The Way to Unite America’s Political Spectrum is Economic

An insightful, if pithy, tweet surfaced recently on my feed. It nicely summarized what happened to neutralize an awakening electorate in America over the past decade:

They got you fighting a culture war to stop you from fighting a class war. It was designed that way in 2012 when the woke left & right were created. Occupy Wall Street/The Tea Party were making inroads uniting the political spectrum & the people against Wall Street following the 2008 crash. ‘We’ll get them to argue about women & their cocks instead’”

Andrew Breitbart famously said politics is downstream from culture. He’s right, but we still have to recognize that when every American institution is pushing transgenderism and abortion on demand, their primary objective is not to turn America into a transgender, abortion-loving nation. That may motivate many of them, but the power behind the woke movement has a very different priority: they want to divide us.

The motivation for populist unity ought to have America’s establishment elites feeling threatened. Their economic model is systematically disenfranchising the entire American middle class and denying upward mobility to everyone else. In 2023, one percent of the population controlled 76 percent of all household wealth in America, and overall, the top 10 percent owned more than the bottom 90 percent combined. To disparage this inequality may correctly be dismissed as class envy, but it is nonetheless appropriate to criticize why America’s elites are mopping up greater and greater percentages of total wealth. The game is rigged, and it isn’t racial or gender “privilege” that’s responsible. It’s also not “unbridled capitalism.” On the contrary, it is excessive government regulation that catalyzes centralization of private wealth.

Wealth inequality is getting worse because lower- and middle-class households and small businesses do not have the sophistication and resources to navigate the regulatory obstacles to achieving and maintaining prosperity and profits. A billionaire, or a multi-billion dollar corporation, can easily hire the attorneys and consultants needed to avoid taxes and comply with an otherwise crippling array of regulations. They can access the most favorable credit markets, they can diversify their investments, and they have the financial resilience to withstand economic shocks that will destroy middle-income households and small businesses.

We saw this during the COVID pandemic, which triggered what was possibly the greatest spasm of regulatory overreach in American history. Retail businesses that were already reeling from online competition were forced to shut down, along with manufacturers and business offices. Emerging in the aftermath of the pandemic were online behemoths: Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, with market caps that had doubled or even tripled. And while households and small businesses had been increasingly challenged for years, the inflationary leap since COVID came along made those challenges much worse.

And against this milieu, we argue over the definition of a woman.

The question we should be asking is: What are we being distracted from? Where are America’s elites, along with their counterparts throughout Western Europe, trying to take us? Why is it, as if inflation weren’t bad enough thanks to trillions of magically materializing dollars, that we have to shut down our conventional energy industry in favor of “renewables,” shut down our farms and cull our livestock to cope with the “climate crisis?” No wonder everything is so expensive. What is the point?

One answer, at least for America, is that we are trying to preserve the global demand for dollars. We monetize the world with dollars through, for example, our trade deficit, through remittances from foreigners working in the U.S. sending their earnings back to their homes abroad, through hundreds of military bases spending money in foreign nations, or through foreign aid. And all those dollars can come back to the U.S. in the form of investments by foreigners who purchase our assets: our factories, our real estate, our farmland, and our mineral resources. So why not utilize environmentalist regulations to limit the supply of everything and make those assets cost more?

What a concept! “Green” policies help us collateralize our currency. So what if ordinary Americans can’t afford to live in America anymore? If you’re a member of the green elite, you are indifferent to gas that costs $6 a gallon or “starter homes” that cost $850,000. It’s pocket change.

There are better solutions to America’s debt binge. There are ways to restore upward mobility and make products and services reasonably affordable again. In the long run, they would also guarantee the status of the dollar as a hard currency. They’re not complicated, either, but they’re controversial because they will reverse the ongoing transfer of what remains of decentralized private wealth into the pockets of oligarchs.

Here, then, are some dollar-hardening, debt-eliminating alternatives to what author Steve Milloy quite aptly refers to as Green Hell: Spend public money on cost-effective infrastructure that yields long-term economic dividends instead of on “renewables” and on welfare payments. Totally abolish welfare for anyone able to work. Restrict immigration to a limited number of highly qualified and productive individuals who arrive legally. Rewrite (and in some cases repeal) environmental laws in order to restore the ability for entrepreneurs to log, mine, quarry, farm, ranch, manufacture, and build homes. Deregulate so small businesses can again compete with big businesses. Dismantle the entire DEI/ESG industrial complex and incentivize hiring, contracting, and investing based purely on merit. Put criminals in jail and provide the homeless with inexpensive congregate shelters where they are required to be sober and can recover their lives.

That’s it. That’s all there is to it.

As it is, these practical solutions had better come soon. America’s ability to print as much money as it wants while still retaining a reasonably hard currency has just taken a major hit. On June 9, Saudi Arabia declined to renew their 50-year agreement to sell oil exclusively in dollars. This comes at the same time as the BRICS group—which is committed to trade using currencies other than the US dollar—has now expanded to include ten nations: Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Egypt, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia.

When nations in the rest of the world decide what currency to use for international trade, shall they continue to use the dollar, knowing that if they incur the wrath of the US government, their dollar assets may be seized? Once the US started using seized Russian assets to finance war against Russia, a message was sent to every sovereign wealth fund in the world: Your US dollar holdings are not safe. Is the BRICS group a safer alternative? Here is how the GDP of the BRICs group compares to the US and the world.

As shown on the chart, the BRICS group already represents 27 percent of global GDP, narrowly eclipsing the US at 26 percent. But this is nominal GDP, which doesn’t take into account the lower cost of living in most of the BRICS nations compared to the US. One way to get an idea of the purchasing power GDP of the BRICS nations is to consider their total population, which is nearly half the world at 46 percent, compared to 4 percent for the US. The BRICS nations represent a formidable challenge to the US dollar.

Which brings us back to the question of where the American and European elites are trying to take us—and the world—in the near future. Because if the threat of Muammar Gaddafi trying to form an African currency union and of Saddam Hussein selling Iraq’s oil in Euros, both precipitated the strangely coincidental experience of US military intervention, what coincidence awaits us as BRICS begins to flex its muscles?

Another massive coincidence seems to be the timing of the COVID pandemic, coming at the very moment populist movements around the world were gaining momentum, not least of which was the very real possibility of President Trump getting reelected. What did they fear? Four more years of peace and prosperity? Today, as populist parties gain unprecedented momentum in Europe, the words “far right” tumble out of BBC and Deutsch Welle broadcasts at a rate of perhaps 20 or 30 per minute. Meanwhile, Trump’s possible victory in November 2024 is being marketed by NPR, ABC, CBS and NBC as a looming catastrophe for democracy. Why is every major western news organization pushing such obvious hyperbole?

The goals behind current policies of western nations, led by the US, appear to be to degrade their own middle class while engaging in WW3 brinkmanship with Russia. These goals are inexplicable unless they are motivated by the false and self-serving belief that middle-class lifestyles are economically and ecologically unsustainable and must end, along with a grandiose desire to conquer the world, or, at the very least, preserve the ability for the United States Treasury to print currency at will and without consequences.

Remember this the next time your political organizing and personal obsessions gravitate towards fighting the culture wars. They matter a great deal and cannot be ignored. But in spite of how much you are being impelled to think so, they are not on center stage.

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About Edward Ring

Edward Ring is a senior fellow of the Center for American Greatness. He is also the director of water and energy policy for the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. Ring is the author of Fixing California: Abundance, Pragmatism, Optimism (2021) and The Abundance Choice: Our Fight for More Water in California (2022).

Notable Replies

  1. Edward Ring, among many others, have warned against being sucked in by emotional issues when the greater dangers foreshadowing the collapse of the entire house are rising all around us. The whole thing reminds me of the ongoing battle to dismantle older dams that block Salmon spawning. For some, environmental issues generate maximum emotional engagement. One becomes so emotionally involved, that achieving the GOAL encourages one to ignore the methods. And as advice to the emotionally driven, methods matter.

    Dams, over time, accumulate mega-tons of silt in the base of the dam. MEGA-TONS of silt. When a dam is removed, first pours wonderfully clear water. Everyone is happy, everyone cheers. Then, as the lake drains, comes the mud and the silt. The mud and silt, like that of a fast moving Hawaiian lava flow, begins its journey downstream filling streams and river basins, covering trees and vegetation, killing fish, and endangering wildlife.

    Oh No! cry the environmentalists!—we never expected that to happen! All this, despite the fact they were warned well in advance. But the warnings were ignored because they were seen as base attempts to thwart their will done by evil agents opposed to environmental good. The parallels between the dam busters in microcosm perfectly reflect the economic dangers we face in macrocosm. As the world’s entire financial structure verges on complete collapse, warnings continue to go unheeded because the emotionally involved believe the cryer’s of doom do so from base opposition as well. And so it goes.

    I enjoy reading Edward Ring. His columns are well informed and, unlike many others, also contain sound advice on how to turn the ship. But Mr. Ring appeals to logic and sensibility. People, by and large, are neither.

    A case in point—last year three rather large US banks failed from unrealized losses due, mainly, to holding too much in low yield bands and treasuries. Last October, Zero Hedge warned that the next major bank failure would be in Japan, and not in the US. This too is now coming to pass with the impending collapse of Japan’s Norinchukin bank. I won’t bore you with the details how a bank collapse in Japan effects us here at home. I’ll link to the article and those interested can read it for themselves.

    I’ve written all of this to say, my belief, my fear, is that people are too emotionally invested in this or that cause to listen to warnings. Mr. Ring cries out to ignore the emotional sideshows and pay attention to what is REALLY going on. I wish him great success in this endeavor, However I think his chances at success are very low.

  2. Because if the threat of Muammar Gaddafi trying to form an African currency union and of Saddam Hussein selling Iraq’s oil in Euros, both precipitated the strangely coincidental experience of US military intervention, what coincidence awaits us as BRICS begins to flex its muscles?

    Just spit balling here, but if we judge the elite’s level of fear in prior US military actions against Gaddafi and Hussein, then I’d say a nuclear war with Russia is right around the corner.

  3. Chuckle, ya’ think? One good way of hiding economic crimes and bad economic policy might be to destroy all the structures. And I’m pointing at Tower 7.

  4. Avatar for task task says:

    America’s first inhabitants were unquestionably what were called Indians. They were the endogenous forbearers that walked their way over. White Europeans arrived, by boat, afterwards because most of them were unsatisfied with where they lived prior to arrival. Religious persecution was a major reason because it suppressed economic liberty. They arrived with this quaint idea, taken from their political Old World braintrust, that people were created by Nature’s God with rights and that they must be treated equally under the law regarding those rights. Now, despite that being the understanding, it really was an idea in the making that never had been developed perfectly… anywhere. The American Constitution reflected those ideas whose time had finally arrived. It replaced the Articles of Confederation and included what Locke, Hume, Burke and Jefferson had in mind. The last item that Jefferson emphasized, ‘the pursuit of happiness’, was the most profound embodying statement ever made. It was an economic statement specifically qualifying and embodying a right for the individual over the group and it includes the right to not only freely secure property but to freely use property to achieve happiness. America’s business is about the business of people securing and using property. The main purpose of its government is to secure the liberty of every individual and protect them from, not only other individuals, groups, and nations but, most of all, from its government. It was never supposed to be the other way around.

  5. Avatar for task task says:

    You reflect on what is known as the ‘Law of Unintended Consequences’. There would be no Democratic Party if Republicans kept in mind that they (Democrats) could not survive without the needed unintended consequences Republicans give them the opportunity to create and use by passing legislation that does far more than they imagined it would.

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