his own stupid juices.

“The government that governs least, governs best,” said Jefferson. He understood it better. All governments work for their masters – the elite, the oligarchs. All are essentially parasitic, larcenous, and often, murderous. The more government you have, the worse off you are.

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  • Ellen12

    Did Russia just dump 20% of their US Treasury stock and, if its true, have you any idea who the mystery Belgium buyer of the stocks are?

  • osprey

    whoa trigger!… bill, your cynicism is generally refreshing but this one is pretty close to the edge! … (too close and the propositions begin to lose their credibility, IMHO)… whatever… unfortunately (thus far on this planet, to my knowledge) for a nation, the systems of politics and of financial governance have been inextricably bound… to the extent that both become distorted from their original remit. all this makes a targeted analysis very difficult to pin down because it gets drawn across the boundary lines between one system and the other. i guess one just has to accept that as being unavoidable.

  • dr_rythm

    Excellent Bill! Your article reminds me of a similar one titled, The Government Beast, written by “Angry Harry,” a maverick psychologist who chose the pseudonym to reflect his feelings on the system. He likens government to any other organism that seeks to preserve itself and explains in great detail why this particular beast has no interest in fixing problems and everything to gain by making them. I’m afraid some of your detractors do not see the big picture or share the insights of Thomas Jefferson. It doesn’t have to be this way, but I am afraid we took our eye off the ball. Whoever said, “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance” hit the nail smack on the head. Western civilisation is in a televised induced trance and the big boys like it that way. They can get on with the real business on the geo-political chessboard while the children go out to play.

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