Editor’s Note: In this special interview, two longtime PBRG friends (legendary gold investor Doug Casey and top analyst Nick Giambruno of Casey Research) discuss the potential aftermath of Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election…
Nick Giambruno: The US presidential election is only days away. What are the country’s greatest problems right now?
Doug Casey: Domestically, I’d say the continual and accelerating loss of freedom, compounded by the prospect of what I suspect will be the biggest financial/economic crisis of modern times. What might that crisis be like? That’s unpredictable, although the odds are it will be unlike any others that are still fresh in people’s memories, simply because people tend to be most prepared for the things that have most recently scared them. The big problems usually come from an unexpected quarter, and/or at an unexpected time. Like the monetary crisis of 1998 that materialized in Thailand.
That said, the question remains of where to look. It could come from outside American borders, in the form of war. War is perhaps the worst thing that can happen, not only for the destruction it will cause in itself, but because it will immensely exacerbate America’s domestic problems. As Bourne famously said, “War is the health of the State.” Certainly, the US government is actively provoking other governments in a score of places around the world. The next war could be serious, not just a sport war, like those in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Nick: In 2000, the federal government’s debt was just over $5 trillion. Now, it’s about $20 trillion. It doesn’t matter who’s in power. The debt continues to grow exponentially. Unless the government makes radical cuts to welfare and the military—which won’t happen no matter who is elected—it will grow indefinitely.
If Americans are destined to be indebted serfs no matter who’s in power, do the elections even matter?
Doug: If the economy goes off of the deep end over the next year—and I think it will—the US government is going to be running much bigger deficits. Spending is going to go up for welfare. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security—that’s already about two thirds of the US government’s budget. Military spending is also going up. All that is going to go up, regardless of who wins the election on November 8.
We could easily see a trillion dollar deficit, perhaps much more. Now, where are they going to get all that money? The Chinese aren’t going to lend it to the US anymore. They’re basically going to finance the deficit by selling the debt to the Federal Reserve. And that means creating more currency units out of thin air.
But, on the other hand, the average guy—and for that matter, most businesses—aren’t borrowing money now. They’re too afraid. They don’t want to be in debt. The question is: As this comes to a real climax, are we going to have something resembling a runaway inflation in the dollar? Or are we going to have a massive credit collapse, which could be caused by defaults on bonds, house mortgages, student loans, or auto loans? I’m not sure which is going to happen. I mean, you buy a car now in the US, it costs you what a house did a couple generations ago. It all floats on a sea of debt. I’m just betting on financial chaos. That is the safe bet.
No matter which way this election goes, it’s going to be ugly.
Both candidates, Trump and Clinton, are disastrous. To me, it’s a sign of how degraded the US has become. About a year ago, they gave us a choice between Hillary, the wife of a previous president, pretty much playing the role of Argentina’s Evita, Juan Peron’s brassy wife. And Jeb Bush, the brother of one previous president and the son of another. The US has gone so far downhill that we can only choose which family dynasty we prefer to rule. If only a Kennedy, a Roosevelt, or a Rockefeller could be thrown into the mix as well… Maybe next time. Although I think we’re due for a general or two.
Elections are, quite frankly, meaningless. These two corrupt parties, the Republicrats and the Demopublicans, run by political hacks and funded by interest groups, simply appoint the people that they want and then present the American people with the illusion of a choice. The people who run these parties have become increasingly bold and arrogant. They’re absolutely horrible creatures, the same types that used to thrive in the Soviet Union. Americans should be ashamed of themselves for treating them with any respect at all.
However, if forced to choose between the two candidates, I would definitely go for Trump, simply because he’s something of an outsider. The media, Hollywood, academia, and the Establishment hate him. And I believe he hates them. If elected, he will likely overturn a lot of apple carts in Washington and break a lot of rice bowls of people who live off the Deep State. That would be an excellent thing. It’s also possible he would retract most of Obama’s Executive Orders, and fire a bunch of supernumeraries. But he might replace them with a bunch of his own.
However, it’s clear Trump has all kinds of dangerous authoritarian tendencies—don’t forget his endorsement of torture and the killing of families of accused terrorists as a policy. He also has all kinds of really silly and destructive economic notions—he appears to think he can cut “deals” with foreign governments. That has nothing to do with the concept of free trade. He’s threatened punitive tariffs, something that would immensely aggravate The Greater Depression. Worse, since as a businessman he’s associated with the free market—unfortunately and incorrectly—capitalism will wind up being blamed for this depression as well as a result.
Incidentally, I believe—as I have for over a year—that Trump is going to win. Why? It’s not just the immense enthusiasm of his supporters, as opposed to the lukewarm support that Hillary gets. It’s that Bernie Sanders was the other “protest” candidate in this election. His numerous and enthusiastic supporters believe—correctly—that Hillary and the Democratic machine stole the nomination from him. They’re genuinely pissed off. I believe only the most oblivious ones will vote for Hillary. A few might be mad enough to want to burn the house down by voting for Trump.
I haven’t heard anyone talking about the absence of the Bernie-istas. I don’t keep my finger on the pulse of the hoi polloi. But, if I’m right, it will result in a landslide for Trump.
Unfortunately, Trump is no libertarian—but neither is the dim-bulb candidate of the Libertarian Party. That said Trump is a lot better than Hillary—this is no time for a corrupt, hostile, elderly, debilitated, mildly demented Statist to become president. So, sure, I’d prefer Trump.
Am I going to vote for him? I don’t believe in being complicit in a criminal act, so I don’t vote.
Nick: Please elaborate…
Doug: There are at least five reasons not to vote:
Voting in a political election is unethical. The political process is one of institutionalized coercion and force. If you disapprove of those things, then you shouldn’t participate in them, even indirectly.
Voting compromises your privacy. It gets your name in yet another government computer database.
Voting, as well as registering, entails hanging around government offices and dealing with petty bureaucrats. Most people can find something more enjoyable or productive to do with their time.
Voting encourages politicians. A vote against one candidate—a major, and quite understandable, reason why most people vote—is always interpreted as a vote for his opponent. And even though you may be voting for the lesser of two evils, the lesser of two evils is still evil. It amounts to giving the candidate a tacit mandate to impose his will on society.
Your vote doesn’t count. Politicians like to say it counts because it is to their advantage to get everyone into a busybody mode. But, statistically, one vote in scores of millions makes no more difference than a single grain of sand on a beach. That’s entirely apart from the fact that officials manifestly do what they want, not what you want, once they are in office.
Nick: What about voting for the Libertarian Party?
Doug: The Libertarian Party once had a claim to being the party of principle, back in the days when people like John Hospers, Harry Browne and Ron Paul were their candidates. Then they for some reason put forward the empty suit Bob Barr, an ex-Congressman.
It appears that the Libertarian Party has been captured by the Republicans, which is surprisingly clever on the Republicans’ part. Now they have two parties that are registered in all 50 states. It’s kind of a backup system to the regular Republican Party. They’ll need a backup, since the old GOP is a dead duck.
Regarding Gary Johnson, I don’t know what his philosophical beliefs, if any, are. I suspect neither does he. The only thing we really know is that he wants to see pot legalized on a national scale. Well, bravo. I’m all for that, even though I’m not a toker. It’s a step in the right direction toward dismantling the insane War on Some Drugs. But does he have any other libertarian tendencies? He doesn’t seem to even have a grasp of the basic principles… although he seems better than the average politician. But that’s not saying much.
I’m especially concerned about his running mate, William Weld, who’s an actual neocon. He’s an overt statist, an active promoter of warfare, welfare, taxes and regulations. He has no libertarian tendencies at all that I’m aware of. He’s a pure Deep State guy.
One thing you’ve got to say about the Democratic Party is that, while their ideas are destructive and evil, at least they’re honest about them. Democrats make no bones about being the party of socialism, and they naturally attract the envy driven, the class warriors, the politically correct, the cultural Marxists, the race baiters, the gender Nazis, and the like. The Democratic Party is beyond redemption. It needs to be flushed. It has zero redeeming value.
The Republicans attract a different group. Religious people. Cultural traditionalists. People who generally favor what they think is the free market. They tend to be much more nationalistic and pro-military than the Democrats. But, unlike the Dems, the Reps have no real philosophical foundation. They’re basically just non-Democrats…
The Democrats can be viewed as the evil party and the Republicans as the stupid party. But they’re really just two sides of the same coin, at least when it comes to their leadership—who are all Deep State members.
The Libertarians must now be viewed, at best, as the smart wing of the stupid party. It’s a sad testimony to the nature of politics…
The situation has actually gotten out of control, and the government is so big and so powerful at this point that it can’t be reversed. Even if Ron Paul were elected, it wouldn’t do any good.
The first thing that would happen is that he would be sat down with a bunch of generals and heads of Praetorian agencies, like the FBI, the NSA and the CIA, who would inform him—politely, but firmly—how things really work. If he didn’t play by their rules, his life would be at risk. And if for some reason he dodged those bullets, he would be impeached by Congress before he had the chance to actually change anything. And if for some reason that didn’t work, the average American would be out in the street rioting, because his doggy dish was going to be broken. Don’t forget, almost 50% of Americans are net recipients of government benefits.
I’m afraid that when the looming crisis blows up, the American people—Boobus Americanus as H. L. Mencken said—is going to clamor for somebody to kiss it all and make it better. We could very well wind up with some type of a military dictatorship.
Nick: I agree, Doug. I also do not vote. And there are far more powerful ways to vote anyway.
You can vote with your money by swapping fiat currency stored in a fractional reserve banking system (like the US dollar) for physical gold and silver.
You can also vote with your feet by leaving the country.
Instead of voting for a politician, which only creates the illusion of making a difference, those two steps can actually make a positive change in your life.
What’s your take?
Doug: I agree. The thing is that all of our ancestors—all of us who are Americans—came from foreign countries. Everybody came to America because they wanted to get away from being turned into slaves in their home countries. The problem is that the US government is going in the same direction as those governments that our ancestors ran away from. Now we have to go someplace else ourselves. We have to find a new America.
I’m very pleased that I can watch all this nonsense on a widescreen in a coffee shop in Argentina and not be very adversely affected by it. Argentina, incidentally, is now going the right way from many points of view.
It’s dangerous to stay rooted in one place when the natives get restless. Ask Russians in the 20s, Germans in the 30s, any European in the 40s, Chinese in the 50s, Cubans in the 60s, Vietnamese in the 70s, Rhodesians in the 80s—or Venezuelans today. And that’s just an incomplete list off the top of my head. It’s especially risky if you have some assets during real economic upset, or ideas that aren’t mainstream when there’s real political turbulence.
Nick: Most Americans are effectively stuck in the US. So, looking at these disturbing socio-political trends, what else could happen?
Doug: It’s amazing, and disturbing, that most of the young people in the US support Bernie, an avowed socialist, whose ideas are, if anything, worse than Hillary’s. But it just shows how unhappy young people are with the status quo. Justifiably unhappy.
Bernie and Trump hit the same nerve—they sensed that we’re on the edge of a revolution in this country. We really are. The situation is not unlike that before the War Between the States, very unstable.
Both sides are extremely antagonistic. People either hate Trump or they hate Hillary. It doesn’t matter who wins; the other side is going to be very, very unhappy. And with tensions already running high in the country, and racial, cultural and social clashes in the background, it almost feels like a civil war is in the cards for the US.
Of course, it seemed like we could have had a civil war back in the late 60s and early 70s, when there were not just a few, but thousands of bombings. Not just little riots, like in Ferguson and Baltimore, but conflagrations like in Watts, DC, and Detroit, where the National Guard was raking the ghetto with .50 cals.
But the country’s prosperity was still increasing in those days. Now we’re on the cusp of The Greater Depression. Things could get ugly.
Contrary to what most believe, the US hasn’t had a real civil war yet. The unpleasantness of 1861–65 was actually a war of secession. A civil war is one where two or more groups are vying for the control of the same government, as in Spain during the 30s, between the fascists and the communists.
But this time in the US it could turn into a real civil war. I don’t know what form it would take, but a lot of things could be really tough going: economically, financially, politically, socially, militarily. Most important, there’s a cultural divide that’s arisen in the US.
I don’t think most people are even aware of what is going on. When you walk outside, the sun is shining. Children are still playing. You can go down to the Wal-Mart and buy cheap goods. Everything looks pretty good on the surface, despite the fact everyone’s credit card is maxed out. But I think it’s all a hologram that’s about to be exposed. So, hold on to your hat.
Reeves’ Note: Most people have no idea how bad things can get when a government goes out of control, let alone how to prepare…
The coming economic and political collapse is going to be much worse, much longer, and very different than what we’ve seen in the past. That’s exactly why Doug and his team just released an urgent video. Click here to watch it now.