Cheated, Deleted and Mistreated
A generation of bright new technocrats rides roughshod over the working man
(Source: Elizabeth Bonner)
Bill Bonner, reckoning today from Paris, France...
What’s Paris like now?
Poor Mr. Macron – Chief of the French tribe – is one of the bright stars of the new rising generation of shameless technocrats. His administration was advertised as the standard bearer for equality, justice and net-negative carbon emissions.
But now two of his cabinet ministers have been accused of rape. “Sexual violence,” is the charge, which probably eases the burden of proof for the accuser.
Meanwhile, Covid restrictions have been lifted. No more masks… no more ‘sanitary pass’ – life is returning to normal in the French capital. Everything ever written about Paris is true. We don’t need to add to it. It is a beautiful city, especially in May. The sun shines on the sidewalk cafes. Luxury brands gleam from the shop windows. And tourists are once again blocking our way on the sidewalks.
A Class Apart
Prices are rising, too. And the elite class – the leftish techno-snobs who run the country – are getting bolder. Their program: make life more and more miserable for the common man as they pursue their own jackass goals.
“The citoyen will have to get used to living with less,” we quote no one in particular, “and following orders; so we can reduce our carbon output.”
“It’s time for de-growth,” they add. “And if the costs fall disproportionately on the common man, well, too bad.”
The educated, enlightened, well-off Parisian believes the world would be a better place if the uneducated, unenlightened, struggling yokels were kept in their place. Specifically, he wants them to use less energy, to stay at home, turn down the heat and not to make a fuss about rising prices.
In France, as in America, the deciders are a class apart. They have their agenda… their hopes… their schemes and fantasies. And they don’t want ‘the people’ to get in the way.
In the US last week came evidence that ‘the people’ are stumbling. The big retailers – Costco, Walmart and Target – were hit hard. Earnings were disappointing, leading to the steepest stock market falls since Black Monday of 1987. As Dan reported on Friday, Target had its worst day in 35 years.
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Adding to their costs is a big increase in fuel prices. These companies spend hundreds of millions on energy. As the price of energy – especially diesel fuel – goes up, their margins are squeezed.
And the available evidence shows the customer – the salt of the earth – is less and less able to afford to live in the manner to which he recently became accustomed. The gimmie/stimmies are running out. Wages are supposed to be rising at a 5% rate. But consumer prices are rising even faster. Gasoline, for example, is up over 30% in the last 12 months.
Basic expenses – food, shelter, and fuel – are going up so fast, households have less and less left over for “discretionary” spending, which leaves the big box retailers with a lot of unsold product in the box.
And today we feel their pain – the misery… desolation… and anguish of the working classes, both at home and abroad. These are the guys and gals with chainsaws and workbelts… with 18 wheelers to edge into a tight spot… with a night shift to complete without falling asleep… with croissants to bake or laundry to wash.
These are the people who made the world what it is. They fell on the Normandy beaches… built the Brooklyn Bridge… put down the hardtop roads… baked the cookies… and delivered the mail.
And now they are still the people who add the most real value to our lives. Not the hedge fund managers, influencers, or policymakers… but autoworkers, farmers, UPS drivers, cooks, baristas and waiters… carpenters, plumbers and masons.
And here’s the gist of our story: the masses have been cheated, deleted and mistreated. And it’s going to get worse.
In a nutshell… while the wealth of the crème de la crème was teased up by the feds… the working class – which is most of us – got nothing. The top 1% added $36 trillion in wealth since 1999 – or about $3 million per person. The bottom 50% added wealth too, but only about $13,000 each. Each person at the tiny top got 230 times more money than those at the broad bottom.
But all that froth came at a cost. The feds had no extra money, so they pushed down interest rates, borrowed… and printed money to cover the extra costs. The result was $50 trillion worth of debt added to the US economy since 1999.
Who will pay for it? We ‘the people,’ of course. That is what the ‘inflation tax’ is all about.
More to come…
Joel’s Note: We first brought you news of imminent stagflation - that is, declining economic growth in the face of persistently (i.e. not “transitory”) inflation - back in April (see here). Fast-forward a few weeks and here’s the Financial Times, hard on the case…
Think of the diving blue line as the educated elites’ desired trajectory for your standard of living… and the progressive pink line as the price they’d have you pay for it.
Speaking of the cost you’ll bear…
“We need to accept that there will be some pain in the process,” Norwegian finance CEO, Kjerstin Braathen, told a crowd of your enlightened overlords, currently hunkered down in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum.
But don’t worry… the pain will be “worth it,” according to Ms. Braathen, mostly because she will be shouldering none of it herself. As head honcho of Norway's largest financial services group, DNB ASA, Ms. Braathen already suffers an annual salary of just $8,820,000. How ever will she manage?
Of course, Norway is a very rich country, home of the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, the Government Pension Fund of Norway. With $1.35 trillion in assets, the fund holds 1.4% of all the listed companies in the world. That’s about a quarter of a million dollars for every Norwegian man, woman and child.
But wait… how was it that Ms. Braathen and her fair-haired brethren garnered such vast wealth in the first place? Not without getting a little oil spattered on their bunad. The pension fund is also known as The Petroleum Fund… owing to the origins of the wealth gushing out from under the country’s North Sea reserves.
Rules for thee, not for me, indeed.