Fiat Dollars to Finance Feudalism
People throw political labels around a lot these days, to the point where they lose their meaning and impact. We’re trying to understand where we are headed as a society, but we get lost in the ideology labyrinth. And while we throw the labels around, some of us with certainty and others with caveats and nuance, reality marches on. And the reality is grim. We are being turned into livestock by oligarchs who share the perception that ordinary people are on the verge of becoming completely useless to them.
Who needs manufacturing workers when factories are within a decade or two of achieving complete machine autonomy? Who needs caregivers when robotics are within a decade or two of delivering androids that are smarter and better looking? Who needs universal healthcare that’s within a few decades of significantly extending the human lifespan, when all these billions of ordinary humans will do with their extra 50 years is eat, shit, and play games? Who needs billions of humans when their consumptive appetites are a pestilence on a brilliant blue planet?
What do you do, if you’re a multi-billionaire, and all of your multi-billionaire friends agree: It’s easier and better for us if we herd these useless billions into megacities, take away their jobs, give them a universal basic income, and cram them into subsidized apartments. We’ll immerse them in online fantasies, algorithmically calibrated to dopamine them into quiescence.
It’s a scary vision. No life extension for the masses. No jobs. No incentives. We are entering a Brave New World. And when a member of the aging, quasi-sterilized human herd gets old, and their health fails, they won’t have a choice to fight to have a few more years. That’s uneconomic. A compassionate android will slap a VR headset over their eyes and insert a morphine drip into their antecubital vein, and like Edward G Robinson in the movie Soylent Green, they’ll slip away in bliss, experiencing a data driven, individualized equivalent of forests, rushing rivers, and majestic mountains, expertly curated just for them.
Time for a disclaimer, and to reiterate: This is not a conspiracy. It is a consensus, regarded by those who share it as a moral choice. A consensus that includes the leadership of virtually every significant center of institutional power in the Western World. Wealth is power, and the wealthiest people on earth today have more power than the average nation state. Wealth and power, to cite a recent example that ought to leave any objective observer both livid and terrified, was deployed by high tech billionaires and the companies they control to determine the outcome of America’s 2020 presidential election.
Wealth and power, deployed by pharmaceutical companies and the medical establishment, and with the absolute complicity of the corporate media and the high tech oligarchs, successfully suppressed early treatment protocols and alternative quarantine options, in order to shut down the nation, crush independent businesses, and engineer one of the biggest and most abrupt transfers of wealth in history: trillions passed from average citizens to the wealthy elite.
Wealth and power, expressed in the consensus shared by every major institution in the Western World, has decided that the “climate emergency” requires a radical restructuring of society, wherein middle class lifestyles are “unsustainable” and must be eliminated. These same institutions have determined that racial “equity” requires the abolition of merit, the obliteration of incentives, and the negation of private property, in favor of redistribution to make everyone equal. And to achieve this, destroy single family housing, construct “sustainable” apartment high rises, drive people off their land with regulations that only billionaires and mega corporations can navigate, and demonize and destroy anyone who objects by calling them “deniers” and “white supremacists.”
The ideology labyrinth does not explain this phenomenon. The intellectual resistance to this “reset” is focused on explaining it using obsolete terms, or, worse, terms that are, however accurate, mere distractions from beginning to cope with the onslaught. Calling it “socialism” or claiming it can be stopped if we all voted “libertarian” is the activist equivalent of masturbation. We are being turned into livestock. That is the reality. Theoretical analysis is futile. Practical countermeasures are necessary.
At the heart of the beast is a failure to regulate big finance in America. In the modern era, the financialization of the American economy began in 1980, thanks to policies approved by conservative icon Ronald Reagan. The debt binge that ensued leaves America’s Federal debt today at nearly 150 percent of GDP, with no end in sight. And to finance this debt, the Federal Reserve Bank prints money, and buys the U.S. Treasury bonds that foreigners no longer have an appetite for. The consequences, finally being realized, are inflation, since only devalued dollars can possibly whittle down the crushing debt burden.
But even this is a distraction. It wouldn’t require paragraphs, it would require volumes to explain the dismal science of fractional reserve lending and how it went from being a useful financial innovation to an instrument of economic war on the middle class. Instead, consider where most of this fiat money is going. It is being scooped up by banks that are, with access to funds that are for all practical purposes infinite, buying up America’s housing stock.
This fact does not get attention it deserves. America’s housing prices are being driven up not merely from overregulation, or thanks to foreign buyers driving up demand, but by international banks and hedge funds. Just as mega corporations with access to cheap borrowed cash are buying back their stock to create more market value which they use to acquire their competitors, big banks are buying up America’s real estate in order to consolidate and control the housing market. And it’s working.
One of the big players, using fiat money to turn us all into serfs living on the Lord’s Manor, is the Black Rock, the world’s largest real estate investor. For several years they’ve been on a buying binge, purchasing homes all over the U.S. With the expectation of inflation in the future, and all the money they need, they’re outbidding ordinary aspiring homeowners from Tennessee to California, from Arizona to the Carolinas.
Unlike stocks and bonds, where ownership is already concentrated in the hands of the wealthiest Americans, real estate ownership to-date has been widely held. Using fiat money, America’s multi-billionaires are changing that as fast as they can.
Turning America’s housing stock into rentals is only the beginning. In California, in order to deliver “housing equity,” a reparations bill is working its way through the state legislature that will authorize the state to purchase, outright, 45 percent of a home, allowing qualified applicants to purchase the other 55 percent. This will cut the effective price they pay for the home nearly in half, making it affordable. To qualify? The primary criteria is to be a “person of color.”
It isn’t hard to imagine the “public private partnerships” that will ensue, as progressive state and local governments, and presumably, Federal agencies, cut deals with massive real estate trusts such as the Black Rock, to create “equity” in housing. Fiat money enabled these real estate trusts to gobble up the homes, and now fiat money flows into the state treasuries via Federal stimulus payments to buy back some of them to help the disadvantaged. When if they’d just left the market alone, the price of homes might come back down to earth.
There’s more. In California, a package of bills is working through the legislature, yet again, that will allow multiple apartment units to be built on single-family lots. Anywhere. The reason for this is, of course, to save the planet and to promote racial equity. The practical impact? More investment firms will swoop in, financed with fiat money that’s supplemented by government funds, to buy single family homes that are worth more demolished and replaced than if they’re preserved. If you object, you’re a racist who denies the climate emergency.
This transformation of America’s housing stock into subsidized rental units owned by corporations and government agencies, the deliberate densification of American cities, and the push to drive rural Americans off their land, is quietly gaining momentum. It relies on fiat money that pours into mega corporations and state governments from the Federal Reserve. Unlike infusions of fiat currency in past decades that had some utility – winning the Cold War, going to the moon – this much bigger use of funds has no practical economic benefit. But that’s not its purpose.
The reason this money is being spent is to cram Americans down to a lifestyle that is “sustainable,” while at the same time transferring even more wealth and power into the hands of a new aristocracy. Fiat money to finance feudalism.
To avoid being turned into livestock, or, to abandon the metaphor, to avoid being turned into serfs, Americans have to worry less about ideology and more about practical solutions. Is putting a ban on any individual or corporation owning more than, say, a dozen income properties or 100 rental units “socialism?” Maybe. But the impact of socialism is felt most acutely when people have no ownership. And serfs own nothing. According to the new aristocrats, we’ll own nothing and be happy. But we will not be free.
Dispense with the labels. Join forces.
This article originally appeared on American Greatness.
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Edward Ring is a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. He is also a senior fellow with the Center for American Greatness, and a regular contributor to the California Globe. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Forbes, and other media outlets.
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