We are witnessing the meltdown of the Republican Party, caused by the intense heat of its own contradictions.
The story takes more time than we’ve got here. We’re going to tell it – as we see it – in the next issue of our Bill Bonner Letter. But here’s the Dummies guide version:
For many years, the Republican Party represented the voice of conservatism. It spoke from generations of bitter experience, telling us to beware of Big Government:
“Keep it little,” it said. “Keep it humble. Keep it under control. Keep its budgets balanced, its taxes low, and its ambitions limited. Stick to the Constitution.”
Traditionally, conservatives distrusted government social programs. In 1961, Eisenhower warned them to distrust the military, too; he knew it better than anyone.
The old conservatives considered government a “necessary evil.” But like heroin or Facebook, they knew it reaches the point of declining marginal utility fast. That is the message that won Ronald Reagan the White House in 1980 and again in 1984: Less is more.
But then, in the 1980s, there emerged a new species of “conservative.” A Deep State conservative who combined the worst features of left and right: a big spender at home and abroad. He saw the government as a tool that he could use to transfer money and power to himself and his Deep State friends.
This new breed took over the Republican Party; real conservatives gradually disappeared from public life. And without the resistance of the old conservatives, it was impossible to rein in the ambitions of the world improvers.
Even President Reagan ran some of the biggest budget deficits ever seen in peacetime, a phenomenon recalled in the excellent memoire by Reagan’s budget adviser, David Stockman, The Triumph of Politics.
And the Republicans signed on to every jackass war that came along – on poverty, on drugs, on terrorism, and, importantly, on markets.
In 1990, George H. W. Bush, who had been Reagan’s vice president and was now president himself, announced a New World Order.
How’s that for conservative… remaking the entire world!
His son took it further. He signed every dopey proposal that crossed his desk, including the biggest single increase to the Welfare State in nearly 40 years: Medicaid Part D, a huge subsidy to the drug industry. And he launched a “War on Terror” that has become a more or less permanent subsidy to the terror industry.
In Donald Trump, the word is made flesh; the faux conservative finds its ultimate expression.
There is no trace of conservatism in him – neither in his personal life nor in his public life… neither in his business practices (he is the “King of Debt”) nor in his programs for the U.S.
As near as we can tell (we doubt he knows himself), he has no interest in balancing the federal budget or in cutting government spending. He will continue mass surveillance of the American people. He will not curtail the welfare-state zombies nor bring the dogs of war to heel.
He does not propose to restrain government at all. He promises only to make Big Government work better – the very thing true conservatives know can’t be done.
But what really caused the collapse of conservatism in America?
Our views on the demise of conservativism are not unique to us. But our views on what caused it are. Follow the money…
More to come…
Further Reading: You won’t read about it on the news. But behind the scenes, the Deep State has been scrambling to avoid an even bigger crisis than the one that hit in 2008. It has nothing to do with stocks… or bonds… or international currency markets. And when it strikes, it could bring down the entire monetary system. To learn more about the coming monetary catastrophe… and the steps you can take to protect yourself, follow this link, click here.