What Will Kill the American Empire

‘All earthly empires die. Is this the end? Only God knows.’

St. Augustine, 413 AD

Yesterday, in advance of the G7 pow-wow this weekend, Donald Trump tweeted his position on trade:

‘If we charge a country ZERO to sell their goods, and they charge us 25, 50 or even 100 percent to sell ours, it is UNFAIR and can no longer be tolerated. That is not Free or Fair Trade, it is Stupid Trade!’

He’s got that nearly right. Trade barriers are certainly not free. And fairness has nothing to do with it. They are just stupid.

Empire dies

We’re not going to tolerate this anymore, said the American president. If the foreigners do stupid things…well, by golly…we will too! If they tax our stuff, we’ll tax theirs.

We are sneaking up on our prey, hiding in the tall grass until we get a good, clean shot.

Our target: the US government and how it has changed. Since when, we wonder, did it care about how other nations abuse their citizens or mangle their economies?

Since when did the US president — on his own say-so — get to decide how much we pay for our cars or our spaghetti?

We’ve been trying to understand how the federal government could be one thing — on paper — and an entirely different thing in reality.

Not that we have any particular fascination with government, but the feds now have immense powers that are nowhere granted in the Constitution…and they’re using them to wreck the economy…and put the US into a nightmare of debt, inflation, depression, repression, war, and revolution.

Those are the kinds of things you get when an empire dies.

On paper, this Decline and Fall ought to be easily avoidable. A show of hands in Congress and you can balance the budget and bring the troops home.

But things ain’t necessarily what they seem. What is written on paper is not necessarily the same as what is.

And sometimes, people — individually and collectively — blow themselves up… and light the fuse with their own matches.

So…let’s have a look.

Borrowing and bombing

We don’t recall when the Constitution was repealed. We don’t remember seeing any revolution or coup d’état on TV. Congress never voted on a new system of government. And as far as we know, no third party with a radical, new agenda has seized power.

And yet, the checks are gone. The balances, too. Elections are almost meaningless.

The news and the money are fake. The courts are powerless. The president and nearly every member of Congress has been captured by the Deep State. Borrowing and bombing continue to increase…with nothing to stop them.

Borrowing and bombing were not what the Founding Fathers had in mind. They designed a government of limited powers (powers not expressly given to the feds were reserved for the states and the people) that would pay its own way and mind its own business.

Their government was supposed to, as Washington put it, ‘avoid foreign entanglements’. Or, as John Quincy Adams described it in 1821: ‘She goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.

She had no central bank; her money was limited, too. She insisted on ‘only gold or silver’ money from the states and passed her own gold-backed currency act in 1792.

And debt? One hundred and fifty years after her founding, she had a national debt of only $19 billion. Jeff Bezos could have paid it off, and had $107 billion to spare.

Today, the US has more than 1,000 times as much government debt as it did under Calvin Coolidge. By comparison, GDP is up only 190 times.

Coolidge came into office as an America Firster, with no intention of using US troops abroad. But even he was soon drawn into the incipient empire program, and sent troops to Nicaragua to help put down a local rebellion.

Now, US armed forces are looking for monsters in hundreds of different countries; where none can be found, they create them.

And, as near as we can tell, the feds can do pretty much any damned fool thing they want. The limits have long since been lifted.

One word

How did this happen? The answer, we believe, is in the word: vernacular.

As we explained on Friday, there are formal structures — ordained by law, legislation, and official proclamation. And there are other things…that better describe how we really speak, do business, and get along with each other.

The classic win-win deal, promoted by Jesus of Nazareth two millennia ago, is not the law of the land anywhere; it is the vernacular.

It was never invented by anyone…no one got the Nobel Prize for coming up with it…and there are no legal penalties for not doing it.Preview (opens in a new window)

Still, most people on the planet follow the rule, generally, on an everyday basis. If they want a burger, they give some money to the burger store. If they want money, they offer their time to an employer. If Ford wants to sell pickup trucks, it does its best to make people want them.

That is the commonly accepted way to get what you want and need in life. If you want a wife, you have to offer her something that makes it worth her while.

If you want a loaf of bread, you have to give something of equal value to the baker. No matter what you are after, whether it is love, respect, a fortune, or a bag of Frito-Lay corn chips, our advice is to earn it.

Only crooks, cads, and governments operate on a different model. And as the Republic evolved into an Empire, they proliferated.

They get, but they don’t want to give. They take, but they don’t want to make. They do unto others, but they make sure others can’t do unto them.

That model — win-lose, with trade wars, real wars, drones, fake currency, and debt — is carrying the US empire to its inevitable destruction.

The only people who could stop it are Deep State insiders. And they will not, because they are on the win side of the deal.

It’s the rest of us who are on the losing side.

More to come…


Bill Bonner


Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America’s most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind Markets and Money.

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