The Great American Eclipse

Hint: It’s not in the sky

By Mark Luedtke

I see a lot of news stories about the Great American Eclipse coming Aug. 21. The path of totality stretches across the 48 contiguous states. This is big news because the last similar eclipse occurred in 1918.

But a far bigger story goes largely unreported; that is the eclipse of the U.S. empire. Empires are expensive, and the U.S. is running out of wealth to pay for it. The U.S. defense budget was $610 billion in 2011. Trump requests $639 billion for 2018. That’s money that’s being used to destroy capital instead of increasing it. Those numbers don’t include the costs of wars and spy agencies.

While defense spending and the entire U.S. budget rises, the American economy continues to decline. The Burning Platform destroys the myth of a growing U.S. economy, explaining we’re in a stealth depression hidden by fake statistics:

“At the bottom of this deception are fake inflation (CPI) statistics. They distort everything else because most economic data is ‘inflation adjusted.’ Consequently, when other economic data such as GDP growth is adjusted with fake inflation statistics, then those numbers are also distorted.”

Real inflation is running around 5 percent, greater than the 2 percent reported GDP growth. That means real GDP is shrinking by about 3 percent annually and has been since the turn of the century. This is why so many people need multiple jobs and households need multiple breadwinners to make ends meet.

Then there are the boom-bust cycles. Each credit-fueled boom wipes out tremendous wealth through malinvestment. The busts that follow attempt to liquidate the malinvestment and bring prices down to natural levels, but our rulers won’t allow that. They print more funny-money during each bust to try and keep prices high so many malinvested resources never get liquidated back into the healthy economy.

In another sign of U.S. decline, in 2011 Walter Williams wrote, “The latest Social Security Trustees Report tells us that the program will be insolvent by the year 2037. The combined unfunded liability of Social Security and Medicare has reached nearly $107 trillion in today’s dollars. That is about seven times the size of the U.S. economy and 10 times the size of the national debt. Those entitlement programs, along with others, account for nearly 60 percent of federal spending.”

That was after the last bust. We’ll be lucky if Social Security lasts until 2025 after the next one. Of course Social Security won’t really go bust. Seniors, who vote in droves, will vote to end U.S. wars and close foreign bases so they can keep their paychecks coming a little longer.

Williams notes, “One chief causal factor for the decline of these former great nations is what has been described as ‘bread and circuses,’ where government spends money for the shallow and immediate wants of the population, and civic virtue all but disappears. For the past half-century, our nation has been doing precisely what brought down other great nations. We might have now reached the point of no return.”

Cruel minimum wage laws hasten our decline. Low-wage workers have lost hours because of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage. Across the country, fast food restaurants are replacing low-wage workers with kiosks to save money. But minimum wage hikes remain politically popular. Some people lose their jobs, but more get a raise and businesses, not taxpayers, have to pay for it.

Underfunded government pensions highlight the U.S. decline, as well. The biggest offenders are Illinois, Kentucky, and New Jersey, but once bailouts begin, all the states will want in on the action, but there’s not enough money to pay for them all.

Then there’s multiple state budget crises. National Public Radio reports, “New Jersey, Maine, and Illinois are all facing at least partial government shutdowns after their legislatures failed to pass budgets. Washington and Alaska managed eleventh-hour deals to avoid a similar fate. Connecticut failed to pass a budget, but the state’s governor stepped in with an emergency spending order.”

All this while the economy is supposedly booming.

American government spending is unsustainable and near the end. As with seniors and Social Security, Americans will vote to cut the U.S. empire in order to pay for entitlements, welfare, and other government handouts for a little longer. That will be the end of the U.S. empire, and America will decline like the great empires before it.

History will identify this American solar eclipse as the harbinger of the eclipse of the US empire.

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Mark Luedtke
Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at MarkLuedtke@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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